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I Wish I Were

Posted in Life & Love

Venice - S. Giorgio
St Giorgio Maggiore

My first boyfriend sent me a postcard once, from the depth of his compulsory military service, that simply read “Wish you were here”. I was not that familiar with the English language and its subjunctives yet and that phrase resonated mostly to Pink Floyd’s music. But it compelled me to research its meaning and, since then, there have been many incarnations of “I wish I were” – in Venice, in Cape Town, in the arms of another man, in a more challenging job, in a better mood.

For many years, I was a compulsive seeker: of thrills, experiences, changes, new cities. I clocked miles, continents, jobs and men, always wishing for something or someone a little bit different, some greener pasture that I imagined lived just around the corner. It was indeed exciting, at times satisfying, but it always came with a tinge of letdown attached.

Now, when I wake up in the morning, the first sight my blurry eyes set on is a large photograph of slightly stormy waters, lapping the edges of the Church of San Giorgio, in the Venice lagoon. Many a dawn did I wish I were back there instead of being greeted by the relentless Californian sun. I would daydream, shrouded in the crumpled sheets, how my life would unfold if I had a job that required a boat to get to or how I would stop to pick up the ingredients for dinner at one of the many markets – our version of trendy Farmers’ Markets but their staple shopping experience. I would wake up to the sound of water sloshing under my windows instead of the chirping of birds and, in winter, I would brave the cold and fog, to meet some friends for dinner, just like that, on the spur of the moment, instead of opening my calendar and pencil something in five days from today.

If I were somewhere different, somewhere so magical, my existence would be perfect; every object and every emotion properly placed in their cubby-hole, an endless series of romantic days and dreamy nights.

I am not sure when the transition happened. It crept on me unnoticed, the way unpleasant habits sometimes do. The transition from wishing to having. A life in Venice. Sure, I could have that, like I had all the others. And it would be just as messy and unpredictable and at times hard and annoying. And also humid and full of tourists.

The truth is I wish I were…..right here. I took my own sweet time to learn to enjoy the clouds rolling in to create the perfect atmosphere for a Halloween night, the quiet sound of my dogs napping at my feet, the unconditional and imperfect love of the people who matter, my uncertain future and my perfect present.

Maybe there will be a life in Venice or in Timbuktu or wherever else my path will take me. In the comfort of my skin, it seems irrelevant right now. The dogs have raised their heads in food expectation. The half-drained cup of tea has gotten cold. The most melancholy hour of the day has set in, the one that always made me wish for something, someone, somewhere different. Now it only reminds me it’s time to switch the lights on.

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69 Comments

  1. Great post and you can see from all the other responses that I am not alone in appreciating it. This post is the girl I encouraged to write for a living. This is the one that is a “keeper.” More like this one. It sounds like a narrator in a good movie. Like a William Hurt or a Kevin Costner (sorry, I don’t know of any women actors who narrate good movies!) Maybe you should write a movie! Heck, you’re already in California!

    November 8, 2012
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    • I feel you are like my cheerleader! and I really appreciate it. The post was Freshly Pressed, hence that much attention

      November 8, 2012
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      • Ahhh. I knew you were FP but I didn’t realize it was for that post. In fact, now that I think of it, I thought it was for the post about your mom. Still, you are way too modest. It’s nice to know the FP people recognize good stuff when they see it! I’ll have to make an effort to read more FP blogs. It’s such a pleasure to read quality writing; it just makes it so much easier to read! Consider me an admirer of your work.

        November 8, 2012
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  2. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read!

    November 6, 2012
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  3. Funny you mention that. The seed of this post was planted when a friend asked me “If you had all the money in the world, where you would choose to live?” and my lack of an immediate answer made me realize I had found a state of contentment

    November 5, 2012
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  4. How very true. You are where you are. We had a friend’s family over once, and the young son looked out from our deck at the canyon and said, “Wow, you live where people vacation!” And of course, although we love where we live, it took a visitor’s eye to put it in perspective.

    November 4, 2012
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  5. I hear my own dreams resonating in yours. Lovely post

    November 3, 2012
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    • It looks like many of your dreams are coming true. Keep travelling!

      November 5, 2012
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  6. This is one of the best pieces I have read on WP. You are an outstanding writer.

    November 3, 2012
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    • I am not sure I deserve the compliment but I will relish in it nonetheless! Thank you

      November 5, 2012
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  7. while reading the first paragraphs I was wishing for a vague ending … and then i found it perfectly delivered in your last paragraphs. well done !

    November 3, 2012
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    • Thank you. I enjoyed your first post too. Hope many more will follow

      November 5, 2012
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  8. Thank you. I am exactly trhe same, never happy, always wanting something else. I now know what to wish for. I wish I wished I was here.

    November 3, 2012
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    • Writing it all down clarified a lot of things for me. It looks like it might be doing the same for you.

      November 5, 2012
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    • Thank you Michele. I find your mission to narrate, explain and talk about the Arab culture a very important one right now. I picked up a lot from your blog I did not know

      November 5, 2012
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      • Many thanks for your kind words! Keep up the good work; your blog is great!

        November 5, 2012
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  9. An honest, uncontrived post which made me reflect awhile and conclude that I too am right where I want to be for now. Beautifully written!

    November 3, 2012
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    • Thank you Many. Maybe one day I will get to visit your town. Or hamlet…just kidding

      November 5, 2012
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  10. No matter where we are now or then, we are in the right place at the right time, I think.
    Thank you! It is beautiful. Enjoyed reading!

    November 3, 2012
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    • I love that you associate travelling on the open road with dharma. Travelling as meditation maybe? Stay warm out there. And thank you for taking the time

      November 5, 2012
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      • Yes, travelling as meditation 🙂 Thank you! Wish you all the best!

        November 5, 2012
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  11. Great post and very well writen. I find myself in the same position often luckly I do have the pleasure of traveling quite frequently. I do miss Venice and each time I leave there I look forward to the next chance that I get to travel there.

    November 3, 2012
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    • Just went to check out your blog and made me want to start investing in a trip to Oz land!

      November 4, 2012
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  12. Right here.

    When you can be happy there, the grass is always green.

    Thank you for sharing.

    ghost.

    November 3, 2012
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    • Thank you ghost, for taking the time to hover around here and linger

      November 4, 2012
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  13. a most excellent thoughtful peace.. the grass is rarely greener on the other side..

    November 3, 2012
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    • …but if often seems that way, doesn’t it? Or is it a by-product of being human?

      November 4, 2012
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  14. Just started blogging and am discovering a whole new world of lovely online journalism. Found your blog through Freshly Pressed and love this post. I wonder if appreciating ‘Home’ and ‘Now’ is part of growing up (I’m 34 so it’s about time :-)); it’s taken moving 4000 miles away from home for me to work out what really matters. Thanks for this thought-provoking, personal piece.

    November 3, 2012
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    • Thank you! I really appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment

      November 4, 2012
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  15. What a beautiful post. You’ve expressed it all beautifully – that sense of always wanting something new, something more, something greener on the other side. I went through the same period of always seeking, always being on the move and longing to be somewhere else, become someone else. But like you, I’m more comfortable in my own skin now and while I still dream of living, and living hard and fast, the way I used to – now there isn’t anywhere I wish I were. I’ll be following your blog – congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. xx

    November 3, 2012
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    • Thank you Peggy – I see you are one of us, blessed (or cursed) with wanderlust and still on the open road. Welcome!

      November 4, 2012
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  16. Wow! How wonderful!! Thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    November 3, 2012
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  17. I hope that your wishes come true!

    November 3, 2012
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    • In the interest of fairness, being in ….that state….comes and goes! Working hard on it

      November 4, 2012
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  18. What a lovely post and a well deserved FP. I often catch myself daydreaming of someplace I would rather be, or the life I would like to have or just fantasizing about being on Dancing with the Stars. It’s a daily effort to stay present and right now, something I’ll never be good at, but at least it gets me out of my head.

    Becca

    November 3, 2012
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  19. Very beautifully written. I daydream a lot, thinking what if…I live somewhere else, just like you. But I could never put it in words like you did here. I felt I lived in it as I read your post. Thanks for sharing!

    November 2, 2012
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    • Thank you Irene. There are studies that say that daydreaming make us more productive and creative. So dream on and keep on cooking!

      November 4, 2012
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    • Thank you Michelle. It means a lot as you have been there for a long while now (and I secretely admire all the research you have been doing on your plantation)

      November 2, 2012
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      • Aw thank you! Congrads on the Freshly Pressed! We haven’t even gotten there! What a cool thing!

        November 2, 2012
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  20. I love your descriptions and prose-like writing style. The realization that comfort comes from within even if it means being without is so very, well, comforting!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    November 2, 2012
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    • Thank you! I found a lot of entertaining pieces on your blog that kept me reading for quite a while!

      November 2, 2012
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      • Hey! Thanks so much and for coming by, especially when your name is still up in lights!

        November 2, 2012
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    • Thank you and good luck with your brand new blog

      November 2, 2012
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      • Im still learning the basics. Dont know what and how to start *blush

        November 16, 2012
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        • I wasn’t born with the gift of the “here and now”, believe me. It took me a while to realize that the alternative was way more painful. Just stop worrying about what you have no control over – it will mostly take care of itself. And take a look at what you are doing right now, this very moment. Is there anything in it that gives you satisfaction or contentment? and no need to blush (although it’s very charming)

          November 16, 2012
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          • Hi. I mentioned you on my first blog in titled “My WordPress Blog’s birth”. Thank you for the inspiration !

            November 19, 2012
          • OOh – we are honoured – thanks a mill. Good luck with your blog – we’ll keep an eye on your progress xxx C&S

            December 3, 2012
    • What I seem to like most about this Freshly Pressed “thing” is the opportunity to find yet more wonderful blogs. Like yours. Thanks for commenting

      November 2, 2012
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  21. I would love to live somewhere else, maybe not Venice, i always day dream of living in Africa, Peru, Thailand etc, the main problem where I live is theres very little to do. I’m glad your happy where you are though and i bet you will have the most amazing holidays!!!

    November 2, 2012
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    • And where is it that you live? I think it’s wonderful you are dreaming to escape a reality that might not suit you. I got it all out of my system before being able to settle down. And, even if settled, there is always room to explore and challenge our curiosity. I hope you do.

      November 2, 2012
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      • Thank you 🙂 I live in Ellesmere Port in England, not a city but not really a town ever, most people haven’t heard of it but its in between chester and Liverpool. Hopefully it will be better when I can drive because at least I can travel around then. I’m glad you can still fulfil your need to travel and explore whilst being settled. There is hope for me yet 🙂

        November 2, 2012
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  22. Beautifully written! I also think the hardest part is being in the “now”. It’s very easy to dream of what if and imagine the greener grass on the other side, but all the time we spend doing that, we miss what we are expericing at this very moment. This is something I need to work on too!….Congrats on being FP! 🙂

    November 2, 2012
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    • Oh I still have to work hard at the “now” business, although it seems to come easier the more seriously I take it! Thank you so much

      November 2, 2012
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  23. This is beautifully written. I like the flow from daydreaming to acceptance and loving of the reality you’re in. 🙂

    November 2, 2012
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    • Thank you Imelda. Staying in the present is always a challenge but I guess all we can do is try!

      November 2, 2012
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