30 Days of Indie Travel Project Day 25: FAMILY – Family shapes who we are, but sometimes the family we create plays a bigger role in our lives than the one we were born into. Tell a story about how either of your “families” have impacted your life and your travel To read the blog in Italian
A family is a tribe. It consists of the people who know us best and who are there for us through all stages of our lives. There are many kinds of tribes and they each have their own rhythms and dynamics. Some are big, some are small, some are the ones you are born into and then there are the ones you create yourself. For those like me who have families spread across the country, it is possibile to create bonds with friends, that are in some ways, stronger than blood ties. There are also those people that we invite into our home as strangers, but who end up leaving as family.
When I was six years old my family welcomed a young girl from Chile into our home. Her name is Gloria Ortega. She came to us on through EIL: Experiment in International Living program. Gloria easily fit into our family and we immediately fell in love with her. Our bond was so strong that she returned to spend a year with us while attending college in the States. When her year was over, we couldn’t bear to part with her so accompanied her back to her home in Coquimbo Chile. We visited Santiago and Peru and spent some wonderful moments with her family in their village by the sea. At a young age, Gloria helped me to understand that there was a bigger world to discover, beyond my own front porch.
When I was ten years old my family welcomed a teacher from Japan into our home. Her name is Masako Nakada. She also came on the EIL program. She taught us Japanese dances and songs and how to fold origami cranes. My family visited her family in Mabashi City on the outskirts of Tokyo. We climbed Mt. Fuji together and visited the Imperial palace. I rode the bullet train and visited a silk worm farm. I learned that I liked green tea, but disliked bean curd cakes. Because of my Japanese sister, in high school I studied & learned how to play the koto, a Japanese musical instrument. Even though the years have passed, Masako is a part of our family and we hear from her frequently. She was the first one to open my eyes and ears to the wonders of the orient.
A year ago my family welcomed a young student from Locorotondo
Puglia into our home. Her name is Francesca Mirabile. She came to us on the AFS program and spent a year with us while she attended high school. Francesca learned the patterns and rhythms of our family. She shared in our private jokes and learned not only how to speak English better, but also the unique language of our family. Embracing Francesca as our daughter has led to other meaningful relationships. Her family…parents, sister and brother and aunts and uncles and friends have all become our extended family. This past summer my husband and three boys visited Francesca and her family in Puglia. It was the first time my boys had ever gone to Italy and the first time that I had ever been to Puglia.
These three woman, from South America, Japan and Italy, are a a part of my tribe. They come from different countries, but after living together we now have a common history. From each one I have learned something valuable and each has given me excellent reasons to visit new corners of the world I might never have travelled to had it not been for them. My adopted family has broadened my world perspective, but at the same time has made the world seem smaller and more embraceable. My natural family my be on the smallish side, but the family I have created spans the globe.