Moving to Italy after graduation didn’t feel like a great leap, but more like a natural path. The idea was to come and try it out, spend a year and see how it goes. That being said, there was a lot of preparation to be done: mentally, emotionally, and literally. So in the final weeks of my last semester I jumped months ahead to May 1st and made a little green note on my calendar: “Reevaluate time in Italy.”
Obviously the plans changed, as they are wont to do, and in the end my reevaluation day fell the day after Marco and I got married in a tiny civil ceremony (more on that in another post). Needless to say the reevaluation was more or less done for the time being. However even nearly a month later, I don’t think taking a moment to review ones current situation is ever a bad idea.
Before coming I made a list of some things I wanted to do and accomplish. Mostly fun things that I felt being in Italy offered:
Learn how to drive stick-shift:
It’s not just learning how to drive cambio manuale, but learning it on unfamiliar, and very, very tiny, roads with rather aggressive drivers. Many road laws are taken as merely suggestions and interpretations of the speed limit, parking, passing and what is and is not a sidewalk abound. That being said I think I can officially say I can cross this one off. The first gear is still a little tricky for me and I’d be nervous to drive alone in certain circumstances, but I am fully capable of getting from point A to point B driving stick.
Perfect my Italian:
Anyone who studies a language, speaks a language (including their own) and is minimally intelligent knows this is a life-long process. Ask me after a particularly long day and I’d say that I haven’t improved a bit, but one lively conversation with friends or a couple hours of translating work and I’d have to admit that my Italian has evolved greatly. I’ve even had multiple job interviews in Italian! Though I’m scared to work professionally in another language, I’m able.
Publish three articles:
I’m proud to say three of my articles produced during the 2013 International Journalism Festival in Perugia this past April are on their homepage. I worked there as a volunteer for a week, writing for their web magazine. It was an amazing experience in a beautiful city! Not only was I able to write but I also was able to meet some super talented journalists, learn more about Italian culture and journalism and even do some translating. Besides that, two more articles (paid weeee!) will be published shortly through Transitions Abroad!
Get a bike:
Take a photography course:
Photography has never, ever been my thing. I’ve never had a positive relationship with cameras. They break too easily and are never around when needed. Once I even lost one a week after I bought it. (Don’t worry, it was eventually found… two years later.) Bring a camera with my is the last thing I consider and when something photo-worthy is happening the last thing I want to do is stop to take a photo.
Still, after four years of denial during journalism course, I had to finally admit that it was necessary to learn and so I signed up for a photography course through Marco’s brother’s company, Il Tempo Ritrovato (time refound). The teacher was fun and the course was informative and my photography skills went from zero (can’t even take a decent iPhone photo) to at least a 5.5. in just ten short weeks (some are downright artsy!). Now that I know more than just how to turn it on, I actually enjoy taking my camera out with me.
Take a wine course:
I haven’t fully accomplished this yet, but this week we start our first class! The course is a total of 10 hours and also run by Il Tempo Ritrovato. I don’t know exactly what to expect, but the website promises that we will “acquire the theoretical and practical skills necessary to independently conduct a tasting.” FANCY! Perhaps more importantly, though, is that we will be, ahem, “tasting” red, white, sprumante and dessert wines during something called a “class” – it’s like a college student’s dream translated into the “adult” world.
Find a Job:
Almost immediately when I got here I started working as a private English instructor. Now I teach multiple English lessons from the most basic levels to advanced conversation. I enjoy working with people and I enjoy the challenge of teaching and I’ve even had a couple of interviews with the hope of landing a more secure teaching position in an Italian private school. In the meantime I’ve picked up some translating projects as well.
I’ve been asked if I’ve “given up” on my goal to work in communications, be it journalism, writing or marketing, but I don’t feel that way at all. Working as an English teacher for the time being has many benefits, ones I want to take advantage of, not to mention that realistically it’s the most likely form of work for me right now. Still I – like most of my recently graduated friends – am applying for jobs across many fields and am excited to see what’s in store!
The goals listed here might seem trivial, but in between each there’s a greater objective. By learning Italian better, I have a better chance at a job and a better chance of fitting in to my new home. By learning how to drive stick-shift I can live more independently but by getting a bike I’m able to get around in the meantime, not to mention it’s just super Italian! The photography course is to boost the appeal of any freelance articles I write and the wine tasting is for… it’s, well… the wine tasting’s just for me!