Sunday, November 3, 2013

Italian-American dreams

We are one anothers dreams, we Americans and Italians. Not all of us of course, but those that dream of another life, those who in their hearts are travelers not tourists, we have fantasies of foreign places that will satify our restlessness, our search for a life style that would match our dreams. This longing for a difference creates dreams of a place where we are happy, where our restlessness is calmed and our aggitation is settled. Our life in a new place would be more satisfying, more suited to our indivudal make up if only.....

Many young Italians dream of the life style of the U.S. If only they could find a way to work and live in the US, then... For these young people, the US continues to be  the land of opportunity, a place where merit rises above background, heritage, nepotism and stifling bureaucracy. One young Italian woman told me in amazement that she heard that in the U.S. it was possible to have an idea, and people would pay you money to develop it and implement it. It was astonishing to her that such a thing was possible. These young people dream of the freedom of the US, the lifestyle, the ease of technology, the ability to get meaningful work. They wonder what it would be like to live independently, finally, from their parents, to have a home of their own. Their eyes widen at the dream of unfettered freedom,  the ability to make as much money as they could possibly want or need.  They are Midas before the gift.

Many Americans dream of the life style of Italy.  A country of wonderful food, and wine, music, art and culture. It is our Elysium Fields, a place where everything in life is sensual, delicious, and dolce. Italy is the land of perpetual vacation, where the music makes us happy, the people are satisfied with small things, and "mamma" has the answer for everything and can fix everything.  The laws here don't apply to us.  Stop lights can be ignored. If we miss our exit on the autostrada we can back up and not be killed. Life in Italy is the oyster and we are living our own personal pearl.  Such is the American dream about Italy.

How did we come to have such dreams about one another?  Why don't Italians dream about Canada? Why don't Americans dream about Switzerland? What is it about our own lack of meaning that makes the other life style so seductive in our dreams? Italy and the US; the Yin and the Yang. Complementary, not opposing forces of life, desire, and dreams. 


  1. Oh my gosh, Susan, this is exactly what I also know and believe. The young Italians I have meet want to be here, and I want to live there.
    Erba più verde?

  2. David, yes! I think it is a little more than that. Something about each culture in its extremetiy that creates this longing for the other. I think age is also a factor. Retiring in Italy is one thing, to try to make a career in Italy as a young person, would be a totally different thing! Thanks for the comment.

  3. Great thoughts to ponder! I think it could be a little bit of the grass always being greener. But, to the Americans who travel Italy, literally, the grass is usually greener. I think some piece of it involves your nationality and age as well. Older American Italians seem to prefer the life of Italy while the younger generation like the adventures of America. My grandfather's answer would be "Sausich his own". Enjoy.

  4. Thanks Melanie. I agree with your grandfather, and I am very happy I am at the right age and in the right place for me. Thanks for your comment.