After spending twenty three years outside my native country Italy, here I am. For almost half of my life, while living outside of Italy, I tried really hard to avoid being the stereotypical Italian. I worked hard not be perceived as either too passionate, too dramatic or just plain rude. I got used to be concise and not get lost in details when answering a question. I learned to answer precisely rather than vaguely. I learned to not dress as though it were twenty degrees colder, I learned to tip, to swallow spicy meals and icy drinks, to not be constantly in fear of the “colpo d’aria” (a blast of cold air) hitting me when I am all sweaty and to cope with the irresistible desire to not always haggle prices. I trained myself to correctly stand in a queue and to wait without finding excuses to step in front of everyone. I have discovered the pleasure of talking in turn rather than stepping on others to get my say.
I enjoyed the freedom of being myself without having to fit into a specific group.
After being convinced I could or I would not want, for any reasons, to go back to live in my home town Turin, I finally did it. Two years ago, a few months after the death of my father and, on the advice of my father, I decided to leave behind icy Massachusetts. So on a beautiful sunny day, I landed in Milano Malpensa with my eight year old son William. I kissed my hand and touched the Italian soil and then happily returned to my hometown Turin. We went to live in the same condo where I lived as a child, close to my mom’s apartment. My husband John is travelling backwards and forwards from America to Italy to be with us as much as he can. Hopefully, he will move closer to us in the not too distant future.
So I am finally home but… am I? Do I really feel at home here? Miriam Adeney says: “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere”. Can an expat really feel at home and preserve the identity in one single place? This blog aims to find answers to this question.