When I paid a hefty deposit in early July to secure my apartment in Rome for the coming winter, I was nervous but very excited. I had just returned from three wonderful weeks in Italy and my mind was filled with all of the sights and scents and tastes that I could not wait to return to!
Now, it's September, my move to Rome is about 12 weeks away, and logistical worries are pushing out feelings of excitement, replacing them with anxiety. Will I find work? How quickly can I learn enough Italian to hold a conversation? Can I really restrain my packing to just two suitcases, yet still bring enough clothes to last thru spring and enough favourite books for when I feel down?
The practical matters around packing up my apartment here in Canada and putting everything into storage, then couch-surfing for a month, are also less than fun.
I take a lot of comfort from the fact that everyone around me seems to be thrilled with my plan, and their encouragement and enthusiasm reminds me of why I am doing this. And that it really will be great!
It also prods me to be much more selective in my thoughts. This is an essential lesson that I need to practice and now is certainly the perfect opportunity to remind myself: Select your thoughts.
Rather than obsessing about logistics to the exclusion of every happy thought, I must find a balance and make room for excitement.The details of wrapping up this old life and organizing my new life in Rome are important-- but it's crucial to remember why I want to live in Italy, what I want to see, and accomplish.
Left unchecked, my mind would rather return to its comfortable old groove: anxiety, fear, worrying details while missing the larger picture.
So, here goes: I'm disciplining my thoughts. Concentrate: what wonderful things will I be doing in Rome?
Priority number one: Starting language classes. I have chosen my school and very soon, I'll enrol for six weeks of classes, five days a week from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Leonardo da Vinci school. It seems I can begin class on December 5th and get in three weeks before Christmas break.
I decided to take morning classes only because I also want time to work on my novel, and hopefully, find some paid employment. I've studied French full-time and it really is exhausting to learn a new language. I don't want language classes to feel like a sweatshop.
Priority number two: Find some employment. I'm trying hard to find writing contracts here in Canada that I can continue remotely; that is, from Rome. But I'll also check with the Canadian Embassy and the UN agencies in Rome (of which there are many) for casual or contract work, as a hired pen.
Priority number three: See as much art as I want, whenever I want! The prospect is dizzying. In Rome, so much great art is free but for those places that charge, I'll keep a close eye out for free admission days to control costs (the Capitoline and Vatican museums are free the fourth Sunday of every month.)
Priority number four: Continue to work on my second novel, and continue the desperate and frustrating search for an agent for my first novel. But who knows? Perhaps my pitch letter to potential agents will sound more impressive from a resident of Rome!
Priority number five: Blog!