Love-story with… my hometown/country


My relationship with my hometown/country is very complicated, and of both love and hatred. OK, I could say my relationship with the whole PLANET is like this, but it wouldn’t be fair! ;-) Let’s say that I feel international, a citizen of the world, and look forward to the fall of all borders and permanent peace. And I do believe we’re getting there. But that’s another story. My love/hate-story with Roma and Italy is as follows.

I was born in Rome in 1965. Then we moved away from Italy, from 1970 to 1078. The formative years, yes. Which means I am very attached to those and my return was very tough. That when I came back, I locked myself in the past and refused to interact with the present. That I felt inside a crystal ball for 15 years – until I started Day Job. Sleeping Beauty had to wake up.

I still miss the Swiss and French snowy winters. I’m sorry I couldn’t find any of my classmates on Facebook – the French ones, as I found the Italians all right – we even celebrated the 25 years since the end of high school.

I’m multi-lingual. I’m multi-cultural. I don’t recognize myself in this country. I think Rome is the most provincial of the European towns. But then I also think it’s because I live here. I mean, I’d probably hate London and Paris too if I had to move around during rush hour.

But both London and Paris still have a lot of medieval stuff, while in Rome… medieval Rome was mostly taken down during Fascism, so there isn’t much left. And I’m more fond of Celts than Romans. Maybe in a past life I was a Celt Druid killed by the invading Romans, who knows! ;-)

When I started Day Job, I subscribed for at least a year to Overseas Jobs Express, hoping to find an alternative. Now I’ve given up (but went part-time! ;-)), I guess I can write from anywhere, thanks to the internet. I’ll try to make a list of what I like/don’t like about Rome and Italy at large. The pros and cons of my present situation/relationship, so to speak.

- I like where I live, in the outskirts, so it’s very green, there’s always parking (although I do have a garage) and it’s quiet at night (except when my neighbors start screaming at each other even at 3AM – I do live in a condo, unfortunately) BUT it takes ages to go to the center either by bus or subway (used to go on scooter, but I sold it).

Piazza Marconi - Roma EUR

- I like the fact that in Rome there are a couple of theaters that show movies in their original versions (with Italian subtitles, but nobody is perfect! ;-)) BUT they’re all in the center, so hard to reach, sigh.

- I didn’t like the fact that going on scooter in the center killed my back. That was one of the reasons why I sold the scooter (used it for 15 years) and bought a yearly bus pass. And I also hate the traffic (which means I had my driving license at 28 instead of 18) – but it gets worse going south. I’d NEVER drive in Naples, I go there by train or in somebody else’s car.

- I don’t like much of the Italian behavior, but I’m working on that. Thinking positive, ignoring the rude people, etc. I can’t change the world anyway, so I’ll just have to accept it as is.

- I like the fact that my hometown and country inspired me a few good stories, I’m not sure I’m going to translate them as (especially the dialog) the meaning would get lost in translation.

- I don’t like the fact that I could never start a writers group in Italian, but I do have one, offline, that speaks English and we meet once a month. And I’m the only Italian there.

- I’m not very proud of being Italian or living in Rome, mostly because, like I said, I feel “international”. And I tend to blend in wherever I go (if I speak the language) – not “looking” like your average Italian helps, I guess (I’m 5’8” or 179cm with blue eyes)! :-D

So I’m not really updating the Italian blog, even if 90% of my Italian friends don’t speak English, therefore they’ll never know what I’m saying here, haha. Even if they “like” me on Facebook, they’re not really updated and keep telling me “If only I had studied English!” or “Can’t you write in Italian sometimes?” – which I do, but 90% of my Facebook friends/fans DO speak English and not Italian. So…

I’m not sure if I managed to explore/express my relationship with my hometown/country. I guess it’s complicated. Just like any other relationship with a person or an animal or whatever.  I’m not sure I can tell how it changed in the past 30+ years either, because I changed too, so I guess it’s just evolution on all levels…

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10 Comments

  1. I enjoyed your post. As an American who’s lived in the UK for more than 30 years I can well appreciate the complexity of these relationships – always good to hear someone else’s views.
    Karin

  2. Thank you, Karin! 95% of the world population doesn’t move around much, I guess… glad to meet another fellow “international” citizen! :-D

  3. subcreator

     /  03/12/2010

    Oh wow. I’d kill to live in Rome. (Or maybe just wound.) I spent a summer in Italy once, mostly in the south, but got to sight see in Rome a bit. It’s such a beautiful country and such a beautiful language. If you consider Italians rude then you should never come to the U.S. haha Because compared to where I live in good old New York Italians are the warmest, friendliest people I’ve ever met. Here I’ve been jealous of you since I started reading your blog and you’d rather be anywhere else. ;)

  4. OK, we should switch places, then! ;-) I HAVE been to the US, I have a few friends there and I visited both them and as a tourist…
    Again, most Americans would love to live in Rome – because they don’t live here! ;-)
    I’m not sure I like that warmth you mention, but then… maybe it’s just me! :-D (I must be very Nordic, I love winter, am very silent, definitely not your average Italian in any way…)

  5. I have always lived in the countryside near small towns here in the US. I can’t imagine what it is like living in Rome! Thanks for the glimpse into your life. I got to travel a little reading it, even though it was only in my brain. Then again, isn’t that what all writers do – take the scenic route through their minds? :)

  6. Like you I feel very international because I appreciate and imbibe many of the cultural values of the countries I’ve lived in. And like you I see both the good and bad points of the different countries I’ve lived in.

    I think everyone has a love/hate relationship with their hometown although mine is more love than hate. London is one of the most precious places in the world to me.

    I’d love to visit Rome one day. It sounds beautiful even if they don’t have much medieval stuff.

    Jai

  7. ajay

     /  04/12/2010

    I read about Rome and the great culture Romans had, in my history textbook at school. I was so fascinated by Gladiators, Amphitheater, Colosseum etc. and, of course, phrases like All roads lead to Rome and Rome wasn’t built in a day. I hope to visit Italy some day and see all the places in Rome :)

  8. Jai, at the moment I prefer London because I don’t live there! ;-) But I’ve been there often enough to feel at home whenever I visit (same with Paris). As for Rome… one day I’ll have you all visit and show you around my favorite place! ;-)

  9. francesca

     /  04/12/2010

    This post has almost made me cry… during the last 18 months I barely stand this country. Italy is a wonderful place where spend your holidays but has no future. If I could run away from here, I’m sure I’ll miss a lot of Italy. But I’d be definitely more happy. Because I’d know that I did all I could to give my kids something better. Forgive my english, I’m working to improve it.

  10. Fra, we’ll run away together to the US! ;-) Except I don’t want to live in LA even if I end up marrying a Hollywood star and writing screenplays again. NY is much better, trust me! :-D

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