Being Split Into Two Conflicting Sides

 

The challenge of studying abroad is being split into two different sides. I feel I am two different people at the same time, and I just don’t know which side I prefer and which side is the easier to abandon.

 

My first side, the Italian side, is the strongest but the most complicated one. This side is connected to my home country, my culture, and my past. It’s the side that defines me as a person, that guides my thoughts and my behaviors, and that allows me to be here right now. This is also the side that makes me scared here when I hear about the “fettuccine Alfredo” (fettuccine with above chicken, kilos of butter, roasted bread, and garlic:This isn’t an Italian pasta at all!).

At the same time, the Italian side is the most complicated and difficult to manage. All the people I left at home are included in this side, that causes me pain sometimes.  If I think about my Italian side, I feel terribly alone and disconnected from everyone I love. I feel abandoned, and I fear that once I’ll be back, everything will be different. This is why I’m constantly rejecting my Italian side; it’s simply easier to forget what makes you cry, what keeps you awake at night with thoughts, what makes you feel an outsider in a foreign country.

 

My second side, the American side, is the happier and excited one. This is the side that thinks and talks in English, and makes me feel so proud of myself when I realize that now I also dream in English! This American side is the one that makes me think I’m so lucky to learn something new and exciting every day: business tips, investments strategies, and public speaking. I learn from the guests speaker during every lesson,from my American friends, and even from the international ones. I’m learning how to face my fears without any outside help, I’m learning how strong I am, and which is my potential.

All my new friends, my new habits, and the places of my new life (the gym, the College of Business, the grocery shop), are included in this second side. This side isn’t causing me problems because is the most real and authentic, as it’s the side I’m living into right now.

The American side is the one that allows me to eat an incredible peanut butter every morning for breakfast, that gifts me amazing sunrises when I run along the waterfront, and that entertains me with funny friends every night.

 

However, are these two sides compatible? Can they really coexist?

 

In the first months of living in Florida, these two sides of me were dangerously fighting. The Italian side was pushing me back all the time to think about the past, and wasn’t permitting me to enjoy my new life as it reminded me all the time about people at home. On the contrary, the new and happy side of me, the American one, was tempting me to abandon everything connected to the old side, and to let everyone go. The temptation to abandon my complicated and painful Italian side was high.

The same situation of fight and contrast will happen when I’ll go back to Italy, but the American side will become the painful one, as I will miss all my new American friends and my actual life here in Florida. I will miss my room, my host family, and also my college. I will be surely tempted to abandon my American Side that time.

 

However, I’m sure that both of the sides I’ve split into are part of myself. Both of them are defining my personality, my thoughts and my traits. My two sides must coexist, now and also in the future, when the U.S. experience will be only a memory. We are made of our experiences and our past, but also of our present and our future. All our sides, even more than two, must be in harmony.

 

In the future, as now, I will remind myself that all experiences are part of myself, that pain is part of life, and that missing people is simply the sign of having lived truly and completely.

All our sides together are making us what we are.

 

Elisa Moras