Well it’s a time for reflection for me because I’m officially half way through my 3-year contract in Italy. Three years seemed like a long time when I signed up and it still does. It some respects the time has seemed to fly by. I haven’t seen half the things I planned to see, but I have been spent a lot of time in places that I really didn’t know anything about before. The biggest “find” for me so far has been Sicily. It has exceeded my expectations. My biggest disappointments have been with myself learning the language and work. I really thought I would be “fluent” by now and we would have gotten more done at work. I can get by with my Italian but I wanted to be much more at ease by now. Maybe if we were doing more work I would be in contact with Italians more and the language would be easier. As it happened the first 8 or 9 months I had very little contact with others at work. I had days where literally all I said was “buon giorno” to people I passed. Also at work my main contact loves to speak English. In fact he has never spoken Italian to me. You can’t learn Italian like that. Italians outside of work are friendly, but up to a point. I can’t seem to break into a group that I can hang out with on a regular basis. I have friends that I only really hang out with maybe once a week. There is Turibio and his family and then the work crowd (Davide, Fiorentino, and Daniele) all people that seem very nice and I would like to hang out with more but it just doesn’t seem to work. Some live over an hour away so the weekend is really the only time to see them and that’s a time set-aside for family. I haven’t made any REAL friends but I guess my expectations were too high in that respect. I expected interest or curiosity in an American to lead me to have more friends but really people only have a passing curiosity in foreigners. I’m also amazed at the emotional highs and lows I’ve gone through, more than at any other time in my life. One day maybe elated over conversation or exciting day and the next day frustrated and upset over some stupid little thing that you can’t get done because you can’t explain it or you just have to wait.
High points: All Saints Day at Turibio’s house and Toarmina in Sicily.
Low points: Goodrich visit after the “incident” with an engine. I have never been so upset at work and without my normal hobbies available there was nothing to distract me like there would be back in the States. Problems at work affect me 24/7 here whereas in the States I had so many other things to keep my mind occupied.Of course the future has as much doubt as ever.
With us being so behind at work I could easily see this contract being extended and I think I would welcome that. Even though I do get mighty homesick at times but there is still so much I like here. Of course being so behind may also lead to early end to this assignment if things don’t go well. You never know.