An Italian-Canadian Life…
…is featured in print by Il Postino Canada, a monthly Italian-Canadian newspaper based in Ottawa. A select blog posting is printed in each edition.
…is a member of the Food Bloggers of Canada.
…was featured as one of Lidia Bastianich’s Favourite Bloggers
…won third in Ninjamatics’ 2012 Canadian Weblog Awards in the Topical category.
…is a contributor to EatItalian.com
…was featured on CHIN Radio
For the longest time, I assumed I was Italian. In truth, all four grandparents were born there, my parents were born there and every extended relative I know was pretty much born there. Except for me. That makes me very Italian. I could throw out some other examples of my “Italianess” (the fig trees in my back yard, a cantina full of tomatoes, my language, my passions, etc.) but all that really matters is paperwork, and I had it.
I’ve always wanted to claim my Italian citizenship – a few of my friends had already done so years ago, including people whose only connection was through their grandparents – but when I finally got around to it, I wasn’t allowed. See, there was this five year window when Italian-Canadians could claim dual citizenship that we missed and since I was pretty young then all I can assume is that someone in my family didn’t open an envelope to find out that we had all lost citizenship rights.
I was, and am, upset. My reaction was even a shock to myself. I wanted the passport because I had plans of living there, even if for a year, and now that I’m too old for even a working visa exchange, that is shot unless I get someone to hire me. I wanted it for access to the European market, being able to take a job anywhere. I wanted it for any future children. Most of all, I found out, I wanted proof of what I am.
To be told you aren’t Italian, when you always though you were, is strange and confusing. I felt rejection and led on. I began, for the first time, to identify with people who have had citizenship issues, maybe those seeking asylum or refugee status. It’s that feeling of being unwanted by someone or something that is so centrally important to you.
It led me to the thought of who decides you culture or how your life is to be led? Those who issue passports or those who live it. I may not be able to live there freely, or be a “card-carrying” Italian. But I am Italian. I’m here to explore what my Italian life is – how it is defined, how I live it and who I am.
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