Establishing a place and identity has been difficult for me since I was born in Italy, lived there for 8 years, and then moved to the United States where I have spent last 14 years of my life. Wow, that’s a long time. I don’t like counting how long it’s been since we left Italy, so I often lose track of how long it’s actually been. But I’ve always had this conflict within me of not really knowing where I belonged. It hash’t been overwhelming to the point where I feel completely lost, but rather just indifferent to both Italy and the U.S. Despite being an American citizen and living in the U.S. for most of my life, I do not feel very American and certainly don’t feel patriotic in the least. At the same time, I can’t say that I feel very Italian either. I was born there and spent those early formative years of my life there, but I am not ethnically Italian, and therefore, was more like an outsider living in Italy. Of course, the Italian people are very warm and embracing, so we didn’t feel like intruders or out of place. I am extremely grateful for my childhood in Italy, as I realize this is an opportunity that not many American children have. I have the fondest of memories of my birthplace and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
That being said, my love for Europe and desire to go back exceeds my interest, or lack thereof, to remain in the U.S. and build a life here. But then again, my family is here in the U.S. and going to Europe on business seems challenging for non-EU citizens. So I suppose it will continue to be a conflict, but will hopefully be resolved at some point in my life, if I’m lucky.