When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (not that I do now). I had majored in biosciences, because I thought it looked better than English, which was "too easy" (lololol). Apparently, you were supposed to have your shit figured out by first semester junior year, and after my summer working with tigers, I pretty much nixed the idea of doing anything with my degree. So, while my friends had already received their signing bonuses at Bain and JP Morgan, I graduated (barely - story for another time) with a BA in Biosciences and no clue.
So, I decided to move to San Diego.
I'd always romanticized California - most of the colleges I applied to were out there, but expensive - and it seemed like nothing was holding me back from finally making the move. I flew to San Diego and found an apartment and a job in four days, then flew back to pack my worldly possessions for a cross-country move with my trusty Honda Civic Si, Pearl.
On the first night of my drive to San Diego, I stopped in El Paso. I was super paranoid about my packed car since, again, it held my entire life, but luckily I could see my parking spot from my room. I spent most of the night glued to the window. When a coyote trotted into the parking lot (the first I'd seen!), I ventured out and put the leftovers from my room service salmon out for him. Finally, I figured I should actually sleep before an 8-hour drive, but I checked my email one last time before bed and found a mysterious message from Italy.
The answer to any question regarding my decisions when it comes to Italy is, "I have no idea." I studied Italian for three years in college (God knows why I chose Italian), and my last semester, our teacher told us about an internship in Italy that I applied to (no clue why I did this). I don't think I even understood what the internship entailed, something about cultural exchange. I had almost completely forgotten about it, however, this mysterious email was telling me there were 20 internship spots and I was #21, so if someone dropped out, I would be called up. Yeah, sure, but what kind of idiot is going to turn down a paid trip to Italy?
Well, me, as it turns out. By the time I got to San Diego (the day before I was supposed to start my first job, in fact) I had another email from the Italians - they had expanded the internship to 25 people, so congratulations, I was in! The internship, it turns out, was through the state of Lombardia - I would be the on-site native English speaker for a school.
I had just moved my entire life across the country to my favorite city, but here was an opportunity to move across the globe. I sought the counsel of my mother, who basically advised me that unless I stayed at my first job for at least a year, no one would ever hire me again. With these considerations in mind, I wrote an email to the Italians saying that I greatly appreciated the opportunity, but I wouldn't be able to accept the internship that year and I hoped to apply again the next year.
I hit "send" and was immediately awash with, "OH GOD, WHAT DID I JUST DO?"
Luckily, no one in Italy spoke English. The response I got was, "I'm sorry, I don't understand - does this mean you want to start your internship in January?"
"Yes, that's exactly what I meant," came my immediate response.
And so, in January, I was in Italy.