Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I am one of those immigrants who loves being an American by choice. I get weepy at the Star Spangled Banner - ok must add exceptions do not like it when it is sung as a pop song, country song, rap song or badly it is hard to sing but sing it like it was written -- and Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful. I get angry at politicians who make choices that go against the things I love about the US - democracy and that amazing piece of paper the Declaration of Independence. I think most Americans by birth or choice are actually these incredibly welcoming people not the gun totting fundamentalist cuckoos who somehow have hijacked the media. I guess after all it is kind of boring to have news articles about people who are just trying to get by, not interested in more than their or their children's futures -- much more catchy to show the outcasts.
Besides being an American by choice I am actually a New Yorker - NYC and I, we are pretty much in each other's DNA as far as I am concerned. I like many parts of the States but none come close to NY from city to beaches to the amazing mix that is Queens and quirkiness that is Brooklyn.
I guess maybe all of this leads up to the fact that somehow as soon as I land in Italy, nope not drop of Italian in me unless you count bazillion years ago when a Roman colony settled Romania (Jung's collective unconscious comes to mind), I somehow immediately feel at home. I like many places in Europe but Italy is my favorite by far.
I easily change my internal speed to sit down meals that will take hours -- to friendly smiles and unreliable time assignments. The sing song language that envelopes me and makes me feel somehow comfortable and slightly sexy. I love the history and let's not pretend the food is not a big part of this ... oh my they do it so well - yep all of it.
I could live in Italy - there is a part of me that is never fully American and never fully European but that could be bicontinental in some way ... ok not really an option but boy would it be nice. There are things that I know would annoy me - shower curtains for one - can we please stop making bathtubs so tall that I am doing weird moves to straddle over and get actual shower curtains. I am pretty fond of clothes dryers that actually dry clothes and not in 3 days for one thong .. what is it an emphysema laden motor in these ? The closing of shops for unknown amounts of time and the weird way that trying to get a schedule for the metro/internal train requires cold war era spy maneuvers to steal as they don't print them. All of that aside the beauty of being surrounded by monuments built BC and the incredibly welcoming nature of Rome would get me over it ... if not the great wine that is available or limoncello would also do the trick.
So having said that I know as I found out when I last tried to leave NY the leash does pull me back - the hustle and the craziness of NY - the variety and insane pace -- the we got it done even without the BC foundation approach - it is what makes me tick.
Maybe having a schizophrenic need to live in these two places is not unusual for a child born in Europe - to a Communist regime - who at 8 got on a plane by herself to meet her parents across an ocean in a place that was the home, Capitalist center, of so many others who came also from a place of history to a place where they could make their own history. There is much about NY that has my heart - places and of course certain people - but oh Roma I hear your siren call even a few days after I just left you.