Leaving Italy

Once again, I’m doing something unusual: leaving my husband behind in Italy while I move (mostly) to the US for work.

And, as usual, I’m struggling to explain to people what I’m doing and why. (The story of my life is that there is almost no question about me to which a simple answer can be given.)

So…. what am I doing?

I have accepted a job with Sun Microsystems, which comes with a requirement that I be based in the US. I’ll have an office at Sun’s Broomfield, Colorado campus (though I’ll also travel a lot); I’ll have a home within easy commuting distance of that office.

My husband Enrico will remain in Italy, where he has a good job as a university professor, and we will maintain our home in Lecco as it is today. We will travel as much as we can to see each other – fortunately, both our jobs allow for flexibility. But the cold fact of the matter is that we will mostly be living apart. No, I’m not happy about that.

So why am I doing this?

Because I aspire to challenging work in which I can make a real difference to at least some small corner of the world. I want the possibility of growth in my profession, commensurate with the skills and hard work that I bring to it. And I need to make a dignified living, to help provide a secure future for myself and my family (not least: our daughter has just been accepted to college in the US!).

I have tried for seventeen years to achieve all this in Italy, in my industry (high tech). For part of that time I have made progress along my chosen road. But it’s never been easy, and it’s only getting harder. Italy is in a zero-growth slump from which neither I nor anyone else sees much hope of near-term recovery. As much as they love their country and the lifestyle they have historically had here, many Italians despair of the future, for themselves and especially for their children. (More on that, too, in a future article.)

Most Italians don’t have or would never make the choice to leave Italy – they are deeply rooted (which has its upsides, of course). Some foreigners, too, have chosen to make lives for themselves in Italy, and are far more emotionally invested in living here than I ever was. For many years I chose to be here for my family, and that was the right thing to do at the time. Now that Rossella is grown up and gone from home, probably for good, I have more scope to make choices that are right for me. And I’m very excited about that.

So I have a chance to get out, and I’m taking it. Better yet, I have a chance to do something new and exciting with a great company. There are risks, and there may be costs. But, weighed against the certain costs (both financial and emotional) of not taking the risks, this is the best choice I can make right now.

Wish me luck!

ps. For those who come here for my articles and info about Italy, don’t worry – there is still plenty to say about it, and I’ll be travelling back often enough to keep plenty of ink in that particular well.

15 thoughts on “Leaving Italy

  1. Luca Conti

    Complimenti Deirdre, scelta coraggiosa. Non so quante italiane lo avrebbero avuto al tuo posto.

    In bocca al lupo 😉

  2. Chiocciola

    Congratulations to Ross for getting in to UT! It’s a great school! I will be very curious to see how she likes it. As a European who went to college in the southern US I have a lots of thoughts on this. I had a great time both socially and academically but the lifestyle wasn’t my favorite.

    And congratulations to you too on your new job! It must be a very difficult decision but sounds like you have thought it through very well. In bocca a lupo!!

  3. vangie

    Congratulations, Deirdre, on your new beginnings! How wonderful that you and Ross will be in reasonably close proximity, and that you always have the option to visit your home in beautiful Lecco. Look me up if business or pleasure bring you to Houston! (Writing this from a 9-year-old Sun Solaris UNIX box, which I LOVE)

  4. Alice

    WONDERFUL news about Austin for Ross, admirable news about Colorado for you, touching news about Lecco semi-bachelorhood for Enrico, and wistful news for me as I get ready to head for Italy in April… where and when I’d hoped to finally meet you this spring!
    Another time — but MEANTIME tanti auguri to all, and I’m thrilled to think of you all doing such brave yea-saying things with your lives.

  5. pia

    I do wish you luck!!! Everytime I look around in Italy I see people way too over qualified at their jobs. My neighbors are both college graduates (he in economy, is a night porter at a hotel, she in political sci works at the mensa for whirlpool. The third star hotel I worked at had a poli sci graduate, an engineer (from India) and a doctoral candidate!!! You don’t choose your jobs in Italy, you take the best of what is offered in desperation to make a living!!

    Take care and all the best!!!

  6. Tom

    I’ve been with you and your newsletter/website for some time now. Although the economy (especially housing market) here in the US and the devalued dollar have delayed my relocation to Italy, I am grateful for the bounty of information you provide on a host of topics. I will anticipate how your newsletter will be colored by your repatriation to the US. Your observations as a participant in several cultures, I am sure, will continue to delight. Be strong though, you know what they say about re-entry! Thank you for sharing your unique perspectives and buona fortuna in your new position. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

  7. Qt

    I’ll give you (and your daughter Ross too) my well wishes: “Buon divertimento” (Have fun). Yes, i often wish “have fun” in place of “good luck” to people emberking in a new adventure in their life (may it be a change of work, living place, marital status or some other life altering solution) as i think that all said that is the think people changing things in their life are searching (obviously i’m not speaking just about laughing…).
    I’m a little sorry as i was thinking i was going to met you somewhere sometimes and this make it more improbable (if we don’t consider meeting being logged in the same Sun web servers while you are doing your job and i’m searching for some docs or downloads about Java 🙂 ).
    That said i’ll repeat myself: Buon divertimento!, to you and all your family.

  8. Rajeev

    Exciting! All the best to you in your new endeavour(s)~ they may begin to know you by name at the airport 🙂

  9. Kat (Cochrane) Prawl

    Congratulations to both Ross and you! And congratulations to Enrico for being enlightened and lucky enough to be able to live with (or not) two very talented, intelligent and interesting women. I wish the best for all of you. Ross, you may not remember visiting me and my parents in Florida many years ago, but your name (and Deirdré’s) are still embroidered on the “visitors’ quilt” in my mother’s guest room. As it happens, my new husband and I are right now about 50 miles east of Austin, and plan to spend time somewhere in Texas next winter, too, so maybe we can get together again then. Deirdré, maybe I’ll see you in Sun’s opensource Project Darkstar/Wonderland virtual world, or Second Life. If I can ever find the time to finish it, I’m planning to run a Darkstar/Wonderland server for a few friends to experiment with.

  10. bamh1

    Best wishes on your new adventure. I also appreciate the beautiful picture of the sunset as representative of your own situation with regard to Italia, and most poignantly, that of Italia herself. After 6 years in Milano, we also recently returned to the US, for reasons similar to yours. It was a choice, as was the decision to go to Italy in the first place, but you have to keep looking forward, and I’m afraid Italy is too busy looking back.

  11. Deirdré Straughan

    Thanks, everybody, for the thoughts and wishes. It’s comforting to know that I have worldwide support in my peculiar endeavours, even from people I’ve never technically met! ; )

  12. Alexander v. Below

    All the best to you! With all the great news I must say the part about the slump in italy was sad, if expected.

    Hope to see you soon, in Italy, Colorado, California, Germany or anywhere else!

    Alex

  13. Joan

    I’m gonna miss knowing you’re right down the road Deirdré! I really enjoy keeping up with you and Ross and Enrico via you’re newsletter. I’m confident everything will go great for all of you. I look forward to seeing you on a future visit. All the best! Joan

  14. Helen Ellerbach

    What does the Sicilian name Beppino mean? Need to know asap? WHy! Friend raises several kinds for animals and one group is Sicilian (minature) donkeys. He was born a few days ago and I thought this name was so cute. Also like the name Luca. 🙂

    Thanks in advance
    Deirdre:
    Hope you are settled in the US and not missing Italy.

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