Monday, May 11, 2009

Migrations and life journeys

I've always tried to dig deep into my family's history and I've always been fascinated by my grandmother's tales on the journey that was going to represent the beginning of their new life in another country.

Reading a warmheartin
g article in World Hum, I spotted many common features with my family's past and although I know that was the destiny of a large part of the Italian population, it's always revealing how many families have shared struggles and emotions throughout history.

In the late 1950s my mother was seven and was only the secondborn of six children. My grandfather had already settled in France, started working as a miner and prepared everything for the arrival of his family.

My grandmother was 26, had already a consistent brood and made her way alone with her children and her brother-in-law to Northern France. She is from a tiny village in Sardinia and could hardly speak Italian, let alone French.

Desperation, the aftermath of Second World War and poverty were the essential ingredients for her courage that led her to embark on a journey studded with old coaches, crumbling trains and slow ships, through the Mediterranean Sea, Central and Northern Italy first and most France afterwards, to reach what her husband had reckoned was their best bet.

Today most of my uncles still live in France, where the family has considerably increased and boasts now children and babies of all ages. Every time I go to see them, not very often actually, there is at least a new born. If I wait a couple of years, the new born can be three or four, even.

Travelling and living abroad are always enriching experiences, and I'm sure this part of my family's past is the main reason why I can't stay too long in the same place, but I bet my grandparents, back in the 1950s, only wanted to live a quiet life in their tiny village.

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