Orvieto – Patris

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This is Umberto, he works at Patris with his friend. Umberto makes lamps out of olive wood while his friend makes utensils and other cool trinkets. One of them works at the store, while the other stays at the workshop, and they switch spots every day. Umberto has been woodworking for 20 years and was a designer in NYC prior.

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Coming to America: Carla

DSC_0008_01.2.jpgTranslated by me.

Edited by Marta Russoniello.

Place of Origin: Milan, Italy

When and why did you come to America?

I’m from Milan, Italy. I came to America for the first time on October 2011 thanks to an internship for educators with a J1 VISA. I was in Minnesota for three months working as a youth counselor in a juvenile center and three months in Massachusetts in a center for disability services. Then I moved to New Jersey, indefinitely, in 2012 thanks to my husband’s job.

What is your favorite thing about America?

I always dreamed of living in America, it has always been “fascinating” to me, different, I mean everything is good; I admire the politeness of people, the courtesy, because in Italy no one greets you while walking down the street, but here they do! The feeling of community, the civic feeling, and the patience when dealing with respecting the rules or the lines at the post office!

America is a cross-cultural country, there’s a heavy gathering of cultures, I’m part of it and I find it great, it makes you feel like you’re part of something that looks towards progression, towards the future.

What is something you dislike about America?

The first thing that comes to mind is the healthcare system but I’ve come to live with it. Other than this, up to now I don’t really know of something that I actually dislike about America, but I believe that coming from another place you tend to make comparisons often with the country of origin and you find things that you preferred before and other things that you now prefer.

Did you face any challenges while living here? If so, what were they?

Yes, learning English was a challenge; I consider the knowledge of the local language as the first step towards integration, therefore the sooner you learn it, the better. Because the feeling you get when people around you don’t speak your language and you don’t speak theirs is horrible, but obviously it’s the key to learning it. It’s exhausting not being able to communicate; your emotions are especially tested. Your true personality struggles to come out. I seemed shy, when in fact I wasn’t really at all! When one immigrates to a foreign country the link with the previous place is nonexistent and loneliness is inevitable. But, if you make the first step towards integration, every door opens and you’re embraced well. But building a new network of friendships, getting to know people takes time and willpower and yet nothing would be able to replace the relationships that you left back home.

Do you consider yourself ‘American’? If so, why?

I consider myself Italian more than anything else, but part of me also feels American, especially since my daughter was born here and it ties me even closer to this place.

 

Hard at Work

I went to the Museum of Natural History  (Smithsonian) on Thursday with my boyfriend. We spent the WHOLE day looking at wild animals that were stuffed, live insects, gems, ocean life, cavemen history, and fossils. What was interesting, to me, was that they had people extracting fossils from the compact dirt. It was a small workstation in the museum and they had signs up explaining what they were doing. They were part of the exhibit!  DSC_0072

He has some serious skills doing it standing up. That black tube is a vent that sucks up all the dust that they create when they “dig” out the bones. You can see in the picture below that its a pen-like tool that they use and it blasts pressurized air to expose the bones.DSC_0074

He seems extremely focused on what he is doing. You can tell by his furrowed brows. I have to give these guys credit; they are awesome for doing all this while tons of people watch. I would feel too pressured.