I am very passionate about my heritage, and like many Italians born and raised in Canada, I view myself as Italian, and specifically as Calabrian.
I was fortunate to spend every summer of my childhood and teen years in Italy, and was so absorbed in the culture that I thought in Italian, losing my English. The Calabrese dialect in particular was prevalent in my mind, and my mother would be utterly HORRIFIED when I used this in conversations with our family/friends in Italy.To this day my mom & siblings shake their heads and wonder why I tortures her with the dialect… In true Italian fashion – it is thoroughly enjoyable to torture your wonderful mother – and then laugh together.
Every fall, I would integrate back into my Canadian culture, and have to participate in special language classes at school, as I struggled with my English. It was embarrassing, however I realize now what a blessing to be able to be completely fluent in two languages and two cultures.
I have continued this tradition now that I have my own family – and take my children back to this place that profoundly impacted me. It is fascinating to be there as an adult – remembering this place as a child.
The southern Italian lifestyle there is so different to living here in Canada. They have a much more relaxed approach to living and everything moves at a very slower rhythm than here in Canada, where we demand everything NOW! I have experienced some challenges navigating back to this slower pace and here I find that I have fully acclimatized to the Canadian way of doing things… unlike my childhood where I struggled to integrate back into Canada.
The banking system is far more complex over there than here, leaving me telling a local bank over there – that I was coming armed with all my paperwork. They panicked asking me a 1000 questions about who I was, who I was related to (only in small towns they ask these questions), I couldnt figure out what the big deal was until I realized that “armatta” meant I was coming “ARMED”…… LOL – talk about getting lost in translation!
The tax system is also different, construction, deliveries….. and the sauce… nothing tastes as good as the fresh ingredients that one can acquire next to the sea! All that fresh air!
I love love love it even with all its complexities..the south is an experience that you all MUST share with me! It’s simply authentic perfect! With Italy being so fashion forward I have never felt that it’s pretentious! The Ioanian sea is known as the Caribbean of Europe…no one has ever left Calabria and said never again!
Join me on my blogs as I take you through my journeys sometimes you will have a good laugh or a cry…but I invite you to join me to feel the Calabrian hospitality that we are known for.