Living, or even traveling in Italy requires a dramatic departure from your accustomed physical and emotional geography. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” goes the cliche. Emotionalism is a national Italian trait, which is potentially contagious.
On a ski trip to Bormio, my frustrations about my inability to improve my skills lead to a tearful and inappropriately overemotional reaction. Ironically, it was here that I first heard the song titled Stuck In the Moment.
After visiting Assisi, I came back to the US, joined an Episcopalian Franciscan group in New York City, and spent a weekend at an Episcopalian Franciscan monastery in upstate New York.
Then, there was the summer I spent at the Universita Per Stranieri in Perugia. As we have seen from the Amanda Knox case, Italy is an emotional force of nature, often equal to the devastating force of a tsunami.
I once pictured a life in Italy, living on the Amalfi Coast like the Donna character in Mama Mia, but since I am less of a Dancing Queen and, unfortunately, more of a Drama Queen, an emotionally calm country like Uruguay suits me just fine.
While meat eaters rave about Uruguayan beef, you can indeed survive in Uruguay without eating it. In fact, I recently discovered that my Spanish teacher does not eat red meat! The vegetables here are outstanding. Even better, Uruguayans are fond of one of my favorite foods: gnocchi! I prepared one of my favorite gnocchi recipes for a recent asado. I barely had any leftovers!
Some of my best friends in the world are people I have never met in person. They are part of group of expat writers who write for the same content management company. When I was considering the expat life, they challenged the arguments of the nay-sayers with yay-saying retorts.
I learned something from the experience. If you are considering a radical change in your lifestyle, the people whose opinion for which you ask measures your commitment to the idea. If you are hesitant, you will approach those who live a more cautious lifestyle, but if the Life Less Ordinary truly appeals to you, you will seek the opinions of those who do the same.
This is in no way a value judgement. For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose, but remember, says Warren Miller:
If your don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do!