Being a Bolognesi
Flags are everywhere in Europe, and they're everywhere for number of reasons. I remember when I lived in Aix there was a time when the town was decked out in French and EU flags commemorating the liberation of Aix during World War II (at least I am pretty sure that's what it was commemorating. I may be wrong. But it was WWII related.)
Of course, what there aren't a lot of in Europe are American flags. This is the point when the reader of this post will likely stop reading, realizing what a moron I am for saying that. But it gets to my larger point. After some deliberation, I've decided not to bring an American flag with me to Italy.
My patriotic friends might see this as sacrilegious, or an odd departure from my normal behavior. I am, in fact, a very proud owner of an American flag button down shirt, flip flops and sunglasses. I wear all of them year round. No need to wait for the fourth. Furthermore, each college dorm room, college apartment, and subsequent apartments have been decorated with the stars and stripes. I hang the flag for a simple reason: I love my country.
But this is Bologna, not Boston.
I'm not not bringing a flag out of any kind of shame, or anything of that nature. I simply want to assimilate to the Italian culture as much as I can, or at least try. In doing so, I know that having an American flag hanging from my walls will only exacerbate my inevitable of yearning for home. Hopefully homesickness wont hit me too hard. It certainly didn't in France, but there were times when I lived in France that I longed for America in one way or another. I think most of the American students did at some point during our semester abroad. And having an American flag greet me every morning when I wake up would likely only inflame my desire to indulge in some American luxury -- the joy of a large vehicle that I can get in and drive anywhere, free refills, my guns, etc.
But my love for country wont wane, and I wont be far from symbols of the United States. I am going to an American university, after all. And I don't need to hang a flag in my apartment for people to know I'm American. Through my less than empirical data, I've found that I am the most American person looking ever to non-Americans. And I've never been one to back away from defending my country to those who see only its flaws.
So if you visit me -- and I hope you do -- bring little pieces of home with you, because I am going to attempt to learn what it is like to make a new home in a new country. That said, if there is ever any athletic event between America and anyone -- including and especially Italy -- you will find me drenched in Red, White and Blue.
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