Things that make me go “Oh, Canada…”

Yep, they are back at itagain… Unbelievable… let me just say, thank Gore for the internet… If I did not have a chance of reading news, commentary, and generally keeping abreast of what is happening back in my country of origin, mostly through unofficial media such as blogs, I may be considerably more prone to succumbing to the temptation one of these days, and do something stupid out of ignorance… like, go back.

Oh, I know, it’s just another one of those “stupid little thing”, right ? Well… I am not so sure.
I am convinced that in the end it is just a collection of many such “stupid little things”, that tilts the scale toward staying put.
I have always been told by many fellow countrymen, also expats and older than me, who have spent most of their adult lives away from Italy (where we all grew up), that after many years (say, fifteen or more), it is not uncommon for one to start feeling something resembling a desire to return. I have been experiencing it myself, on and off, during the past five years.
Romanticized, mostly stereotypical images start populating one’s (day)dreams [0], mostly borne out of selective amnesia and nostalgia for one’s youth disguised as desire to go back, and perhaps the idealistic yearning to “make a contribution” to the country where, in the end, we all grew up to be reasonably educated and well-adjusted individuals (hey, I said reasonably, OK ?)… [1]
And it is often the case that, when one is in his mid 40s, career appears on a more or less well-established path — for the most part, no big changes, or great surprises are expected; everything starts looking more and more like … routine (what an awful word). At that point, the drive that had initially largely prompted the decision to emigrate, and that for many years had kept one from having these, well, hallucinations, starts fading. Psyche lowers its guard. It is normal, I think.

In those moments, there is nothing like reading a random post on Beppe Grillo’s blog, for example, to awaken me abruptly, like cold water… I read two paragraphs (sometimes even the title of the post alone), and I am right back where I was over twenty years ago, ready to say goodbye to my parents, brother, aunt, grandma and friends, and board that plane west bound. I am reminded that, wonderful as my country of birth is and will always be, as great a place to live it remains for many, including foreigners, there were good reasons for me to leave, and for the most part they are still there… that, behind those million “stupid little things” lies a fundamental incompatibility between one’s own values, philosophy of life and aspirations, and those of a country, of a society with traditions rooted in centuries worth of history. Granted, the present government [2] makes it all the worse, but come on, let’s face it, the present government has been put in place by Italians… we do not even have the excuse of some foreign invader.
Years have gone by and, sure, things have changed… superficially… but, fundamentally they have remained the same. And deciding to return based on superficial aspects is not a wise idea… is it ?

[0] All right, fine, we are talking mostly food, weather, old friends, taking long leisurely strolls at night on some densely populated boulevard full of people, as opposed to on deserted and dark highway ramps… oh, and did I mention food ?

[1] What ? Frustration with the climate at the current location ? Naaaah…

[2] I refuse to put a link to that on my blog.

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8 Responses to “Things that make me go “Oh, Canada…””

  1. Professor in Training Says:

    I’ve only been living here for 4yrs but I still get occasional pangs of nostalgia for the land far, far away. Sometimes it’s wanting the familiarity of home and other times it’s wanting to visit places of my childhood but then I wake up to the reality that it’s all still there and remember those feelings of deja vu every time I go home. Like you, I don’t think those feeling of idealizing my homeland will ever stop.

  2. transientreporter Says:

    Reason for staying:
    Sergio Berlusconi

    Reason for going back:
    Monica Bellucci

  3. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    Reason for staying:
    Sergio Berlusconi

    Wow…. and I thought Silvio was bad already… is Sergio even worse ?

  4. transientreporter Says:

    What can I say? Italian politics isn’t my forte…

  5. transientreporter Says:

    Notice how I spelled Monica Bellucci’s name properly, though…

  6. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    Notice how I spelled Monica Bellucci’s name properly, though…

    Yep — you’ve got your priorities in order, my man…

  7. Cath@VWXYNot? Says:

    I like going back to the old country… for, like, two weeks max. It just starts to feel so crowded and claustrophobic, and everyone judges you based on your accent (region and class – neither come out in my favour in most cases), and there is that anti-academic, anti-science, inverse intellectual snobbery that says you should keep quiet and not talk about the things you’re interested in in case you come across as an elitist boffin…

    Nope, give me wide open spaces, moutain and ocean views, glittering glass sky scrapers, and taxi drivers and welders who want to discuss genome evolution with you.

    We just need a new PM (I referred to him this morning as “that smug piggy eyed git” – NOT during the test I hasten to add).

    Maybe I will turn this into a blog post some day.

  8. Cath@VWXYNot? Says:

    p.s. don’t know if you check your stats… but if you see me coming and going a lot, it’s because I’m clicking through to all your Mac blogs to copy the feed into Google Reader… return, repeat…

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