I had always assumed that if I were a stick of rock my core would be emblazoned with Great Britain. At university I was proud to talk about my unwillingness to spend a year travelling around Thailand and Australia. (I’m aware of how beautiful they are but quite frankly if I’m paying for it I don’t want to slum it!) Moreover, I was quite frank in my expectations that I would never, EVER want to live anywhere other than our luscious albeit damp green pastures.
Then came Italy.
Now I realise you may chuckle to yourselves about this because anyone who has ever been to Italy will of course see the benefits of living in such a country. Berlusconi aside, it’s hot, the food and wine is incredible, the people are wonderful and the history is pretty fascinating. But before you think that this is simply another ‘Oh you’ve been on holiday, goody for you’ post I wish to say that in the two times I have been lucky enough to go to Italy this year something more profound has happened that I can’t really ignore.
Call it pathetic and hippy nonsense but in the brief time that I have spent there this year I have felt truly at peace. It is certainly hard to explain. I have one way which will surely make me sound certifiably mad, but I will give it ago anyway.
My Alexander Technique teacher has the most wonderfully bizarre way of explaining bodily states that even more bizarrely make sense. So I will try and relay what she said to you but before I will give you a really very basic run down of what the technique is. Essentially it is about recognising how you use your body, focusing on the bad habits one has and moving forward to relieve harmful tension from your life. I really do advocate it for everyone as it improves posture, breathing, state of mind, injuries…I could go on. Anyway back to my wonderful teacher. She once said to me that if the correct alignment of the body’s posture is found in a state of movement coupled with a calm, rational state of mind then one’s legs should not feel like legs but wheels.
Yes, completely mad I know. But I will explain because I actually managed to experience such a feeling in Turin earlier this year. Having spent a blissful few days with a friend taking in the sights of the wonderful city, meeting inspiring new people my head was unequivocally clear. Having just left the Palazzo Reale we were walking to get some lunch when suddenly my legs felt new and I couldn’t help but concentrate on how they felt as though they were moving because just as Mrs A had said it was though they were wheels. Every single part of my body was free and the only way to truly explain it was as though I was a child again, running so fast that you feel you are never going to stop because your legs and not your mind are in control. Incidentally the AT often uses children as an example, particularly those of an age when they are beginning to crawl and walk as it is then that the necessary movements, techniques and muscles are strengthened to allow for adult development.
Returning to the UK after this brief spell I put that happening down to being away from the turmoil of work and simply occurring because I was on holiday. When going back to Italy this July, I certainly didn’t expect it to happen again but once I was there (and out of Rome airport, perhaps the only place in Italy where you will find me truly angry as I do believe it could be the 8th circle of hell!) I felt as though I had come home in a sense.
Spending the following two weeks there at the Torre Del Falco in Spoleto (I will give this its own post because it is simply too incredible to put into one paragraph), with some of the people I love the most my boyfriend and I came to a decision to get the relevant qualifications and give living and teaching in Italy a go. Sounds like a big plan full of flaws but this time I am leading with my heart and not my head and I truly cannot wait to see where it takes me!