Living in another country makes you think on where it is you'd like to settle someday. Or if you'd like to settle at all. I read this quote the other day from Anna Del Conte’s memoir Risotto with Nettles. Del Conte, a popular Italian food writer here in the UK, writes about her move from Italy to England, and the challenges she faces—both in the differences in food, but also in lifestyle.
“I have become a hybrid, fitting properly neither here nor there, being neither English nor any longer Italian, always missing something when I am here or something else when I am there. Even now that I am old, I have the dilemma of where I should be buried: here in the lovely churchyard of this picturesque village in Dorset, where I now live, or in my family’s tomb in the grand Monumentale cemetery in Milan. Even dead I will not settle . . .One might have a less dull life, more interesting experiences, broader education, but the price is high.”
I'm nomadic. By nature. I don't know where I got it from as the only person who has stamps in their passports, in my family, are my Grandma's. But it's in my blood. Deep. My grandma Joan told me once, "When you travel it gets in your blood. It will never leave. Whether you like it or not." How true that is.
The price is high though. Moving is pretty upsetting. I can't tell you how many sets of furniture I've gotten rid of because I've decided to move someplace on a whim. I don't have much anymore, and what I do have are in boxes in my sisters attic. You uproot yourself from where you know and go to the unknown. No friends, no family. You have to build a life over and over again. Without the close support of family. It is challenging. I don't regret my decisions. I am who I am because of the places I've seen and the people I have met. But it is a challenge.
How long will Luis and I be in Scotland? We aren't sure. When does the decision to live in Scotland for a year become forever? We've been here since February 2008. When and where will we be next? Or will there be a next? I want to decorate my flat, but what is the point when I know we'll leave at some point. If I decorate does that mean I'm staying? I must say that does go through my mind.
Living without close friends is hard. Not for LD. He doesn't care. He is his own BFF. But for me, having friends is a need. When you live in another country your new friends are going to be different than your old ones. For the obvious reasons that you live in another culture. They do things differently. It will be something to get used to. You may not find that one kindred spirit to call your bestie living so far away from your normal.
But I love love love living here. Scotland is beautiful. Gorgeous really. The history alone is amazing. The castles are our favorite. The beauty is enchanting. The customs and culture are interesting and funny. The opportunity to actually LIVE with another culture and its people is once in a lifetime.
When you travel you never come back the same. The people and places you'll see will change you forever. I like that. I always want to be changing and getting better. It is the life of an expat. But it comes at a price, and the price is high.