When I first arrived in Italy, I was a determined immigrant, a proud expat, bent on integrating and making friends in my community. Reaching out and having a network of non-windsurfing female friends was primordial for extended success!
I failed miserably. Or perhaps, Italian women failed me miserably. It was one disappointment after another. How many times was I stood up, cancelled on, not called back, invested in only superficially? Too many to count. I stopped trying and delved into my workfriends (all expats) and my family.
After a recent disappointment from my seemingly charming neighbor, and then the mother of Sebastian's "girlfriend" from school, I'd just about given up. This manifested itself fully last week, when a man with two kids walked past our home on the trail that lines our property: he stopped to chat and we discovered a bunch of linking elements (his daughter and my son are at school together, he lives nearby, he likes to windsurf, he has a deaf son and therefore has dealt with life in a deeper way). And... I didn't bother really reaching out. He hinted at our yard, the sandbox, that he went frequently to Pino (where hubby has his windsurf school). And I kind of blew him off. 'Of course there's no point in inviting him in. He will refuse, and if not, he will pretend to be interested and then blow me off some other time.'
After he'd left, which was not such a short time afterwards considering he was Italian, I realized that he might have been trying to reach out. That he was nice. That maybe he was not like the others. That maybe I was just becoming Italian and not giving people the chance to bond. I told hubby that I couldn't be bothered to make any more efforts, and remarkably, he told me I shouldn't let past experiences harden me to potentially interesting and kind people. I should not close myself off.
I was ashamed.
And then the same weekend, I met another woman who I clicked with. Another expat, with a windsurfing hubby, and 10-month-old son. Learned, well-travelled, sociable, interesting. I again thought, 'Don't bother. It's too tiring to try again, get your hopes up, and then be disappointed.' But I remembered hubby's advice and figured, what the heck! If she blows me off, it doesn't matter, because there's nothing to lose, right? We exchanged numbers, and... out of the blue, she called me!!!! Not an sms, just a few days after meeting, for no other reason than to get together!!! WTF?
So I called her back today and we agreed to get together, not this weekend, not the one after, but the one after that (we both work and have children, of course it is almost impossible to find some free time!).
Here's to trying again.