I love Italy! I am fascinated by its roots, history, culture and customs. The landscape is unique and the people very friendly. I took Latin at school and recently learned Italian. Each time I travel there, the experience is unforgettable.
Most people don’t know how strong ties between Poland and Italy are. Everything started in AD 966, when we received “baptism” from Rome and continued through the Italian fight for independence in the 19th century, when Polish commanders and soldiers helped the Italians establish the new country. During WW2, Polish troops took the abbey on Monte Casino from the Germans to open the route north for the Allies. There is even a mention of Italy in our Polish National Anthem.
For the last three years, I have been following a blog written by an American woman, who just about then relocated to Italy. She lives in Florence and her almost daily posts about Italian customs, shops, museums and a way of living there are fascinating. Next to Rome, Florence is the city probably with the most history and art objects pertaining to Western culture. I enjoyed, and still do, all her stories about local events in Italy.
But recently, she visited the US and wrote, how foreign she feels in the country of her birth. There are differences in a way of living, and she doesn’t like, what she sees in the US. Here are the reasons in order of mention:
– air conditioning is too cold,
– no sparkling water in restaurants and in markets, and if found, is much cheaper in Italy,
– too big water glasses in restaurants and with too much ice in them,
– beer too cold,
– remark about trees, which I don’t understand whether she likes them or not,
– electrical wires above the ground,
– not enough sidewalks,
– big cars and cheap gas, so we shouldn’t complain,
– no kissing by friends,
– yard work,
and so on and so on.
She also found out there is prejudice (her family was in Tennessee, so it was “expected” in the South), but also mentioned prejudice against her in Florence, since she is not Italian. Then she admits to feeling like a person without a country, and that must hurt.
We can comment on every single point of complaint, but I don’t feel this is necessary. It strikes me they are very minor and petty. All her problems can be solved, amended or adapted to. There are plenty of changes going on in the US since 9/11 and her not seeing it is a tragedy. With all the attempts to reweave the fabric of this country, change the structure and stretch the Constitution, too cold A/C and too much ice in water are non-issues. And to become an ex-pat because of them is ridiculous. Unless you have a need to justify your decision to yourself and to your friends, since you are not sure of it being right and still looking for reasons to reinforce it. I moved from one country to another, and I see this mentality quite often among people in my situation. Person doesn’t put down one country to elevate the other. What about being blessed with two places to live and appreciate good and exceptional qualities in both? Having the best of two worlds? Sometime one has to come back to the place he was born, be it by choice or necessity, and then it hurts. I’ve seen it too.
I hate to act as a psychologist, but can’t help the feeling there might be some other issues involved. She needs help.
This is a great country, and I am proud to be a part of it. But, of course, is not for everyone. One can come and go anytime he wants, providing that laws are respected. I’ve seen the other system, and it doesn’t work.