Some people happen to tell me how brave I am in their eyes, to leave my country and go living abroad, to take the courage and jump in the vacuum, to do things which they probably also dream about doing but probably don’t really dare put into practice.
Today I keep on asking myself: and what if I am totally not “the cool one”, what if instead I am just the totally wrong one? The one who can’t just cope with living in a place and needs to escape from it, the one that can’t adapt, the misfit? What if I am actually the opposite of all we have believed so far? In my pilgrimage through Europe I tried not to judge but rather to understand what makes people stay or go. I asked and confronted myself with other pilgrims to understand their reasons. The fact is that the european modern version of the nowadays “nomadism” is not really a choice, is more something that happens along the way, it’s an accident. So there is not cool/ uncool, right or wrong. There is no boring-static life choice vs adventurous-exciting life choice. Peole are just different, people feel different and need different things.
Young people like me -generation Erasmus- are pushed beyond the borders to make Europe a better and more flexible place, and then, just happen to get stucked somewhere in this net and never come back to their home. Somehow we get dragged by the fluxus from one place to another for a while, and then maybe we just stop in a new totally strange city. It’s not easy. Facing difficulties of language barriers, knowing that after so long actually you just don’t really need more new friends, in the sense that the one you made you exactly know where they stand for you, but they are far away, so it’s just a primary need to go and get new ones, in order to survive. Get integrated, meeting the locals. Eating their food. Appreciating totally different humors. Spending several hours in the silence of your mind while everyone around you speak another language (you are just too tired sometimes to make the effort, or you are just bored of not being able to say what you would like). I found myself often int his place, but I made a point of doing my best effort in learning the language. I think that the language is everything, you can’t live in a place for several years without understanding what the people say around you! It’s just inconceivably! The thing is, no matter how hard you try you will go through anger, frustration, laughs (mainly of the listeners only cause you said something wrong) depression and long moments of silence. It’s indeed a big effort for your brain to filter all these info all day long! And at the end of the day, you sit there sourranded by friends, but you need to switch off: you just can’t anymore. Sometimes I dream (in a typical Ally Mcbeal form) of standing up in a raptus and starting screaming in italian! I just understand now what a great gift is a mothertongue to someone.
Here in Switzerland, the extreme right party -already famous for his politically incorrect and ashaming propaganda- is now suggesting that all the people who enter the country must prove with a test of being able to speak at least one of the 4 national languages. I do believe that this is importnat, but also that from a strictly political point of view this is just another obstacle they want to put at the borders, rather than a theoretical affirmation. If someone wants to get the citizenship must of course give proof of his own integration, but what in the case of new European nomas like me? And then, is it really us they are worried about (the educated people) or the problem is rather the people escaping from poor and war countries? I also think that those who come to work in multinational companies and end up 10 years only speaking english, have only a mutilated life here. On the other hand, the non-elite immgrants are the first ones who are gonna have to learn the language the hard way, because they are gonna take all the low level jobs, their children are gonna go to the local schools and are gonna soon be perfectly integrated; more than the sons of the rich ones, who can study in the international schools. So are we here fighting the wrong enemy?
It’s hard also to percieve myself as “not-welcome” somehow; even if I am among the lucky ones, I do remain an immigrant here, and I want to stand up in the name af all the people who face this experience. This really is teaching me a lot on the perception we have of the “others” in our houses. I can maybe have an exotic exciting life in the eyes of many people, but I do constantly miss something, something important. Wherever you settle you will end up discovering that you are always anyway missing a little piece of the puzzle to be happy. Or maybe this is just the secret of happiness: the puzzle is a great illusion, and there is no missing piece to find. Good luck searching.