Is there ever a time when Love is Not Enough?
No story would be complete without a little drama. Remembering back on my last day in Australia, I stood at the rocks and looked over the ocean to ponder about the next steps I was taking in my life. Never in my wildest dreams would I have even considered what was in store for me…
After my visit to Italy for my birthday in May and the debauchery at the Be Centre and all the mess it caused I tried relentlessly to get work in OZ with no success. To sum up what happened at Be Centre. I had found out the CEO had been stealing for the past 3 years, she went away to Kenya and I was approached by the founder and told the truth with evidence. I explained that I felt it could all be fixed, however if they wanted to further the business development they would have to make some serious changes if they wanted me on board. I knew when I left that meeting that I had lost my job. I knew because the founder was a womanizer, who fed off of weak women to do his dirty work and make him look good. I could not be one of those women, and it was a lot easier to get rid of me, then to fix the situation at hand. While away in Italy, our only promised investor sadly took his own life. The game was over. I knew returning to OZ would be a change, but I had no idea how difficult it would be to get work. Either I had too much experience or because of my visa restrictions and time limit, no companies wanted to take me on. In order to stay in OZ I would have had to take a job I didn't like. Example: recruiting, simply to obtain the visa. I even went on the interview, but after they said two years, my skin broke out in hives and I had trouble breathing. Yes, it was stability, yes it was a paycheck and a place to go everyday…I also thought about staying quiet at the Be Centre, sometimes integrity takes over. I truly believed in play therapy and the benefit it has for children. Sometimes it isn't about the paycheck, but what piece of mind can buy you. I thought a lot about Mirko during this period, the life I felt I was meant to live, and all the dreams I truly wanted. After the interview with the recruiting company things moved rather quickly. I got word that my lease at my comfy apartment by the beach was ending August 31st, exactly when Mirko would be returning back to Italy. With three months left on my Australian visa, I made the decision to try and start my life in Italy with Mirko. This was not such an easy decision for me. Its difficult to explain to people exactly what is involved when you move countries, how much work it really takes, money, faith and above all patience. Italy especially is one of those countries that is especially difficult given the beurocracy here. Why didn't I say to Mirko come to the United States? The answer is simple. He has a very good career here in Italy. Sometimes we have to make choices (compromise) and someone has to jump, I jumped. I knew it would be difficult for me in his country, the language, getting work. However, my advantage is speaking English. No, at the moment I do not have a thriving career, I can only identify myself as Ilyssa and when asked what I do…I tell people..A LOT. I'm doing a lot at the moment to set up a future to have a career and a family in a country that one-day will be my own.
Looking back to 2 months ago when I left Australia I could have done some things differently, but I did what I could with the recourses I had. I had to sell my car, furniture, and book tickets, get my life to Italy. When Mirko arrived in Australia, our time together was nothing short of a disaster. It truly was extremely stressful, and adding to the fun we both got really bad colds, and were bedridden for most of the time.While sick, I still tried to show him around, pack, and sell things. He did everything humanly possible to help me transition, which made the decision a bit easier for me. He never complained, he stood strong and helped me to function as I watched everything I had worked really hard to create come crumbling down once again, to restart and build a future together that most…think is impossible. Against all odds we kept forging forward. We cried, we laughed, we fought, and we celebrated the small victories.
Some background, while I was in Australia, Mirko had purchased a home in Prato, a city 6 miles from Florence. He had bought the apartment as an investment; the place would not be ready till Jan. So we decided to rent an apartment in Florence, which we chose during our stressful moments in Australia. The plan was3 months in Florence, get situated, go to school, make friends…Dec leave for NY come back to Italy with a proper visa IF we could get one…somehow.
I have decided certain planning is useless. Maybe have an idea of what you are going to do, but do not plan anything. As I sit here writing this, I am living in Mirkos fathers house at the end of month 2. So what happened? We did not pay enough attention to the details, that's what happened. We were so rushed, and so crazed that we forgot to breath and take a minute.
From the moment I landed in Italy, both of us have been on such high speed, that we have spent most of the two months in doctor's offices. Looking back it is so ridiculous, however, we did get a lot done and as usual learned a lot. In the meantime each had our own experiences during this process, which have brought us together in a way he and I never thought possible.
While in Australia I found a retreat called Sunflower Retreats, a place in Casperia near Roma with franchising opportunities. My heart nearly skipped a beat; with my business background and love for holistic remedies I thought the options were endless. All I needed to do was find time to explore the place, speak to the founders and see where it would go. When Mirko came home one night and told me he had to go to Rome that coming Saturday, I jumped at the opportunity to go with him, and then up to the retreat. We both agreed to spend the day in Roma, and then leave very early Sunday morning together to go check it out.
Friday evening came and we had a dinner to go to for a philanthropic organization for blind. Mirko knows that this is an issue very close to home for me, because of my mothers health issues, she is half blind He booked four tickets, and we thought it would just be a normal philanthropic meal, time to network…NO. This was a blind dinner. Literally, in the pitch black, with blind people serving a full Italian meal. We were led one by one into the room, seated, and told before we sat down the shapes of what the drinks were in. We were tapped on the shoulder before each meal was placed in front of us. I sat next to Mirko during the dinner, I couldn't see him, but I felt him.I absolutely went into panic mode, feelings of last year watching my mother who was fully blind at the time wandering around the house, not being able to find the food at the table; it was an experience not to be taken lightly. Which made me realize just how lucky my mother really is. She did regain some sight back in her eye, even enough to drive. My god, be thankful for every moment. As we left the dinner and I saw the train of blind people who had taken months to prepare for this dinner, months of motivation to learn how to guide themselves around the table and serve 30 people a 5 course meal…I really started to well up with a fair amount of emotion. Incredible human beings, who take a disadvantage and use it to help others. That experience enriched my life and left me more grateful for all that I can and will see in this life.
We caught the bus at 430am with Mirkos work bunch so they could attend the protest. Mirko is a professional negotiator; he fights to save peoples jobs. He is the definition of a humanitarian. While he attended the protest, I found the hotel, checked us in and started my walk about. I had been to Roma with my mom a year before. My first stop was the Fontana di Trevi, where I met Mirko again, and we both threw a coin in the fountain. My wish was very different from last year…we ended the afternoon with a nice nap and a beautiful run. Mirko chose the restaurant for dinner which was typical cuisine of Roma, he paid a group to serenade me…At first it felt worse then when people come over to sing happy birthday to you…that embarrassment…After they were done I looked over at Mirko and asked..What did they say?He looked at me and said, "Roma is surrounded by 7 mountains, and you are the 8th mountain of Roma." I realized at that moment understanding all the words in Italian wasn't really necessary, all I needed to understand what was in Mirkos eyes, because his eyes said more then the song ever could.
The next morning at 6 am we got on the train to investigate the Sunflower Retreat. This retreat was started my two hippies, who in the 90's had been very successful. They didn't seem to have any business sense, but they did have the sense to employ others to surround them who did have the business sense the needed to be successful. Once we got there we realized how absurd the prices were and exactly how disorganized the business had become hence why they wanted to franchise. We dropped our stuff off to our room, which in all honesty represented a tree house. Mirko and I hit our heads on the ceiling numerous times…while I thought the walk they were taking us on was a tour of the facilities, I was again wrong. The walk was in nature, where they dropped us off with an alcoholic tour guide, who explained that he had an affair with the ex yoga teacher at the retreat, and because of this they had limited his work with them.This was not exactly the start Mirko and I were looking for, but the bush walking and caves were just the dose of nature I needed to feel more grounded to make my next decisions. As mirko left at 530 am that next morning, I sat on the stoop watching him drive off, I sat for a while, walked Casperia, and went to the yoga class they provided. Unfortunately the teacher was an egomaniac, and for the full 90minutes she did a demo. Every now and then lifting her shirt to show off her abdominal muscles, or pulling up her pant leg to show her calf. I silently watched in horror as the two other women in the room who had never done yoga before, washed over with disappointment. I decided right then, my time would be better spent leaving the retreat and heading to the water. At 530 am I boarded the bus to Poggio, then Tiburtina then Termini station in Roma and finally a train to Naples. As I boarded the train to Naples with my backpack, ipod, and my freedom…I realized just how much I really love my freedom. I had no idea where I was going, no itinerary, no guidebook, no map, no return ticket…and no money…no problem. As soon as I got to the Island of Capri I ran down to the water jumped in with all my clothes and immediately felt my entire body release. Along my travels I met a young man who was from Nepal. Its very mysterious how we met and the conversations we had, I'd say the best way to describe it was simply a lesson for me. A lesson saying that like minded people exist, but also to show me when to be able to say goodbye and feel at peace. He left me that day in Capri saying,"Be happy and always be yourself".
IF love is the answer, then what is the question?I have sworn by living in the moment and to let each day happen, while also…doing my best everyday."Best" can have a lot of interpretations to many different people you encounter in your life. There will always be people who knowingly or unknowingly try to take you from your path. There are people who really care about you, and when they say "love" it is truly with no provisions, this makes it unconditional, I am learning this. I believe it is our job to determine who these people are, and never stop trying to find them, to inevitably surround ourselves with only them and rid ourselves of the distractions.In general I have found it quite difficult to explain the path I have chosen to other people. Especially to those who do not have the strength to pursue there own dreams. It is very easy for people to get lost in the fear of any given situation and tell themselves things that do not benefit them, that are just simply not true. It can be difficult at moments to only think about what you do have, not what you do not. Some envy my travels, some feel I am lost, never finish anything, or that this year abroad may not have benefited me. However, I see it completely differently. I broke a mold, I used my strength to pursue my dreams, and figure out who I am, I learned tough lessons, encountered heartache, built boundaries and continue to try to teach these lessons I have learned to others, so that they may also benefit from my exploration. It is my greatest wish to be heard, and to teach others how to use the minds they have to see the positive in life to create all they desire. I am still searching for that outlet and try to use my writing as a way to express to others inspiration, lose the fear, attack your life head on and control your own destiny. I fight myself at moments; the hard times leave me wondering if I am effective. I have been in Italy for close to 3 months. As I mentioned I have spent most of my time in Doctors offices. Why? Because Mirko and I did not listen to our intuition, we were in such a rush that we forgot the important details. The first month Mirko thought he was a diabetic, he was losing weight rapidly, felt exhausted, thirsty he went and got loads of blood work done. Not even a week later I started feeling very itchy…everywhere. A week later I went to go get blood work, 3 different doctors, 6 different pills, multiple visits…all the while trying to learn a language, working to build a relationship, trying to make friends, trying to make a little money, trying to get a visa, dealing with family issues. It was one week ago; Sunday morning, Mirko and I woke up and had bites all over our bodies. Our apartment in Florence was covered with scabies and bedbugs. For 2 and a half months because we were both so rushed we thought it was mosquitoes. At 30+ years of age, we put all our clothes and belongings into trash bags, hand in hand got on the train and left Florence.The house Mirko bought is not ready. We had to go to his fathers' house and sleep on the sofa, while also trying not to infest the fathers' house.If you want to take a minute to discuss "stress", now would be a perfect opportunity. When I ask the question is love enough? My answer is simple. Yes.I have money, I can leave, I could go anywhere in the world my heart desires. It has nothing to do with the fact that we now have a house or material items, because simply I could go anywhere in the world to have those things. Yet I choose to stay with him. Sure the past 3 months have been trying and disheartening, however, nothing brings you closer then being naked in the bathroom applying burning scabies crème to one another. We have now seen each other in our darkest moments.Things are far from perfect. Yet we do not give up, we have made the absolute best of a horrible stressful period, not to mention the other distraction we have had along with the bugs.I don't mind telling you this because I know Mirko already knows this and supports me. He and I are unconventional. We do not need a big party, a ring or even the marriage certificate at this point to confirm who we are together. Its something through all the problems that just isn't negotiable.In all honesty I do not feel it is the material things that show your commitment to another person, in my humble opinion it is the everyday showing. Vows mean nothing, if you are willing to break them when it suits you. He has taught me that regardless of how s***ty a day may be, no matter how stressed we are, before bed, we take five minutes together. This time can be quiet time, or time to share, but the five minutes at the end of our days has become something I could not live without.Every morning I wake up, I do not stop fighting to be the best I can be, for myself and for him, simply because I feel I deserve that and I know he deserves that. For every weak moment, I have had to be doubly strong to overcome the fear.No, I do not have a large paycheck at the moment to prove my worth or show my accomplishments, no I do not have an award from a company stating my achievements, and no I do not have children or a husband.Yet, what I do have are my two legs, my eyes, and experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I have knowledge that no one could learn in a classroom. I have myself, my passion, love, and a deep sincere wish to give to others who truly want to receive. I have the choice to live as I want, I have happiness, and most of all I feel I owe no one but myself.As I continue on my search to find the big answers about unconditional love, I don't ask people to agree with me, or live the life I have chosen. I do ask for respect, love and positivity. Leave the bitterness, selfishness, and past at the door. Look forward and inward, believe and you will see the truth about yourself, no matter how beautiful it is….
If you ever encounter someone in your life who says to you not everything in life is meant to benefit your well being…then I would question…that person and whoever would make a rule so negative. You never need someone else to tell you its ok to feel good. Ever. If you value yourself, and your needs, let the person who is afraid, be afraid and you move on. If the person deems you selfish it is only because they don't really love themselves, and this is sad. Someone who is not grounded in any belief will do everything and anything to gain followers, ever hear the saying…"misery loves company?"
People are people, and have there own personal agendas and journeys. Along the way we all make mistakes. We sometimes can say or do wrong things, at moments we try to justify ourselves. At some point though, regardless of the relationship through the chaos you can stop and say…enough. Its ok not to explain yourself, it is ok to move on not look back, its ok to give yourself a hug and acknowledge you did the best you could. WE are meant to assist, not necessarily "save". Think of pulling a band-aid off, it's that initial sting. The initial sting can be physical or mental; it is after the sting when it is your chance to be aware of how you really feel. Remembering that the only person who deserves justification is always you. ANYTHING that feels good to you is in harmony with what you really want.
After one year abroad, in 3 weeks I will be back in the United States.Mirko will be joining me for his first time in America, where he will meet my family, and my closest friends.We plan to come back to Italy together and continue to create the life we want while teaching others to always truly believe…LOVE only love…is enough.