Monday, May 21, 2012

The final installment in our Italian adventure . . . or to be continued?

May 7, 2012
Our six-month experiment in Italian living has ended. We fly back today. Lucy and I have held many discussions in the last month about our conclusions and what will come next. From the start, we knew we could have three possible outcomes.

First, we could decide that we want to live in Italy more or less full time. Granted, we still need to work at least five months a year to support ourselves, but we could spend the other seven months in Italy, in which case we would need to sell something in the United States and buy a house or apartment in Italy. We have looked at several places near San Salvatore that we really like, one in the heart of Montecarlo and another just outside Altopascio.

Or we could conclude that we have spent enough time here already, and it is time to focus our free time in another direction—other hobbies, other countries. I have, after all, already exceeded my expectations in discovering family roots, I have discovered the tie with the West Seattle Spadoni family and we have re-opened the connection with our Seghieri relatives.

The third alternative is to continue to come to Italy for about three months a year, in which case it would make the most sense to rent a room as we have done the past two years. If we take this route, it probably is best to keep coming back to our room at the Casolare.

Option two doesn’t seem likely, as our initial infatuation with Italy has turned into an abiding relationship. Like all good romances, we have become aware of our paramour’s flaws, but we are willing to overlook them for the sake of our love. We can’t see turning our backs on this place.

But should we commit our entire future to Italy? We have been leaning away from this idea in our conversations. Sometimes I say it would be easier to make this decision if we didn’t have such comfortable and satisfying lives in Gig Harbor. Our house has a beautiful view of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains, and I enjoy my work. We live surrounded by American cugini, fratelli, figli and nipoti already, and we have no language barrier to overcome in communicating with them.

Claudia's mom and one of Luca and Claudia's twins.
It was actually during an Easter dinner at the Casolare that I realized beyond a doubt that Gig Harbor should remain our primary home. While enjoying the multiple-course feast of Italian delicacies and conversing as best we could with Claudia and her parents, we watched all the extended families engage in long, loud conversations. It was pleasant to watch, but it made me miss my family. One of the most important aspects of being Italian is keeping one’s family close, and ironically, I can’t do that if I am in Italy.

So we are taking the middle road. While keeping our feet planted in America, we will continue to come to Italy for about three months per year, renting, not buying. We will encourage family members and friends to visit while we are there. We will keep learning Italian and use the time to renew connections with our Italian relatives. We will try not to be frustrated at the slowness of the latter two goals. It’s hard enough trying to keep current with everyone on the American side—while also earning a living—so we just want to relax in Italy and develop relationships as opportunities arise. We will keep on collecting information on family history and trying to see if we can find more relatives in both countries. In this way, we hope to get the best of both worlds.

Thus, my blog entries will be infrequent in the coming months, as I focus on work and other more mundane activities of my U.S. life, but I may add an occasional update on family matters. We are planning a Gig Harbor-based Spadoni-Seghieri family reunion potluck for August 4. I am hereby issuing an open invitation to anyone of the Natucci, Donati or Capocchi families who have ties to a Spadoni or Seghieri, or anyone else who attended our family 4th of July parties in the past. Thanks for reading . . . and maybe I’ll see you in August.

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