The more time I spend in Italy the more often people seem to ask me the big question - why am I still here?
It's not something I find easy to answer though, especially as many Italians I know can't understand why I'm still here after nearly two years and eight months. I'll say it straight away, Italy isn't an easy country to live in, not even for Italians, and especially not for foreigners. The bureaucracy
But Italy's just like any other country - in Europe at least - there's the bad, but there's also the good. I feel very lucky to consider Milan as my home. Only yesterday I got asked by a tourist (I could only narrow the accent down to being Eastern European and no further) where I was from after he'd asked me to take a photo. "I'm British, but I live here." I replied proudly. And I am proud to live here. It's a country of breathtaking landscapes, beautiful cities full of history and traditions, and a welcoming people. The pace of life here's more relaxed and less stressful. And of course, you can't beat the food!
To me it isn't necessarily about where you were born or grew up, or not even where you fit in. Being blonde haired and blue-eyed people here know I'm not Italian before I've even opened my mouth. And as much as that can annoy me at times, I know being foreign and 'different' has made me a stronger person. It also gives me the excuse to be a little bit eccentric! It's given me much more confidence too. I'm happy here, and to me that's what counts. And that's how I usually answer the question - I'm still here because I'm happy here.