divorce is becoming a poisonous process to all involved and therefore needs to be resolved. Furthermore, “It is my understanding that the health of the planet is affected by the health of every individual on it. As long as even two souls are locked in conflict, the whole of the world is contaminated by it,” she writes. Her friend then proceeds to help Gilbert get the petition signed by all the hearts who would agree with that petition…so they began to call out names of everyone they could think of who would agree with and sign that petition including Bill & Hillary Clinton, St. Francis of Assisi, Abe Lincoln, Gandhi and Mandela, Katharine Hepburn and Scorsese… and on and on. Of course, it wasn’t physically signed, but they were convinced it was signed by all these hearts that were in agreement. Within minutes of the petition signing, Gilbert received a call that her divorce was final. 10 Within weeks she is living in Italy—paid for by an advance from her publisher, who wanted to purchase the book she would write about her year.
11 Gilbert describes her first mouthwatering meal in Italy and a contented night of sleep. 12 Her first few days in Rome she explores restaurants, eats lots of Gelato, marvels at the fountains and works on her Italian. 13 Though admittedly not a great traveler in many respects (which she details with great humor), Gilbert professes to have a few great survival tactics. “I am patient. I know how to pack light. I’m a fearless eater. But my own mighty travel talent is that I can make friends with anybody .” 14 Gilbert’s first order of business is to enroll in language school. After a frightening and mortifying realization that just because she qualified for level two doesn’t mean she can handle level two, a relieved Gilbert lands in level one classes. 15 Gilbert gives a little history of the Italian language. “They handpicked the most beautiful of all the local dialects and crowned it Italian. ” (Note: This is essentially how Gilbert handles God and religion: handpicks the most beautiful of all religious teachings and calls them God and religion.) 16 “They come upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and they flank me – Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right.” In a haunting and beautifully written chapter, Gilbert details the interaction she has with Loneliness and Depression (she personifies them) that track her down shortly after her arrival in Italy. She concludes, “[Depression] settles into my favorite chair… Loneliness watches and sighs, then climbs into my bed and pulls the cover over himself, fully dressed, shoes and all. He’s going to make me sleep with him again tonight, I just know it.” 17 Gilberts talks about her struggles with depression over the past few years and all the various ways she fought it. She evaluated all the possible root causes: psychological, situational, genetic, cultural, astrological, etc. She also tried every suggestion she could find for ways to help fight against it, from wearing orange-colored underwear to herbal teas to
prescribed medication. She describes her deep concern over medication, but also somewhat begrudgingly confesses that it gave her very necessary immediate help.
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