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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Identity Crisis

This week we took care of a lot of bureaucratic “stuff“. Demetrio set up our health insurance, his 401(k), life insurance, our gym memberships and a whole slew of other little annoyances. A marked difference from the way things work in Italy is this example. We ordered high-speed Internet connection and the next day the modem was hand delivered to our door. That evening Demetrio set it up and within minutes, we were good to go. Internet access is an essential part of Demetrio’s job until Microsoft does reimburse us for the cost. (MS Italy did not do this.)

Since moving back to Seattle, buying a Volvo station wagon and being a stay-at-home mom, I have been going through some sort of identity crisis. When I was living in Italy, I knew that I would not be working. I had no problem staying at home taking care of my husband and taking care of the household. Now that I am back in the United States, I have every opportunity to get a job I feel somewhat strange not having one. We are lucky enough that my husband is a great provider and I do not have to work. Staying home and raising Veronica is my new job. I’m happy with the opportunity to have her stay home with me instead of going to a day care but then why am I second-guessing myself?

I feel like a stereotype living here, the Microsoft wife with an infant and a lot of free time on her hands. I rented a garden plot and hope to work it and fill it with Italian vegetables. I want to work on joining a mommy and baby group so Veronica can socialize with babies her age. I want to spend more time with his sister another good friends. I want to volunteer my time to a good cause. (I used to do this a lot when I was in college.) With all my good intentions and plans to improve our quality of life I guess I don’t feel a big victory has been won because my husband seems disappointed and defeated about moving back to the states. Part of me just cannot enjoy all the things there are to do and see here while he remains somewhat sullen about the move.

When I am feeling down and unsure about what were actually doing back here I think about the most important person of all. I think about how this place will help grow into a freethinking, compassionate, intelligent, adventurous girl and young woman; someone who is full of ideas and will not be limited in any way when she wants to fulfill them. I think about America, I think about how our family came here with nothing but through hard work and opportunity, we have made wonderful lives for ourselves. This is what I want for her as well.

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At 10:32 AM, Blogger Typesetter said...

Don't think of your self as a stay-at-home-mom. If this makes you feel uneasy, think of it as a temporary arrangement until baby-V is older and can go to preschool or whatever the asilo is called in English. You are now lucky enough to be living in a country where going back to wirk after a time off for taking care of your children is not next to impossible: so thnk of yourself as a temporary full-time mom ready to go back to a job career.

By the way, did you consider starting a small part-time business that will leave you plenty of time to take care of V? You may be teaching Italian cooking to the people in Seattle, for instance. Some kind of thing that does not force you to strict timetables, leaves you plenty time off with your lovely daughter (she's growing at record speed, isn't she?), with just the need to plan a little daycare (by your sister or someone you could hire) on a few occasions.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking care of Veronica is a very important, full time job. You have made a major change in your life and it takes time to adjust to those changes. Soon everything will fall into its natural order and it will feel like Italy did, home. Be patient and good luck!

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Delina said...

You're lucky that you can be a stay at home mum. It's important for V to have you at home whilst she's so tiny IMO. If you were in Italy it would be hard to have such a great set up I'm sure.

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Gajee said...

The "American way" devalues (is that even a word) stay at home mothers but with my experiences with families, it is one of the hardest jobs to have. Take the time off and enjoy taking V around without guilt.. you can garden (which you love) and all the other hobbies you are great at. Just think, when you finally move into your new place... there will be a lot of work. You won't regret it.

At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that last paragraph was very beautiful & touching. My italian parents moved to america in the 60s with not a cent to their name and with no grasp of the english language... they wanted a better life for themselves and for their future kids. with hard work, they managed to make a great life for themselves and for us (their kids). living in a country that actually rewards hard work makes a HUGE difference, and as we know this isn't very common in italy. i will be eternally grateful to them for this decision.
i think you are absolutely right, your daughter will have a world of opportunities and possibilities, she'll be raised in an ethnically diverse city & country- and that will certainly be beneficial to her.


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