Reflection | From up high…

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View from Keisoku Mountain, Japan, March 2018

Many things seem so small, especially problems.

Every couple of months, I find myself standing on top of a mountain somewhere in Japan. Each step upwards feels like torture…and an accomplishment.  I look toward my fellow climbers in awe, at their speed and the seeming ease with which they climb. Of course, I don’t know what their experiences are–they could be suffering as much as I am. The climbing could be a testimony for each one of us that we are alive and still trying.

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the past decade of my life. At this moment in 2008, I was planning a wedding and preparing for a future that certainly isn’t the one I’m living now. By this time in 2009, I was dreaming of living in the house that I would eventually call home before the year’s end. In 2010, I had lost 80 pounds, was trying to save my dying marriage, and by Thanksgiving, was mourning the death of my beloved pet.

The end of March 2011 found me preparing for my third visit to Rome, trying to figure out how to live life as a single and mostly jobless person. I was still dreaming–this time, of living in Rome. By 2012, I was a full-time undergraduate, living, studying and working in Rome. The following 4 years were marked by a series of avoidable and unavoidable events, all of which left me pretty broken but with a good deal of insight.

By the end of March 2016, I had been living in the U.S. full-time for 6 months. I had gained back half the weight that I’d lost, was in the throes of a serious depression, and living in a highly psychologically toxic environment. Something had to give–I had fallen to my lowest point.

When you’re at the bottom, seeing or even imagining the top can be difficult.

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Keisoku Mountain, Japan, March 2018

 

 

I couldn’t see up or even imagine what life could be like beyond what I was experiencing at that time. However, I knew that there had to be some other kind of life for me.

Where I was, how I was, who I was, and what I was doing…was not my final destination.

I didn’t know if I could ever be happy. I didn’t know where I could go or even what I would be capable of doing. I just knew that I no longer wanted to be a participant in prolonging my circumstances.

I had to take a step forward and upward, even the smallest one. And so I did.

On Friday, March 17, 2017, I began a new journey. I boarded a flight to Japan, a country I’d never been to before. I didn’t speak the language and knew very little about the culture. Still, I knew that I had to take the chance, to give myself the opportunity to change, to begin climbing out of the deepest hole that I’d ever stumbled into.

When you’re climbing a mountain, you have to use both your hands and feet. 

Now, it’s Friday, March 30, 2018, and I’m sitting in a Starbucks somewhere north of Tokyo. My partner is working on her laptop, and I’m listening to The War on Drug’s “Pain.”  I haven’t reached the top of my mountain. Still, I am no longer at the very bottom. It’s a start, and that’s always the hardest part when you’re climbing–at least, for me. There are times when it feels like I can’t catch my breath, like my feet won’t take another step, like my hands won’t support me as I reach upwards. Still, I try.

That’s what I’ve learned over the past decade. All you can do is try and never give up. Every problem is a mountain. Tackling each one means getting to the top. Getting there, however, means looking ahead, taking each step carefully, being prepared to use whatever means necessary to secure yourself…and definitely having those who care about you by your side.

Until Next Time,

D.

 

Reconnecting

own-sunshine

Another grey summer day in Japan and life continues on. I wake up to a wall of clouds outside my window, the sounds of money being earned with each passing car, and the hazy whispers of my partner. It’s barely 6 AM.

I consider 24 hours earlier: I was standing in her apartment, face unwashed, clothes disheveled, emergency backpack straddling one shoulder, and wondering if this was our last moment together–North Korea had launched a missile towards the north of Japan.

A few months earlier, I arrived in Japan with a baseline plan of refocusing myself, laying the groundwork for accomplishing future goals, surviving earthquakes, and embracing the unknown.

This morning I am content with waking to a winter-like sky, watching my partner eat leftovers for breakfast while taking pleasurable sips of a Starbucks’ soy green tea (matcha) latte, smelling burning sandalwood incense, listening to passing cars and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on YouTube, and wondering and planning what else the future holds.

I am moving forward with writing, with loving, with being loved, with enjoying the simplest aspects of life while appreciating how complex life can be. For now, I’ll return to daily blogging, sharing my thoughts about life in Japan, how I’m managing my fibromyalgia, and whatever else that comes my way.

Until Next Time,

D.

 

 

2 Laptops, a Button-less Phone & That Thing About Traveling

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Image found on Rebloggy.com

I don’t know where in the world you are, but where I am

it’s Monday,

14:07,

somewhere around

90 degrees (Fahrenheit),

and boring as all heck.

I’m trying to console myself because my Words with Friends-designated laptop is in the remote hands of some person very far away in some office belonging to Microsoft, who is trying to fix my operating system.

It’s no good, this.

I’ve not had much else but peanut butter and ginger ale today, and I keep thinking I should eat something, but my laptop being remotely controlled is keeping me fixed to one spot.

Life ought not to be this boring:

watching a “Downloading installation file: Feel free to keep using your PC.”

Twirl-twirl-circularly moving dotted thingy…

I’m at 15% complete with an

Estimated time: 2 hr 27 min 12 sec

2 hr 25 min  7 sec

away from being able to move from this spot.

Every now and again, I pretend to be “with it” (do people still use with it?) and “slide” the “buttons” the phone my mom made me get because she was embarrassed by my Verizon flip-phone from 2013. Now, I’m Boost Mobilin’ and tweetin’ (not really).

19% complete and

I’m wondering if using my other laptop means that I’m having an affair.

At 24%, I feel almost a quarter way decent about my position in life,

sitting on a bed,

sweat collecting to drip,

my wanderlust has taken control of my mind and prompting my feet to move.

How far do I want to go in

2 hr 11 min 30 sec?

Maybe Newark International Airport,

but then I wouldn’t come back here for a while.

That’s the thing about being nomadic, you see.

Opening the front door means that there’s another

awaiting you somewhere.

But at 30%,

I’m not even a third way complete.

How fast, I wonder.

How much faster must I travel within

to have the freedom to live without

the burden of time and place.

1 hr 56 min 17 sec.

-db

 

Travel | Rome: Renewing Your Permit to Stay (Where to Go & What You Need)

Immigration

 

Are you studying abroad in Rome and thinking about working there afterwards?  Well, the video below may be useful for you.  Prior to graduating from John Cabot University, I decided that I wanted to give myself the option of remaining in Rome to work, which meant changing my residency permit type, from study to work.

With much help from friends (thank you, Dario and Sylvia), my university, and the Garbatella patronato, I was able to get through the process successfully.  Still, I found the experience quite stressful, especially going to the renewal appointment alone.

In this video, I show you where you need to go to renew/change your Permit to Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno), and explain the basics of what you need to do before you go.

Hope you’ll find it useful!

Have specific questions?  Feel free to ask.

 

Travel | Rome: It’s Like Walking On an Ashtray

Me: Living in Rome means being a permanent second-hand smoker.

Others:  Really? No way…

Me: …

Fibromyalgia | Jet Lag Anyone? Any Expert Ideas to Share?

View from my Delta fllight back to Orlando.

View from my Delta flight back to Orlando.

Today makes one week since I’ve returned to Rome…and I’m still dealing with jet lag. Yes, indeed. My entire system is off, and I’m finding that I am still going to sleep at my usual hour EST (between 1 am and 3 am).  This means that I’ve been going to sleep between 7 am and 9 am.  The heat, humidity and killer mosquitoes aren’t helping matters.  Thus, I decided to consult those in the know (yes, I should have done this on day 2).  So far I’ve found one like of interest: “Melatonin may help to treat jet lag disorder”.

Well, if you have any other ideas, share in the comments or send me a message! 🙂 Thanks!

Until Wednesday,
D.

Travel | Back to Rome on Monday…Why Again?

Found via Google image search.

Found via Google image search.

The other day I wrote a post about being nomadic, and once again I find myself about to board an airplane.  Monday, I return to Rome and will be there for a month.  If you were to ask me why, then I could give you about 5 good reasons (not in any particular order): 1) my stuff is still there, 2) I need to pick up my work permit, 3) I never picked up my university degree, 4) I’ve had a poetry translation published in a book and I will receive a copy there, and 5) it’s a great chance to see my friends.

Still, above all of these reasons, remains the most important:  I will know whether or not I really want to live in Rome.

When you are immersed in a situation, it is difficult to be objective about the reality of it.  This is why it is important to take a distance from it.

As a nomad, it’s incredibly easy for me to adjust to a new environment.  After about 2 weeks, I am often settled into a routine, thoughts about my previous life have eased out of my mind, and I’m excited to focus on what my new environment has to offer.

For some, being able to transition so easily from one environment to another would be a welcomed skill.  For me, I have to remind myself that, although it is great that I acclimate well to new places, it is important for me to understand what I have left behind, both people and things.

So, I’m heading back to Rome. I have no idea what this trip will mean, what it will accomplish in moving me further on my path, but I’m looking forward to it.  I’m packing my almost-finished-novel-in-progress (yes, it’s really almost finished), my camera and laptop, and whole lot of faith in the universe.

Wish me well. 🙂

Until Monday, (I’ll write while I’m in the airport)

D.