“Who I am and why I’m here”


I have written a blog for about two years now, I started without a moment’s planning or organization. I just wanted to have a place where I could write and share it with people, who like me, enjoyed writing.  2014 has started once again with a list of resolutions and among them my wish to blog on a more permanent basis without letting my life ordeals drag me off course, something I found very hard to fight with in the past two years. I thought it would be easier to write on my schedule, when I had time or just a few minutes, but I discovered it wasn’t so.

On January 1st, I logged in to my blog and found in my reader a post by “The Daily Post”  gang with the title “Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog.” Captured by the title (I mean who doesn’t want to have a better blog, right? Especially when you know you could be doing so much more) I read it and liked the idea. So here I am with the first assignment, hoping to keep up with it until the last day. I know that I have tried before and failed, but I am willing to keep on trying. So here we go.

Our first post on this 30 day adventure is titled “who I am and why I am here” not an easy task, but I can start by telling you that I’m a 43-year-old American expat, living in Southern Italy where I have taught conversational English for the past 17 years as a substitute teacher. So many have asked me in the past years and in comments to my past posts: ” how can you be a substitute teacher in Italy for 17 years?” I have tried in so many ways to explain it, but it is so difficult to do so because unless you are in the Italian school system nothing I will see will make much sense. Fact being that becoming a permanent teacher in Italy is one of the most difficult things to do. It is easier to make a scientific discovery than to become a permanent teacher, but after 17 years I am locked in this vicious circle and have no way out.

I am a lover of writing. Can I say that? From my tender age, I have always longed to put a pen on a sheet of paper (or finger tips on a keyboard). I grew up writing diaries, than moved on to personal journals as I grew up. Took part in some contests and even won first place in a M.A.D.D. sponsored State competition back in high school. I got to represent my State at the national level and even receive an award from the Hawaii State House of Representatives.

When I was a youngling, I wanted to be many things, but my dreams kept on changing.  I lived in Hawaii and with Tom Selleck and Magnum P.I. being taped on the island every year, it just seemed the great thing to do. We then moved to New England, Rhode Island to be precise. There my dreams changed once again. I wanted to be an astronaut. I even went to Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. What a great time. The friends I made and the experiences, just breathtaking.

My mom tried so hard to make all my dreams come true, but my path kept on changing.

My mom has been and still is my inspiration. From the moment I started to understand what life was about, to joys, the pains and sorrows I kind of knew why mom loved to art. A writer, a “who’s Who” poet of the year, a published author. I mean how could I not love writing, right? Writing has been in my blood since the beginning. I dreamt it and wanted it, but I guess sometimes life isn’t just about what you want. Skills and abilities are important yes, but being in the right place at the right time also has its fundamental role in the game. Doesn’t it? I tried through the years to take writing courses, but it was just too expensive to afford. Living in Southern Italy without a stable job and with a family to support has made it all too hard to conciliate. My love for the art and trying to make a living supporting my family are sometimes contrasting events. Sometimes even your family members are constant obstacles to overcome in your writing. They simply crash that inspiration that you might have at a specific time. A moment in which you are a river overflowing with words, wanting to put them down and then like a curse another word said at the wrong time, or with the wrong tone make it all disappear. Writing isn’t only about you, but also about others letting you be a writer. But that is a topic for a different story.

Then with the advent of the Internet, things changed. Blogging become a way for people to do just what they liked, writing about what ever came to mind and sharing it with people around the world hoping that someone out there liked what you had to say. Maybe even shared your point of view, but I never thought about blogging, read many of them yes, but never writing one. Until a couple of years ago when I felt the vital need to do it. I knew it was time to start doing something I loved. Writing.

Which brings me to today. I am a writer. Not a constant one, not a professional one, but I am a writer.  Surely not one of those who inspire me so much, but nonetheless I am a writer. I want to practice the art, I want to perfect it and I want to share it with all of those out there who share the same love. It isn’t important in the long run who you are or what you do, but that you are never to old to try to make your dreams come true. Maybe one day I will have that chance, but until then I am here with all of you, who just like me can’t resist the temptation. Writing after all is one of the greatest temptations to which you can fall to anytime, any day and still never feel guilty about indulging.

I want to write about life, my life, our lives and how it affects us every day. How it changes us, how it inspires us or even how it smacks us down. Living in Italy has taught me so many hard lessons in life and I felt the need to share them. People are so fascinated by this country, after all it is the land of the “Dolce Vita”, but what many do not know is the hardship that people here have to endure every single day. It is easy to talk about Italy, if all you are concerned with is food and wine. Or maybe Tuscany, Rome and Venice. Italy is so much more than that, the people (and not the 10% of them who hold the country’s riches) are so much more than that. I want to write about the human aspect of “livin’italian” and not only of the glamorous Italy. People forget that behind Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Chianti and all that, are people who for decades have barely made it to the end of the month. People who have no idea what a vacation is, but know the hardships of life up close every single day. They deserve to be heard and spoken about. They are the ones who dream of simple things like holding a stable job and making a decent salary just so that they can give something more to their kids and family. Livin’italian is why I am here, to show the world both sides of the same coin.

There is only one way to know Italy and it is to live it. North or South makes a difference, from the rich part of the country to the poor one, from region to region, city to city, Italy is a land of many contradictions and I am here to tell you about it. To pull you in and have you live it with me, eat it with me and why not, even have share a glass of good wine with me.

It might be just for the length of a post or maybe for a visit to my new home city of Naples.  Still it will have been a moment in which I will have shared with you.  All I want is to welcome you into my world and have you see it through my eyes, feel it through my heart and hear it through my ears, because unlike many other cities in Italy, Naples is one of a kind. The movie “eat, pray, love” with Julia Roberts where she comes to Naples and sits down at a table at Michele’s pizzeria for one of the best pizza’s in Naples is only an example of why you should read my blog. So time zone permitting, 6 hours ahead of my so missed America, I will try to keep up with all of you friends.

This is “who I am and why I am here.”

All I want is to be a writer. All I want to do is share.


5 responses to ““Who I am and why I’m here”

  1. My wife (Mrs Sensible) is an Italian Substitute teacher, I found your blog in July 2012 while I was searching for information on why the Italian school system is so bad for teachers. Your blog inspired me to start my own blog, I was going to rant and rave about Italy, unfortunately I am not to good at ranting, but thanks for the inspiration.

    • WOW, I’ve never thought my self as one who would inspire others, but I’m glad you found your own way of “ranting and raving” on Italy. It is a love/hate relationship with this country isn’t it? In any case, we all try to make the best of it. I’m glad you found me, there is nothing better than a new friend in life to rant and rave in different ways 😉

  2. Wonderful post mister, we have the same dream: to be a writer and to share our experiences, our life. It is never too late to make our dreams come true, we must fight for our passions =D

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