Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cosenza, Calabria - The American Foreign Exchange Student

Photograph by Amanda Marie Martinez
Carol and I, Photograph by
Christian Gagliardi
Life here is simple, to say the least. People are always making fun of each other, but they never mean bad. Their intentions are good, I mean. Maybe I've already forgotten how to speak English. Allora, it seems as if these Calabrese never worry about anything. The image is fresh in my mind of this afternoon, when my host student, Carol (you're supposed to say it with an Italian accent,) and I were getting out of school today. As we were leaving, her father was waiting for us in his very small car and Carol's little brother, Christian waved from the window, "Ciao Carol! Ciao Amanda!" You'd think that I'm describing a movie scene, but I'm not.

As we get into the car, Christian gives me about 20 kisses, lips, cheek, and all. He's only nine years old and if he were any other nationality I suppose it would be a bit weird. Every time I get in the car with Carol's family, the windows are always open. I'm going to be honest here and also say that no one ever wears their seat-belt. I wasn't so surprised by this, as it's familiar to me because my grandmother, (very European,) has to be forced to wear her seat belt every time she gets in the car with us at home. But this sort of habit enforces what I said previously about not having any worries. I didn't mean it in an entirely romantic way. It's just a way of life that, for me, is very difficult to understand. I worry constantly and curse my life a lot for a person who always wears her seat belt. I mean, if my life is troublesome, what do I have to lose? Why do I not do as they do? They are happier overall, I think, without all these worries, so if anyone should be wearing their seat belt it should be them, (if you've seen the way Italians drive, you know another reason why they, specifically, should wear seat belts.) But perhaps it is I, who has a style of life that doesn't make sense. One in which I worry so much that at times I think of ending it all, yet I take all of the cautionary measures that prevent such a thing.

My school - Liceo Bernardino Telesio
At school there are all the types of people we have in America. You've got the nerds, you've got the jocks, the rich, the poor, But I've noticed that here, the people aren't separated, as they are in America. American society, I think, is very split. The students who make an effort, are friends with those who don't, the rich are friends with the poor. Mostly, because they are all in the same class. Unlike in the U.S. It's so interesting to see how much these Italians like to stay together. I've thought that maybe, it's because they're all Italian. After class, after all that effort or lack there of, every Italian goes home to his/her Italian mother, or father, or grandma. Whereas in the U.S, one American goes home to his Chinese family while another goes home to his Mexican family and another to his Polish family. And we let these differences separate us. It's a choice.

(hypothesis to be further developed during my time here.)

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