Sunday, August 17, 2014

Walkable distances

Back to Mobile.

Never easy to come back to a life made only of work and little else, especially after spending many weeks with family and friends in places that fit me well.

I have to re-adjust to driving and not using my legs and bike as a way to transport myself between two points. The first days since I got back here, I felt I was in a I am just passively trying to adapt again. It is very hard for me to understand how people can settle for a life in which they depends from their car to go anywhere. The weather is fantastic here, it calls for spending time outside biking or walking. But this is simply impossible. There is nowhere to go to by walk and drivers are just not used to people biking, so that biking is calling for a suicide most likely....except for very few places. I miss being able to walk or bike to work....I leave 10 minutes away from work and still, I have to drive.

Yesterday I was relaxing at the pool in my apartment complex. The maximum distance within this apartment complex is maybe 10 minutes by walk, if not less. A family drove from their apartment to the swimming pool. They were not carrying something heavy. The kids were not so little. I guess they are just not used to use their legs.....and then some people complain about being overweight.....what about moving more? I understand here it is not easy, because Mobile is not walkable or bikeable, but at least for short distances and when it is least as providing a good example for the kids.

It is a very different life style. I am not used to this. It is not the US. In Washington many people bike...actually, there are so many crazy bikers, they are dangerous sometimes.

Another thing I am not used to. Guns. We had an orientation at work. They showed us a video about how to be prepared and train in the case a shooting would occur in the work place. My colleagues, a room filled with about 30 other people, mostly Americans, found this completely normal. Myself and another Japanese woman, both clearly not used to this, were speechless. I got extremely depressed after the video. It is difficult to explain. I am just not used to this.
Here you can have guns, shotguns, whatever you want, in your car or on you.
It is normal.
My students told me story of growing up shooting at snakes. It is normal. It is what they are used to. Driving everywhere and depending on cars, being used to guns and shooting.

Not an easy adjustment for an European who grew up in a small town in Tuscany and who always lived, until now, in very small towns or if not small, bike and walk friendly.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The National

I am going! I am going to their concert!
Unbelievable. They come to my home town for a concert during the time I am here. I will be there. And the location for the concert is just fantastic, downtown, in the old town.
I just got the tickets for a friend and myself.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mobile - Tensaw Delta

There is one reason why I came here


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My first tornado warning

Gosh if I was scared.....I was so scared that I honestly quite panicked through the whole thing.

We started having these warnings, my cellphone beeping with messages saying that we had a high risk of floods. People telling me what to do in case of tornadoes. The rain battering the windows like crazy. Hailstones, powerful wind. And lightening. So much and so strong that it felt like someone was switching on and off the light in my apartment.

I have been told to prepare water, a pillow, and a blanket in the bathroom, the only room with no windows and more protected from the outside. And to go hiding in the bath in case of an actual tornado warning.

I had everything prepared and then I tried to go to sleep. It was night. I couldn't close my eyes. Between the lightening, the hailstones that I thought would crash the windows, the wind, the rain, and the fear I had in me, I couldn't sleep even for a minute.

Nothing happened, at least not exactly where I live. But there have been places flooded and people that got stuck somewhere because of the weather.

Definitively not a pleasant experience, especially to face alone.
And apparently this is nothing compared to the actual tornadoes and the hurricanes.

Lovely :-(

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy in Lucca

Gosh how much I miss the beauty of Lucca.
Gosh, how strongly I look forward to the end of the semester here.
Gosh, with what impatience I look forward to spend some time in Tuscany soon

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Two months and 23 days

I am here. It is today two months and 23 days since I moved here and it is nothing like what I could have expected.

I feared living here, but I thought that it would be great work-wise. I don't know how many times I already thought of quitting and go back to I don't even know to what, since there is nothing I could go back to.
I am sleepless. I work non-stop for zero reward. I have never met students on average so uninterested and so ignorant. But it is the lack of interest that strikes me more and upsets me and makes me feel frustrated. I spend sleepless nights preparing the classes, not being able to do anything else in my life beside working to prepare the classes and for what?
I have to do it, I am paid for it, but it is so frustrating.
And I have none to talk to here. No friends, no acquaintances with whom sometimes to take a break from all this craziness and do and talk about something else. I have been working hard in my life before. I had a crazy PhD time. But I had the olandesino and I had friends that made life worth, that gave me a reason, something to look forward.
Since two months and 23 days I am on a survival mode. Counting the days until the end of this semester, hoping that during the summer I will be able to recharge and not think about my non-life here, hoping that I will be able to spend time with my friends and family. I feel so disconnected and lonely here and I keep asking myself what really is the point of doing all this.
I moved here to be closer to my husband. But we still don't live in the same place, who knows when and how we will, since any attempt to find a job for him here has been unsuccessful so far, and when we see each other, which fortunately happens more frequently than before, I am always so down, so nervous, so busy preparing the classes and working, that I am not even able to fully enjoy the time together.

I miss my previous life, when I had a life.

I felt lonely in Portugal, but nothing compared to how I feel here. I didn't have close friends there, but I had people to do things with. I had people whom I could call if I wanted to. I had the ocean and plenty of time just for myself. And money to save.

Life is too short to be wasted and I really cannot see a point in wasting mine working so hard to receive zero appreciation and feel constantly stressed, unhappy, and nervous. I had to finish this semester and then start to seriously think about maybe moving again if things will not change within the next months. What is the point of being here if I have to be so lonely and work all the time to not have a life and have such a low salary that I constantly worry about how I would get to the end of the month if my husband wouldn't help me with the expenses.

It is not the place, it is not the people. It is all together. On average very bad students, too much work, extreme loneliness, not having time for myself, feeling isolate, feeling far from family and friends and not having enough time to dedicate to them even if it was just to talk to them on the phone.

I have something like two more months to go and I can't wait to get to the end of this semester and hopefully get a life worth living back.
There are really too many beautiful things in this work to spend all my time working....and working for what?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Friendly? it's the South

I am in the South......and in a South that feels even Southern of Portugal.....I mean. Geographically it is. I just didn't expect here to be this way.....

This way how?


Slow, disorganized, messy, but also with warm communicative people, great food, nice weather (at least so hurricanes or tornadoes).

Am I in the US? except for what concern all the documents that a non-American person needs to fill to do anything here, for the rest it doesn't look like anything of the US I have experienced so far....but I am in the US.

There is Starbucks....but well, there is Starbucks also in that doesn't count.....
My beginning here is not going as I expected. I thought that it would have been difficult. I just didn't expect it to be so difficult. I guess that largely has to do with the fact that until now, any time I moved to another country, it was always to follow my work dreams. This time, my decision to move here was dictated by wanting to be closer to my husband and still have a job I love. Moving here was basically the only option we had.
But I didn't move for my work... so my work here doesn't keep me going and motivated when things get difficult. I moved to be closer to my husband...but I am still alone most of the time, as we do not even live in the same state for now....we are closer and communication is easier, but it is not like if we were in the same place....
I don't even know from where to start writing down all the absurd things I experienced here so far....Maybe I could start with something quite unbelievable, something that I found funny.
Last week I had to get the documents for the apartment insurance. My husband and I go to the office where to get the documents and we are welcomed by a very friendly woman....very friendly....signing the documents took us not more than two minutes, but we stayed in the office for about an hour.
First, here I am very exotic. No matter where I am, as soon as I open my mouth someone asks me where I come from. 
So, we started the conversation from there. As I said, everyone is extremely friendly here and a few minutes, and I don't even know how, we ended up with her telling us that she was 40something and that she met someone and she thought he was the one, although they went out only three weeks before he died in her after that, she thought she would never find anyone else, but she did. She met this guy, divorced with three kids. The oldest kid is a bit difficult to deal with, but she leaves the dealing with him all to her partner...anyway, what were we saying??? yes, she is with this my husband and I think he could be the one? no, because she likes him. He is good, he is good to her....but still, could he be the one? now? him? you know, things are complicated, the kids, the ex-wife. But he cooks well, oh, yes, he cooks well. And the oldest kid spends all his time watching TV or on the cellphone or with these things. He is not mannered. But she doesn't want to get into, his kids are his kids. But the youngest one is so nice. He is a teenager, but so well mannered. He is all yes ma'am, no ma'am. So, do we think he could be Mr right for her?
....She didn't tell us about her sex life, but I felt that giving her a little bit more time, we could have gone there....
I mean, lovely person. I liked her. But we were standing there, my husband and I, ready to leave and there we remained for another hour listening to this.....
The thing is that she was not an exception.....I had a colleague of mine coming to my office to welcome me and talk about office and lab space and he ended up telling me about his headache and the medications he had to take and how they make him feel and for how long he has to take them and all that.....the whole conversation last two hours at least, if not more.

I had a guy at the supermarket telling me about his dream to visit Germany to see the Bayern Munich playing (this because as usual, to Americans my English accent sounds German) and the woman at the cash register telling me about her trip to Germany and what she saw and where she went..... and who cares if there were other people in line after me.....

I had a waitress telling to my husband and I that he mother passed away as well as her grandfather to explain us why she spoke German and so on (her mom was German.....but we didn't ask her why she spoke German....only if she spoke German after she told us that she was half German....again because of my accent)....

We had a waitress sitting at the table with my husband and I to chat with us while I was looking at the menu.....
I had the person in charge of computers at the place where I work coming to my office to set up the computer and ending up telling me all about one of her daughters and showing me videos of her singing and telling me how much her daughter likes nice dresses and that they got her a credit card and that she baby-sits so that she can learn the value of money....all this during working hours, while I would have had to rush from one place to another for all the bureaucratic papers and forms I have to do here (this is going to be another post, because this never ending story is still fully ongoing).....but no, you can't do anything here without ending up with talking to someone for at least an hour.....

I mean, these people are all nice and I appreciate them being so friendly.....but first, I really do not need to get into personal details of their lives. Second, I have so much to do that I have a hard time to find any time for myself ....listening to someone talking about his/her life for an hour and then going through the same with the next person I meet is not my ideal now.....

Is a common practice here to share personal details with whomever already at the first encounter???

I must look very reserved to all of them then, as I certainly don't talk very much about my things.....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wonderful men

I am in Italy, middle way to my new life.

This morning, I received an email from a strong woman who is often put down by her partner who doesn't appreciate her. I witnessed this behavior of him. And I didn't like it. I grew up with my father, always putting down my sister, my mom and I. Often making us feeling that we were not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, something not enough. My first serious relationship was with someone like that too.
Dominant men who probably are just too insecure about themselves to be real partners for someone. Men who like to dominate. My uncle is like that too. Never interested in other people opinions if these opinions don't match what he thinks. Men who are mentally abusive, who try to make people around them feeling like they are lucky to have this man around.

I wrote this multiple times in this blog. I was lucky enough, very lucky, to have met to great men in my life. Two people who not only made me feel appreciated for the exact way I was, but who also continuously showed me how much they loved me just the way I was. I received a lot from life so far, but meeting these two people is probably one of the best things ever happened to me. They changed the way I look at myself, I was a better version of myself with them because they were so supportive, so loving, so appreciative. They both thought me what it means and how it feels to be loved just for the way I am. This doesn't mean that they necessarily loved any aspect of me, but they loved the entire package, so that the things of me that they didn't like so much were not a big deal. I have never felt wrong or out of place or bad with them. I wish everyone in his/her life would meet someone who can make her/him feeling this way.

I get so so angry when I see people who try to put down others. I see this among my friends, I see this at work. People who are apparently so strong and dominating that act like anyone else is lucky just to breath the same air they do. When someone tries to put me down, now I react. Forcefully and strongly. Last time I saw my uncle he was trying to convince me about something he was completely wrong about...something related to my work. He wanted to be right, so when he saw that he couldn't convince me, he tried to shut me up saying "ok, now there is going to be a new Wikipedia according to XXXX (saying my name)" and laughed about it, trying to humiliate me in front of others. Of course, he is so strong and forceful that everyone else thought that he was right and I was wrong. The point is not who was right or wrong, but the fact that I was not allowed to have my own opinion and express it and defend it because it was different than his. These dominating people, when they see that they cannot convince the other, often go for humiliating this person, generally in front of other people.

I grew up with this, until when in my 20s I had the incredible good luck of bumping in two amazing men, one after the others, who taught me what respectful love and appreciation is. I will never thank them enough for what they did for me and to me.
I wish every woman could meet someone like that in their lives. It could be their father, their partner, a close friend. And I wish every woman would learn to react to oppressive, abusive men, instead of thinking that this person will change.

....but sometimes fortunately, people do learn how to improve this. A men could be unappreciative, but at the same time not trying to put the other person down or at least not often. If the person cares enough about the other, then there is room for improvement. It is a lot of work and it has a lot of ups and downs, but sometimes, it works. I experienced this. It is not easy and it does require a lot of work and patience, but sometimes it pays off.
None should put anyone else down to feel better about themselves.
None should allow to be put down by someone else.
I wish everyone would have next to them someone who makes them feeling precious and special and loved and appreciated every day for this. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

That's about it

Here we are. Last night in my apartment here in Portugal.
I feel miserably sad.
I had so many troubles with this apartment, the rain filtering inside the windows and flooding my kitchen, the bad landlord, the continuous reparations needed.
But I loved this place. The ocean view. The possibility to walk or run on the beach, next to the beach whenever I wanted.
And that's it. I am leaving. After tomorrow, very early in the morning.
I can't help but thinking of my mood and my hopes and all what was going on inside me when I arrived here two years ago. It seems yesterday, and instead it is not and so so many things happened in these two years.
When I arrived here, I was not even together with my husband. We had broken up since more than six months and I honestly didn't consider a reconciliation and getting back together a possibility, although we always stayed in touch.
When I arrived here, I thought that I would find a way to have at least a friendship with the olandesino. I couldn't have been wronger.
When I arrived here, I was terribly sad for having left my friend and the working group in Montpellier, but also full of hope for my life and my work here. I thought that I could make friends outside work and have a full life here. I sadly didn't make any close friends....I honestly didn't even try so hard, as it took me one year to figure out my life here and adapt and then I basically got engaged and knew I would move again. But I anyway met people I like a lot here and that in one or another way I will think about even from far.
Nothing went as I saw or imagined in my head, except for the fact that I already knew from the first time that I would have loved this little city where I decided to live.
I can't imagine myself starting over again, in another country, in another city. I don't know how many times I moved around from place to place and had to start over again. And every time, it takes me almost a year to just get settled in a place and even longer to start making friends and having a life...and then as in this case, it is time to leave again.

I feel that in the last months I am trying to block everything inside myself, the fear, the sadness, the anguishing of having to move again and start over in another place with another culture, other people, another life. I am tired of this. I was tired of this two years ago, when I came here in Portugal and I promised myself that I wouldn't move again unless was for something stable where I could settle for many years and have a life, with friends, routine, my things, where I could feel rooted.
Instead, two years after, all my stuff is in boxes again, spread between Italy, my husband's apartment, the future place where I will live, and somewhere in between these places, traveling.

I am fully aware that I didn't need this change again. I am also aware that it could never have worked between my husband and I if I would have stayed where I am. I guess that when I decided to marry him, I knew that I would have had to move again. Surely, I was hoping to move with him and not to move to be alone again in a new place, just closer to him. But I would never give up my work and I would never want him to give up what he has for me without something to do that he likes.
Someone told me that "I want it all" and this is just not possible in life.
I don't feel that I want it all. I don't have my family close to me and I don't have my friends near me.
I just have a job doing what I like (and I hope to like doing it in this new place and to find a pleasant working environment) and a husband closer by than now. I understand that it is a lot and much more that what other people have, but it is certainly not having it all and I made a lot of sacrifices for my work and my personal life.

I just know that I will miss here, this little village, the view I have from the windows of my apartment, running along the ocean, the wind and the waves...I will miss all this so so much.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Decision taken.....was that a good decision?

Months ago I took the decision to move again, back to the US.
Now it is about time to move and I am down here, where I will be moving, looking for a place.
I saw lizards, I saw birds, the weather is warm and I can go around just wearing a t-shirt, the trees are beautiful and the forests and nature look amazing.

But I can't find the way to be excited about moving. Every time I moved some place else, I always had mixed feeling about it, but I have always also been excited. This time, I do not seem to find a way to have one thing, at least just one thing, to look forward about this new change in life.

People tell me to look at this as at a new adventure.
Honestly? I don't need any adventure now.
People tell me to look at this as a moving forward in my career.
Honestly? how do I know that this will actually help me to move forward in my career?
People tell me that if it too bad, it can just be a temporary thing.
But honestly, why a temporary thing should not be enjoyable as well, especially at my age?

For sure work-wise I am not happy where I am right now and I have rain pouring in my apartment every time it rains, and I have my ex-boyfriend living next door and I have a lot of things for which I am not necessarily happy about and for sure a change was needed.

What bothers me is that I keep asking myself if this is really the change I needed......only time can answer to this.
I just wish I could find one thing to be excited about for this new life and to look forward to.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rule #1: Blend in

I was looking for a new pair of sneakers last night. I love the Saucony Jazz. I practically live in the Saucony Jazz. They fit my feet and my personality very well. They are colorful, happy, comfortable shoes.

I wear them since many years and I had them in many different colors. Every new pair, I try a new color combination out.

Last night, I was picking for a new color when I started thinking of where I will be living next. I wondered if it would be a really smart choice to have very colorful shoes, if it wouldn't be better to just wear something plain, something that it is not necessarily "me", but that most likely would help me to blend in more easily.

The thing is that no matter what I do or don't do and where I am, I find a way to stand out. I don't do it on purpose. I think I just have a strong, visible, personality. I dress in my own way, which stands out, no matter what. I had people commenting on the way I dress in every single country I lived. Mostly, because I love to combine colors. The way I dress and what I wear highly reflects my mood. And if my mood is down, I try anyway to put at least one thing with some colors to cheer me up. I love this, I love to express myself in this way. I love to be me.

I can adapt to a new country for many other things, but if I want to be in some state of mental stability, I need to be myself and not change the way I am to fit in in the country I am at that moment.
It worked well until now, except in one case. When I was living in the US last time. There, it was not so much the problem of standing out of the crowd for the way I dress, it was more a matter of feeling caged.

Don't go there, don't walk here, be careful with this, be careful with that.

For someone who often walks around with the head in the clouds like me, without actually worrying too much about the surrounding (I am not naive, I just live comfortably in the environment and enjoy it), the US way of living I experienced was a shock. I lacked my freedom of movement. I am most creative when I go for long walks and I let my mind wondering around, without paying any attention to details. I need to be creative for my work and for my mental health. I felt I couldn't do that there.

I am not negative about the US specifically. I am sure that in Roma or Milano, it is not safe either to behave this way. I have just never lived in a place like Roma or Milano. And in Montpellier, I felt that the city was dangerous, but at night, never during the day. So, there that was not an issue.

Now I am going to move to a state in the US where according to an article that I read recently (I don't remember if on the BBC or on the Guardian), they don't have any law about guns, and if they have any, it is so unclear that anyone does whatever he/she wants. Basically, you can walk around with any kind of gun, hidden or visible, you can carry it with you wherever you go, you can do anything you have in mind with it.

Guns for me put immediately the way of living all on another level. I am not used to them. I am not used to be in a place where guns are fairly normal. I am not used to live in a place where if someone for whatever reason has a bad day or doesn't like me or wants something I have, instead of simply attacking me or pointing a knife at my throat, can actually shot me dead.

You see? Freedom has all another meaning for me in a place where guns are allowed, free, and welcomed.

I know I should not be afraid. I know that violent crimes are not that common. The thing is that even if they are not common, they happen. And even if the chance of being shot dead or severely injured is 1 in a million, I definitively don't want to be that 1 person. The other day I read on the news of the city where I will move that a guy got shot dead in the middle of the day, in front of the post office, near downtown because someone wanted his bike.

Seriously? what are we back in the Far West? yes, it is not as bad as Pretoria, we agree on that, but still....for a bike? seriously? I am sure the guy would have given away his bike if threatened with a gun. No need to shoot him dead.

You see? that's my point. Blend in, blend in.

You don't want to have anything someone else may want. You don't want to attract any attention. You don't want to have colorful shoes.
I wish I had the cloth of invisibility of Harry Potter.

I am kind of freaking out for this. You can see that I am a bit obsessed with this. I keep writing about it.
I understand it doesn't help.
I just can't stand any kind of violence and I can't understand how people can get used to live in a place where every day someone can wake up in the wrong mood and feeling it is a good day to shoot someone dead.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Persistence, resilience, adaptability and crisis menagement

I was just reading an article on the National Geographic about the importance of failing and learning from it.

This year is my failure year, undoubtedly, in terms of work. I failed in supervising a MSc student, giving her way too much assistance and help, I failed in all the applications I sent to obtain some funding for the projects I would like to work on, and so on and so on....I definitively see this working year, 2013, as a huge failure.

Am I going to learn something from these failures? hopefully so....I especially hope to have learned A LOT from my frustrating experience with the MSc student I supervised, because she wore me out and sucked my energy and enthusiasm of having students this year.....My fault, absolutely.

In any case. The article I was reading was highly inspiring. And I especially loved two sentences in there. One is a citation from S. Beckett "Try again. Fail again. Fail better"
The other was "Persistence, resilience. Adaptability and crisis management. All are key themes in exploration, as in ordinary life. Keeping things in perspective helps too".

I certainly have persistence and resilience. I am not 100% sure about the other two things and especially about my capacity to keep things in perspective......maybe I will learn how to improve this short-coming of my character. I certainly hope to learn from the the various work failures of this year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Heading South

So long, so long, so long since I wrote something here last many things happened.
Mostly, I got married and I am moving South.

Not South of here (Portugal), but South of the USA. Another move, another life, another adventure.

I should report from there. I should have written more from here and about here.....but when life gets crazy, it is not easy to find the time to sit down and write....I rather prefer to go outside running and relaxing.

I am going to miss running along the Ocean. I am going to miss this Ocean beach. I am going to miss Portuguese octopus and Portuguese bread. I am going to miss the farmer market with so many cool old people. I am going to miss the peace and the feeling of safety at whatever time of the day that I can enjoy here.

Despite this, I am ready to leave. Working here was a frustrating, unsuccessful experience and although life is not too bad, I have felt very lonely and disconnected. Plus, the olandesino living next door from me also doesn't help my peace of mind.

I should definitively take some pictures of the things/places I love here before leaving this place.....

I am scared and excited for this new change. Some days more scared, some days more excited.....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How much more difficult does it have to get?

I took this picture at sunset on the beach in front of where I live.

The beach and the ocean. This is where I live now. This is what I have in front of my apartment and I see every day.

It is hard to think that I will have to leave this for an unknown place where to start a new life. But hopefully it will be a place where I will be able to have a life, as I am tired of traveling all the time and having no stability, making friends to leave them again after a couple of years, just when I get close to them. I am tired of feeling home in a place to have to leave it again. Since I decided to get engaged, my life is not here nor where my boyfriend is, in the USA. I am also very distant from everyone here, as I don't want to get attached and then have to suffer as it happened when I had to leave France. So, although I do not look forward to leave the place where I live now, which represents one of my dreams (living in front of the Ocean and being able to take long walks on the beach whenever I want), I also hope finally at the age of 37 to be able to have a life, live in a place that I can feel it is my home, get a dog with whom to share my long walks, possibly make some friends with whom I can share my life without being afraid of leaving them any time soon, and be closer to my boyfriend.

I got a new job and a new place ahead of me and although I am currently terrified for all those huge changes in my life and although last time I lived in the USA I ended up with a huge depression (and not for a joke, but a serious depression that last about three years), I try to keep a positive attitude toward it, especially focusing on the good things.

But the truth is that if it was not because it is easier to find a job for two people in the USA than in Europe and the fact that my boyfriend has a job that could actually help us even if my salary will be quite low (for American standards), I would rather live with him here in Europe than going to the USA. I have nothing against the USA and there are things I like and dislike of every country where I lived so far... so it is not that. But my family and friends are in Europe and I am deeply European in my way of living....I am actually perfectly fit for a small European town, like where I am now.

This to say that the coming change does actually cost me some mental effort to get used to it, I get immensely sad when I think that communicating and seeing my family will be much harder than now (I keep wondering if they will visit me and how often we will see each other considering how much a flight ticket costs), and it costs me some work to stay focused on the positive things. But I manage. Some days are better some less good...but I manage. Until I get under a pile of difficulties like today.

To make a long story short. My boyfriend is American. I am Italian. I have much more flexibility in my job than him. He has very little holidays. He has a better job stability than me. It is easier to get a job for me in the USA than for him in Europe. I cannot stay in the USA on a tourist visa for more than 90 days over a year. It is much easier to get a permanent position there if I am either already in the USA on a working VISA or if we are married.

From all this, the decisions that followed thinking that our relationship would be easier.

September last year, my boyfriend and I contacted the consulate in Florence to ask information about green card, immigration procedure, etc. What we got told was that basically once we were married, getting a green card for a spouse would be easy and that while I could not live permanently in the USA without a green card or an immigrant visa, I could travel while waiting for the green card back and forth with my passport and on a tourist visa.

What instead we found out today was that if I apply for an immigration visa, I CANNOT travel to the USA. This to prevent that while people are waiting for the green card approval, they become illegal immigrants.This actually has nothing to do with immigration offices, it is something enforced by the border doesn't matter if I can demonstrate that I am traveling to visit my husband but that I have a job somewhere else for now to which I want and I need to get, no, no....I may be a potential illegal immigrant. I understand that they cannot make a special case for everyone, but how ridiculous is that I get married and then I cannot see my husband for how long it takes to get a green card (which may take more than 7 months), unless he comes to visit me?

Not only.....even more stupid....the place where I got offered the job would not request a working visa for me (which is much quicker to get and would make our lives much easier) because I previously told them that I would apply for a green card after the, now they told me to apply for the green card and if I don't get it by the end of October, then and only then they will apply for a working visa for me, hoping that it will be done by the time I would need to start my job.....

Gosh, all this is so difficult does it have to be to just want to be in the same place as my boyfriend???? and plus...I am really sick of feeling rejected all the time because "I am not American or I am already a legal immigrant in the USA" ...first I had this for the numerous job applications I sent, then some of the members of my boyfriend family made me feel not good enough because not American (or not from a civilized enough place because it is not the USA), and now this immigration crap....................................

and a friend of mine just told me that her cousin got a green card for the USA through the green card lottery...............COME ON!!!!!!!!!!! are you kidding me? I have a job, I will have a husband there and I cannot even enter the country while applying for a green card.

gosh, gosh, gosh.....


Monday, May 13, 2013

Quality of life

I am a spoiled girl. There is no doubt about this.

I live in front of the ocean. I work whenever I want at the time I want where I want. I travel. I have people who love me a lot. I have traveled to a lot of places, I have seen and known a lot of different parts of the world, met many interesting people, done many things already. I am healthy. I have a wonderful family. I know what it means to deeply love and be loved by someone. I have the job I wanted to do. My job is actually one of my passions.

I am lucky. And I know this. Despite being angry or down or feeling lost, I know that overall I have a fantastic life, I had so far an amazing life.

I am lucky and I am spoiled. Right now, I live in a total status of freedom. I live alone, I have no kids, no schedule, none depending on me. I count on my own capacities and myself. And I like it. I actually love it. But things are about to change. Not necessarily for something bad. But they will change. Commitment is at the door, in my personal and working life. I feel terrified. Petrified if I think about it. I feel I want to run away and hide on a beach somewhere (I actually exactly know where. I have been there once and that place since then represent my mental escape).

What terrifies me most is not the change itself. I am used to changing continuously: places, cultures, people. What terrifies me is to lose things that I now give for granted and are part of my routine. Running whenever I feel like around the ocean, walking to the bakery to buy fresh bread, walking around at any time of the day I want.

I have to move again and overall this next step, this next change of scenario is for good. I am getting married soon and I know that to make it work, we cannot have an ocean in between us. So, I am moving back to the USA and I am lucky enough to have found the job I wanted there. In this economy, this is definitively not something little. So far, so good.

But. I started this blog when I was living in the USA, about six years ago. I can't remember an unhappier, more depressing period in my life so far. I actually started this blog because I was so depressed, so lonely, so hopeless that the only thing that made me feel connected in some way was writing my thoughts, my feelings. I am scared of ending up in the same way. Is this a stupid fear? maybe.

The thing is that I like the USA. But there are also things of the USA that I really do not like. Last night I got to think about naming three things I hate about the USA. I didn't have to think very long:

1) Free guns
2) Need of having a car
3) Waste

Of course, I can also as easily think of three things I hate about Italy:

1) Corruption
2) Lack of a national spirit
3) Superficiality

And so on, I could list three things I hate about France, about Portugal, about Germany, probably about any of the countries where I have been living. However, not all these things I hate weight the same in terms of my quality of life and I deal extremely badly with the idea of living in a country where guns are legal. It makes me feel threatened all the time. It is not my culture. I am not used to that. Yes, European cities are dangerous too. I completely agree. But they are in a different way. There are dangerous parts of the city and you just don't go there. In the USA often is not only a part of a city, it is one street is safe and the next street is dangerous. Why? who knows why. Plus, you never know, but the person walking in front of you may have a gun, as well as your neighbor, as well as basically anyone else. So, some of the things that for me make my quality of life good, which are the possibility to walk or take public transportation anywhere I want to go without needing a car, the sense of freedom in time and space, getting fresh bread when I feel like, are all going to be lost with my next life change. Because I am not going to move to any of the American/more European life style cities.

I can deal with a lot of things, I can adapt fairly easily to different cultures, I can always find my own dimension in a new place. But living in a country where guns are free and owning a gun is the normality is not something I want to adapt to. When I discuss this with Americans, the reply to my questions I receive more often is that guns are necessary to defend ourselves from the ones who already have a doesn't take an extraordinary IQ to understand that this is a circular explanation that will never solve itself. If guns would be under regulation, meaning that people owning a gun has to declare it and that from now on buying a gun would be permitted only in special cases, there would be less uncontrolled guns around, and less crazy people who get the chance to use them and to assault, shoot and kill people just because they are having a bad day.....

Unfortunately, there are so many personal interests in the USA in keeping things the way they are when it comes to guns (or public transportation, or public health system just to name a few things) that the poor Obama will never manage to regulate them. Unfortunately. Because people do not have the chance to understand and appreciate the value of freedom of movement and existence without feeling that you gotta own a gun to defend yourself from others who may threaten you.

When I was living in Germany I used to often work late at night. Late night means that sometimes I would bike back home at 2-3am. Often, I would bike at that time through the forest. I always felt that I could have biked through the forest at that time at night completely naked and nothing would have happened to me. Of course, there may always be the bad luck of meeting a bad guy. This happens everywhere. But if a bad guy doesn't not have a gun, first thing he has to get close to me to assault me, second thing at least it will cost him more effort to harm or kill is a small consolation, but it does reduce the chances to get severely harmed or killed.

Statistics at hand......

I wish I would know how to make a difference and help to ban free guns in the USA, which will be my future home place.

Just to stay on this subject.....this happened just a few days ago and these episodes keep happening over and over in the USA.