During our visit to Europe earlier this spring, we met with the lovely Cristina in Torino, Italy — city of her birth and now “home” after years living abroad. Quite an adventurous spirit, we loved hearing about her journey to 40.
(discussing a move to NY to start a new chapter after her marriage ended) — She was moving to New York to be a buyer for Saks; a dream job. Her timing ended up being anything but a dream. The move to New York was scheduled for the week of September 11, 2001. “I remember packing, trying to get everything ready for the move and watching everything on television…I couldn’t believe it. Even my employer called and told me they would understand if I didn’t want to make the move and changed my mind about the job all together.”
Undaunted, Cristina was determined to move on with her new life. “I was on the very first flight into New York from California. It was surreal – I was one of like six people on that flight. Moving to New York in that time period was bizarre. The world was not the same.” One upside she discovered though was that normally the stereotypical New Yorker is not willing to lend a hand; everyone was now all too eager to lend a helping hand. “The very first day of work there was a bomb scare on the subway, we were evacuated and I had to get off far from my scheduled stop. I was lost, confused and some very nice people helped me find where I needed to go!”
For three years Cristina lived in New York, moving on from Saks and joining an individual fashion brand, working in product development and market research. “Honestly those three years were not the easiest, both personally and professionally. The world in general was a bit tough. On a positive side, I also had some amazing experiences and had the chance to meet some of the most interesting people including many famous designers, which was both exciting and inspiring at the same time. Nonetheless, I decided it was time for another change though. I ended up quitting my job, selling everything and buying a one-way ticket to Italy.” She returned to Torino, the city of her birth.
Although she had neither a fixed plan nor place to live, she wasn’t worried. “I love to travel, it’s in my blood, and I figured if I ever wanted to go live in another country with a new language and culture, it was now or never.” After living with an aunt the first month, she located a small loft-style apartment just off a lovely piazza.