Today we went to Milan for a few hours, actually we probably spent more time in the car driving there and back than in the actual city. (240km or about 2 hours each way, though we got stuck in traffic around Torino so it was significantly longer – though that’s neither here nor there). We hadn’t been back for over a year (for obvious reasons) and this time we drove through our old neighborhood to get to our appointment. It was surreal. Things had changed, but they were exactly the same. We spent the whole (ten minute) drive going: oh look, our favorite Japanese, oooh a new store there, look, didn’t we see an apartment in this building, and that one, and that other one? (we saw a lot of apartments in Milan over 3 plus years, but somehow never managed to buy anything). It was sad and familiar and nostalgic and strange, thinking of this other life we lived, in a big bustling metropolis, with no kids, in a tiny apartment, going to the gym at 7am before work, taking the subway, never having allergies cause there’s not enough plant-life to make me allergic. And we looked at each other and wondered, would we go back? Moving to Cuneo was hard, we left friends, a life, a city we loved and moved out in the middle of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, we made more friends, Cuneo is cute and now that we have kids it’s much, much easier than a big city; but we liked Milan, we liked having options, restaurants, bars, stores, entertainment, loads of things to do. Also, we moved to Cuneo and left family, friends, my Dad died, Alex got sick, so when we think back we imagine ourselves young(er), healthy, safe, with fewer responsibilities.
But then I called home, to check in, and the boy “Mama, where you?” with the girl squealing in the background. And well, we realized our life is perfectly imperfect the way it is. Would I raise my kids in Milan? No. I like that they have a yard to play in, that the air here is clean, that you see middle schoolers walking home from school, alone, safe, that life is relatively uncomplicated; I don’t like that we have fewer options, fewer things to do, there’s no International school (which for me is a big deal), we’re often perceived as strange because we have different customs, we speak a foreign language, we have different views and opinions. But, no place is perfect. You make the best of what you have, right? We still love Milan, and we are happy to go back, occasionally, and be nostalgic for the life that was, but then we get home to big smiles and little arms and “Mama miss you” and we realize that this life, this life that we’re living right now, is perfect for us.
|Us in front of one of our old haunts Bar Magenta|
|Sandwiches at Panino Giusto, Perfection!|
|Me and the best Tiramisu in the world (though I look like I'm feeling ill, I was actually laughing)|