I hadn’t actually absorbed the fact that I haven’t left the village for over two months. It really hasn’t been that bad for me. Saying that, loneliness set in with the ease of the lockdown. But why? And what are things like “out there” in Italy, outside of the village? Let’s break this down in sub-headings . . .
Being an introvert
As I get older, and get to know myself better, I am definitely an introvert. I can show up to events that I have planned, smile, greet people, be gregarious in spurts, and then leave to recharge. Sure. I can do that; I HAVE done that. And, man, I have a severe love/hate relationship with those situations. So, being in lockdown was an excuse not to have to show up to anything – to be alone and reveal in it. I have been keeping in touch with people that important to me (family and friends around the world), and I’m golden. Do I miss seeing my friends locally? Yes! Do I want to go see them? Yes! But I am I’m not dying to get on a train and two buses to do so. It’s a very complicated situation if you are one that prefers constant interaction. If you’re an introvert, I have no doubt you know exactly what I’m feeling. I have also realised that I REALLY want a puppy.
So then, why I am I feeling lonely? I think it stems from the beauty of the Spring season and the lifting of restrictions. Now that I can go out for walks, I would really like to go for a stroll with my friends or my daughters. I watch videos that my family sends me and I wish I were there. I want a dog to dote on. I want to go sit in a piazza and have an aperitivo with my friends in Verona.
Actually, as I am writing this and thinking about why I am lonely, I’m not that lonely. I just have spurts of loneliness. I don’t feel depressed. I feel full of joy to be in Italy. I guess I just wish my family were here with me. And a puppy!
“Out There” in Italy
Yesterday I left the village for the first time since March 9th. Keep in mind that I don’t have a car so I rely completely on public transportation (another reason not to be in a hurry to go anywhere). To walk to the city would be a 4-hour hike over a mountain. No thanks; I’m good here. Yesterday was raining and dark but the temps were mild and it seemed like a good day to try this. A few observations – The villagers are a bit more cautious, especially since restrictions have been lifted. They wear their masks, even when alone in their cars. They expect you to have your mask on completely even if you are literally the only person on the road (and they’re in the their car with the windows up), and appropriate distance is maintained (mostly) even in the wee market. In the city, it’s all different. every place that is open has a queue outside and is monitoring people coming and going. But how people behave once in side is another thing. I was in the grocery store looking for flour while trying to keep my distance from others. There were three people in that aisle when I entered, staying back and away from the others. Then two others couples came in the aisle. Some people had their masks on properly, a few only had it covering their mouth. They were all crammed in front of the flour. They grossly violated the distancing guidelines. No one seemed to notice or care. Yet, in another aisle, I got a seriously pissy glare for quickly grabbing an item that was within a meter of the other person. I finished up and headed to the bus. When the bus approached the main stop before heading to the village, everyone was asked to get off while a cleaner got on the bus and wiped everything down. I was impressed. Five minutes later, we were all (all 6 of us) back on board and heading up to the village. Overall, there really weren’t many people out so it wasn’t a bad outing at all. But it was enough stimulation to exhaust me so I ventured home and took a nap.
In this part of Italy is a completely different experience from other parts. That is a generally true statement regardless of the pandemic situation. If you plan on coming to Italy one day, just know that your experience will vary from region to region.
I know I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again Be gentle to yourself during these crazy times. It is normal to cry, to rage, to be afraid, and then to laugh hard at the stupidity that is running rampant. You are not weak or crazy – you’re normal, and you’re human. You are grieving. We all are. just allow it to be and grow from it.