Amanda is asking us about the turning points in our lives. I shall concentrate on one: the time when I changed countries, languages, loves, climates, dogs. And yet every moment is right for turning your life around.
I think it was Amanda’s photo Contemplating the choices that brought me back to that moment. It was seven years ago, I had gelato in Piran leaning against the warm wall, gazing across the sea to Italy on the other side, and I realised I needed to do something to change my life.
Not much later I received an invitation from that direction to visit Rome and amore. At that time he was not yet amore as I know him now. He was an internet friend. We hadn’t even seen each other on the screen yet, except in a few photos, and had never talked, only chatted in writing on and off for some three years.
One day I was reading Jeanette Winterson’s The PowerBook on my reading rock by the sea when the decision was reached to say YES to the 10-day visit. I describe this event in my open letter to Ms. Winterson that I posted on my first blog and tried sending to her through some forums but never got any word that she has read it. I hope it has reached her somehow.
In the letter I thank her for changing my story and yet it was I who said yes, to the invitation, to the change, to life. I recommend doing that, wholeheartedly.
This scene from the island of Kefalonia in Greece (of which Gavin writes at firehorseworld) is a good visual of how it felt, to jump into uncharted waters.
These are the only two photos from there that remain. The others were deleted by accident. These were saved because I chose them to send out to friends as a New Year 2010 greeting. I might have jumped but I needed two more years to act.
The third key turning point came as I was on the train to leave Rome after those first ten days together. David Bowie counted down in the Termini station sound system and sang about leaving if I dare. I had to but was crying all the way to Bologna. The photo in the gallery taken from the train says it all. Sometimes you just know.
I was back in four months. Then he came to my city to spend New Year’s Eve 2013 together with the invitation to move over there to him. And in another four months we were living together in Tuscany. It will be six years in April.
Below are some moments that illustrate the start of our story. For the photos to make full sense you will have to read the captions.
Oh, and how did that first meeting go, you ask? First we realised that we didn’t understand each other. He had learned English by reading and writing it only. When it was time to listen to me, he didn’t recognise the words. And when he tried speaking it, I could only laugh. No wonder we’ve been having such a good time ever since. 😀