April 18, 2012

Ray of Light

I have been back in Florence for a little over a week, and since returning the days have been filled with gray skies and lots of rain. This has been matched with some unfortunate situations dealing with local people. I know I have only lived here for three years so I have a lot to learn about the mentality of the people. My fiance is now saying "Ahh finalmente you are starting to learn". How to act, and more importantly : React.

I try my hardest to keep negativity off this blog because I know many of my readers don't want to read about how life can be really daunting & challenging for us expats who are used to order and respect for one another. Who wants to read about how back stabbing, selfish and manipulative people are? I am certain this happens back home in the United States, but I never personally felt it while living there. 

Here I feel it every-single-day, and I am exhausted. I am tired of going into places of business to purchase something of great value for my fiance, to have the salesman ask me why I am there so late because he has to go play soccer (during his opening hours). I am tired of Italians stealing ideas and never giving credit for them. I am tired of women here back-stabbing each other - we are supposed to be supporting each other. I am tired of being treated like I am nuisance. These are a few examples  that combined make up the greater part of the daily life here. I am not saying everyone is not kind hearted here, but if someone is openly nice, I want to give them a hug because it's so rare! Please note I rarely talk about the people in Florence, just how beautiful it is.

Hold on y'all, stay with me - there is light at the end of my rant. So this is how my week has been going since returning back to Florence. I went to yoga last night to release some tension because I was just about at the end of my rope. As always, the class was amazing and as I walked home, across the Ponte Vecchio, the sun was setting over the Arno River.

Ironically, everything went silent and I remembered what my friend had told me a few hours earlier: "There is always something good in every experience you just have to find it".

 She is absolutely right. As I watched the sky turn from a cobalt blue to a soft gold I thought to myself that I cannot let people who live in negativity get to me, I have to continue to focus on the people that I do adore here (there are plenty of them!!!!) and my family. Basta. Nothing else matters. Start saying "No". Focus on the good! I swear at that exact moment there was  some sort of clarity that I could continue here, keep plugging away and stay focused. I have so many beautiful things happening in my life in Florence this year to think about!  

Shortly after, it started to rain again. God's timing is so amazing.


Cynthia said...

This post, not to mention the gorgeous photographs, brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing these personal insights and for reminding me to stay positive in moments of frustration. Wishing you sunshine in Florence for brighter days ahead!

Murissa Shalapata said...

Lovely image!
I think that being honest, even if that means talking about a negative aspect of living in a different country, is what draws readers.
Blogging can't always be about Italy's amazing food and historic sights. There are cultural differences, good and bad that need to be addressed if they effect you.

Well done! Hope your week gets better! Half way to the weekend so treat yourself!

The Wanerfull Traveler

Veronica said...

Indeed, God's timing is always perfect and there will be days like that and its okay. Florence was my most favourite place on our European tour...the Italians...well, lets just say...entertaining at the very least but I imagine that they can get to you and that coming from an African must say something to you, especially the drivers, mamma mia!Your blog is gorgeous and I should stop by more often and also get7 my blog on my home city going again!!


Cathi said...

My way of thinking about negative people is that life is too short to let it get you down. When I come across people like that I just kill them with kindness - it makes me feel good and eventually people will come around, I have seen it in action!

Those are gorgeous photos! xxoo

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

This is a great post Christy and I am so happy that you are feeling you can stay positive. Your friend is very right in what she says. Indeed Focus on the Good and it will work, also Mother Nature in all her beauty will never cease to amaze you either. Take Care.

Christy said...

Wow! Thanks ladies! Thank you for reading and all the amazing messages. I am rarely at a loss for words (you can ask my fiance about that one!) but I am right now. I truly appreciate them all.

leigh said...

Okay...whose ass do I need to kick? Seriously, I don't know how anyone could be nasty to you. You are one the most awesomeness-ist (I think I might have just made up a new word) lady out there.

I'm proud of you for your shift in perspective, sometimes that's all it takes.

In the immortal words of our girl Bjork;
"Twist your head around,It's all around you, All is full of love, All around you"

Tina said...

I loved reading this. You are so positive most of the time, and one may get the impression expat life is as easy as you make it seem. I think it is good for you to let others know it is not always sunshine and ranbows. No need to worry about being real. Thanks for posting. I always love reading your blog. :)

Christy said...

Now that I have calmed down a little bit, I know some of you ladies live here in Italy, so it got me thinking.......Do you experience the same thing in other parts of Italy?

I know Florence has been known for this sort of behavior, I even hear my Florentine colleagues & friends joke to one another about about closed off of a society they have become due to the influx if arrogant tourists that have bombarded THEIR daily lives here.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Afterall, I am about to marry into the Italian way of life (albeit not the Florentine way of life!)

catherine said...

keep the faith, such a beautiful sunset to reset the perspective! I love reading your blog because i am contemplating a major life change to Rome. Do NOT feel bad about venting your frustration, I actually look for these things to read to help prepare me for the next step. Italy IS amazing and life there is magical, I love finding all the insider tips I can. :) Keep writing and enjoying the sweet life! cheers!

Cathy said...

Yes Christy, I can tell you that as a fellow expat living in Italy I have experienced similar things to you although I live in a different part of Italy (just up the road from LindyLouMac) as it happens. There are many things that have utterly frustrated me and I have had some really negative things happen. You are right to focus on the positives. I find it is the best way :-)

Anonymous said...

I think some negative posts are good. Too many Americans think life here in Italy is 'easy', 'fun' and 'worry free.' wrong! It's great but this post illustrates why it can be challenging and only the strong (or strong willed) survive. Did you ask your fiancee about the whole 'shop' thing? Maybe what was said "in jest" came across as snide (in a true Florentine way). I actually find Italians to be less polite in general---at least, let me clarify--what I am used to as an American. Doors bang in my face almost daily, men push me aside from sidewalk room, groups of signore that stroll as if they are God's gift to the world and don't let you pass and when you try they snarl and sneer. After 4 years here I've finally mastered the art of a good old American shoulder block, and I don't care anymore. 'go with the flow' I say!

Theresa said...

Hey Christy, I think you make a have a point about the the negative responses or bad attitudes from locals due to the fact that Florence is bombarded with tourists. Maybe they assume you are a "stereotypical American" so they pass judgement on you before even giving you a chance to show them how sincerely kind you really are. Living there for only a month, even I was getting annoyed at all the typical obnoxious drunk disrespectful tourists and I'm not even a local!

As for Terni (in Umbria), I haven't really had any experiences like this. Maybe it's because I'm in a smaller town that's totally opposite Florence. I don't think I've ever actually seen a tourist before and there's like 3 taxi drivers in the town so people know 'em by name ahaha! People seem more intrigued or curious instead of cold or rude. But who really knows, maybe they're just nice to my face here and they talk smack behind my back once I walk out the door...haha!

In the end, no matter where you are, there will be some kind of hardship or difficulty you have to face. So as long as you have your tight support system and now you have your loving man, you'll be straight.....but hey, if you haven't already done so...I think maybe it won't hurt to learn some really good comebacks in Italian so you can tell off the next a-hole who is a total d-bag to you (haha!!). That'll definitely throw them off guard!
Take care ciccia! Un bacio.

Italian Postcards said...

Ciao Christy,

I diagree with you when you say:

"I try my hardest to keep negativity off this blog because I know many of my readers don't want to read about how life can be really daunting & challenging for us expats"

I believe your readers, and mine, want to hear about what life is like for an expat period. The good, the bad, the ulgy, and the beautiful. Life in Italy is not a Disney movie but it is a unique experience so please spew the reality lady!

Elizabeth P. aka Campobello said...

Writing about the good, the bad, and the ugly gives your readers a more whole picture of Italy than just, essentially, writing a tourist brochure in the first person. I sense that you, personally, need to process your experience here and not just gush--and sensitive readers will appreciate this, as did I.

An interesting aside: an Italian practicing Buddhist friend of mine (who is part of a Buddhist community here) says that the reason there are a large number of practicing Buddhists in the Florence area is because it's such a tremendous locus of negative energy!

Don't hold back--it's what makes blogs stand out from the run-of-the mill :)

Dee said...

Great photographs!

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