Accepting the inevitable

Given my many posts on the subject over the past year or two, this will probably not come as much of a surprise… but after I finish this academic year and my on-campus teaching is done, I’m doing something pretty drastic and awesome.

I’ve rented an apartment in Siena, Italy. And I’m going there alone.

I’ve been building up to this for awhile, certainly… I mentioned earlier this year that we’re continuing and even escalating our obsession with Italy. And, I’ve been trying to learn Italian, and even gave it a pretty good go on our Spring Break trip there. I came home from that trip realizing that I didn’t want to leave… and not just the regular end-of-vacation blues, but I really didn’t want to return to the States.

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my time teaching on campus… I really have. And it turns out I’m pretty good at it, too, judging from my teaching evaluations. But I moved down here knowing it was going to be temporary, because South Florida just isn’t where I want to be. (I would’ve preferred to stay in NYC, but that wasn’t an option with my career, so I took a leap of faith and tried something new.)

Now that I’ve gotten some on-ground teaching under my belt and on my CV, I’ve been thinking about what I really want out of life. The good news is, with higher education today, I have the flexibility to teach at American universities from anywhere in the world, as long as I have an Internet connection. And there are enough online classes at my current school that I can teach a full course load online and still maintain my full-time employment. 

If that’s the case, then, why wouldn’t I just go back to NYC? Well, given the choice between teaching remotely from NYC and teaching remotely from Italy, it’s a no-brainer: I choose Italy. Quite frankly, in the year that I’ve been gone from NYC (how has it been a year already?!) I’ve become pretty disenchanted with the city. Don’t get me wrong, I loved living there, and I have many fond memories of it, but distance has given me some perspective… and I’m just not eager to move back. I have some friends there who I miss dearly, but I’d rather take advantage of the opportunity to try something drastically new. I’m confident that the few NYC friends who’ve tried to keep in touch will continue to be a part of my life, regardless.

So, June 28th I’ll take whatever I can fit in two giant suitcases and I’ll fly east. And as I said above, Sal isn’t coming with me… at least, not yet. We have a house we’re renting in South Florida, we have all of our furniture, we have two big dogs, we have Sal’s job… Lots of things making an abrupt exodus unrealistic. But, to be selfish, none of those things are deal-breakers for me, just for the whole family leaving at once. No, that doesn’t mean that we’re divorcing, it just means that I have the flexibility to try something new. Who knows, maybe I’ll find that it isn’t for me after all.

That’s part of the appeal, frankly: trying it out and seeing what it’s like. I can live there — not just visit for a week, but actually live there — and see how I handle the transition. I can do my laundry, buy my groceries, cook my own food (no, really), and do all of the day-to-day things that residents do, when they don’t have hotel housekeeping taking care of them. It may not end up being a forever thing, but if nothing else, it’s a start.

I’m excited, and terrified, and thrilled, and sad that Sal and I will be apart, but it’s an amazing opportunity that I just have to seize.

So who wants to come visit me in Siena? I have a two-bedroom apartment, and will be eager to show off my new home. Now accepting applications beginning in July!

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