Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Roma - the remix

Thanks to every one who gave me advice, told me their point of view and/or offered words of encouragement on yesterday's post. It has been very lively discussion.

So I may not be molto stupida but I might be crazy. Apparently Italy is the most corrupt, disorganized, economically challenged member of the G8 and yet I still want to move. :)

I received an email from my friend who got back from Florence the other day and we just spoke for over an hour. She is planning to move next year. She does have so much more to lose than I. She has a great job (she's a prosecutor so it's not like she could do that job in Italy, she doesn't know Italian law) and a nice home, etc. She was born in London (her parents are Jamaican) but has lived in Los Angeles since she was ten. She does have deeper roots here. We met in Italian class a few years ago and she is one of my few non-entertainment industry friends out here.

We are going support each other in this Italy madness. My friend has spent a lot of time in Italy and has a huge network of friends both native and expats. I haven't met any black expats in Rome...maybe they are all in Florence. My friend seems to know all of them. Most are women in their 30s and 40s, they all have come for different reasons. One used to be a banker, with a big house in Jersey and an X5. Now she rides a bike (not a motorino but a 10 speed or something). My friend said she knows her lifestyle will change but she is not down with the bike thing. haha

I talked to her about all the negatives and I know it's bad. My friend and I were saying the pros at this point still greatly outweigh the cons. If things don't work out, I will not be moving back to Los Angeles. I will either move to France or St. Martin to be close to my family. Of course that would mean I would have to learn another language.

I am not going to get into a point counter point debate about which country is more screwed up. If you scratch the surface you will find some ugly things in both places. I am in my early 40s. I could either take a chance now or sit here and be miserable. I am middle aged now (yes I do look younger but the numbers are climbing up there) and don't have a lot of time to enjoy the rest of my life before I'm so old I will need a walker.

In talking to J it was clear my creative side won out. I think about the things I love about my friends and time in Italy and you can't do a pie chart when it come to feelings, matters of the heart or soul. This might sound silly and not grounded but I'm a writer. I need to be in a place that moves me, end of story (no pun intended).

In L.A. I can't even tell you what I did last week. I have no sense of time passing etc. but I can tell you exactly what I did in April 2005, the first time I went to Rome. What I saw, who I met, what and where I ate, all those images and feelings were burned into my memory.

The countdowm to Rome begins now. When I get to Los Angeles, I will call the director of the Italian Film Commission, who I met at luncheon earlier in the year. I will see if I can talk to the woman who runs Sony Pictures International in New York, which overseas Sony Italia. I already met with the head of Warner Italia last time I was in Rome (through a friend who is an exec at Warner Bros here). I will see what I can find out about the Rome Film Festival. I'm not ruling out doing something non-film related but I feel it makes sense to start with where my contacts are. My former boss is scheduled to shoot a movie in Italy next year and he spends a lot of time there. He might have some advice.

I will get my bio and my resume translated and schedule a trip next year just to go on meetings.

I might end up in Siena, Milan, or Florence instead, who knows, but God willing in '08 I will be on my way to Italia.


Texas Espresso said...

Good for you! It sounds like you have a very clear, concise plan of action. At least you have contacts and resources there. Hey if you ever go through Padova or the Veneto - let me know. I have a feeling that's where we will end up. lol

Good Luck!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

texas espresso - Thank you. Keep us posted on your travels.

dmarie said...

Good for you! I think you're going to make it. Best of luck :)

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

So, we've moved up to '08?? Sweet.

After you're back from Toronto, let's Skype and brainstorm about your move ;)

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Uh oh, girl... once you start putting down in writing all those plans and affirmations (the calls you'll make, concrete steps to take, etc.), the world starts moving you in the Italy direction... watch out! I'm not kidding! When you move into action, things will start happening quickly. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

dmarie - thank you and thanks for stopping by.

sara - looking foward to the conversation. thank you.

shelley - grazie, I'm sure I will have a lot of questions.

Rose in Cali said...

Brava!!! I already can't wait to hear your first post from Italia! You won't regret the move. Even if you have to come back, you will be happy that you took a chance. It's better to have tried than to wonder what it was like to have tried. You will do just fine. :-)

Anonymous said...

I read your previuos post and the responses you got. While it's only fair that you know the cons of living in Italy, the people who were very negative are biased IMO; they just told you what doesn't work and "forgot" to mention the pros. I mean is it possible to live in a place for years and not say one single positive word about it?! Biased people, I tell you.


gibber said...

Sis. So many others have said it best, but here's my take again. Do it. You are not walking into the situation with eyes closed, you're not naive about job prospects, and you DO have a safety net. You don't want to look back in 20 years and wonder "what if?" Everyone's experience is different, and even if you leave in 5 years, those are 5 years you will have lived the way you wanted to, on your own terms.

I've seen the network you've built already in italy, and it's amazing to me. I think you may have more friends there than I do in DC. :) So I think you're doing the right thing.

Just get a 2 bedroom so I can visit you. DON"T THINK I"M NOT COMING!

Janet said...

I've read both's and yesterday's. You go with what you want out of life. If you want to try living in Italy, DO IT. And "good for you" (as the others have written, too) for making the decision!

As somebody who has changed continents myself 5 years ago, I can tell you it has ups and downs -- even when, in my case, I moved for love. But you know that will be the case. You aren't wearing blinders. You are clearly a realist.

I can't wait to continue to read about your life!


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

rose in cali - I feel like I have something to look forward when I get back to L.A. to as opposed to complaining about not dating. :)

romanaccio - I mentioned that to my friend who is moving next year. I understand people need to vent and I did ask one anon poster to be more specific as to why in her opinion Rome/Italy was backwards. If you are an expat at the point where you can't think of one positive thing about the place you live, it's time to leave. Life is too short.

gibber - since I do know the reality of moving, I will be lucky to afford a studio apt. much less a two-bedroom. Not to worry there are some great hotels I can recommend. xo

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

janet - thanks for the encouraging words! Hope all is well on your side of the pond.

gibber said...

"Not to worry there are some great hotels I can recommend."

that's cold. ice cold. i can sleep on your floor! :)

Anonymous said...

Romanaccio - it's not that I can't think of postives to living here - but those are either personal to my situation (ie. I'm in a great relationship here which is why I moved) or NYC already knows them - ie lots of yummy gelato, beautiful hill towns in Umbria etc.

I guess part of it with me is that i WASN'T warned about the lack of a job market and the corruption before I came. I really didn't know anything about Italy except that it's in Europe. So it came as a huge shock when the only job I could find was English teaching.

Anyway - NYC - I agree that if you feel this way you should definitely do it. And if it doesn't turn out to be a long term thing - better to have loved and lost... :)


Jen said...

Yeah! And congrats! I lived in the Former soviet union for a couple of different experiences and it was one of the best things I've ever done. And DH and I have talked about retiring to NZ or the Netherlands or yes, Italy. Or Costa Rica. Well, we still have about 15 years to decide.

I think it will be an adventure and you're living your dream. And as a writer myself, I completely get what you're saying. I'm lucky to be living in a place that I LOVE to write about and where I feel inspired every day. But I know at some point, I'll need new views.

Again, congrats and sorry about my babbling on here!

sognatrice said...


I can't say it better than that.

And you know what? Look at all the contacts you already have! You'll be just fine--and happy :)

Tina said...

Of course you're crazy darling, just like the rest of us who follow our hearts ;-) ... I wouldn't bother reading your blog if you're weren't a little crazy ;-)

You know what? It doesn't matter which country is more screwed up than another. It doesn't matter if Italy is a 3rd-world country with 1-st world prices. (And in my opionion, it's not THAT 3rd world - they know how to live, even with less. They are richer than American millionaires.)

What matters is that you find the quality of life that YOU desire, in the place that makes YOU happy. In your case that is Rome.
In Italy, I had 700 EUR a month to live on - and I felt like the richest woman in the world. Money is only that stuff that pays your rent and gets your groceries.
True success and true weath come from within. You're going to be fabulous.

Have a wonderful time preparing for this, and remember, we're all here to encourage you and support you!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

gibber - as dad would say "let there be no coldness." I would never make you sleep on the floor, which is why I will recommend some great hotels. haha

kataroma - grazie and yes I do know some of the pros, like seeing more of the Dolce & Gabbana ads featuring the Italian Nat'l soccer team. What a wonderful sight to behold. :)

jen - thanks and no you are not babbling. You lived in the Former Soviet Union? Very interesting. Do you still keep in touch with people who live there now? How do they feel about all the changes?

sognatrice - grazie mille!

tina - your post cracked me up. Yes the next few months are going to be crazy but I'm up for the challenge. Thanks for the support.

It's funny, my dad says the same things about money (although unlike me he has never been broke) and as I get older I get what he is saying. Working in Hollywood I am exposed to people who are making outrageous sums of money. I have never met such unhappy and miserable people in my life.

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

Excellent!! l am so happy and excited for you! My countdown has begun too for 2008. A close friend of mine just turned 40 moved to Rome a couple of months ago it has been such a good thing.

Liz said...

This is so exciting that you are doing this and really making this happen for yourself. Being somewhere that your soul feels free, where you feel alive, is worth making less money. All we end up doing is buying crap we don't need to silence the emptiness around us.

Three cheers for living your dream.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

confessions - are you moving to the Amalfi coast? Last year when I was in Rome I met an American production designer who moved there after turning 40. The big 4-0 seems to motivate women to make major life changes, esp. if there are single and don't have to worry about uprooting their families.

Liz - Amen! I feel lighter already. :)

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

Yes intially the plan is to go back to Positano. From what you have written l think this will be the perfect time for you to go back there. It will be a new chapter! l finally have made peace with myself after all these years of living and going back and forth to Italy, that is this is what l want then its ok!

Anonymous said...

"In Italy, I had 700 EUR a month to live on - and I felt like the richest woman in the world. Money is only that stuff that pays your rent and gets your groceries."

Tina, I don't know when you lived in Italy (or where) but nowadays 700 euro won't even pay for your rent, let alone buy your groceries in any of the bigger cities! Sorry to burst your bubble but it's semi-impossible to SURVIVE (meaning to pay for housing, food & transportation, bills) in any Italian city unless you make 1,000+ a month. And since that's on the "low" end, that would mean you could forget about going to all the amazing museums, eating that glorious gelato, chowing on local cuisine, etc.
You get the picture.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

confessions - brava... I look forward to reading about your new adventures on the coast.

anon - I believe Tina was in Perugia or Florence and had roommates and she lived there recently.

Yes we get the picture loud and clear. Again, everyone's experience is unique. My Italian friends are in their 30s and 40s and are doing well. I doubt they would be supporting my move if they thought the country had no redeeming qualities.

Annika said...

If you haven't done so already - although I'm sure you have - I suggest that you read "Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live" by Martha Beck. Even if you have read it, I think now is the perfect time to read it again.

Don't listen to naysayers. Listen to your heart. When there's a will, there's a way - it's a cliche, but it's true.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Annika - no I haven't read that book. It's going in my Amazon shopping cart!

Grazie millie for the push. I expect to see you in Positano/Amalfi soon. :)

Farfallina said...

Rome!! That is just great to hear!

I especially loved how you said that despite the bureaucracy draw-backs, you still want to live there, because that's exactly how I feel!

Deciding you want to do something is 90% of the work. Enjoy the process! :)

chris & erin said...

'08 will be here in just a second! This year flew by for us...It's true that you just have to follow yourself to a place that moves you, makes you feel alive! I'll look forward to hearing more about as you narrow down to the Italian city of choice!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

farfallina - Thanks. I will try to.

chris & erin - I can't believe it's already fall.

I have no idea what will happen next year but at least I'm exicted instead of dreading it.