There's something about coming home. And yes, I would call Milan my home - one of my three homes. Every time I find myself on the airport shuttle that will take me into the city centre, I feel, in some weird and inexplicable way, that I am home. That there's nothing to fear. That I am surrounded by people I love.
When we step off the plane last Thursday, the city is wrapped in warm air that bore a promise of summer. May in Milan means bare-legs weather, so I dared to go for the no-tights look twice during our long weekend. Thank God my dresses were pretty enough to distract any viewers fro
m how painfully pale my legs looked!
Walking through the streets where I once lived, taking in the views I once saw every day, I felt like the person I was a year ago - working in my old job with my old friends (whom I see every time I go back!) and dreaming of moving to London. So many things were different back then. I wasn't vegan yet, yoga wasn't in my life, I had yet to dance in Shoreditch nightclubs and look down on Greenwich Park from the observatory. I hadn't shopped at Portobello market, had the Costa Coffee cortado or seen the Lichtenstein exhibition. I didn't know so many of the people that are my new friends today.
Back then I walked to work every day (oh, to be able to do it again!), played with the neighbour's cat, was a gym bunny and spent my weekends volunteering at the shelter. Thinking of that girl makes me smile. I miss her sometimes.
Over the course of the weekend, I laugh a lot. I take long walks in the sun with dear friends. I drink about a thousand espressos and eat two vegan pizzas. I take photos of flowers, drink wine and watch trashy Italian TV. I wake up to sunshine and fall asleep in th room where my fiance grew up.
When the time comes for us to head home, I find myself tearing up as David hugs his parents goodbye. Leaving Milan feels like leaving behind a piece of me. Every time.
Every place I've lived has taught me something. And each of them has left me with something. Milan has taught me that no time you enjoy is ever wasted: I was never supposed to end up there, but I did and made the best out of the situation. I learned what it's like when everything you want comes true: by getting (what I then thought was) my dream job and moving int to the best apartment out of everything we saw, in what is doubtlessly the most beautiful area of the city and fulfilling my dream of volunteering, I have experienced the thrill of going from desperate to delighted when virtually everything I wanted fell into my lap. I also learned to realize when, despite having it all, it's time to move on, into the unknown.
Speaking of the unknown.
As I pop my headphones in, back on the airport shuttle, my phone buzzes with an e-mail. It's from a DREAM client in London that I've been dying to work for. They want me to start tomorrow.
And this is what Milan, and Italy, can't offer me. What London lacks in sunshine and pizza, it makes up for in unexpected opportunities. I'm happy to be home, not just for the job but for a million reasons. Still, not waking up to the scent of fresh coffee made by my mother-in-law the next day does leave me a bit nostalgic.
Pictures by me