the experience of living in italy

i live in italy. i am not italian. sometimes i love italy, sometimes it can be pull-your-hair-out frustruating to live here. most of the time, it is just home and it is just this way.

living in italy is an interesting experience. one might say it is an interesting social project. to live here and observe, to compare. i often feel very much an outsider. even after more than 6 years of living in florence, more than 10 years since my first experience with italy.

often times i am caught up in moments of exhilaration: gazing up at the duomo, i feel so small. it took centuries to finish that cathedral, hundreds of men worked their whole lives on it without seeing it finished. along these same streets greats of the past such as leonardo, dante, michelageno walked and worked.
this country is so full of history, being here and being conscious of its past makes me feel so alive and full of joy. i am here today, this is my city. it is a beautiful country. it is full of the past but people still live here today. it is a living museum.

other times, living in italy can be highly frustruating: some things seem to not work at all, but they do, in their own italian way. what do laws exist for? to be broken, of course! at least that seems to be the italian way. sometimes i wonder if italians have forgotten their glorious past? it is hard to believe the roman empire prospered in these lands.

i have become a pessimist, living in italy.

no country is perfect, i know that. every single government tries to do its best for its citizens, at least in theory. after thousands of years, democracy is still in its infancy. no country is immune to special interests, lobbies, money and power. it seems that if allowed, those in power fall in love with their position and will never let it go, not willingly. i wonder how italians can vote for berlusconi, how they can complain and complain and not use their vote to make their elected officials take responsibility for their actions… or inaction. how could he have been re-elected into power is a further mystery. with the current world economic crisis, who knows where italy is headed.

living in italy is truly an experience.

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