When I was younger, I would always ask to hear the same bedtime story. It was about a young man who was born and raised in Italy, and a young woman who was born and raised in New York. The girl was ecstatic because her and her friends had just booked a flight to go to Greece. Their first night in Greece, the girl went to a local restaurant with all of her friends and upon her arrival, she took notice in a gentleman who was sitting at a nearby table with all of his friends. The girl turned to her best friend and said,
“That is the guy I want to marry.” The girl’s best friend strut across the restaurant and went up to the guy and asked him what his name was, but she noticed that he could barely understand her and that he did not speak English. The guy was able to say the basics; what his name was, where he lived, and the names of his friends that he was sitting with. The guy was from Naples, Italy and he was curious to discover the interested girl’s name. Her name was Marion and his name was Emiliano. Marion sat down next to Emiliano and they attempted to break the language barrier and essentially sat together the entire dinner. For the rest of their vacation, they spent every second together. When it was time for them to return to their respective countries which were six thousand miles apart, they promised each other they would talk on the phone and write each other all the time. They kept their promise and somehow conquered the long distance and language hindrance. Marion was a school teacher so on her weekends she would fly to Italy just to be with Emiliano. After years of long distance, Marion and Emiliano got married. This is the story of how my parents met.
I now know that I am so fortunate to say that I have both an Italian and an American culture, but when I was younger, I found it was extremely difficult for me to have a relationship with my cousins, uncles, aunts, and especially my grandmother because of the language barrier. Having half of my family on the other side of the world left me feeling incomplete and lost many times in my life, but as I matured and got older, I was able to find the missing piece; I knew that I wanted to explore and further my Italian culture. I visit Italy most summers, and every single time I arrive, I never want to leave. Just seeing all of little restaurants, beautifully sculpted churches, vespas parked on every block of the stone roads, and the ornate buildings makes me feel at home.
There is something about traveling and about getting to see how different places thrive that excites me. I live for the times where I can see different cultures colliding and coexisting, because knowing that despite all the diversity in cultures, we as humans are able to look beyond and accept other culture’s practices. The pure history, food, religion, festivals, and people around the world are all so different compared to America and I know that I will want to adventure to foreign countries just so that I can experience them all.
College is the place for me because I know I want to study and explore other cultures that aren’t just Italian and American. Knowing diversity and the different practices within a cultural group is something that interests me. When I was younger, I used to dislike missing the entire summer with my friends to go to Italy, but now, I came to the realization of how lucky and special my annual vacation really was. College is filled with diverse cultures and I want to broaden my horizons by absorbing the customs of others.
My bedtime story started out with two people who defied odds, were determined, and were not afraid to know other cultures and I know I want to be just like that.