Coming to America: Marta

Marta_GB

Place of Origin: Verona, Italy

When did you come to America and why?

“2002 in June, my father works for the U.S. government and was transferred to the U.S. he works with sports for children, but also adults. So, his contract expired in Italy and needed a renewal so he took a job in New York. My father moved in 6 months before my whole family did and we lived with my grandmother. She left us the house after she passed away.”

Was it hard for you to adapt?

“Yes and no, because there were Americans in Italy on the base I lived on. I had experience with American culture and I celebrated American holidays. It was more adapting to the language than the culture. My spelling would always be wrong, because in Italian you spell things the way you would say it. I was in ESL more for the grammar and spelling. And sometimes, even now, words for objects come to me in Italian first instead of English.”

What do you like most about America?

“There is so much to see and its so accessible. The food, the diversity of it, and how accessible they are because Italian markets are hardly open. They take un aperitivo [breakfast], then they have the siesta, they take a nap, and then they have to go for a passeggiata [go for a walk]; I’m surprised they’re even open [laughs].”

What don’t you like about living in America?

“It’s expensive and there’s a lot of people, at least in New Jersey, we’re very densely populated. And going for walks isn’t easy because you can’t take a stroll to the park or go in piazza [public squares and market places in Italy] to meet your friends because everything is so far away. From where I used to live everything was so close and of walking distance you could even take public transportation, which isn’t bad, and you have more of a chance to be social.”

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