Southern Italy, Part V

I’ve seen Italy from all sides.  Places the tourists never see.  I have been very fortunate.  It has been humbling, and eye opening.  I appreciate more deeply now what my ancestors went through to leave it for America.

I think that a part of study abroad is to immerse yourself in a different culture, and open your mind to new ways of thinking and problem solving in a foreign environment.  I imagine that many students choose the countries they study abroad in based on their own ancestral heritage and a desire to connect with that. I imagine this is a big part of what study abroad IS.

I was fortunate to meet a cousin of mine in Rome during our free day.  We had never met before.  Though she spoke very little English and I spoke very little Italian, it is amazing how much you can communicate with a few words and hand gestures.  Somehow, we had a whole conversation and managed to connect as human beings.  It was wild to note the similarities in personality quirks.

I’ve never felt more American, than when I tried to immerse in my Italian roots.  I appreciate both sides of myself now, the American, and the Italian.  As American-Italians, we have clung on to this Old World culture for generations, as I noticed when some things I did at the dinner table closely resembled that of the Italians, and they noticed as well.  But I also noticed the differences, how as Americans we have evolved into something else, and are not this Old World anymore.

It is so strange, to recognize a place, a way of being, as so familiar, and yet to not belong to it.

Pacione is a native Hudson Valley fine artist and poet who has been writing poetry for nearly two decades, reading her impassioned work throughout New York since 1995, and oil painting since 2010. Her poetry and paintings center around the complexities of the human subconscious and how dreams manifest in life on the surface. She is currently pursuing a MFA in Painting at SUNY New Paltz.

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