By Kitty 

This summer, I moved to Italy to live and work as an au pair. It had been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember after hearing all of my mum’s stories of her time as an au pair in Naples during the 1980s. So, after months of planning, I booked my one-way ticket to Savona, Italy. I was shouting my news from the rooftops and telling just about anyone who would listen to me about my ‘big Italian adventure!”

But once I got there, it just wasn’t what I thought it would be. I found myself feeling homesick and isolated. There were a number of reasons why it didn’t work out, and it left me feeling like something of a failure. All the excitement and planning … and yet I was totally miserable.

I had high hopes of my life in Savona, and I was utterly devastated that it was not working out. After several weeks (of sobbing calls to my mum), I decided that the only option was to leave.

Now, I know that I’m not alone in calling myself something of a control-freak. I’m an organized planner; I like to know what I’m having for dinner the next day, have plans with friends made three to five working days in advance, and as for long-term plans, just that–long-term. So, learning to live in the moment and accepting that life sometimes has it’s own plan for us has always been a challenge for me. But I try to remind myself daily that things that are meant to be, will be.

I struggled with the idea of leaving because in my mind, I had envisioned this perfect life in Savona. I remember at one of my low points, I had a phone call with my dad who gave me the most beautiful and wise words. They were: ‘In order to appreciate the beauty of the stars, you have to endure the darkness.’ Now my dad is the sentimental type, and for all my life, he has lavished upon me his many words of wisdom, but these ones really resonated with me.

I made the decision to leave Savona, but I didn’t want to go home, I didn’t want to give up. So I found a new job in the beautiful and historic city of Turin and now I feel absolutely happy in the direction my life has (unexpectedly) taken. I work for a wonderful family, I have my own beautiful apartment in the city center, I’ve made amazing friends and I feel generally happy with my life.

So my dad was right; yes, things seemed bad, and letting things go can be difficult, but often, life has its own plan for us. I’ve learned that it’s important to have faith and trust that things will work themselves out. You can’t spend your life meticulously planning everything because things just aren’t that simple. If you learn to go with the flow, you don’t know what unexpected treasures and happiness you may find.

It’s OK to change the direction of your life–or to let your life change direction by itself. Yes, sometimes it can be disappointing when things don’t go the way you hoped or expected, but as the old cliché goes: when one door closes, another one opens. Life has a way of working itself out, sometimes you just have to have faith and endure that darkness if you want to see the stars.

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