Sunday, April 1, 2012

Daydreaming on Days Off

I have been pretty poor lately. I truly try to look on the bright side of things. Furthermore, I attempt to be the chic, sophisticated woman living her life intentionally and well despite a strict budget. To make frugality fabulous ...but it's difficult. This poverty's been getting me down lately, maybe resulting in fewer blog posts... With less in my fridge, freezer and cabinets, geez, maybe I'm just hungry! ...and decaffeinated! (Although I am so grateful that I have been getting some help with food from my wonderful friends and family.) Also not going out too much, I have way too much time to think!

Daydreamer that I am, I've been letting my mind wander about what's next. Set on living in Italy again, I want to live in one of those teeny apartments I see on the TV show House Hunters International. I imagine myself on a train in that country and hopping off at a station simply because the town has a beautiful name! Before that, I want to fall deeply in love and have that (lucky) guy surprise me just because. (I love surprises.) I want to work in Study Abroad, inspiring others to change their lives like that particular experience revolutionized mine. I want to move downtown in a big city. To experience the many things that a city has to offer. I picture myself walking to a fantastic little Italian espresso bar for a cappuccino in a mug for breakfast or to a charming bar for a glass of red wine for happy hour, giving up my car and driving. I want more culture than a suburb offers (although a suburb in Maryland is much more culturally diverse than other places!). I even want to cohabitate with a roommate(s) in that city apartment, so all of my money doesn't go to rent and bills, so I don't deprive myself so much. So when my stovetop espresso maker breaks, I don't wait two weeks to even order its replacement online. I am definitely ready for a new social scene. Preferably in a city surrounded by many young professionals. I love my friends here, unconditionally in fact, but I at least need that really close and local girlfriend that I do everything with and can tell these sorts of things to. I want to throw myself into new situations. At least it will be exciting because it's new to me. At least I've got dreams and goals...

Happy Hour in the City

Don't get me wrong, I am happy and living my dream with living alone in my beautiful apartment. I am relishing it. When I do have some money, I often use it to entertain here. I love the little things like making my own meals and serving them on my own plates of my own selection. I love being independent and my own apartment is the ultimate symbol of that. I have loved every single second of it. I usually didn't discuss the misery I was in living with my parents in a house in embarassing condition. So, despite limited available funds, I don't regret moving out. However, it completely sucks not to have the funds to buy and do what I want, rather than just what I need. I do miss that bottle of cheap Chianti I usually have on my kitchen counter. And I couldn't afford that nor the ingredients for my planned first lasagna this pay period nor the one before that. It also sucks to worry about paying my bills so much now that my savings I moved in with has evaporated. I do realize that this was my choice. Plus, that this is the recession and I am not alone. I should be thankful for what I do have. Not that I am completely deprived, I did post that I recently purchased a curtain rod and I do buy an item at HomeGoods every once in awhile. (I love that store and since May, there's one in my hometown. Heck, restraint is walking out of that glorious store with one item, if that.) And also have the weekend in Boston in less than two weeks! However small, travel is still in my immediate future.

My Living Room towards my Balcony on the left

I have definitely learned how to be frugal. To live with less. To live within my means. I know how to combine coupons with sales at the grocery store, for example. I now consider things I used to buy on a regular basis like... a fast food meal once a week to be rather unnecessary, instead to be money I could use more efficiently now, like in this case- lunch at home for five days, and when all my money doesn't go to bills to be money saved later. This thought process has taken some time to set in though! In addition, I will continue to be pretty frugal if I should either earn more or have lower living expenses, or both. I know people (Americans especially) spend most of their income, but I hope I would save instead and pay down my debt because I'm truly sick of it holding me back in life.

So what's the plan, right? For my longterm goal of living in Italy, I would need to pay off my debt first. I would definitely need to lower my living expenses to do that. I have tried to get a roommate among a few of my own friends and family, to no luck so far. Hopefully if I break into the International Education field, I would move to a city and share an apartment and its rent. I have been subscribed to the field's professional listserv for three years, always with an eye on job vacancies. I am hopeful because there seem to be more during the spring and summer. To supplement my current employment, I've only applied for a single part-time job, maybe I should really give that a solid try... As I often work after 5, it could only be for two days a week at most though. (My days off are pretty much set now- Sunday and Monday- which I love!) Without air condititioning in my car, I wouldn't want to show up completely sweaty this summer and that kinda stops me. (I live in the same building as my office so I do not drive to work.) I escaped retail and really don't want to go back. I have also considered debt consolidation for my credit card debt in the past and simply haven't done it. Going into the busy leasing season at work, I can expect higher commission soon. I work so hard at work to get people to move in... As for falling in love, maybe I could afford a month's subscription to in the next few months so I could start dating.

I'll figure it all out.


  1. If you're looking for a library read on frugal living, I enjoyed reading "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyzyn (which I myself checked out at the library!).

    1. Thank you for the recommendation Betsy! :) My library system has it, it's just checked out at the moment. And thank goodness for library books!

  2. Ciao Michelle, congratulations for your blog. I like when you write about Italy very much, because you do it with passion and enthusiasm, the same way a real lover does it.
    Do you speak Italian?

    Greetings from Italia,

    1. Ciao Antonio! Grazie mille!

      I have to say that I do not speak Italian. I could speak in sentences at the end of my study abroad experience in 2005, but, unfortunately, when you do not use a language, you lose it. I'm sure it will come flooding back to me when I open my old Italian textbook, but I haven't yet. It's always a pleasure to speak a few words when in Italy.

      Where do you live in Italy?

  3. I live in southern Italy, in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, which is located less than 1 hour from Naples and 2 hours from Rome.