« Rejection and Collections | Main | Moving to Rome: This will take some discipline »

I've crossed the Rubicon: I'm moving to Rome


In 12 weeks' time, I am moving to Rome. The die is cast, as Julius Caesar would have said.

Although I talk a lot about my plans with friends, I haven't yet written much about this. Perhaps that's because I'm very, very nervous, and putting my plans into writing makes it all very, very real!

In my more lucid moments, I'm thrilled to take this chance to fulfil a cherished dream of living in Italy. But those moments are rare just now; much of the time, I'm feeling a lot of nervousness and uncertainty. Can I really live on dreams?

However, today, I am crossing the Rubicon. I'm giving notice to my landlord that I'm vacating my beloved apartment at the end of October. And once that is done, there really is no retreat.

This may be why I've decided to begin writing now about my relocation plans. I'm at the point of no return. I'm following the advice of all those who tell me to leap, and the net will appear. So, I'm leaping!

Incidentally, for anyone who isn't immersed in Roman history, “crossing the Rubicon” or, taking measures from which there is no backing down, refers to Julius Caesar's notorious actions that led to him become Rome's dictator for life in about 49 BC. I should add here that I have no similar plans.

Anyway, the Rubicon river in north-central Italy marked a political and military boundary and crossing it with an army was considered an act of insurrection. So, when Julius Caesar turned against Rome's leadership and did just that, crossing the Rubicon was a very clear signal he intended to take over. Which he did, stating “the die is cast.”

And the rest is history.

Returning to my own history, I have rented a tiny but lovely studio apartment in the Monti area of Rome for three months, beginning in December. I'll study Italian (at the Leonardo da Vinci language school) look for work, spend my 51st birthday and Christmas 2011 in Rome; and try not to over-eat.

Also, very important, I'll avoid another Canadian winter!!

This should give me renewed inspiration as I continue working on my second novel while trying to find a literary agent for my first novel of historical fiction, which is set in Italy. Perhaps I'll seem more impressive to potential agents as a resident of Rome.

I'm very fortunate in that I'll be spared a lot of paperwork in Italy because, in addition my Canadian passport, I also hold an EU passport. (Thanks, Dad, for being born in Ireland!)

That means I can also live and work legally in Italy, which is part of my master plan. I'll burn through my savings pretty quickly, so I had better find some work and eventually, a new apartment.

I'm having a lot of anxiety nightmares, but I'll save those for another blog post, where I'll also discuss what to pack! Should I buy an e-reader so I won't have the burden of a lot of books? Or, would it be cheaper to pack books than buy an e-reader? And so on.

With my blog, I can keep a journal of this experience and memories that someday, I'm sure I'll look back over and enjoy. In this, I'm copying my blogging buddy Jane, who moved her family to Italy for a year about five years ago. It's fascinating to read over her entries from that time, and all that they went through to live their dream.

Leap and the net will appear....or I'll weave one of my own.

Comments (22)

This is so exciting! Good for you. A beautiful net will unfold to help you live your dream!
Hope to visit you in Roma!


Go, Sandra!!! I tell you again, it will work and you will love it...and, build cherished memories.

Congratulations on following your heart and dream based in reality. You will be fine! Imagine the delight of doing something you have always wanted to do AND celebrating your 51st birthday sans Canadian weather and Christmas in Rome - ahhhhh! I am so glad to hear you will continue to blog - we can all live vicariously through you for the moment. You best exaggerate the downsides to your move as you will be enticing many to be become your neighbors. I think it was meant to be seeing your dad really got all this in motion a 'few' years ago.


My dear, I'm so happy that you're fulfilling a dream! Brava, Sandra, Brava.

Yay! I'm so happy for you! I remember you mentioning the passport a while back...so glad that you're going to be able to use it! So are you going to put your stuff in storage in Canada? Don't fret about packing, it will all fall into place (I'd be fretting about what to take too).

Congratulations! I can't wait to hear more about it!

Forgot to say, that photo is hilarious. And when is your birthday?


Thanks Palma, that's a lovely thought! See you in Rome!

Jane, I'm still reading through your 2005 blog posts; you're an inspiration!

Hi menehune, poor Dad would be horrified at the thought of me living in a foreign country but without that Irish passport, I don't think I'd be doing this.

Thank you Colleen -- perhaps we'll meet in Italy and do an art tour!

Annie, my birthday is in December and last year, when I turned 50, friends threw a surprise party that scarred me for life. Bless them, they meant well. This year, I think I'll celebrate by drinking prosecco outside the Pantheon.

I am planning to store my things here in Ottawa while I'm away, so I'm already making lists of things like family photos and tax returns to leave with friends; things that can go into deep storage; items I'll need to take to Italy. I have lots of time so I shouldn't start fretting yet. But I am already.


AWESOME!!! So cool!!!
Sono a corto di parole.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, Whoo Hoo the dreams lives! And well it should. No time for regrets in our lifetime. It'll be an awesome experience--I'm thinking this whole chapter in your life will create many more best seller chapters for you and I can't wait to read them. What a cool way to spend your 51st Birthday. Enjoy the journey...hope to cross paths with Italy's soon to be newest residence.

It's going to be so much fun following along on your blog. Love the photo too.

Shelagh (SJ):

You're actually doing it!!
Good for you; you are doing what many of us aspire to!
I'm so excited for you; and nervous along with you!
You will be just fine.
And of course all the SlowTravelers will be looking you up as they pass through Rome, if you want some visitors.
More details please, as they unfold!!


I've been on the hunt for The Best Cacio e Pepe in Rome, and am now deputizing you for the search. :D

I would love to do an art tour with you ... and savor a prosecco in the shadow of the Pantheon.

Let's make it happen!

Cheers, Colleen

Wow Sandra, I had no idea you were contemplating this! I am thrilled for you and I look forward to following your adventures via your blog. I just know it will be a fantastic experience for you. Brava!


Impossibile, cara Kathryn! I have never known you to be short of words.

Kathy, thanks! How are your plans coming, any luck finding a decent airfare? It would be great to cross paths in Italy.

Thank you Shelagh, I'm sure that very soon excitement will take precedence over my nervousness....I'll keep telling myself that until I believe it. I hope to meet more Slow Travelers now -- few ever seem to pass thru Ottawa.

Colleen, I'm counting on seeing you in Rome but until then, I'll focus on my assigned task. I already have one favourite place for cacio e pepe but I'll be diligent about trying them all before you arrive!

Thanks so much, Susie. I've had the idea for quite a while and I'm still surprised to think it's going to happen. Happily, the closer it comes the less chances I'll have to chicken out.

I still owe you an email, but I wanted to officially congratulate you here on your big decision. I am so excited for you! I can't wait to read about your life in Roma!


Thanks very much, Girasoli. Maybe next time we meet, we can have a conversation in Italian!


My hearty felicitations, Sandra, on your upcoming move. Your determination is an inspiration. I know you will have a wonderful time living in Rome, and look forward to reading your blog entries as you move from being a tourist to being a full fledged resident!



Wow Sandra... So thrilled for you! Wishing you the best of luck with everything!!



I had a dream about you last night, cannot really recall details (no faint images of you dancing in Trevi Fountain or riding around on a Vespa), but took it as a sign to read your blog post and say how THRILLED I am for you! I wish one of my parents were born in a EU country, thanks mom and dad. I can visit Nebraska and Calif. whenever I want.

Seriously, I am so happy that you've taken the leap! Will you bring your lovely Umbrian textiles with you?

Un grande abbraccio!!


Hi Judy, thanks so much. I'm sure that I'll have some interesting material for my blog and for ST as well!

Thanks Dana. Perhaps now I'll be able to do some weekend visits to new sights -- including Stresa!

Mindy, dare I hope that I had a job in your dream? So I could afford to stay as long as I wish in Italy? And I'm definitely taking a few textiles. Finally, something light and easy to pack!

I'm so envious! If my life was different (no husband, etc.), I'd do the same thing. I wish you much good luck in your adventure. FYI...check out www.learnitalianpod.com online or Learn Italian Pod on iTunes. I've been listening and teaching myself Italian for 3 years using their podcasts. They're free on iTunes...the website has a small monthly fee.


Love that you used the "die is cast" analogy. When I wrote of beginning my formal journey to ministry, my entry was called Alea iacta est! I am so very thrilled for you to be following your heart and passion. I have such faith that your book(s) will be published some day (hopefully soon because I can't wait to read them!!) Wishing you all the best in this leg of your life's journey, and keeping you in my prayers always.

Leap and you shall grow wings :)


Thanks, Barbara! I've been taking classes for years and just started listening to the Learn Italian podcast. It's so great to really hear how words should be pronounced.

Anne, thanks so much for your support. I was going to say it's such a great coincidence that we're both quoting Roman writers quoting Julius Caesar -- but it makes sense, doesn't it? Two Italiaphiles!

I'm adding your quote about taking the leap to my list that I mutter to myself as I try to be more selective (and more positive) in my thoughts.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)