longing to run away.

(Note: I’m aware it’s been maybe two years since I last posted. So here’s a quiet return.)

I have always wanted to write a memoir. The fact that I’ve just turned eighteen, and don’t really have enough life experiences to fill a book, hasn’t entered into the equation.

I’ve spent the last two weeks devouring travel memoirs. If you know me, you know I go on reading binges – I’ll go six months without picking up a single book and then read five in a week. It’s just how I am. But these last few weeks have woken my wanderlust back up, something I’ve been trying very hard recently to keep dormant. But god, do I want to go. 

A fascination and intoxication with travel is nothing new here. Look at the title of this blog for starters, or even the fact that I started this blog at thirteen, bored out of my mind, filled with longing for anywhere but where I was. I wanted to pack my bags, get on a plane, and go someplace completely new. I long for that now.

Me in 2011 was about to start high school. She was bored with the town she’d spent the last three years in, and she just wanted to grow up so she could make her own decisions. The person I am now, well, they’re studying full-time at university. They’re working part-time to pay the bills. They have dreams of a successful career in the film industry. And they don’t know where they’re supposed to get the time, or the money (god, the money) to travel for a year. But I want to. More than anything.

I’d finally claim my New Zealand passport and spend three months in Australia saving up money – after two years of saving up during university. I’d finally go to Japan, Korea, Thailand, Bali! I’d learn to surf and I’d try skydiving – I’d hike and explore and meet people from everywhere. I’d realistically wear travel-worn clothes and not necessarily smell the best. I’d be free.

I’ve worked so hard to get into film school, and then worked hard to do well once in film school. I don’t want to jeopardise that. But when will I find the time to take a year off?

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Hey, I did it.

Hello WordPress! I’m aware that there isn’t really anyone reading this, but if you are, I applaud you for it. You can probably see that I haven’t posted much of anything… and it’s been almost another year. I’m not making promises to post more, just to update occasionally.

I graduated high school on the 27th of May. I turned 17 on the 1st of June. I am moving out in three months. Time has flown by, and with it, many things have changed. I know that’s what life is, change and time getting away from you, but I’m at a stopping point in my life and I’m trying to look back on it. This milestone is being experienced by teenagers all over the world – scared kids, who are just as excited and nervous to start, but for right now, are incredibly bored. What do we do now? We’ve spent so much time working and studying and now that it’s over, what do we do?

I don’t have an answer. I’m looking into a volunteer job at a hostel for the summer – maybe Prague or Amsterdam? Somewhere I’ve never been is the ideal solution. I don’t have any money, and with the whole being 17 thing, most people do not want to hire me. This way I can stay somewhere for free, and still get to travel.

Can I be honest, Internet? I feel sad. Not that high school is over (no regrets there), but that I feel almost empty. I’m going to university in the fall, if all goes well with IB results, and I’m going to be happy. I am going to try and be happy. It’s just that right now all I feel is exhausted and sad.

I know that depression is lurking in the wings, waiting for a moment of vulnerability to swoop in and take me back. I’m not trying very hard to fight it off. I’m too tired.

I wanted this summer to be amazing. I’ve been dreaming of going off to amazing places, having parties with friends, laughing on a beach somewhere feeling completely at peace. Then why do I feel this profound loneliness? Why can’t I get myself to sit up and live?

I’d like to blame all my problems on money. It’d be pretty easy – cash would make my life better in pretty much every way. But it gets boring to blame my problems on a lack of money, because it’s a mostly universal struggle. I just need to find some work arounds.

goodbye (part 1).

Today was my last final, which makes it the last day I go to my current school. Sophomore year is officially over, which means that lots of other stuff is over too. I won’t be seeing my disorganized English teacher, who while being a pain in the ass, was also hilarious. I won’t see my strangely stoic science teacher, and my great Geometry teacher. I won’t see the four girls in my Geometry class anymore, nor those irritating Freshmen boys I dealt with all year. All that is over.

The weird part about goodbyes is that they don’t happen all at once. There isn’t a definitive end, it’s lots of small “see you later!”s and “have a great summer!”s. They slowly pile up until you realize you won’t see these people again. Why would you? You have nothing in common apart from living in the same privileged community.

I don’t get to say goodbye yet. I’ve said it to some, but it doesn’t feel real. I’m still at this weird place in between. Like I’m sitting in an airport lounge for a flight that got cancelled and so I keep saying goodbye and getting ready to leave but not yet. Maybe a little longer. I’m leaving soon.

25 days. That’s how long I have until I leave this country for two years. It’s unlikely I’ll come back before college (though possible of course) and I’m scared and happy. Does that make sense? Happy to leave a place that wasn’t mine, but sad because no place belongs to me? My home is everywhere and nowhere, as TCKs say.

Anyway, I’m feeling a little emotional tonight. Tomorrow I’m taking the SAT French Test (at 7:45 am, who made that decision??), and I need to sleep soon. So goodnight.

Happy goodbyes,

Alessandra

TCK Blogs: We Need Them

Oh sweet WordPress, how I have missed you so. Today, I wanted to see if Blogger had improved since when I last used it five years ago. The answer is no, no it hasn’t. I created a whole blog only to the come to the conclusion that it’s a pain in the ass and I don’t like it. I promise WordPress, they meant nothing to me!

I wanted to create a blog that other TCKs could use as a reference point for moving to Italy, something that isn’t from an adult expat’s perspective but a teenager’s. After months of reading every Rome expat blog under the sun, I found nothing from teenagers. That changes now!

There are entire websites dedicated to expat blogs, and nothing similar exists for TCKs. Aren’t we youngsters supposed to be glued to our technology? Shouldn’t we be obsessed with blogging about our experiences?

I’m not leaving until July 1st, where I’ll be in London for about a month and then I officially move to Italy. So, a good time to start asking questions would be about mid-July (for prep stuff) and mid-August (for actual moving stuff).

Until next time,

Alessandra

2 months.

The flights aren’t booked yet, but they will be by tomorrow. We leave on July 1st, at 4:40pm. The last time I will set foot in America for quite a while. It’s weird.

Less than two months until everything changes, and even then it’s just another pit stop. We moved out of our apartment of two years into this other one for two months, still having to commute, no real difference made. Then we move out of here, and we stay in London for a few weeks, but still not permanent. Still a vacation. After that however, that’s when it really changes. When we get to Italy, when I get to start calling this place home.

I’m a TCK, so the whole “not being able to define home” thing isn’t new to me. It’s still weird though, shifting and changing all the time. Not quite an outsider, but not really fitting either. I’d rather be a real foreigner than someone who is supposed to belong but doesn’t.

I’d rather be in a place where I have to learn a language, a culture, where it is expected for me to be confused. To be different. I’m not American. Legally, I definitely am. But it’s not home. It’s not where I’m from. It’s a place I’m entitled to but not one I chose.

Maybe Italy will be home. Maybe not. Maybe it can be home for a little while, even if I find a new one later. 

an adventure. a quiet one, but still an adventure.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to find that an adventure doesn’t necessarily have to be loud and bold, or easily noticeable by all. Sometimes an adventure (entering into the new, being brave, etc.) can be quiet, blending in with the chaos around it. 

When I think of adventure, I think of dashing knights. Swashbuckling heroes. Preferably something involving dragons. I never thought that simply the beginning of something new could feel like an adventure. 

This year, I started a new school. It’s an independent study school, which means that you only go to class about 2 hours a day, and you do most of your work at home. Self-motivation is vital. And after struggling for the past two years to even pass classes, I was worried that I would not be up to the challenge. I can happily admit, that I was wrong.

So yes, maybe an adventure isn’t loud. Sometimes, it just means launching into the new, and proving to yourself that you aren’t as bad as you previously thought.

9 months.

Hello!

Yesterday was the official first day of Autumn! Here in Northern California, it was also the first day it has rained in months, which I think was quite appropriate.

At least for me, whenever it rains I feel the happiest at home. And with that, the word “home” is starting to prompt a lot of questions for me. Will this house be my home for the next nine months? What will home look like after that? Will home change, spanning through different apartments, friends’ couches, and hotel rooms? I don’t know, but I’m very curious to find out.

Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning, and for a few minutes, I’ll forget I’m moving to Italy. I’ll sit there, half asleep, and then it will hit me all at once. Oh my god. Oh my god I’m moving!

I don’t consider myself to be the type of person who likes to sit still while everything moves around me, and I’ve been that way for four years! And soon it will be five. An adventure to a place I’ve never been before, with new people, food, and an amazing culture is exactly what I need.

This small town has started to feel like a trap, the only proof that time has passed is that my hips are wider and my old shoes are too small. I am beyond excited to see the passage of time again.