Some say life is funny. To me, life is dramatically, unpredictably, and inconsistently hilarious.
When posting on social media, I always do my best to ensure whatever I am sharing is positive. If it's not, it must, in the very least, be witty. Why inflict my terrible day or insignificant, petty drama on innocent newsfeed bystanders (or byscrollers, if you will)? Our online profiles are extremely powerful tools. We carefully pick and choose how to portray our lives to hundreds or, sometimes, thousands of followers. Recently a friend sent me a link to an Instagram account with a text message that read, "Look at this girl's annoyingly perfect life." As I scrolled through her photos, I saw a handsome husband, freshly groomed golden retriever puppy, home cooked sweets and treats, and each photo was clearly taken with a DSLR in stunning light, cropped and edited to perfection. My immediate response: Ugh. Screw her. She probably has 11 toes. The extra one is hidden under the white sand in the photo of her on the beach geotagged in Maui with piña colada in hand. Sometimes I'm a poet when I'm jealous. At this point we can ask ourselves: Does this girl actually frolic through life without pain or struggle? No way, Jose. Maybe image is, in fact, everything to her and she wants people to believe she is constantly clouded by a flurry of fairy dust, or maybe she is choosing to only share the bright, light, and positive material she believes her followers will enjoy. She had a great deal of them (followers), so she must have been doing something right.
As I mentioned earlier, I don't like to post or share about negative occurrences. This is not to portray my life as Golly Gee Whiz Happy Land, but because I think Facebook and other social media platforms have enough negative clutter without my pessimistic psychobabble. However, I must share something that is not so happy. Not necessarily because I want to, but because it is part of my story. The blog feedback has been overwhelmingly appreciated, so I think it's only fair to keep you informed. Nothing I write will make sense if I ignore this, as it is an integral part to this million piece puzzle called life I am tackling.
Due to some rather strict slander laws in Italy, I have decided that full disclosure of my situation does not belong on the World Wide Web. Long story short, I am no longer living with the same host family that hired me as their au pair for the summer. Nothing truly heinous happened and I can assure you that I am fine. There were a lot of little irritations that added up over time and the phrase 'the straw that broke the camels back' best describes the moment I knew I needed to leave. I packed my suitcases, told my host mom that I could not stay any longer, and I left. Parting ways was much more amicable than I had imagined in my mind (no blood was drawn or even any harsh words said), so I can't complain about that. I left while the child was napping and did not get the opportunity to say goodbye, which was the saddest and most regretful part about the whole ordeal. My aunt Anne and cousin Griffin were visiting Rome at the time of my departure from the family, so I will be forever grateful to them for giving me a spot to land for a few days.
Remember when I said life is hilarious? My hair being half as thick from falling out due to stress these past two months isn't so funny, but the fact that I am looking out at the Mediterranean Sea in the south of Sicily as I write this makes me chuckle. To keep this post from being outrageously long and including every detail about how I got from point A to point B, I will just tell you I am now with a new host family that I genuinely believe is a much better fit. Sicily is their holiday home, so I will officially begin au pairing again in Rome at the beginning of September. Wait, Colleen. Your flight home to Texas is scheduled for August 31st. How can this be? Well, ladies and gents, I am excited and absolutely terrified to announce that I have agreed to extend my stay until May of 2016. I hope this is decent news for you blog readers out there. Let's be honest, we all knew I wasn't going to come home after only three months. So much Roma, so little time-a. If you have any questions about the logistics of all this, don't ask because I don't know. The universe aligned its stars for me once so I'm just going to go with my gut and continue to pray and have faith and all that jazz.
Life has a funny way of unexpectedly zigzagging. It felt like I was tossed 10,000 feet in the air over pavement, flailing my limbs, screaming for dear life, and milliseconds before I splat into a blob of unidentifiable mush, a big, cushy, monogrammed pillow slid right underneath me.
I'm not sure if any of this is actually hilarious, or even funny for that matter, but laughing seemed to be the only medicine potent enough to get me where I am now and, most importantly, all in one piece.
Sicily (a quick run down)
I arrived in Marina di Ragusa in the southern most part of Sicily on Saturday, August 8th. The host dad was making the 10.5 hour drive from Rome, so I introduced myself and hopped in the car. I am now fully prepped on the rivalry between Roma and Lazio. Soccer is not a joke here. I repeat, not a joke. The lovely host mom has been in Sicily with the two kids (girl, age 4 and boy, age 1) for a few weeks already. The first level of the home belongs to my host parents, which was recently renovated and therefore immaculately clean. There is a kitchen, main living space, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. I have my own room with air conditioning unit, but it has been raining quite a bit since I got here so the breeze from the window has been more than sufficient for airflow. The second level belongs to my host mom's mother, who the two children know as 'Nonna'. We eat lunch at her place every day, each time a delicious feast. From pasta with homemade pesto to swordfish and fresh, soft bread from the local bakery, it's safe to say my tastebuds are going to miss this place. There is another set of stairs that lead to a rooftop with an incredible view of the sea.
If you find yourself in Sicily, do yourself a favor and try some fresh ricotta cheese. It's heavenly. The ricotta flavored gelato is to die for. If that sounds odd, don't worry, it's sweet ricotta. All of the food I have eaten here seems to have a craftsmanship that I find to be lacking in a big city like Rome.
I met three au pairs since arriving- one from Germany, one from Ireland and the other from Scotland. They have all since left to go back home, but spent most of the summer in Marina. All of them had great things to say about their time here. It's small and fantastically easy to navigate, but a lot of Italians vacation here, so it is also extremely full of life. A newly built boardwalk features restaurants, shops and cafes. The main square is a 15-20 minute walk from our house, with the beach on my right hand side for the length of the walk. My favorite part of the walk is when I round a corner a couple minutes before arriving at the square, there is a smaller, shaded square with multiple card tables surrounded by old men throwing down their best hands. This group of guys definitely have a minimum age for membership. If I was an elderly Sicilian man, I would do anything to be part of this club. After a night of fun with a couple of the au pairs, I was walking home at 3:15 a.m. on the well-lit boardwalk and I could not believe what I saw. There were still approximately 100+ teenagers playing soccer on the beach under the street lamps. Not that it's my business, but I really felt like it was past their bedtime. I don't know if these Italian kids are nocturnal or just don't sleep because the beaches are packed in the morning as well.
I will take a night bus back to Rome tomorrow and prepare for my mom's arrival on Thursday, August 20th. I look forward to sharing our pictures and adventures in Rome, Venice and Florence!
Ciao for now!
P.s. For those of you who have subscribed to my blog, I want you to know I am so very grateful. However, my intention with this feature was to have an automated email sent to you whenever I posted new material. I have yet to figure out how this works, but I'm sure you'll get an email when I do. Thanks for hanging in there. :-)