For the past four years, I have been asked the question “What do you want to do with your life?” so many times that I should imprint the answer on my forehead. Each time I was asked I discovered a way to circumvent the questions, instead talking about my majors or the most defining aspect of my college experience. But the answer is really very simple: I don’t know. I’m 22 and the question about my life seems way out of my league. It wasn’t until I’d had a few (or more) Blue Moons at my graduation party in late May that I realized that my gut knew exactly what it wanted to do — at least for right now. I began telling people (family and non-family alike) that I was moving to Italy. Really? At the time I had no plans whatsoever to go back there. A few weeks later I decided to put these subconscious thoughts into actions and they led me to where I stand right now.
As you all know, I spent my third year at DU studying in Italy and during those nine months, I absolutely fell in love with the country. Little did I know that it was an experience that would lead to the huge step I am about to take. I am moving to Italy to teach English and while never in a million years did I think that this would be my life, I knew when I left Italy in the spring of 2010 that my time there wasn’t over for good. I had an amazing time studying abroad, but deep down I knew that I wasn’t finished with all that the country had to offer.
While this blog is definitely not going to be an online diary, I’m not going to lie — the last time I left for Italy I was running away. I was running away from everything that I had messed up during my first two years at DU and the change I wasn’t able to handle in the transition from high school to college. Why I thought running away to Italy, a country halfway around the world that was bound to be full of change, was a good idea, I don’t know. I guess you could say it worked out for the best though because it changed me in every way possible and obviously led me to all this.
Some could argue that this time I am running away again — from the economy that isn’t very welcoming to a double major in History & Italian and from that the fact that I don’t really know what to do with my future right now — and I wouldn’t disagree. But at least this time my reasons for leaving are not totally my fault and I (sort of) know what I am doing. When I left the last time, the extent of my knowledge of the Italian language covered how to order myself a plate of pasta and how to get from the airport to my hotel. That has definitely changed and my knowledge of the country, its culture, and its people might have become an obsession. Needless to say, I feel more prepared this time even if I may not know what exactly I am getting myself into.
I am heading to the beautiful island of Sardegna as a member of LanguageCorps. In a month’s worth of time they will train me and make me qualified to teach English abroad and from there I will try and make a life for myself in la bella Italia. This time I leave with no promise of anything. I wasn’t granted a student visa because the quotas were “full,” so beginning on July 17th, the countdown on legal living starts ticking. I have four weeks to study for and receive a teaching certificate and then I have two months to find a job and obtain a work visa that will allow me to remain in the country. This is all a little more terrifying than before because at least during my time studying abroad I was surrounded by DU, traveling with both its faculty and its students. Some might think I’m crazy and I know I am a little bit, but I am also seriously excited. Just like two years ago, I realize that this is the opportunity of a lifetime and I cannot pass that up.
I leave Denver on the 16th and my final destination will be Alghero, which is a city on Sardegna. Once there, I’ll be posting photos and stories of my experiences. I have decided to start a Project 365, too, instead of posting mass amounts of photos every week. Oh, and my time of stay you ask? Indefinite (unless that visa thing doesn’t work out). I’m ready for some change and I can’t wait to take a step into “real life” … even if it is going to begin 5,000 miles away.