The holidays are over and just when everyone is returning from their mini-vacations, I am about to leave for my trip to the States. It has been 9 months since I've been on American soil and I am gearing up again to face the hard transition and culture shock.
This week, while packing my bags and getting ready for my trip, I am feeling like I am living in a temporary gray area. I am not really in Florence because I am thinking of what it's going to be like in California. And I am not in California. I don't like this gray area, because I am neither here nor there. I have mixed feelings.
Florence has been rainy and dark for the past several weeks. Having lived in California for 5 years, I realized how much the sun has an invigorating effect upon the mind and the spirit. I realize that I am abandoning Florence during the most uncomfortable and uninteresting time of the year, and I feel a little guilty for this, because I feel like I am not being faithful to Florence in good times and bad. Instead I am escaping to the sun where I can drive my car for long distances along the Pacific Ocean , lay back in jeans and sandals, get my nails manicured every week, and ride my bike all day long. Well, of course I have other more important things that I have to do, but it is indeed a liberating feeling to know that I can detox in California and get things done. I am looking forward to all the challenges and choices that I will have to make in California.
Today while doing chores, I walked alot slower than usual and looked directly into people's eyes as they passed me on the street. I spent more time in the stores conducting long conversations with the merchants, knowing that these next days will be the last time that I will have this opportunity to speak this beloved language. I don't want to give this up. I went to the library to return some films, and as I left, I started feeling melancholy, realizing that it will be a couple of months before I step inside the library again. It has become a part of my life. I will miss it. I started feeling homesick for Florence, and I haven't even left yet. I know that Florence is the place for me, but I also know that I need to be back in California to refresh myself, catch up on American everything.....politics, technology, news....and to stock up on all the things that I can't get in Florence, like anti-persperant, PowerBars, cold cream and vitamin pills. Things I can't live without.