To my left the aqua blue waves lapped softly against the toasted gold sand, white foam leaving a winding treasure trail from one end to the other. The highlands rose stood starkly against the coast, dominating the postcard perfect scene.
To my right the sky was on fire. It burned with lilac, pink, orange and the most subtle yellow. A watercolour canvas spanning as far as the eye could see.
I sat and drunk it all in. Deep breaths, my shoulders softening as the sea air worked its way through my body.
In just six days I have felt myself relax into a rhythm so unlike any I have experienced before. A calmness, where the complexities of daily life just don’t seem to matter anymore.
Of course, we’re still in the honeymoon period. Or, rather, the “away with the fairies” phase. It’s still a holiday, right now. My days are mine and mine alone, filled up with walks on the beach, reading by the pool and working my way around all the local food and drink spots.
I’ve gone back to basics, once again. It’s taking me back to my first month in Florence, where I would spend my evenings exploring the city and reveling in my “alone-ness.” When I was hunting for my favourite place to grab a cappuccino, or the best panino. Going on friend dates and putting myself out there as much as possible. Learning the ways of the locals. Trying to integrate myself into their world.
I forget how wonderful that time was. How fresh it all was. The way I saw everything with eager and hungry eyes.
Because it’s scary. There’s no doubt about that, no hiding from it. Moving to a new place where you know nothing about the area or any of the people in it. Coming from a life where you were 24-7 surrounded by loved ones to one where you have to actively go out and seek new
friends. The difference between walking on auto-pilot to having to check google maps every ten minutes when visiting a new part of the city.
Every now and again I get pangs of anxiety about it. The flips between serenity and fear, when you’re lazing on the beach and suddenly feel so very separate to the tight-knit groups around you. Or when you wake up and realise you can’t just shout to your best friend in the adjacent room to go for breakfast in the local bar together. That unless you take yourself out into the town, you could go a whole day without speaking to anyone.
Until you remind yourself… it always starts like this. There is no quick fix answer to starting a new life.
Isn’t that the beauty of it? The process? The anticipation?
And there’s no denying that there’s a different atmosphere here to that in Florence. As much as the city sparkled in ways I could only have ever dreamt, the locals… well, they weren’t necessarily what you would call “friendly.” A generalisation that wasn’t helped by the language barriers, of course, but nonetheless… here a smile at a stranger is always returned. You can strike up a long conversation with your barista. Everyone asks your name. People are always smiling.
Well, there’s a lot to smile about, isn’t there?
And, now I’m finally nearing the end of the killer jet lag, I’m ready to start throwing myself in fully. Securing work, taking up classes, trips to the city, trips to the other beaches… step by step, I hope to craft a little life here before I set off on my travels.
Step by step I hope to eradicate every last bit of tension to adopt that care-free attitude I crave. The attitude these guys have got down to a T.