Friday, February 5, 2010

Calabria's Reverse Immigration

I've been reading a lot of controversial material on expat blogs of late concerning immigration (Consider this on Expats in Italy).  It's not the only place this sort of conversation occurs, it's just the last one I remember.
I'm about to become an immigrant to a place and a country that has in the past sent many a immigrant to the US.  It's hard to imagine the US without the contributions of the Italian culture.  Some of the work I was connected with in the Columbia River Gorge had a direct link to the work of Italian immigrants.  The restoration of the Historic Columbia River Highway (reopening of the Oneonta Tunnel pictured below) made me aware of the fact that much of work was done by Italian artisans.

My mother's family came from "Mayflower" stock but they were immigrants, just older ones.  My father's mother came to Chicago "off the boat" from Poland.  She never spoke English to me.  Everyone was sure she knew it, but she never spoke it.  We are a country made in great part by immigrants and enriched by them beyond measure.  But we STILL resent immigrants??  I will never understand this if I live to be 100.
Not only are we busy resenting our own immigration, now we are resenting fellow emigrants to Italy?
I'm about to become an immigrant to Calabria and will live in housing that could have been abandoned by the very people who helped build America.  I just hope I can in some small way contribute to the understanding of the value of immigrants in general, and Doug and I in particular.


  1. It's definitely an interesting topic to explore when people can speak freely without the risk of being attacked (like on some forums). One of P's friends kinda laughed when we told him I was moving here and said, "Aren't you going the wrong way? You are the first American to move TO Calabria instead of AWAY." :-)

  2. Yes, several people wondered why we would move to Calabria. Just too stupid to know it may be a bad idea...



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