Every year in January I take stock of my life here in Italy, just to reassure myself that the dolce vita is still sweet enough to counterbalance the sacrifice of being far away from my family.
The increase in vandalism and the realisation that drugs are being peddled in our local park has recently shaken my belief that we are raising our daughter in the best possible environment and forced me to consider the alternatives.
I’ve thought about a move back home but the picture of city centre Manchester on New Year’s Eve that recently went viral, shows that we are the champions of anti-social shennanigans. London is out of the question- too expensive and not big on the community spirit that I so often praise here in my small town. Milan? Too noisy and polluted. Como? A mecca for tourists. Another small town? Now that’s just what we call jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, and paying thousands in agency and legal fees for the pleasure.
Just as I had resigned my rather naive self to the fact that perfection doesn’t exist, that people are the same the world over, and that life in Italy would just have to do…. I fell in love all over again. A trip to the theatre in the centre of Como left me in awe of the intricate early nineteenth century mouldings and paintings; a stroll past the magnificent cathedral humbled by the craftsmanship; a frothy cappucino and pastry indebted to the barista….and the view of snowcapped mountains ecstatic that this is the place I call home. This is my Italy.
I’m sure this land of food and glory will continue to drive me mad and offer me wonderful experiences in equal measure throughout 2016 and although it’s probably no better or worse than a thousand other places, it’s where I live. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually ask for Italian citizenship too, so that I can try and make a difference to the way things are run, instead of just whingeing about it- a favourite national sport no matter where you’re from!