Sunday, February 8, 2009

Five Years

They say that it takes 5 years to really adjust to Los Angeles.
I have been here five years now (and a few months).
I think I can say it is true. It does take five years.
When I first moved here I felt lost in this city, so spread out, with no center, no suburbs.
Everything was the center and the suburbs at the same time.
It was so far and different from all I was used to that I could barely handle it.
I felt overwhelmed so many times. At some point I stopped counting how many times.
I desperately tried to go with the flow and survive all the emotions.
I found myself defeated and scary and lonely for months.
I had to find my place in such a new world that now and then I was deeply sad and wanted to go back home to Italy. I was drowning. And I could barely keep my head off the pain. Sometimes not even that.

But now that feeling is over.
Now I know that I am home here too.
I feel it.
I have my balance, my happiness.
I am much stronger.
After such a dark period, now I know I am fine with myself and the world around me.
I can enjoy staying here.
Driving is not scary anymore.
Talking is not necessarily ad adventure through misunderstanding, guessing and silence.
Everything is familiar and sometimes I even find it funny ;) .
I went through such a difficult time that now I am proud of what I have become.
Five years ago I was as frail as leaves are.
Now I am as strong and solid as roots are.
I went through that painful process on my own and I knew nobody could have ever helped me.
I knew I had to work on myself with no external help.
It's a strength that one day you just find within yourself and that's you the only one who built it, step by step, brick after brick. It may happen and it may not happen, in my case it happened. I had that strength and I know it will stay with me forever.
I know that I could never go back to that dark period.
It's another me now. Now I can stand on my feet with non help. I know I can survive.
And I did it all alone.

After five years I have really adjusted to Los Angeles.
This implies that I have been cutting my ties with friends in Italy.
I am not too sorry for that.
It's life.
We have walked through different paths, made opposite choices.
I wish them all the best but there is not much left.

And if I push this thought farther, I ask myself: Will I stay here for good?
Do not think so, but time will tell.
And I am not in a rush.


Gao said...

This is what I like about living abroad.
It pushes you out of your comfort zone until you come out a stronger and better person afterwards.
I guess it is almost time to move on... ;-))

Francesca said...

After 2 and 1/2 years in California, I still don't feel I completely belong here. But I can feel it is changing day by day, I am less homesick, sometimes I feel home and happy, but I am not there yet...I totally agree with you that it is a journey. It is giving me strengths, but it is also requesting a lot...and it is not painless... I think I am still in the "dark period".

Moky said...

It does take some time, especially when, like in your case and Francesca's, for instance, you don't have an american partner, you know, the connection, you didn't have your own private "temporary interpreter". You had each other to rely on, but not to ask questions about everything new and scary... you both had to learn "america", whether it's LA or SBA or whatever, on your own.
But you're absolutely right, we all are stronger because of the change of scenery, the change of culture and being able to adapt to it. Even love it...
And if you'll still be here in 10 more years and people will ask you "Don't you miss Italy?", you'll find yourself saying something like "Yes, well... my family and most of the food!!"

koala said...

So. I need 5 years to survive Idaho???Don't know, if the snow is so much, for me island girl, mild climate, I will never get used to it. Maybe we'll move to LA???
Many bisou

Crazy time said...

nice to read your experiences and your feelings. thank you all for sharing them with me.