My Italian odyssey began when I bought a raffle ticket from a girlfriend at work in 1992. First prize was a return ticket to Athens. I won it. I lived in Melbourne, Australia at the time.
The thing about winning an airline ticket is that you have to go, whether you want to or not.
I received several complimentary “prizes” at around the same time – a redundancy package from work, a separation from my husband and notice from my landlord to move out of my St.Kilda flat.
And STILL I hesistated. I was a bit scared actually to go on my own. And quite sad about my marriage breakdown. However I figured that I might as well be scared and sad on a Greek island. The first week was terrible. I fainted and threw up in public, got food poisoning and severe dehydration and accidentally threw away my VISA card in the hotel trash basket (on my first night).
But I met some other travellers and and it got better. I spent five months on a truly wonderful journey through Turkey and Greece.
After reluctantly leaving Greece behind for the Winter, I arrived in Rome. I immediately fell in love with it. And have been ever since.
At first I kept thinking that it would be over soon enough. That I would get sick of it and like all loves it would eventually wane. But it just got worse, and it has never waned. I have also tried to leave several times. Four to be exact. I told myself each time that it was time to come back to the real world and take up my duties as a serious Anglo-Saxon.
I got a teaching job at a University in Italy then with various United Nations organisations that do Humanitarian stuff from their Headquarters in Rome, and the odd bit of consulting for Australian Embassies throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. All of this kept me together with my love and gave me time and money to visit my other soul mates, Greece and Turkey, on a regular basis.
Of course now I have another soul mate. We married in 2002. On that day I felt I had won first prize in a raffle again. I still do. He is from the deepest South of Italy. A place that was originally ruled and populated by the Greeks. We got married at the Registry office, right next to the ruins of a Greek temple.
We live quite close to the centre of Rome, in a neighbourhood that is not old by Rome standards but is very traditional. Most people speak the Roman dialect rather than Italian. Most families have lived here for generations and are related to each other, or have been friends for generations.
I am a Social Science (in Social Anthropology) graduate with a Masters in Business. I have kept a journal since I was eleven years old and wrote my first story when I was seven. Writing helps me relax and keeps me sane. I need to write whenever I am overwhelmed or have new experiences. It empties me out and if I don’t do it, I have stories in my head that nag at me like children and get louder and louder until I write them down and get them out.
I like being alone alot, lying down and day dreaming, watching TV, reading, writing, journaling, doing unserious yoga, walking, doing ballet, travel, and catching up with friends and family over meals. I don’t like cooking, shopping, or being around people all the time. My favourite author is Charlotte Bronte but I am not named after her.
I hope you enjoy my blog and stories about life here in the Eternal city!