Nov 12, 2010

Living In A Foreign Country

Have you ever thought about living a foreign country? It's been on my mind a lot lately. I follow a blog called O Happy Day by Jordan Ferney and they are moving to Paris, France for a year...just because. She and her husband are raising two small children and they fly to Paris at the beginning of the year just like that. Well, I'm sure there's a massive amount of organization and planning involved, but she writes "It is so strange to me that all you have to do to move to France is to do it. That sounds funny but I sort of thought someone would stop us and tell us we can't."

It sounds so unrealistic, right?

I can't help but think of the book, Eat Pray Love while writing this post. Have you read this? (or seen the movie?) I want to share a little snippet:

"For years, I'd wished I could speak Italian--a language I find more beautiful than roses--but I could never make the practical justification for studying it. Why not just bone up on the French or Russian I'd already studied years ago? Or learn to speak Spanish, the better to help me communicate with millions of my fellow Americans? What was I going to do with Italian? It's not like I was going to move there. It would be more practical to learn how to play the accordion.

But why must everything always have a practical application? I'd been such a diligent soldier for years--working, producing, never missing a deadline, taking care of my loved ones, my gums and my credit record, voting, etc. Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty? In this dark period of loss, did I need any justification for learning Italian other than that it was the only thing I could imagine bringing me any pleasure right now? And it wasn't that outrageous a goal, anyway, to want to study a language. It's not like I was saying, at age thirty-two, "I want to become the principal ballerina for the New York City Ballet." Studying a language is something you can actually do. So I signed up for classes at one of those continuing education places (otherwise known as Night School for Divorced Ladies). My friends thought this was hilarious. My friend Nick asked, "Why are you studying Italian? So that--just in case Italy ever invades Ethiopia again, and is actually successful this time--you can brag about knowing a language that's spoken in two whole countries?"

But I loved it. Every word was a singing sparrow, a magic trick, a truffle for me. I would slosh home through the rain after class, draw a hot bath, and lie there in the bubbles reading the Italian dictionary aloud to myself, taking my mind of my divorce pressures and my heartache. The words made me laugh in delight. I started referring to my cell phone as il mio telefonino ("my teensie little telephone"). I became one of those annoying people who always say Ciao! Only I was extra annoying, since I would always explain where the word ciao comes from. (If you must know, it's an abbreviation of a phrase used by medieval Venetians as an intimate salutation: Sono il suo schiavo! Meaning: "I am your slave!") Just speaking these words made me feel sexy and happy. My divorce lawyer told me not to worry; she said she had one client (Korean by heritage) who, after a yucky divorce, legally changed her name to something Italian, just to feel sexy and happy again.

Maybe I would move to Italy, after all..."

I think I'm going to start referring to my cell phone as il mio telefonino...and maybe start picking up some Italian. For now, I'm a little too practical to pick up and move abroad.

Which country would you move to if practicality and justification didn't get in your way? I really love the idea of Italy or Switzerland. Ciao!


Holly said...

I started reading that book and stopped. Maybe I should pick it up again. I love that. Keep up the blogging. I'm enjoying it! :)

Jackie Norris said...

I loved that book. I'm always inspired by people doing what they want to do.

Hmm, if i could pick up and move anywhere I think I would pick France... I am always swooning over French pictures!

Mandy said...

I think Australia or New Zealand would be nice places to live. I'm pretty sure everyone's read that book except me. I should probably read it someday.

Johnna Jayne said...