To lie, to drink, to dream. To Dolce Vita
By Michele Maria Serrapica
Photography by Phillip Schumacher
“Mom, dad, I'm going to London”. Beat.
“On holidays you mean?”
“No, I'm moving there”.
That's how it all started for me, a 23-year-old-guy at the time, who studied acting and then turned to screenwriting since I preferred to lie rather than pretend to. To lie is to show a different point of view, and that's what I was looking for. New perspectives, bigger perspectives. I felt the need to leave my city and my country, and I had a dream, a dream I was sure I could have realised in London. It was night when I landed. I headed straight to the flat where a friend of mine would be hosting me. The day after, in the morning, I had my first epiphany in the bath: from now on I would need to lower my standard hygienic expectations. London is a nasty, dirty city. But we have bigger problems to deal with in life, haven't we?
There was bureaucracy to deal with. The national insurance number, the bank account... just name it. After that, it was about time to look for a job. I was drunk while having my first interview. I got the job, minimum wage, sod off. I found a new one, a bar in the City, in a multinational company, only guys working, lots of female customers, I got this.
I moved to a new flat, from South to East. The East is nicer, mate. I used to wander around the city, finding new beautiful places every time, then I started working more, my team was my family and my friends, I was getting better. I'd even found out the city wasn't as dangerous as many told me. I was drunk and stoned when I slept in a night bus till the end of its journey. For how long and till where I don't know, but I still had all my clothes on so that was an achievement. People don't know what a dangerous city looks like.
The time came when I remembered I had to attend a university course I had booked months in advance. You had a dream, hadn't you? And I remembered how I loved to write. So my new weekly routine became work, study, clubs, bed. It was awesome, I enjoyed it a lot, but everything has an end and the course finished. Time to go back to work. Work, work, work. I “double-shifted”, I covered, I was even spending my free time in the bar. So, I said to myself, if you become the bar manager you might be able to organise your time better. It turned out to be the worst idea ever.
One of the first lessons I learned about English people was their insane weekly routine. From Monday to Friday, they are able to work 60 and more hours, afford the longest tube travel possible, sleep thirty-seven minutes and repeat it again and again and again. Then, from Friday to Sunday night, they are untamed beasts driven crazy by alcohol, drugs and libido. They act like unpredictable kids possessed by the devil that can only be put in place by an old well delivered “pater familias” kind of slap. I was becoming the same, minus the childish attitude.
It was time to stop it. I quit the job all of a sudden, with the shortest notice possible. I spent two weeks as unemployed in London first, then went to my parents home for Christmas holidays. I came back after New Year's Eve.
It was about time to look at the past 365 days. What did I accomplish? Nothing. Literally nothing. Nothing, but a brand-new life. Have you ever thought about how hard it could be to move to a different country where people speak differently, move differently, act differently, where life is different from the one you lived the past 23 years? It's not that simple and it's not an easy choice.
I'm almost 25-year-old now, I'm doing three different part-times, enjoying my free time, writing more and I'll start university soon. Nobody is late, nobody is too old, nobody wants to steal anybody's country. I can only see how everybody wants to live their lives as much as they can. Maybe life is worth it.