Welcome back to Have Son, Will Travel – Phase 2! I guess I have some explaining to do. I still have a son and we have still been traveling. Though life has presented some unexpected detours. The past eight months have seen us in New York, Ohio, Nashville, Los Angeles, and now London. I left off with our story in Italy almost a year ago exactly.
The boy and I stayed on in Vicenza through the end of 2012, but writing about it at the time seemed like a needless bummer. I didn't really want to put anyone else through that. I'll just say it: living in Italy was hard. Really hard. I know it's not supposed to be that way. La Dolce Vita, yadda yadda. I'm here to tell you sometimes paradise has its dark side. Or if it doesn't, leave it to me to find it.
Schooling for the boy proved nearly impossible. He didn't have enough Italian under his belt, and so couldn't keep up, and felt isolated and bullied the month of middle school he endured there. Starting middle school can be tough anywhere, but in a foreign language, with no friends? It didn't seem fair to put him through that unless we were really going to be there long term. If I could have afforded a bilingual school it might have been another story.
The boy was part of an Italian football club, which he practiced and played with regularly. You would have thought this would have offered some social possibilities and a great outlet for him. But we had the misfortune of somehow managing to join the worst, I mean the Bad News Bears team of the region, and indeed they lost every game the entire season. The coaches were so excited at the boy's wicked left foot and his skills that were well beyond most 12 year olds, but their admiration slowly turned to resentment, along with the players, that he did not manage to pull the team out of their losing streak single handedly. (It's a team sport, Einsteins!) The offers of rides to and from practice slowly dried up, as did the friendly smiles they once bestowed on us in the beginning.
Enough said about Italy. I had planned for us to go straight to London once my UK Returning Resident's visa was processed which should have been by November or December at the latest. However, as these things happen, it just didn't materialize. Finally, when the poor boy was so lonely and miserable, and I was pretty close to that myself, I heaved us back to our hometown in the Midwest to spend the holidays with family and friends. And thank god I did! Said visa did not come through until the end of March, in what I later learned, was a 'fairly good time frame'.
By this point, the boy had gone back into 6th grade at his old school and joined up again with his fabulously talented, traveling soccer team. I couldn't possibly have extricated him from all that until summer, which I did. And so here we are now, back across the pond, calling London our stomping ground (for now), mainly to be closer to the boy's dad and various work opportunities for me.
I do try to do some difficult things as a single parent with, to be completely honest, very few financial means. I question this, believe me. I would probably be a lot better off – with a solid Roth IRA, possibly a mortgage, a true nest egg, but I keep reaching for that damn gold ring. The one that teases that a better life that will fulfill both of us, is just within reach. I'm not sure if I'm right, or I'm wrong. I'm sad to have left amazing friends, family and loved ones behind in Ohio. But so far, my boy is happy to be spending a lot of time with his dad and was just accepted into a soccer development school that grooms kids for the hallowed 'Academies'—the first step along the way to the holy grail of professional soccer – a contract. He is over the moon and I'm so proud of him.
And so I will continue to blog about it all. My adventures in screenwriting and living as an expat (of sorts, one without a corporate package!) in the UK, my romantic comedy script, Chemical Attraction, that I am rewriting, my New Adult novel I'm writing, our travels and adventures here and beyond, parenting, home educating, and let's not forget, dating as a homeschooling, traveling, single mom! Stay tuned and thank you for reading.
writer-director-actress, author, improviser, mother, traveler, digital nomad