Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The one question we used to receive constantly while living in Ascoli Piceno was, "come mai Ascoli?" (why are you living in Ascoli?) Now that we're in Cleveland, everyone is asking, "Why Cleveland?" where the current city motto seems to be, "at least we're not Detroit!"

The second question everyone asks is, "don't you miss Italy?" Answer: Yes. Every minute. With every fiber of my being. I miss the piazzas, I miss my routine, and my morning cappuccino (and my sweet, smiling barista) with my perfect cornetto. I miss...well, I miss so many things that if I continue to dwell on them and list them I will only sink deeper into the blues. But I really miss speaking Italian, and my friends.

I am in the place where I grew up, yet I feel displaced. I am surrounded by people who speak my native tongue, but often feel misunderstood. And I feel rather isolated, even though I am lucky to be in a neighborhood where I can walk to shops, restaurants and a locally-owned grocery store.

Yes, homesickness has set in. Several people have welcomed us "home," but if the old cliche is true that home is where the heart is, then home for us is definitely Italia.

So this week, just as I was starting to feel good and really melancholy, I received two emails from friends in Italy that confirmed my heart.

One wrote that "even though we haven't been friends very long you (voi, plural form) remain in my heart and I am sending you hugs and kisses". The other said "we miss you terribly, and I even miss calling you for no reason." Awww. Just when I was lamenting that some of my long-time friends had blown me off, these two have blown me away with their sweet sentiments.

Now excuse me while I go cry in my (watery and overpriced) caffe`.

Read About Places I Love in Italy:

-Matera - the City of Stone and a musical place
-Ascoli Piceno - The background and why we chose to live there
-Basilicata - The Land of Brigands and Land of Southern Hospitality


Karen (South of Rome) said...

Come triste! Ack, I'm already struggling so much with this move. But we have no choice... the Navy decides our fate for us. Still, I've been gone from the US 6 years and am nervous about the transitions back 'home'. Have you seen the meet up thing in the US? I saw that they have an Italian meet up in DC plus the embassy hosts lots of events. -- K

Anonymous said...

i hope you can go back to Italy soon. i've been so lucky to be able to stay in Spain but i know if i ever left i would miss it terribly. joanna

Lola said...

Che tristezza! You feel misplaced in your homeland, that means it is no longer home. Ascoli is.

I wish I could heal your sorrow, and reassure you that a prompt return "home" will happen soon, but I know too little of your private life to make that kind of hopeful statement.

What I can do is keep coming here to visit and speak to you solamente in italiano, così potrai mantenerti in esercizio.

Un abbraccio forte,
Lola xx

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I'm sorry.

It's interesting to read about your "reverse culture shock".

Does the Italian Cultural Institute have a branch there? The one in L.A. had great events, classes etc. It's part of the Italian gov't so sometimes they had excellent guest speakers in from Italy.

janie said...

You'll be back-you know you will!

Beatriz Macias said...

I had no idea that you were back in the States. I have been so busy, I had no time for my blog friends! I feel your pain, now that we are two years into our 3 year Italian adventure, I am dreading leaving this beautiful place. I wish you well, and I hope that your in-between time is sweet and rewarding.
Take care, I will be checking on your progress.

Valerie said...

Grazie tutti! Siete dolce!
Karen - I haven't seen the meet up thing, what is it? Good luck with the move; at least the Navy undertakes it all for you!

Joanna - Me too, asap!

Lola - Grazie. I know you know. I do appreciate your sentiments. Torni presto al mio nido.

Ragazza - Purtroppo no. No branch here but we don't plan to be here for very long so will keep my eyes open for other branches.

Janie- Yes, I know...and we will!

Beatriz - Thanks for coming by! I've been behind on my blog reading, too. Grazie.

Megan in Liguria said...

Find your way back. I know you can. M:)

Irene of American in Padua said...

Yes, no one in this world ever accepts people wanting to live in places other than the major cultural, commercial or beach capitals of the world. Do you get "grass is greener on the other side" comments, too, of Italians envying your trip to US while the Americans are jealous of your Italian home? I even had that when I was leaving New York City for Bologna! Go figure.
Remember to do the things in the US that are not easily done here: like getting a great cocktail in a bar or get a big bear hug!

Valerie said...

Megan - I will!

Irene - Many, many Italians asked me, "But why would you want to live in Italy when half of Italy wants to go live in America?!" Meanwhile I am appreciating that I can see my family and enjoy some ethnic cuisine!

Stefanie said...

I know exactly what you mean. It's 5 months now that I'm living here in Italy and I don't know if I ever will be able to move back to Sweden. It's going to break my heart. Even though Sweden is where I grow up and where I have all of my friends and most of my family (I also have family here in Italy)I don't know, it's something about this country that make you fall in love with it and makes you feel good, in the spirit. Ok, it sounds really lame but I don't know how to else describe it.

Chef Chuck said...

It must be somewhat hard being torn between to lands.You have the same feelings I have for Italy! I love everything about it.
The land I visit often and one day to live. I feel at home with every visit. A home away from home, I assume!! Maybe its your time for your feelings to take over, Chuck :)

Valerie Fortney-Schneider said...

Stephanie - I know what you mean. It's hard to describe the emotional and visceral vibes that Italy gives off...but that doesn't make them any less real.

Chef Chuck - It is hard, but we'll be back there for certain. Thanks for stopping by!