A funny thing happened this year. I fell totally and helplessly in love with Milan. I’ve been here 18 years, so you’d think it might have happened sooner. I did love it, or I was in deep-like with it, but this year it just wrapped itself even further around my heart and insinuated itself into my guts. I realized, like it or not, that it is my home, in some ways more profoundly than any other single city has been. It has shaped me and ferried me into the deeper stages of adulthood. I had my children here, and that makes it sacred to me.
This love was growing daily when terrorists attacked Paris last month. And I have to say that I have been shaken to the core by that event and others that continue around the world and in the US. I was born both very scared and very courageous, if that makes any sense. As a wise woman recently reminded me, courage isn’t being unafraid; it’s managing your fear. And so I am a person who’s bravery has developed in direct proportion to her own fear. I have lots of both. But I constantly have to recalibrate and find my strong person. These are muscles we never stop developing. And mine have needed help lately.
These days, though, the media don’t always provide the information you need. In fact, more often than not, they are profiting from whipping us into a more lathered state of reaction. And people like me have to be very careful. But today, I read two lovely essays that I wanted to share with you. First, because my focus in this blog is usually something that relates to Italy or France, and these certainly do. And secondly, because they are both about perspective…and this is something we must cultivate right now. They are both written by Beppe Severgnini, an Italian journalist who loves (I repeat, loves) both his homeland and America. So he writes from the heart as well as his very well-informed head.
I hope you enjoy these:
Learning from Terrorism Past, 12/8/2015
What Italy can Teach America about Donald Trump, 9/18/2015
Mr. Severgnini is a very funny writer, and he has very funny things to say about America. If you are interested in getting more perspective and laughing at the same time, just click on the giant book below! Have a truly lovely day, Charlotte
Hey Charlotte, Funny, I too had the same experience sitting at LAX waiting to board the flight LAX-CDG and realized I was glad I was going ‘home’! After 20 years here, it finally hit me that this is my home and even though I need to go to London to get my Anglo-Saxon fix once a month, Paris is indeed in my heart, mind and spirit! It is me and I am it. An interesting feeling.
Oh, that’s really interesting…I wonder if it’s something about the 20-year mark. So happy you feel at home there. I love that.
Ah, what a beautiful post, Charlotte! I know the feeling well and still miss France every day. I wonder if your deep love of Milan has to do with your moving into its heart this year?
Could be. Or it may just be that I’ve realized that the city has bloomed. It’s the first time I’ve lived anywhere along enough to actually see it change!
Hold this close: “Twenty-five years after the last era of terror, our generation — the generation that witnessed and weathered it — has a duty to remind our children what worked against terrorism and, in the end, defeated it.”
yes. i will.
Terry talks about traveling all the time…although, he really doesn’t want to go. We start to make plans and then one of us says…why go? Everything we love is right here. I understand what you are staying. What a beautiful post, Charlotte!
oh I totally understand him! i love staying home!
You know, I don’t think there is one place in the world i feel that for – just quietly.I am so so glad that you are feeling your roots now.. c
thank you, Celi
“Courage isn’t being unafraid , it’s managing your fear” , such wise words . They went right to my heart. Thank you Charlotte.
“And so I am a person who’s bravery has developed in direct proportion to her own fear.”
Not to be a yenta or anything, but that should be “And so I am a person whose bravery has developed. . .”
I’m so glad you are being a yenta. I had a funny feeling about that when I wrote it. Thanks!
I read this when you first posted it, and it made me cry, partly for you and partly because I realized that I had in a different sense made the same journey. Going “home” now is just a visit.
I was reminded of this post, though, at a recent book club meeting. We were discussing the book “Brooklyn,” and someone was trying to grasp the idea of how an immigrant can be in a place of not belonging to two places simultaneously, and whether the heroine would always be in that place of limbo. I realized that no, she would become eventually become an American, and shared what I heard in this post.
Love you and miss you, and hope to one day visit and see you in your new home!