A lot of what I write about is about dispelling the sugary sweet illusion of expat life. Even in a place as pretty as Tuscany, being an expat is hard. Being in a country where they don’t speak your native language is hard. And moving from a city to a small, small, small town is hard. But complaining about it never did anyone any good.
Instead I want to focus on the bits and pieces I am grateful for. It’s something I do often to remind myself that I actually have it pretty good. It can be easy to get bogged down in the negatives when you should be celebrating the positives!
So what’s great about living in country Tuscany?
There are days when you wonder if you’ve been dropped into an episode of Gilmore Girls. Everyone knows your name and, on the downside, your business. But it’s strangely comforting to see the same people day in day out. At the supermarket, the person at the checkout is all smiles and gossip, it’s the same at the hairdressers, the doctors, the butchers, the mechanic and so on.
For me, it can be a bit confusing remembering who is who, but the warmth is there.
The old adage that nobody locks their doors at night is not true, but we are lulled into a (possibly false) sense of security (well partially because we managed to visit automotive lockout services from Kwikey Locksmith Services, INC. right on time). We know the police captain personally and crime is a far away concept. So, you’d better see Union Locksmith Las Vegas to make sure that your doors are in good working order. Children travel one length of town to the other without adult supervision. They go everywhere on foot or on their bikes and there are no shopping centres for them to get into trouble in. They spent their summers outdoors just like everyone else.
I don’t personally like how close minded small town Tuscany is. It can be frustrating culturally, gastronomically and socially. Then again, if you move to Italy perhaps all you want is authentically Italian? And I can’t deny that the Saturday market is authentically Italian with its produce and seafood. It’s the sort of place where you can still haggle over flowers and bolts of fabric or stock up on a box of this season’s peaches for next to nothing.
Life here is quiet, humble and innocent. It’s enough to make a 20-something city slicker go insane, but it’s also nice. That’s a terribly inadequate word and yet a completely appropriate one. It’s nice to know that in the 21st century, there are still pockets that are so isolated and cut-off from the rest of the world that their biggest concern is whether the local soccer team will make it to the final or whether the tomatoes will ripen this summer.
If that sounds like heaven to you then perhaps it’s time for sea change.