We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Living the dream - meeting new friends!

I have had a successful professional career in the Information Technology field for many years. Ha, let me re-state that- many, MANY years! And in the course of those years, I’ve had to keep up with and learn all the new technologies. Of all those new technologies, it’s the internet that has changed the course of my life the most, I believe. I say that because of the people the internet has brought into my life. Strangers one day, friends the next- all because of an email or a blog entry. From all walks of life, from all over the globe. How amazing is that!

If you have been reading my blog, you are aware that my quest for dual Italian citizenship opened some interesting doors. If it weren’t for the internet, I would not have found and met Luigi Paiano and his office full of wonderful colleagues who are helping me navigate the tangled bureaucracy here in Italy. But I have blogged about Luigi already. The focus of this blog is on the others who have found me along the vast super highway of the internet.

It’s one thing to read a blog, and then it’s quite another to pick up the electronic pen and send a response off to the writer, because something they have written has ignited a spark for you somehow. On a rare occasion, I have been known to contact someone because of their blog entry. I write a blog, but honestly, I do that for myself. I worry that someday in my crotchety old age, I won’t remember some of the events that are changing the course of my life right now. That’s really the purpose of my blog. I want to be able to re-read the journey… to remind myself when I can’t remember on my own! I never in a million years expect that anyone else is reading along with me.

What I want to focus on here is that statement I just made.. I never in a million years expect that anyone else is reading along with me. Wow. I get emails all the time now from people all over the United States who share my Italian heritage, and are either in the process of their own quest for the dual citizenship or are thinking about doing it. We have an instant bond.. it’s our mother, or our grandmother, father, maybe great-grand father. All these Italians who have come before us link us, like a new little extended family. We have lots to talk about, this email family of mine. Where are they in the process, how is it going, where is their family from in Italy, have they been here yet? We compare notes. We commiserate. We hopefully will one day all celebrate our successes in finally obtaining that elusive Carte d’Identitie which signifies we made it!

So what is even more awesome than the fact that I now have a group of new friends via email who have found me because of my blog is that in the last two weeks I have met two of these compatriots face to face right here in Venice, Italy! Yes, right here, just around the corner from me!

One of them has come to begin his own incredible journey to obtain his Italian citizenship. Alan and I have been corresponding for a few months now on and off, discussing some of the unbelieveable roadblocks I’ve encountered along the way. I knew Alan planned to be here during the summer but I didn’t know exactly when. A few weeks ago I got a phone call on my Italian telephonino – he’s arrived! A day or so later, I just happened to look up as I was passing an apartment building not far from us and noticed Alan’s last name on a piece of paper taped to the doorbell there. I stopped--. pointed it out to my husband Mike, and exclaimed, “ I bet this is where Alan’s rented apartment is!” Just around the corner and down the street from us. Wow, really small world!

Alan and his wife Gail invited us to dinner a few days later. On that night, we toasted our hopefully soon Italian citizenship. When Gail told me that reading my blog and the story of my experiences inspired them to come here to pursue Alan’s citizenship also, I was blown away. Literally, blown away. As I said, I never in a million years expected to have anyone read my blog, and here is this woman from the west coast of the United States telling me that my story motivated them to get over here with their own stack of documents to deal with the Italian government. I’m honored, humbled, and very, very grateful. AND- I made new friends!!!

Perhaps even more astounding is that in the same few weeks, another of my email correspondents has arrived in Venice. Mary, also from the US west coast, has already submitted all of her citizenship documents to the San Francisco Italian consulate two years ago and is in wait mode—like so many others of us. She and I have been emailing ever since she stumbled over my blog several months ago. We’ve used email to share our stories, and get to know each other a bit. She also loves Venice! Mary and her daughter were going to be vacationing in Italy, with a first stop in Venice. We’ve been planning a rendezvous here at a lovely little bacaro in Dorsoduro, to share a glass of prosecco and some cicchetti and meet face to face.

Finally the designated meeting day has arrived, I am waiting canal-side in front of our designated meeting spot, and over the bridge come Mary and her daughter Christine. Once again, I am so aware that the world has come to me, all via the internet and my blog, and the courage it took these people to step our of their comfort zone to respond to me with an email. Here’s a new friend! I am lucky beyond belief, aren’t I?

Mary and I shared another fun evening dinner together before she and her daughter continued on to other parts of Italy on their vacation. We’re already back to corresponding via emails, but we’ve added the face to face dimension to the relationship. Perhaps some day Mary will also live here in Venice, but in the meantime, we’ll continue the friendship, using the Internet
to connect.

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be meeting new friends the way I have been. Not in my wildest dreams!

Thank you, Internet Gods!!!

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