It couldn’t have been planned any better. My father was flying through Fiumicino (30m west of Rome) on a business trip this week, so Nicco and I took a train from Florence to meet him for the night. Once we arrived at the hotel, we waited for my Dad to come strolling in wearing his typical uniform, all black. We had some wine, showed him wedding pictures and had a great dinner.
After dinner I started to wonder if I knew anyone in Rome who I could meet up with on my way back to Florence the next day. None of my friends live there, just online expat friends. One popped into mind, @lizinrome. I messaged her on Twitter and she said that she would love to meet up too. Wow, I feel like I’m online dating… meeting a ‘stranger’ in a public space. She and I have parleyed a bit on Twitter and on our blogs as well, check hers out, so it was about time we actually met.
Nicco had to get back to Florence that next day, which left me to my own devices… well, I kind of sent him on his way with our suitcase so that I could lunch with Liz myself. He asked if I wanted him to join and I told him no—that I needed girl time. Then he asked if all of us expats are the new Masons. Now that’s something to think about.
I took the train from Fiumicino to Roma Termini and then Metro B to Colosseo. Yup, just a hop and a skip to the Colosseum. As I walked out of the station I was faced with the Colosseum. It was so great seeing it. The last time was three years ago, but it didn’t give me chills like this time—so impressive. This reminded me that I definitely need to return and spend more than a day to take advantage of the fact that I live 1.5 hours from Rome! So cool.
Once I was over the shock of seeing the Colosseum in my face, I started to look around for Liz. Would I recognize this Liz? Should I ask every woman looking around aimlessly if they happened to be Liz? I waited and soon spotted a friendly smile in the crowd with a vespa helmet in hand. This must be her! I waved and smiled and had a feeling it was her. She looks different from her Twitter image, but I still had a feeling. Yup, it was her.
From the get-go we were non-stop chatty Kathy’s. I felt like I had to cram so much in to get our backgrounds out of the way in order to move on to other topics like family, men, love, reality of living abroad, perspectives, etc. Basically, engaging deeper than you would want to on freaking Twitter.
We spent three marvelous hours at this great spot on via Claudia next to the Colosseum and station. We had some wine, bruschetta and three plates of pasta. One plate was a mistake and was on the house, score! I walked Liz back to her vespa as we continued to get into interesting topics. You could tell we had a lot to say and share, but three hours came and went and it was time for her to zip along on her vespa and for me to get my butt back to Florence.
Lunch with Liz reminded me of how important women friendships are. Women are amazing creatures, we should’t survive on our own. We grow emotionally and personally when we have each other to rely on, share stories with, gossip with, laugh about each other, hear each other out. These are things that men can not and should not fulfill for us. If your man did all of those things for you then he would be a woman, not the man that he is.
So, ladies, rely on your female network, but don’t just tweet them or retweet their tweets or comment on their blog. Build a stronger more honest network with them personally. Share yourself. Remember that we are here for each other, to lift each other up and support one another.
I feel like I’m writing the infamous memo by Jerry Maguire, the one that soon got him fired and shut out for his honesty. He wrote what was in his heart, what others were afraid to write or live by. As we look back on life and our lives abroad you should want to create meaningful moments not just pictures you took or blogs you wrote. As we look back we may be more proud of the women we helped and whom have helped us through life than all the expat articles we have written. Think about it.
Women need to lunch more.
How many expats have you meet since living abroad and what was your experience like?