September 2013 marks the start of my fifth year in Italy. At the end of this year I’ll automatically qualify for residence here, no questions asked. In many ways I feel like I haven’t progressed at all in the past four years – and then I go back to the beginning and read, and realise that I couldn’t be more wrong.
As this post publishes, I will be at school, talking with my boss about my classes for the coming year. For the first time since my arrival in Italy I’m returning to a school for a second year running – up until now I’ve cut and run at the end of each academic year. The plan is to go back on a part-time basis, leaving me time to continue writing and working on other projects while having enough guaranteed income to pay the rent.
Speaking of which, it’s the start of my third year in Catania, and I’ve moved flats once again – a hard decision, due to the fact that my Sicilian flatmates have become not just the girls I lived with but friends over the past year. However, my new flat is closer to work, and has a parking space for my bike, meaning that it will get used, rather than languishing in a friend’s garage. It also has a double bed.
When I told Clem, my old flatmate, that I was moving out, she gave me a big, sad hug and then perked up. “Well, at least the room’s worked for you, too!” She’s seen a fair few flatmates come and go over the ten years that she’s lived there. Some of them have become her friends, some haven’t, but one unfailing constant has been that everyone who’s stayed in my old room has moved in as a singleton and left as part of a couple. So yes, to those of you who’ve been probing for gossip (“Who’s this ‘Davide’ chap then …?”), it’s official: I’m off the market and outrageously happy.
Bring on year five.