Thursday, May 3, 2007

On the verge of caring

Time for a big confession- Last night I was on the verge of caring about politics when I read this article. I know it’s not so popular to say that you just don’t care about politics, and my not caring is surely more not comprehending. But the fact is that as soon as I start comprehending, I start not caring. This could be the result of fifteen years as an expat, but I'm not sure about that either.
I’m on the verge of caring because I’m finally returning to the US. My political views are essentially selfish. Italy, for all of its magic and beauty, is a hard place to live, and has been becoming more so every year. The lucky you and how romantic comments I still regularly receive from Americans when I return to the States are products of popular culture. Italy really is that BEAUTIFUL, and there really are castles and rolling hills and mind-blowing scenery. But a liter (yes, LITER) of gas today costs 1.30 Euros (that's roughly $6.80 a gallon). Self employed people (like me) carry a nearly 50% tax burden if they don't try to cheat here and there, which is of course the only way to survive. Shoes and clothing for my two kids costs twice what it does in the US, which is why I have regularly brought an empty suitcase to the States every year for the past 10. Italy is static (everyone dresses the same- REALLY WELL) and accessories are way too important.
So my husband and I are finally seeking greener pastures, or any pasture, because my town in northern Italy is crammed into a valley with steep mountains on both sides. As I said, really BEAUTIFUL, but God, how I need some space! My politics are about how my family and I can live a bit better. Breathe a bit more. Buy cheap clothes. Buy cheap gas. Not send my kids to school on Saturdays (another Italian bummer).
I admire people who have the will and energy (What are they taking? Do they have children?) to care about politics. To think about it, write about it, do something about it. I lived in New Mexico before moving to Italy in a town where every other car was a beat up Subaru with a Think Globally Act Locally bumper sticker. I loved that. It’s something I can handle, if locally means the microcosm of my own tiny life.

1 comment:

Jenn in Holland said...

Hear! Hear!
I want to have the energy and the intelligence to get into it all politically, but I find myself far to involved in the smaller world that takes all my time and attention. Namely, family, adaption, survival.
I love that you call US out on the "isn't it romantic" notion of living abroad. Indeed, sometimes I feel like I shouldn't complain since not everyone gets an opportunity like this in life. And then again, the whines just well up and spill out all over. SOMETIMES it can't be helped.