che cazzo sto facendo? (what the hell am I doing?)
My move to Italy wasn’t an easy one, but it made a huge impression on my life. It affected all aspects of my life, really. Of course it did! I mean, that’s not a move most people would even do! But hey, I’m not your typical girl, either.
I sold or gave away all of my stuff, left my cat at Mom’s house and headed across the pond. Things didn’t go as planned, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. So, in my “this isn’t going as planned” state of affairs, I took LOTS of photos. I did a ton of book keeping for a small store, took a lot of photos, and ate many plates of pizza. If you’re in Tuscany, aren’t you supposed to eat a ton of pizza? My favorite is pizza ai funghi e olive. We here in America just don’t understand the beauty of a true Italian pizza. It is a thing to be glorified and worshiped. Often.
So, I spent half of each year here in the States, and the other half in Italy. I would have stayed there forever, I think. I totally dig how Frances Mayes just went over there and stayed! However, for me, it just wasn’t meant to be. But while I was there, I floundered through learning the language and customs and picked up some great recipes and fashion sense. There were days when I thought I may explode from the frustration of homesickness, or maybe even go insane. Although, I must say, as much as I felt at my whit’s end, I loved l’Italia 100 times more. I also learned to appreciate the artichoke. It’s a lovely thing when it’s stuffed with sausage and cooked in olive oil.
This went on for many years. Look at my passport if you don’t believe me. I’m figuring the FBI probably has a pretty good size file on me based on my many excursions abroad. My cat at the time, Hankie, never liked it when I took off. I always felt so guilty for leaving her! But each time I returned home, she curled up in my hair just like old times. Here she is making sure I took some of her along on the trip. I sure do miss that little girl.
These are the two years that I “commuted” back and forth between Missouri and Italy. Most people commute from Downer’s Grove to Chicago, or Arnold to St. Louis. Not me, my friends. I go all out on my commutes.
Of course, I wasn’t going to keep an apartment in Chicago for 3 months at a time, so I called Mom’s place my Stateside home. She took care of my Hankie, while Dad stored all of my things that I hadn’t ditched before leaving Chicago. The other half of my stuff (which I accumulated in Europe) was stashed in an attic or one of those super neat older than dirt Italian closets. Over here we refer to those as “armoirs”, but that’s all you have in Italy. I had a closet full of trinkets and toys from Kinder eggs, and an amazing collection of Italian stationery and notebooks. Plus, I had a pretty good size collection of Nutella give-aways. I would LOVE to have all of that stuff back! But, such is life. I imagine it’s all just where I left it. For another time…
Molti Anni in’Italia
I know technically, I didn’t live in Italy for more than 2 years. But I traveled back and forth for a few years before I loaded up and headed over to stay. So I spent a few weeks out of the year there, and this gave me a great opportunity to build my photo collection! At the time, I was shooting with 35mm color and B&W film. I had an amazing Kodak rep who hooked me up with more film than I could shoot, so I came home with lots to look at.
After my first trip to Italy in 2002, one of my color rolls got cross-processed in the B&W room at the lab. This was totally devastating, and not at all printable. I nearly cried. But the helpful bosses at National Photo knew a guy. Of course they knew a guy! So, they sent me to “the guy” on the next street over, and he was somehow able to partially undo the B&W process. He sent me on my way grinning from ear to ear with a roll of film that was almost workable. I got a few good prints out of it, but not until I printed it black and white. I think that roll of film was just destined to be B&W!
I could go on for 35 more pages about all of my photo outings in Italy. But I think I will save those adventures and distribute them on a smaller scale.
I eventually worked my way up to a digital camera, which was small enough to fit in my bag. This sure made it easier coming back and forth through security and customs at the airports. And then I realized just how amazing it was to not have to worry about developing film and printing it to see what you just shot. I was hooked! So, as sad as it sounds, I don’t think I’ve shot more than a few rolls of film in years. I do have a couple in the fridge that need to be processed, though. They’ve only been in there since about 2005. oops
I’ll end here for tonight, simply because I am missing Law & Order: SVU. But next time I will let you in on some pics from that first trip overseas! I may even throw in a photo or two from that infamous roll of color/B&W film.