Back in August, as the days leading up to my plane ride to Florence came about, my own family relations at home in New Jersey grew more and more complicated (because God forbid we all fight at a time that isn’t inconvenient). Someone close to me in my own Italian family began to hate me more and more, and I couldn’t help but regret my decision to fly to Italy, just a bit, in a few days because I felt like as much as I wanted to escape this person and their various methods to hurt me, instead, I was heading to what I felt like was “their” country. I felt like I was intruding in their life when really I wanted to create my own.
But since being here, living next to the majestic Duomo is this city surrounded by Renaissance art and architecture, traveling to places like Capri and Pisa and Venice every weekend, I realized that this isn’t a place that belongs to anyone that lives in the States. I feel silly to think that these people who wish nothing but the worst for me also have no real connection to this country– as much as they would like to think they are a part of it, that they understand the culture and their lives, they have never even been here. If anything, they are a part of the overstated Italian-American culture, which literally has nothing to do with Italy. These people I was so afraid of have never been here and probably will not set foot on this land before they die. They don’t understand the fine art and the modest love, the humility and the sunshine.
I may only be a kid. I may not understand too much and mostly, I’m just musing here the best that I can. But I will say this– for this time, I live here. I breathe this air and I see these places and I eat this food. This land is mine.