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Where are you from?

I have to take a deep breath before I can answer this question.

I was born in Milan and lived there until I left home aged 15 to continue my high school studies in Jerusalem. Upon graduating, I moved to the United States to continue my religious studies. Until that point I was from Italy.

Over eight years in the ‘melting pot’ of New York I came of age with work, marriage and children. Just as I began to put down roots and see myself as Italian-American, our family relocated to London.

Where are you from?

All of a sudden, it became a little complicated.

I am from Italy.

But you sound American?

Yes I have been living in New York.

But if I was back in New York, I’d have to explain I was Italian but living in London.

Then came a point when I would visit Italy and my italian sounded a little foreign.

You speak italian really well. Where are you from?

I am from Milan.

But you sound American?

Where are you from?

I had envisaged our move to London to be temporary. But ten years on, I had been living in London longer than I had ever lived in New York.

I did not feel British.

My husband and children all acquired British citizenship, I remained Italian, but finally acquired a pair of wellies.

Sixteen years on, I realized I had been living in London as long as I had ever lived in my native country and twice as long as I had lived in the United States where i had developed my adult identity.

I resolutely remained Italian.

I am a Londoner!

Just as I marked two decades of life in London, producer Rachel Wang got in touch requesting to interview me for a film feature called 1000 Londoners.

Rachel’s questions about the buildings, views and features of London that I most liked (and disliked!) made me realize, that while I don’t identify as British, I do identify as a Londoner.

I am comfortably at home in Milan, Jerusalem and New York, but London is my city.

I love its energy and architecture, its eclectic fashion, art and design scene.

I am grateful to Rachel for finding the Londoner in me by including in me as Londoner #212, which is the area code for New York!

 

 

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