First Generation

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This topic has been heavy on my heart for the past couple of days as I am thinking about my departure from Italy and getting ready to see my family for the first time after 1 year. I wanted to write this post to talk about my thoughts as a first generation American living in Italy.

As many of you know from this previous post, my parents are originally from El Salvador which makes my siblings and I first generation Americans. Having grown up culturally different and with different languages than my parents did, this was something I struggled with and felt was a barrier to being as close to my parents as I would have liked. Being older now, our relationship has certainly improved throughout the years. Of course, I grew up speaking the same language as them and I am grateful to have been raised bilingual as this was part of the reason why I got hired for many of the positions I had over the last 10 years.

As mentioned above, I am quickly approaching the end of my first year in Italy. As I’m getting ready to head back to the states in less than 2 weeks, I have gotten questions about my departure and why I’m leaving. And well, the answer is… the year that I wanted to spend here is up. After a year of being away from my family, I think it’s time to go back.

I think about my parents courage of leaving their home country 35 years ago with the intention of never returning. Leaving their home, jobs, family, and their whole lives behind. Having now experienced what it’s like to live in a different country, as much as I love Italy, I don’t think I can call this place “home” forever as they have done in the United States. Their bravery far exceeds mine tenfold. What I have done by coming here, is nothing compared to the sacrifice and risks they took to create a life in a completely new country forever, as many immigrants and expats in the United States and other countries have also done.

Now being in Italy as a first generation American, I think about those sacrifices that they made for our family. All they did to get to the United States and to create their first “nest” for us in New York only for me to flee the country after 27 years, the country they worked so hard to call home for all of us. A part of me feels guilty, a bit irresponsible, and selfish to have left. It would be a lie to say I didn’t.

Growing up first generation also means getting the best of both worlds. Living life like an American but still enjoying the Salvadorian food, culture, music, and the list goes on. I was fortunate enough to visit El Salvador 7 years ago with my mother, her first visit since she left in 1982. This being my first time traveling outside the United States, it definitely sparked my interest in travel and opened my eyes to a whole new way of living in a different country.

I hope that if and when I do return to Italy, my parents can also enjoy la dolce vita along with me.

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Pictured here with 3 out of 7 siblings and my mom

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it” George Moore

All my love,
Estrella

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31 thoughts on “First Generation

  1. Sofie says:

    I loved reading your story Estrella. I don’t think it’s selfish at all, I think your parents left everything to give their future kids the best life and opportunities that would present themselves, and you took advantage! You took advantage of seeing the world and getting inspired by the unknown. You LIVED. And not if, but you WILL be back 🙂 XO

    Liked by 1 person

    • lacasabloga says:

      Thanks Sofie. Yeah I just have a hard time of wrapping my brain around that but you are right. We can’t feel bad about decisions we made and how they affect everyone else. We have to live life for us at the end of the day.

      Like

  2. TheFallibleQueen says:

    That’s definitely courage, I understand completely though. Moving five and a half hours from home was a bit hard for me so I can only imagine a country a way. My parents immigrated from Africa, so I am first generation as well, I’m so thankful for their sacrifice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello, my lovely:-))) Before you leave Rome could we present you with a humble request by the neighbors: Could you cook for us some pupusa:-)))) l

    Liked by 1 person

  4. coatandcoffee says:

    Aww good luck on your journey home! I totally get wanting to go back home. I love traveling, and I would love to live abroad or own a house abroad, but I think my home will always be my home. I am super close with my family and I would miss them too much. I am so excited for you! Let me know if you ever find yourself in Arizona, or even in California. We could always meet up. 🙂

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • lacasabloga says:

      Hey Emily! Yes, you see how it’s both a blessing and a curse being all the way over here. Somedays I’m okay with it and other days I feel like I should be closer to home. I actually plan on coming to California early August. Do you have any plans to visit around that time?

      Like

  5. Funmi says:

    This is indeed a beautiful post.

    You shouldn’t feel selfish at all. It really is a privilege to have our parents make decisions in our best interest. Even before we were born, they had us in mind. They knew that some decision will create better opportunities for their offspring. It’ll be wrong if we don’t take such opportunities.

    You’re doing right, and I’m sure they’re proud.

    Funmi x
    http://www.funmialabi.co.uk

    Liked by 1 person

    • lacasabloga says:

      Thank you- looking at it from that point of view, you are right. I’m sure what’s most important to them is to see their children succeed and create a life of fulfillment, no matter where that happens to be.

      Like

  6. thegreatkahn says:

    Wonderful post, I don’t know how it is to be a first generation American so I want speak on it. But I can relate to the topic of leaving your family and friends behind. I left my mother, father, and sister after graduation and headed for Ohio. Then after seven years there, I moved to London and now Berlin where I have lived for ten years. I miss my family and thank god for Facebook or I would be in trouble, lol. You say that your family left El Salvador for a better life in America. That means living your life to the fullest whatever that may be. I would say you shouldn’t feel guilty about living far away from your family but if you don’t visit here and now then you should feel guilty. Travelling abroad and living is an experience that no one can teach you in a book, It truly is life altering. I have lived more of my adult life in Europe than I have in the states so when I visit I feel like an outsider which is weird. I have visted Italy many times and been to Rome back in 2011 but the island of Sardina is my home where I want to retire one day. Have you been there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lacasabloga says:

      I have not been to Sardinia, but went to Sicily which I don’t think is far from there. Where in the states are you originally from and what made you live in so many different countries? Work, I’m assuming? I think you are right. It’s hard as one self to not feel guilty about leaving family when I had a choice not to. It’s not like I was seeking refuge or experiencing poverty in the states. I just wanted a change..and change is what I got. It is hard and I think maybe easier for some people but I realized during my year abroad that I don’t have the heart to live overseas permanently. It’s definitely life changing and teaches you so much, so for that experience itself I am very grateful.

      Like

      • thegreatkahn says:

        I know, some people come over and decide living overseas is not for them. An ex-collogue of mine who works at the Soho House can’t wait to get back to Chicago.
        He absolutely hates Germany and refuses to learn the language. But at the end the day, living in another country will test you. You will feel lonely, excited, sad, happy, angry, alienated but you will feel strong and independent through it all. I haven’t been to Sicily yet but I planned to go in the near future maybe next summer If I can find cheap tickets. Do you speak Italian? I come from Meridian Mississippi. After I graduated from school I moved to Ohio for school. I was living in Cleveland and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. My wife was in school too and I suggested she should complete her master degree in London. So afterward, we moved to London. I couldn’t find a job in TV or Radio so I did whatever for money. So It’s kind of like I worked and saved for traveling. Also, I never really felt like I belong anywhere, I guess. I think that’s why I can just leave tommorrow for another place. I love traveling and seeing different countries and cultures. If I don’t travel I become agitated, lol. You are back in the States, right? How is the mood there?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lacasabloga says:

        Yes, I’m back in SC for now but we are actually returning to Italy next month. I feel bad for that person living in Germany. Many people dream of living in another country, and even if he didn’t want to be there, it’s a great experience. One might as well make the best of it possible. What are you doing now for work? That’s great that you were so willing and open to try something new. I feel that most people are so afraid to do something like this and become expats, especially as a couple. It’s so rare to see expat couples where we were, it was mostly single females. We would have liked to settle in California but unfortunately didn’t find work there this summer so maybe we will try again next year.

        Like

      • thegreatkahn says:

        Cool, you are back in the States. How does that feel being back? It’s funny you mention Cali, I wanted to move there ever since I was a teenager but that didn’t happen and I ended up in Ohio. What do you do for work? My woman is actually German, we met in the States. And when I visited Europe in 2003 I lost my mind and decided I wanted to move here by any means. I don’t really see couples from the States unless they are diplomats. Then they bring the whole family over. Far as work? I’m living off my employment check, I need time to get myself together after all that nonsense with my former employer. I’m reading, writing, stress-free and happy! I have a question for you and it is a very serious.
        Do you watch Games Of Thrones?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lacasabloga says:

        lol, no I do not. And I would rather not haha. Not because I don’t want to but I gave up watching tv since I moved to Italy and realized that gives me so much more time to do other things I like. Such as writing, reading, exploring my city, etc. And yeah, Cali is great. I have always loved it there and just after our recent visit I want to live there even more.

        Like

      • thegreatkahn says:

        I understand, back in 2009, I sold my TV. It was only last year that I bought one again. One thing I love about Europe If one is a writer than inspiration is everywhere. From the people, the old buildings, and the streets. What books do you read? Don’t worry, If you really want to live in California then it will happen. Stay focus on what you need to do to get there and all will be good. I don’t think it ever rains there, I don’t know only just what I’ve heard.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lacasabloga says:

        Yea California goes through its droughts. And thanks, I do like it there a lot so I’m hoping to make the move next year. I agree. I really want to take advantage of the quiet mornings in Rome and just wander in the city center and just write. Never could get up early enough to do it before but hopefully that will change.

        Like

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