I’m a freelance travel and food journalist who came to Italy in the 90s and made it her home. It kind of happened gradually. There are two versions: the Isabella Allende version, female geneaologies and all, that will be written for my grandkids and begins Our grandmother arrived on a plane. And the other version, owing slightly more to Bridget Jones that starts with me in a bright orange puffer jacket roaming around Italy on trains. Then I got an Italian boyfriend, Italian boyfriend became husband, two kids came along and before I knew it I was driving round the Milan ring road eyeing up the Abarths and singing along to Mina with the best of them. (Mina. Think Italy’s answer to Cilla Black.)
In the meantime I learned the language, absorbed the culture, and now I’m pretty much bilingual. I’m a feminist (read about that here) and I sometimes go off and march too (read about that here.) I also write in Italian. It all depends on the subject and the context.
Every summer I take off to Spain with my kids, bringing a third country into the equation. Three countries, three languages (although my Spanish is still very much work in progress) and definitely two identities (British and Italian).
Live in a country for long enough, and you absorb it until you no longer know whether home is one place or another and you’re living in a continuous state of flux between two cultures and two languages. But it’s the interplay between the two where it all really happens and that’s why I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Actually, maybe I would. For the world, yes. A nice round-the-world ticket and I could definitely be persuaded.
If you would like to get in touch, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.