Saturday, July 31

new ground

It's been a rough two weeks.

What can I say? First I guess a little background. I moved back to where I was living before Italy after 3 years. There were many reasons, I'm not sure any of it important for my purposes here. What is my purpose here? This has always been the place where I marvel at the world around me. Share that oblivion that swirls up in my head as I try to take it in. I think I can still do that. Well, at any rate, I would like to still do that.

A big chunk of these two weeks has been filled up with homecoming. A strange one though. The joy at seeing great friends again has been riding a wave of distaste for the culture. I hate the traffic. I hyperventilate when I enter the massive supermarkets. Hell, even the aisles of products at the pharmacy send my head spinning. I can't stand it, so I shield my eyes and run out of the store empty handed. I'm hiding in the cocoon of things I can accept. My friend's apartment, my office at work, old project notebooks. I can't stand to look at the world outside, so find myself at a loss for words on the "pilgram" experience.

It's shocking how lost I feel here. Not only in my head, but I have been literally getting lost. I don't remember how to drive through towns that I used to drive through daily. Streets are unfamiliar and memories of where they go are hazy.

And I'm not fully here yet. I have no family, no phone (for the love of all that is good and evil!!!), no furniture, no damn warm clothes... yea, what Steinbeck said about summer in San Francisco is true... making it even harder to acclimate. And easier to alienate myself. This can only lead to darkness.

So, after a distressing two weeks, I found myself driving my commute home. Cursing the rotation of the already boring same four songs on the radio. The tired classics and shallow new releases. But as I topped the pass from the bay into the valley, the red evening light caught my eye from the tops of distant hills. And for the first time since I've been back I saw my home the way I used to round the curves in Northern Italy. For it's amazing beauty. The rolling golden hills, the green scrub, the cool blanket of air. And my pilgram head latched on to this thread of hope. That maybe, once I get over myself, I'll start to see the wonder in the world again. YEA!!! Tiny dances of celebration erupting inside. This can work. All is not lost.


  1. ...letting the days go by...

    Hold on to those little moments and hopefully you'll be able to string them together into something bigger soon.

  2. it's painful going back, the anticipated familiarity failing to materialize. Suddenly realizing that the "forrin" place you left had sneaked into your being to the point where, in retrospect, you wonder if the body snatchers had been at work while you weren't paying attention.

    It's one going somewhere expecting to feel like a fish out of water and reveling in the new and exciting. Altogether a different matter when instead of slipping back into familiar surf you find yourself gasping for air and not understanding why.
    I'm not the best person to give advice, cos after the briefest coming home in the history of mankind, I ran away again, freaked out by my inability to breath. If I had to do it all again I think I might try to treat it as a move to the unknown, with time having taken the place of geography, and trick my brain into playing alone with a honeymoon period of discovery while I got my sea legs.

  3. Oh you both make me feel better. At least I still have my blog friends. I feel like that Sarah... in the worst moments I feel like I want to drive straight to the airport and get on the next plane the hell out of here. Everything that I never missed about being in the US is of course what I notice and what is driving me crazy. I am not giving myself time to enjoy what I love about it. I'm trying to see it as another new adventure but the physical familiarity, although skewed, keeps messing that up.

  4. welcome home, pilgram. i hope the ride gets easier. i can certainly connect to your feelings. transitions are incredibly thorny territory.

  5. Welcome back, it does take a while to feel fully "here", thats why travel by boat makes more sense to me, it gives us time to adjust before we get to the new location.

    I heard we are having the coldest summer on record in SF. Don't know if thats urban legend or actual truth, but the cold has me grumpy.

  6. Glad it finally found you. I ditched the stupid radio songs a long time ago for books on CD. Such a better use and more entertaining in my car. I would highly recommend it for long commutes. Just get hooked up with your local library and start picking them out.

  7. I'm glad you are finding the beauty, or re-finding it as the case may be.
    After three years away this place is as foreign to you as Italy once was. I say embrace that with the same fervor. Face your fears, comment on the differences, wax poetic about the beauty.
    Go find places you had not previously explored and share them with us. Light them all up with your fantastic smile and bring their stories back to your faithful readers.

    Wow, I will step off the soap box and push it back under the counter now.


  8. Interesting...these are the things I think I would ask myself, if I returned to the States (plus a whole lot of other weightier and potentially divisive issues, which I will politely ignore, here)...I've been in Italy for a long time, and now probaby would find myself a Stranger in a Strange Land, if I had to go back. If you're nostalgic for Italy, check out Sheila's, it's very well done, and the tweets from my blog on and from Milan appear in the tweet box (when I write!). I hope that Sheila's blog helps you get through the Italy-separation angst.


...and you may ask yourself, did I get here?