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I was born in Rexburg, Idaho in the United States in 1991. My story, however does not begin there. Instead it begins in the country from which my parents immigrated five years before and the country where most of my family continues to live today: Italy.


The history of Italians in the United States is vast and vibrant. It is a tale of hard work, discrimination, achievement, and ultimately the fierce desire to live and live well. Over the course of more than a century the Italian-American community gained a widely recognized image that was ingrained into the collective awareness of millions through music, film, and food, an image that unifies in its celebrations and alienates in its violent, romanticized stereotypes. Nonetheless it was a community so strong that it became its own culture, something hybrid in the middle of Italian and American that is lived and loved by many whether or not it is fact or fiction.


But it was never my community. This Italian-American culture was long established before my Italian born and raised parents left their home country and gave birth to my sister and me in the land of the free. It was neither the one that they related to nor the one that I was raised with. Additionally, from Idaho to Oregon to Los Angeles I never lived in a place that had a tangible, tight-knit population of Italians or Italian-Americans. I grew up with a strong sense of pride for my heritage and for a country that I had visited frequently with much reverence and affection but did not get to experience as a true native. Today modern Italy is rife with economic and social turmoil as the weight of its beautiful and imposing history looms overhead. Meanwhile, I live an ocean and a continent away and face confusion of my own.


How could I call myself Italian, but how could I call myself simply American? Do Italians in Italy still value the elements of the mother country that I hold dear? Can these customs survive the onslaught of the future in a country so large and nebulous as the United States? And where is the comforting community that could help me answer all of these questions?


This is the confusion that thrives within me as I try to make sense of my beloved traditions in our rapidly globalizing world. I am a young woman trapped between two countries and between the past, the present, and the future. This series exists to explore these sensations and my personal experiences.

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