Sam’s Story: Chapter One


Sam’s Story: Chapter One

It all started in June 2013. Sam sat on her mother-in-law’s bed, crying. “What did I just do… what did I just do…” she kept asking herself.

She had moved to Italy. After visiting once in 2010, she had spent years contemplating moving to Italy, now it was done. Nothing but regret filled her. Everything was done, there was no turning back, nor was there any time. She was already five months pregnant. The time for life-changing moves had already passed… now she was stuck. 

Sam’s husband, Federico, came into the room. He felt horrible, what had he done? The bigger question loomed in his head, “what would he do now?” 

Both lingering to sleep that night, while Sam tried her hardest to shut out reality, the next morning would be the first step in a long journey of paperwork. Sam, not knowing what was ahead of her, was feeling completely blank. No emotions. 

She woke the next morning at 06:55am to the sound of concrete drilling; something new she learned that day, Italians start residential construction work at 7am. 

Next would be the adventure to the shower, Sam found out that this was a very standard “box shower,” as they say in Italian. The opening is on a corner, with two doors that leave an entrance of approximately 30 cm. As Sam slid sideways into the shower, she realized this would not last long as her tummy was growing; in a few months, there was no way she would be able to get into the shower at all! 

Next was the subject of driving; Federico did not know how to drive stick-shift, but Sam did. With excitement, she got into the family’s 13-year-old mini-van. Driving stick-shift was something that set her apart from her friends in the US. Everyone drove automatic, but this she could do. While listenting to the connection time and getting used to an old routine, her mother in law, Elena gave her directions:

Elena; “A sinistra” finger and arms gesturing, then Federico pipes in “Left!! Left” 

With strong emotions, Sam pulls the car to the left, back into first.

Elena: “A sinistra, perchè e senso unico, deve gira gira.” moving her arms to the left, then speaking while making a whirlpool with her hands… 

Federico pipes in – turn left, again, it’s a one-way street. 

Elena: “A destra” she says while waving her hands and arms to the right. Federico says, “right,” then Elena points down a small road “destra” again, with all the movements as though she was landing an airplane. Then she signals for Sam to park to the car. 

Sam got out of the car, realizing she just shifted gears about thirty times to drive a block down the road. She laughs, “but why didn’t we walk?! It’s right here!” via the translations of Fede, Elena responds that she thought it would be best to drive due to Sam being pregnant… 

In less than 24 hours, Sam was starting to digest the following things about her life changing-move: 

  1. She was going to regret every day for the rest of her life
  2. There are no noise regulations in Italian residential zones 
  3. Driving was going to be interesting 
  4. She was very numb to everything 
  5. So far, showers sucked in Italy
  6. Everything would be better in America… 

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