It’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve been quite busy with work, visas, Girl Gone International, and academia so please forgive my lack of posts!
As you all learned from my last post, I ‘had’ my first Italian. It was the weekend before my 28th birthday and a nice early birthday present.
The celebration of my 28th was bitter sweet for me. The number ‘28’ means little, but what it signified for me, personally, was really overwhelming. On July 15, 2010, I turned 25 and I was proposed to. I said yes, and for all the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong; there were plenty of reasons that could be described as ‘right’, they were just ‘wrong’ for me personally.
Consequently, I’m reliving this day as both the anniversary of my birth and my failed engagement. As an engagement, this anniversary meant very little until I was no longer engaged. After almost six years of dating (1.5 years of which we were spent engaged), I broke up with my fiancé and became for the first time in many years a single lady. On July 29, I would have been celebrating my one-year wedding anniversary. I’ve worked hard to live in the present and am proud of the progress I’ve made, but there are still seasons and particular dates which stir up emotions; my birthday is one of those dates.
How does one ‘be’ a single lady?
I remember when I first became ‘single’ I had no idea how to be single. I didn’t know how to date or where to start. Entering the world of singles after having been removed from that scene for so long was exciting… and terrifying, mostly just terrifying.
I took a seven-month break from men before I had my first date with my Scottish beau (a whole other story) and then three months later tried my hand at online dating (another story). Online dating and dating, in general, were not for me. I wasn’t ready to meet someone. I still needed time to myself. Eventually, however, I found I was comfortable with short lived, intimate encounters… frequently an occurrence after a long night of drinking. 😉
Intimate encounters, however, require very well established boundaries. Why? Because even though sex may clearly be a one-night stand in one person’s mind, it isn’t always in the mind of the other. As a newly single woman, I established a set of ‘rules’ to save myself and others the pain of heartbreak. In 2012 I made three men cry; I don’t want to do that again, thus the reason for having rules. It’s not just for me; it’s for others as well.
In many ways I have found I am still guarded. I suppose a really bad breakup will do that to anyone. Originally I intended to write a list of my rules in this post, and I will eventually share these rules, the ones I try to live and ‘love’ by, but I won’t be sharing those rules today.
Because I have been breaking the living hell out of my own rules and, honestly speaking, I couldn’t be more proud of myself.
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My New Year’s Resolution was to be open to the possibility of a relationship or even love. Up until about a month ago, I was breaking this resolution over and over and over. I was not open to anything… other than sex (judge away). In fact, I would argue that it’s only been the last week that I’ve realized that I am open to meeting someone. I mean, I don’t think I’m going to, but I’ve surprised myself and realized this American Burd is, in many ways, healed. Maybe it took getting over that ‘hump’, the ‘would be’ one-year anniversary of the marriage that never happened, but I’m open to… something.
When I last wrote I talked about how important touch is for people and, albeit briefly, my ‘first’ Italian. Had I written this post right after Part I, it would have been completely different but something happened.
He called and I answered.
I don’t call, text, or provoke communication with people I’ve slept with. I’m not usually interested in getting to know them. This time was different. I don’t know if it was boredom or loneliness but I actually answered his call. After ignoring his calls and texts, I started responding. While it makes little to no sense (only because I’m breaking my rules), I’m really enjoying spending time with him. He’s completely different from anyone I’ve ever dated (and for the record, I am NOT dating him). For one, he’s Italian; but it’s not just that, he’s also older, 10 years my senior. He’s easy to get a long with and because he is from a different culture I find I learn something new about Italy or Italian culture every time we meet. We like to hang out at the same places and he likes to dance (I promised myself I would never date anyone again who doesn’t love to dance. I refuse to live without it). He understands my dry and sarcastic sense of humour and is incredibly easy going. He encourages me to use the Italian I’ve learned (I’ve actually learned a lot more than I thought, I just don’t use it unless I’m forced to) and the best part?
It’s not going anywhere.
We have each other’s phone numbers but no email, Facebook or anything else. He leaves in 10 days for a vacation to the ‘States, and unless my contract is renewed legally, I’m leaving Italy for… anywhere outside of the Schengen area on August 25.
Live in the moment
It’s been a nice four weeks, but that’s all it is.
Pillow talk with someone from another culture can just be pillow talk, but it’s also an opportunity. For me, pillow talk with Gianni is a cultural exchange of sorts. In a way it’s a bit of a gift, the gift of a more intimate experience with someone from another culture… with no strings attached.