domenica 28 ottobre 2007

My island in the sun

I've been reminiscing lately about the 3 years that I spent living in Sardinia. It seems like a lifetime ago, not least because my lifestyle has changed beyond recognition since I left. Firstly, I was younger. OK, so 27 isn't exactly pensionable age, but somehow the emotional difference between 27 and 22 feels like light years. Sitting in the usual morning gridlock of Milanese traffic the other day, I decided that the only way to properly ignore the cretinous behaviour around me was to stick on a CD at full volume to block out the sound of car horns and rain, and the CD I picked at random was one I made in the summer of 2003 - undoubtedly the best ever. I arrived in Sardinia in May of that year to work as a rep for a Tour Operator and spent 5 months working in 5-star hotels, and getting to know the locals, my fellow reps from across Europe, and it has to be said, myself. I had already spent a year living in Italy as a student, but somehow the idea of getting a job and finding my way on my own in a foreign place without tutors, Erasmus societies and other English students by my side, was exciting and scary. I remember the first night in a strange, damp apartment with none of the home comforts I had expected, wondering what would have happened to me by the end of the season and how I would feel. Somehow the memories of those early Italian experiences are more real and seem closer now than the memories of what I did last week or last month. I only wish I had realised at the time just how much of an historic moment it really was.
Suffice to say, I ended up staying in Sardinia for just over 3 years, moving from tourism to property and starting my own little business, which is still going strong without my direct input. When I think about it, I can't believe I had the courage to do many of the things I did then - good and bad(!) - and although I would never go back, I do miss the carefree years before the responsibilities of house, career, boyfriend, credit card repayments (sigh) etc. seemed to take over. I guess life has its stages, and things have to change in order to move onwards and upwards - I'm glad I have those memories though and I honestly believe that I learned much more than I would have done had I stayed in England and settled down with a job and a mortgage straight from uni as many people do. A few weeks ago there was a robbery at the post office in the Sardinian village where I used to live, and one of my ex-boyfriends was caught in the cross-fire, although not seriously hurt. Having joked with my girlfriends that to be honest, you could stand in the middle of the piazza, fire a gun in any direction and you would probably hit one of my exes, I now find myself being quizzed by my colleagues about my 'crazy' former life. It wasn't actually that crazy, but just crazy enough that when I put on my 'Summer 2003' CD on a rainy Monday morning on the Milan ring-road, it raises enough of a smile to get me through the day....

1 commento:

Dame Aurélie ha detto...

Ciao Emmina!!
I just discovered your blog, per caso, and I'm glad I did.
I am belgian and living in Italy (nearby Lecco, not far from Milan) since July 2007. It's funny how I can relate to what you write about the Italian chaos, work, boyfriend (I moved here because of him : he's Italian!), and so on... Nice to see I'm not the only one going though that, and that I am NOT crazy when I complain about the fees of bank accounts!

If you ever come to Lecco I'd be pleased to meet you, a foreign friend can be a nice thing to have here, some days...

Ciao! buona domenica