Way back in the year 2000, my husband and I moved to Verona, Italy, for work. We both worked at the same company which had a presence in Verona. An opportunity came up to work out there for a year, and after much discussion, we decided to go for it.
I was tidying up a few things the other day and I came across some writing that I did in Italy – a kind of journal, if you like. These days, I would probably have put them on a blog so that friends and family could keep in touch with what we were doing. That got me to thinking about how different things were then: We did not have WiFi in our apartment, just a very slow dial-up connection; there was no such thing as SKYPE, so contact with folks back home was via infrequent telephone conversations on the landline; my family did not have email accounts; there was no Facebook or Instagram.
We often say that if we were to do that year abroad all over again, it would be so much easier to keep in touch, and to make new connections in our new location. I was not knitting much then, but I took my stash with me (it fitted into a small carrier bag – oh, my, how things have changed). But there was no Ravelry, so it would not have occurred to me to look for fellow knitters in the area, knitting groups to attend, or search out new yarn shops. Since moving back to the UK, I have taken up knitting again in a big way (see, I said it would relate to knitting, eventually) and have made some very good friends through a shared love of the fibre crafts. I regularly attend a great knitting group, and have many friends ‘inside my computer’ through Ravelry and Instagram. If we ever live abroad again I can take them all with me!
And in case you were curious, here’s one entry from my ‘Blog before blogging was A Thing’:
“Leaving the UK
Well, this is it. We have packed our stuff at work (will we ever see it again?) and said our goodbyes to work colleagues – at the pub, naturally. We have had several farewell drinking and eating sessions with our Plume of Feathers chums. We have spent weeks sorting through our possessions, listing what is to go / stay / store. The last few days were spent sticking stickers on items that were to be shipped or stored.
Then the packers arrived early Monday morning and efficiently wrapped and packed our belongings, putting them in an enormous white removal van with the logo “Michael Gerson – Overseas Movers” on the side. No chance of keeping our departure a secret, then! By early afternoon they were gone, and our belongings were on their way to Verona.
The following day it was time for us to go too, via the slightly quicker route of chauffeur car and aeroplane. So, at about 9.20 am, we set the alarm and locked the front door for the last time for a while and set off in the car that was to take us to Gatwick; Nick silent and me with tears rolling down my face. I know it’s only for a year, and we will be back, but this emotional roller coaster of saying our goodbyes over the last few weeks is almost more than I can bear.
4 Aprile 2000”