Congratulations! But why are you doing it?

About a year ago M and I started telling family and friends that we were going to get married.

Most of the times we got reactions such as “Congratulations!”, “I’m so happy for you!”, “Yeah!”. Other people didn’t seem very excited, and just told us “Uh, ok”. Better still than “Whatever”, but luckily no one said that!

Then we also received comments like “It was about time!”, “You’ve been together for such a long time!”. And while I replied with a vague “Yeah, right!” and a smile, I would start thinking What does it mean It was about time?! So after a certain amount of time you have to get married? I don’t think so! And what about people that decide to get married after being together a year or two? They should wait, or what?

Sometime the comment “You’ve been together for such a long time” was followed by “It’s not going to change anything”. Wait, what? Then we might as well stop planning the wedding, because what’s the point?

OK, I know they were just saying and they didn’t mean anything wrong. But still…

To me “It’s not going to change anything” sounds a lot like “Whatever”. And “You’ve been together for such a long time” it’s like saying “Of course you’re getting married, it’s just what you do”. Here’s the thing, maybe some people do get married because that’s what you do, but for us it was a carefully thought decision.

I know I was, and I am overreacting! Anyway, my thoughts about that kind of reactions, I just kept them for myself. Or share them with M. And now here.

It’s just that thinking that They’re just saying doesn’t help. Because I don’t want people to just say something, but I would appreciate that they show some interest. Like a friend of M’s. The only one who, after M told him that we had decided to get married, asked “Why?”. Thank you!

Well, basically the answer is “To make it official”. To be officially be seen as a couple, as a family. That’s why I proposed. Because as long as we were living in the Netherlands, we were already considered a family. And since we had decided to move back to Italy, I wanted that to continue, and not just to be seen as two people living together. We both know that we are more than that, but we wanted the Italian state, society, friends and family to also acknowledge that.

Some might think that the answer should be “Because we love each other”. Of course we do. But as we cynically like to say “Love has nothing to do with our decision to get married!”

Advertisements

Another One-Way Ticket

Last Friday was moving day. Early in the morning, the movers came to the apartment to pick up our things. Boxes full of clothes, books, kitchen items and stuff. Then we had to clean up the apartment and leave.

When we got to the station to catch the train to the airport, I remembered that it had been there, at the train station two years before, that we told each other OK. Let’s move here. Let’s try. We then learned that it was not the right attitude. Do or don’t. There’s no trying.

But anyway…there we were, moving again after two years in the Netherlands. Back to Italy, this time. And now we’re here in Milan. Kind of picking up things where we left them, but also starting anew.

I’m not really missing Holland (not yet!), but I quite enjoyed living in Delft (even though I had my ups and downs!). I should probably write something about what I enjoyed the most, what I learned, what I liked, what I didn’t like. And I’ll do. Sooner or later.

So, more to come about my old life in the Netherlands and my “old-new” life here. Stay tuned!

Season of Mists

I used to like those days “in-between” summer and autumn. When it starts to get chilly in the morning, leaves turn yellow, red, brown, and the sun is still bright and warm.

But this year, I feel like summer has never really started. Yes, we had a few warm, sunny days in July, maybe a couple in August. I also went back to Italy twice – end of July and end of August – and I did enjoy two weeks of real summer. And that’s it. For the most part, what I remember about this summer in the Netherlands is grey skies, wind and rain. An autumn-like summer.

I really feel like I missed something. A beautiful spring turned into autumn, giving us just a glimpse of summer.

I look out the window. The sky is grey, the wind is blowing and it’s raining. It’s also getting cooler, so autumn is definitely here.

But this year I’m not sure I can enjoy the change. I read Keats’ poem To Autumn, I look outside and I can’t see the mellow fruitfulness, I can’t think that warm days will never cease. I can only wonder where are the songs of Spring?

Welcome back to Milan

I’m back in Milan for a few days. Earlier today I had to take the tram, but I didn’t have tickets, so I went to buy them.

Buongiorno, vorrei due biglietti” (Good afternoon, I would like 2 tickets) I said.

The woman at the counter looked at me with little interest and said “Non ho capito” (I didn’t understand).

Due biglietti, per favore” (Two tickets, please).

She gave me the tickets, I paid, and she gave me the change. I put everything in my bag and said, “Grazie! Buona giornata!” (Thank you! Have a nice day!).

Silence. She didn’t say a word.

And I’m kind of speechless too. Seriously, being nice doesn’t kill you! Where have your good manners gone? Is this a good customer service? I don’t think so!

Well, whatever. I got my tickets. I took the tram, and I went shopping. And now I’m enjoying my new shoes! And Semola is enjoying the shoebox!

In between worlds

I just realized that it’s been four years now since I graduated. I also realized that I’ve spent half of this period abroad. The other half I was at home – that would be Italy, even though I’m not that sure now where home is.

Six months in Canada plus one year and a half in the Netherlands make two years living somewhere else. In a place different from where I was born and grew up. A place where they speak a language different from my native one.

One, English, is a language that I have studied and learned. The other one, Dutch, is a language that I am, or was, trying to learn.

What’s the consequence of that? Does the fact of translating oneself from one place to the other (and from one language to the other) result in some kind of loss?

It happens, when you move, that you lose things. You thought that CD was in that box, but it isn’t. Or the corkscrew is not with the other kitchen stuff anymore (true story). Can this also happen to people as it happens to things? Is it possible that you lose part of yourself in the moving?

Maybe something does really get lost and you find yourself in a world in-between, not belonging anymore to the place you’re coming from, but not yet part of the place you came to.

A friend of mine was telling me that when she goes back to Brazil with her husband to visit family and friends, they say “Here’s the Dutch couple!”. But they’re Brazilian. Or they’re not anymore, after living in the Netherlands for many years? But if they’re not Brazilian, are they Dutch?

In between worlds for me means also feeling  in between languages. You translate your thoughts into words, but in which language?

In this confusion, I find myself thinking in one language, but speaking in another one. I sometime watch TV in English, read the Dutch subtitles and make comments in Italian about the program.

And it goes also the other way around, as new words of a new language start slowly to have a meaning.

I was at Rotterdam Central Station some time ago, and they announced something about the high-speed train to Paris. The announcement was given first in Dutch, then in French and finally in English. To my surprise, when they gave the announcement in English what I thought was “They said that already!”. I had understood the part in Dutch almost without even realizing. It felt strange. I guess the weird and guttural noises did not sound that foreign anymore.

I don’t think that there’s only a loss then, if there really is one, in this confusion, in this in-betweenness. There’s for sure also something to gain in experiencing life in a different country and in a different language.

Moving from one place to the other, I’m not sure if I lost or gained something. Probably both things.

What I’m sure of is that I need a new corkscrew.