Why spontaneously moving to a new country was the best decision of my life so far.
When I first moved to Florence in September 2015, I had no idea of what to expect, and high expectations for a new life in Italy. Little did I know that I was about to embark on one of the most difficult, challenging and terrifying journeys of my life, and that ultimately, it might just be the best decision that I ever made.
Arriving into Pisa airport alone, afraid, with no contacts in Italy and not a morsel of understanding of the language, many people asked me (including the lady I sat next to on my one-way flight from Bristol): “why on Earth did you do this to yourself?!” And I gave them the same answer as I’ll give to you now: to set myself a new challenge, yes, but also to run away from a painful breakup hoping that the beauty and fun of adventure would mend my broken heart. Because this is what we do, as humans isn’t it? We experience pain and try to start afresh in order to make ourselves whole again, in order to try to make sense of everything that has happened and to make new memories to eventually replace the old ones.
I graduated from university in May and was keen to see the world, to live an exciting, different life to the one expected of me. It seemed so easy for so many of my friends to graduate and to hop onto the post-university conveyor belt towards adult life: all finding similarly monotonous graduate-jobs in the city, living in wildly expensive flats and complaining about their miserable salaries whilst drowning in a sea of debt. I decided – on the advice of my Mother (thanks, Mum!) – to work towards a CELTA qualification so that I could be able to teach English anywhere I wanted, and hence to see the world whilst teaching.
Post CELTA certification (and post breakup), I decided to apply to any position I could find starting ASAP. And, in a stroke of luck, Wall Street English, in Florence, emailed me, requesting that I start in the middle of September. “Florence?!” I mused, “I could live in Florence, why not?” Having accepted the job and liaised with my future boss over Skype, I spent the rest of the summer dreaming of pasta, pizza and Italian red wine.
My first week was spent in a noisy hostel near the train station researching planes back to the UK and madly regretting my crazy, spontaneous decision to move to continental Europe. How stupid I was to think that the heart no longer yearns for a lost love in a different country! The truth was that being in another country made everything even worse. I stayed inside, clinging to my wifi connection in a weak attempt to stay in contact with all my loved ones, who were now so far away, wishing I could change my mind and go back. But going home was no longer an option: I had signed a contract until December, and I had to power through until then and head home for Christmas, planning never to return to Italy.
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