To get straight to the point; I dislike the country I’m living in. I’m sick of what makes America, America. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the roof over my head, my freedom of religion, my education opportunities, having breakfast,lunch and dinner, and instant rights as a citizen. But as far as the moral attitude of our generation today, our generation’s general personality,traits,desires,what we live for and how our country is evolving, I’d have to give it all a huge thumbs down. My opinion came from spending time in Florence, Italy in 2008 with my family but was really confirmed this summer, spending 2 weeks in Trastevere,Rome with my school. While warned that the Italians had somewhat of a grudge against Americans, I found that with appropriate attire, manners and disposition, the Italians hospitality towards us was beyond generous. Their appreciation of beauty,love,food,friends and family shook my outlook on society today.
Staying in a Christian hostile run by Italian nuns, this accommodation called the “Centro” immediately separated our group from other tourists who stayed in a hotel. The little town of Trastevere embodied the Italian culture; small family owned restaurants and bars were nestled in between larger restaurants and small clubs. Clothing stores (no brand names) were unique, it was such a relief to see young (as well as old) men and women dressing with originality. Walk into the middle of New York City, and your instantly in a bad advertisement for Abercrombie, Ralph Lauren, and Coach. Walk into Piazza de Santa Maria, and be captivated by the creativity of Trastevere’s locals. There was no “mainstream” in that town. The youth were not clones of each other, and neither were the adults. They didn’t seem to follow any unwritten guidelines. Where American teens with a sense of “creativity” are taunted for looking different than their classmates, the groups of Italian teens I would see were all extraordinarily different than one another-yet all hanging out together. I feel that if our country’s youth were more accepting towards those who are “different”, new friendships could form,and we could accomplish so much more, and conquer maturity.
On a weekday night, it was not uncommon to see the whole family out to dinner, or to go past an open window, and hear laughter. It was moving to see how close each family was, and how included every member of the family was in conversation. Just to see siblings in varying age differences, together,talking and enjoying each other, was heart warming. While I don’t speak for everyone, for many that I know; family dinners are rare. At the Centro, we had breakfast,and dinner together. The nuns would prepare the courses, and our group would sit for about an hour, simply having a good time with one another. Even at boarding school, dinners are always rushed, and rarely are tables completely filled. In Trastevere, the table is filled, and conversation is relaxed,not rushed. It was surprising to see the amount of senior citizens who ran,or worked in the stores and shops. They were treated with a higher respect, and were easily some of the friendliest Italians I met.
In conclusion, Italy, and the town of Transverse especially, showcase the perfect example of what I wish America could embrace, and how I strive to live everyday. Getting back in touch to whats important, and to re evaluate how much I really take my life for granted.
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