Its hard to believe that its almost two years since I arrived here in Italy. Whilst I still feel very English, there are moments when I realise how much I have changed. For example, at Catania airport last week waiting to board, the English lady behind me helpfully pointed out as I headed towards the boarding gate, that they were only boarding rows 20 plus, and she could see that I was row 3. Of course I was waved through, and it had never occured to me that I would be refused.
Every month, I take a little less water in my coffee, and become less fussy about what I eat, and my concept of what makes a warm enough day to remove a cardigan is at least 10 degrees higher than before. I think in kilos and euros and its when I go home to the UK that I look the wrong way when crossing the road - almost getting hit by a bus outside primark in Manchester last time. I think that 1000 euros a month is a good wage.
I can speak enough Italian to get by even if it is with a Manchester accent. I can understand almost everything, and can even watch the TV (with a comprehension rate of around 75%). I have learnt a lot about history, food, wine, people, romance, and even my own culture.
Its not been easy. I miss my family, my friends, Coronation street, newspapers. I have no money, I am still supplementing my income with my savings. Over the last two years I have discarded most of my things.
But when I set out that very first day wondering what was ahead, well did I imagine that I would live in Sorrento, Rome, and Sicily? That I would find a job travel editing (even if its not very secure and I had to do the hard slog of 18 months English teaching first)? That I would find someone with whom to share the experience with in the form of the sweetest, gentlest person I have ever met, and to enhance it with trips to Tuscany, Sardinia, the Alps, and even Paris?
Am I ready to come home? What do you think?