Siamo arrivati.

Allora…so…siamo arrivati.

We have arrived.

Today is Day Numero 6.

When we arrived, at first, I was sure, absolutely sure that I was fine.  I am fine.  I am functioning.  I slept (un po’) on the plane…so…fine.   We took a MyTaxi from MXP to our apartment in the Navigli (canals) district.   We found the apartment.  We opened the door.

Dark.  Reeking of cigarettes.

I will have to adjust, I thought.   Next I thought:

What the devil did we do?   (or WTAF if you want me to use my full expression of our language…)

We will be living here for many, many months…I just need to adjust.


So the first thing I did was to lie down.   I need to breathe, I thought.  It’s going to be ok.  I just need to breathe. (Revisiting that there is smoke everywhere….we throw open the windows so I can try to breathe).

R is unpacking.   I am breathing.   It is going to be ok.   I know it.

We have left our home and friends and family and children…and it is going to be okay.    Panic passed.  I begin to unpack.   We walk down the street…get a few groceries.   I think I make noodles….I am not sure.

I am surprised by how I feel.    Unmoored.  But then I think that it is super important to feel lost so I can feel found again.     I want to text this to myself over and over — feel intentionally lost so you can be better found.  Feel intentionally lost so you can be better found.

I feel lost — but maybe I can be better found.

(Cue Dear Evan Hansen‘s “You will be found” ).

That was Day One.

Even though I promised myself…promised that I would remember Day One — when I woke up for Day Two I found I could think better.   Dishes — yes.  I can do this.  Yes.   Dishwasher.  Woohoo!  I know how to use it.  Three — washer, no dryer.   You need to pour water in with a pitcher to make it work.  But hey — I can do this.  (Pep talk to myself).   I did survive grad school so I can do this too.

We walked to amazing gluten-free bakery, GluFree, on the way to R’s work.   Starting to feel normal.  Walking outside, normal.   Breathing air, normal.

R suggests that we get some hooks.  A tea kettle.  Feeling more normal.

Day Three.   Most of the day is spent downloading apps and looking at maps — and configuring technology for our new space and place.  Hours and hours go by.  I turn to R and tell him “you realize that in ten years we won’t be able to figure any of this out, right?”

He smiles.   (Look at us acting normal.)

And suddenly it is the day he goes to work.  I walk with him.   My chelsea boots slip slip slip on the stones.   I walk back.   I slip but I do not fall.

It is not until I change into my grey velvet combat boots that I feel solid.    I stop at paint stores and look in the window.  I purchase a light bulb.   I find the Tintoria Lavanderia.   The woman takes his shirts….she says:  “domani” — tomorrow.

This is what I am thinking….domani.   Tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will discover something else.    It is “tomorrow” when I google how to use an espresso pot on the stove.   I learn that the best espresso is made in a three-euro aluminum pot.   Nothing fancy.   Mmm.   The second time I make it I offer it to my landlord.   He approves.

I am already a better person than I was when I arrived.  Woohoo.   I also learn that when delivers it is not an exact delivery date — it is merely a suggestion.  It is possible that the guardian of the building will be in the courtyard (“mi trovo in cortile” — is what the sign may say).    When someone is supposed to sign a government document and they do not, well…just stay calm.   See how I am adjusting?

Now Day Six.  No, we did not make a mistake.  This is a lesson.  We are learning it.  Texting it to my self.  In my brain.  Over and over.   We found a museum I loved.  I have walked miles and miles and I have pillowcases now.   And a tea kettle.    My first delivery arrived and the guardian nodded at me.   We were invited to dinner on Saturday…we have tickets to see some Chagalls on Sunday.

When I was buying chocolate at the market for these Baci di Damas, I felt myself smiling.   So amazing.

I will be found.

Navigli — Darsena. Milano.


  1. I loved reading this and will continue to read about your journey. It’s not unlike when we send our kids off to Israel for a year-emotionally it’s probably pretty similar! Enjoy this amazing time!

  2. Can’t wait for the next installment. This should be on NPR! I’m glad you are adjusting. As we say in Hebrew (I don’t know the Italian) l’at l’at…little by little. In a month you will wonder who wrote this!

    • I believe that in Italian you say “piano, piano” and the saying goes” piano, piano si va lontano” which means, slowly, slowly you go far… 🙂 good luck Leslie!

  3. Thanks for sharing your adventure Leslie! Sorry about the smoke, glad about the chocolate 🙂 This time will fly by, so enjoy the journey!

  4. I’m lost too! What brought you to Italy? How long will you be there? So proud of you!

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