It occurred to me last week that writing as I have been doing here has been good for me. I started this blog because I needed a way to keep my friends and family informed about my life here in Italy. I don’t consider myself a writer, in fact I think I am pretty bad at it most of the time. I also feel like a very ordinary woman…maybe a woman doing an extraordinary thing, but at heart a very ordinary woman. This blog has got to be some of the more boring reading out there. But I am trying to be disciplined about it for a couple of reasons.
1) Obviously because writing this way is simpler and more efficient (that’s the German in me) than writing personalized accounts to each person who matters to me. I love to tell people about my experiences, and I hope that I find a way to share with each of you the things you want to know most. But if I tried to write to each of you I would never get to leave the apartment and have those great experiences. That’s right, it would be a blog about writing e-mails to the world. Not great reading in my opinion.
2) It’s a great way for me to remember what happened and when it happened. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger. I know that my memory doesn’t always work the way I want it to now, so it will only get worse. I’m kind of curious to see which part of my memory goes first…will I forget Italian or English? Where I am or where I am going? Who you are or who I am? If I get lost in a place that I don’t really know, am I actually lost? So yeah when Alzheimer's hits I will not know where I am, where I am going, or how to tell someone this important information. Maybe I'll get a tattoo with my address and phone number...in both languages, just to be sure.
And 3) Probably what has become the most important function of this blog is that it allows me to really consider not only the things that happen to me, but what those experiences mean. I don’t just shop for groceries. As I am trying to find the things I need, all the while dodging shopping carts driven by tiny women who can barely see over the handles, I am trying to remember everything so that I can describe it in a way that everyone will understand. I don’t just walk somewhere, I make mental notes about sights, sounds, smells, and feelings, and then write them down so you can share the experience with me. I am “present in the moment” (Augsburg just will not go away, will it?) often during my day. What a great gift that has been. My days are filled with experiences. I choose different activities, I listen harder, I enjoy experiences more thoroughly, I nearly swoon with joy at every meal. If you don’t believe me, ask Leif. He just watches me and smiles when I sit back from my last bite, probably with olive oil dripping from my chin, and sigh.
I started to write because people asked me to. I am going to continue to write because it has changed the way I experience my life. As if moving to another country wasn’t change enough…