We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reflections on 2 years...

I get questions every day from people I meet --- Why did you do it? What's it been like? Do you regret moving? How could you give up your jobs? What do you miss most?? What was the biggest adjustment you had to face? Are the locals accepting you?? It's occurred to me that these are all great blog topics... so here goes..I'll be writing on these topics in upcoming blogs.

To start out, I'll summarize. Every single day in Italy, in Venice, has exceeded my wildest expectations. That kid in a candy shop feeling just has not worn off. Mike and I wondered what we would do when we faced the day the fantasy faded, but, it just hasn't. I don't expect it ever will. I'm one of those who has been bitten by the Venice bug, bitten badly. I am head over heels crazy about this place.

And it doesn't make alot of sense, when you get right down to analyzing it carefully. We gave up every convenience, every luxury we ever had to move to a place that is incredibly difficult to exist. Well, compared to Baltimore, this is not an easy place to acclimate to, nor it is an easy place to live an everyday existence. Let's face it, having to live life without a car is in itself one major change in my routine.

I could make a long list of the things we have had to do without. You'd laugh... the clothesdryer is tops on that list, and yes, tootsie rolls make the list too. Look forward to seeing " The List" in an upcoming blog. I have a much longer list of all the wonderful things I have been able to add to my life though, and those have become so much more important.

Looking back, I have to say definitively- the decision to move was worth it. I have no regrets. Zero. Ok, Ok. somedays I do long for a clothesdryer, and maybe someday I will have one again. Just not now. I have learned to live without one, and I manage just fine. I traded in a very ordinary life- full of stress from work that was beginning to cause major health problems and full of the trapings of living "the American dream". I would describe myself as just going through the motions of life Getting up each day, going to work, coming home, ... existing. Marking time.

What I traded for is an extraordinary life. I pinch myself every day, in disbelief that I am living in such a marvelous, incredible place, but even more so because we MADE it happen. We somehow, miraculously, found the guts to dream of what a better life for us would be, and to do everything we had to do to make that dream a reality. I traded a stress laden life, with over the top high blood pressure, to one that has just about zero stress. Instead of spending 10 hours a day in meetings where nothing gets accomplished (yes, that's Corporate America), I spend my hours walking in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. No more office walls, no more meetings, no more horrible commutes for me.

The journey hasn't been easy, in fact there were some very trying days. Persistence has been my middle name for the last 2 years! Most of the difficult tasks are behind us, and we're beginning to really feel at home. Yes, home. It feels pretty good to be able to say that.
.

27 comments:

Yvonne said...

Thank you for sharing some of your feelings about your transition. It is just wonderful that you and Mike are so content in Venice. It's not an easy city to live in, in some ways, so I tip my hat to you for achieving this. May you grow old in that magic place. Good on ya!

karen said...

Thanks, Yvonne!!! It's my wish also to grow old in this place!

Jon, Bilbao said...

Congratulations! Life is for the brave who risk to find their dreams come true, and that's you.

karen said...

Grazie, Jon!! It certainly has been an incredible adventure!

Anonymous said...

Loved you blog today - I'm living that daily routine rut. And to be living in Venice - I don't think life gets too much better! Thanks for sharing.

J

karen said...

J- Thank you! It took LOTS of guts, but we knew we just had to get off that hamster wheel before it killed us. If I could do it, anyone can. I feel like I'm reborn, given a second chance at life! You are right.. it just doesn't get much better. Venice is amazing every single day. Can't say it enough.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, Karen. Hope you can "feel my smile" !

karen said...

Definitely feeling the "smile". Grazie mille!!!

Sandra said...

I have just read your post, and enjoyed reading how you followed your dream. My sister and I were just there for 2 weeks. We rented an apt to feel more like we were "living" there, to get the real feelings of our surroundings. It was magical. I could really see myself living there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen! I admire you guys for moving away from corporate America to live your dream. My husband and me often dream about it too! I hope you dont mind asking-- but did you keep your profession once you moved to Venice or changed it completely?

karen said...

We thought about porting our jobs over here with us, but it would be the same thing all over again, just in a different place. We really wanted to jump off that hamster wheel--- so both of us gave up our professions. We're happily doing something COMPLETELY different, and loving every second! We have no more stress, no more endless meetings- it's heavenly! Of course, the downside is we traded income for a simpler life style, but all in all, worth it.

LindyLouMac said...

I appreciated your post as we also took that leap into the unknown to move to Italy and can empathise with a lot of your comments.

I do still have a tumble dryer though as my in laws insisted that we would never manage without one! The irony is we hardly ever need to use it.

karen said...

LindyLou- Oh I am sure if I had a dryer, I would use it. Clothes pins just hate me, they conspire against me every day!!

LindyLouMac said...

I love the differences in our words, I call them pegs!

As for the dryer well even if you did have one you would have to think about the KW available. We only have 3 at this house!

karen said...

Pegs!! Oh, I love it, I think I have a new word now!

You are right about the KW. And for me, I can just hear the landlord about the utility bills now. We have a strange system, the bills all go to him, and we settle up with him every time we pay the rent. He's always saying,"Turn out the lights, lower the heat". We just laugh at him, because for us, the utility bills here are less than half of what we were used to paying in the US.

LindyLouMac said...

Our utilities were the same when we rented when we first moved here. Utilities here are considered very expensive and we have learnt to be careful :) Like always doing my washing during the cheap rate electricity periods!! My neighbours would think it odd if I didn't do this.

Dianne said...

Enjoyed this post about your feelings about your move. This is somewhat the same thing I felt when we lived in Paris for 5 years. People were always asking what they could bring me that I missed. After a while, there really wasn't anything (except maybe american style pizza and peanut butter both of which I eventually found). I too have fallen for Venice and will be back again during the end of October. Wonder what kind of weather I will find. I think that I would find it hard to live there all the time though. Especially since Venice stores seem to be turning into tourist shops-masks and glass-and the normal things that one needs in day to day life you have to go far to find, I think, and then there is the question of how you get the things from the store to your home. But perhaps once you get yourself established, things are less complicated. At any rate, Venice is my favorite Italian city and I look forward to visiting it again and again.

Michelle said...

Ah, Karen, your blog brought tears to my eyes. Grazzie for sharing. So glad that fate brought us together and I look forward to seeing you again on my next trip to Venice.
Michelle

karen said...

Oh Michelle, we had better see each other next time you are here!!!! I'm already planning dinner at our apartment with you!

Michelle said...

I will be there! It may not be as soon as I'd hoped...maybe not fall of 2011...but I'll be in touch when I know for sure.
Michelle

Pensive said...

Karen,
We have just signed up for your backstreets tour October 9th (hope you are available) and after reading your blog am even more loking forward to meeting you. Did the corporate thing a lot of my life. Bravo for you and Mike.
Rod Plimpton

karen said...

Grazie, Rod. We've had an amazing outpouring of support from all over the world, it's incredible!!! Life is good.

risamay said...

I'd love to just pick up and move to Venice (or elsewhere in Italy), but, alas, I have not the balls. At least not at present. I'm a single gal, and I'm on a 5-year plan, at present - in 5 years, when I turn 40, the plan is to quit the rat race and travel around Italy, or Europe, or the world at large for a year, at least. Do work-stay jaunts, couch surf, maybe rent an apartment for a while somewhere, or some mix thereof. I'm a photographer, so I think I could make a bit of pocket money as I go, but I'm not confident that this could support me full time. Anyhow, congrats on making your dreams a reality. I hope I'm half as lucky as you in that endeavor for myself. Cheers!

Shannon said...

do I make the list?!?

Laura said...

As a Venetian living in the US, I know what you are talking about. Every time I go back home I feel like I couldn't live in Venice again. Then I start walking at night, after the mass of tourists has left, and I meet my wonderful friends for dinner and we stay us talking until 2 in the morning, then I realize what I have been missing and I cry.

Enjoy my city for me, I miss it tremendously.

Emily S. said...

I just came across your blog this evening as I was Googling around to learn the history of the St. Martin's festival, and I wanted to thank you for your terrific writing and all the work you've put into chronicling your adventures as expats in Venice. My boyfriend and I are here from Philadelphia and are living in Dorsoduro for about two and a half months (we're about one month in to our stay), and we're having a great time, while running into many of the same obstacles you describe! I laughed out loud at the post about the pet seat-ter. I'm looking forward to reading through the archives of your blog after dinner. Any tips on where to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving??

karen said...

Ciao, Emily!! Thanks for leaving a comment! Aren't you the lucky ones to be here for such an extended stay! Are you studying, working, chilling out? Where are you from?
My tip for Thanksgiving turkey: the Panorama out in Marghera always has a good selection at pretty reasonable prices around thanksgiving time (do you know how to get there? the bus is easy to use from P.Roma), or you can order one from the butcher on the corner at the Rialto market- the one that has the rabbits in the window every day. How long will you be here? -K