Assimilation Step 1: Employment in Italy

For all of you dying to know, I’m still working away at the 5 liter box of red wine my in-laws gave us (me). Judging by how long it’s taking me to finish it, I guess you could say things are on the up and up for me. Since I last wrote, I started working again! I am back in the English teaching game. I got hired by an amazing, innovative private English school that is just a 10 minute walk from our apartment. Now that I’m on wheels again–Ivan gave me his old bike–it’s only a 3:48 ride!

After “teaching” English in South Korea, I really thought there was no way I would ever be able to make teaching my career. The behavior management side of teaching children drained me more than I could possibly handle. I thought I just don’t have what it takes to do that long-term. All of that said, I was apprehensive about getting back into teaching. Can I say that I love it? Is this still the honeymoon phase of starting a new job? I’m actually convinced this is for me and I couldn’t be happier about it. I don’t dread going to work, I love my coworkers, I love my students, and I love teaching. The way I know for sure that this is real is that almost every day, I go home from work happier than when I went. I leave the school feeling fulfilled and content instead of drained and destroyed like I’ve always felt leaving every other job I’ve ever worked. Big difference.

All good things. So why is it that I still get depressed and think things like: “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE“! Italy can be such a little bitch sometimes. I am in that stage of culture shock that is so difficult to explain: on paper, everything in my life is going bonkers amazingly well. And yet I still come home some nights and go straight for that red wine like a lunatic.

I get so crabby with my husband that I am shocked he still hugs me in the morning. I deeply miss my family and the ease of my life in America. I miss how independent I was, I miss being able to drive a car. I miss the institution of American breakfast. I tried to make bloody marys with anise liquor and watered down tomato sauce–your girl is desperate. I miss all the fake smiles in customer service and all of that forced politeness, even in strangers. I miss customer service, period. I miss not being openly ogled every time I go running outdoors. I miss coffee shops and American coffee and I had a vivid dream about a doughnut. I miss brunch and breakfast that takes more than 3 minutes and that is eaten on plates and out of bowls and not just on a napkin. And yet I totally really completely miss dishwashers. And clothes dryers. I’m sick of Italians telling me that Italian grammar has got to be one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world. If that’s so true than why can I speak your language and you can’t seem to speak mine?

Sometimes it feels like Italy decided that after the Renaissance, they had had about enough of progress. I miss having space to walk in public places without feeling swallowed, space to park a car legitimately, and space to store my groceries. I miss the smell of the air when the seasons change in Ohio and how there weren’t mosquitos still alive in December. I can’t bear the thought of how long it will be until I get to hug my parents again. I chose this life for myself and I don’t get to make them feel worse because I put us all in this situation.

Classically, things get worse before they get better right? Fight or Flight // 18 Months

Does anyone else living abroad miss their home country and struggle to assimilate? Asking for me. Let me know in the comments.


2 thoughts on “Assimilation Step 1: Employment in Italy

  1. Brings back many similar memories of living in Germany. I wish you all the very best in your new life. I pray for you each day and trust that God will hear my prayers on your behalf. — Joe

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