Miss America

I miss my mom and my sisters and my brothers, I miss eating dinner with them after driving back to Oregon from Madison, going to class all day and walking around campus seeing my friends on the street, speaking English. I miss my house on Orchard Street and my roommates waking up on gamedays eating a big breakfast and shotgunning a beer, to join the red masses of Badger fans that flood downtown on orange-leafed Saturdays in November. I miss going to the Plaza on Thursdays and sitting on the Union Terrace watching the sunset on Fridays. I miss biking out of the city to Paoli on Sundays, feeling the hilly Wisconsin countryside roll by like the carbon fiber wheels of my dad’s Cervelo. I miss Dad the most but that’s nothing new.

I even miss waiting tables at Greenbush Bar and the feeling of working hard making money on the weekdays and going to the library to study afterwards and I miss going to class and understanding the language the professor is speaking.

I miss Kwik Trip and Culver’s and peanut butter and cheddar cheese and football and big grocery stores and wide roads with huge trucks and PBR, my custom Air Force Ones and feeling at home in a community of fellow Americans.

That’s a long list and if you’re still reading, thanks, I must be doing something right. Anyways, there are many parts of my life in the United States that are missing to me here in Italy.

But that’s just how it is; I really have no choice but to cultivate a normal life in Bologna and embrace the aspects of Italian culture that do not exist in the United States of America.

As much as I miss my family, friends and country, I love being here. I do something different and fun almost every day and I am learning a lot. L’Università di Bologna is one of the best schools in the world and it shows in the intense lectures and the smart students that come from all over Italy and Europe just to sit next to me in class. Our conversations teach me more about the culture than I could ever learn in a classroom.

There is always something to miss, and I know that someday I will miss being here. I take advantage of every opportunity to try something new and exist solely in the moment. My people will be there on my return and maybe it is better if I keep my county at an arm’s length during these midterm elections, it seems to be getting angry and violent in the US. I am heartbroken to read the news of pipe bombs in the mail and 11 dead in a synagogue just this past week. America is a bad headline these days on this side of the Atlantic and I can’t help feeling like I am abandoning the people and places that miss me.

1 thought on “Miss America”

  1. We miss you too, Peter. But in your case, it’s only temporary. I notice, at my age, that “missing” fills a whole lot more time, as many more things/people/events have gone missing than I ever expected. So, enjoy each day for what it is, and what is happening. But that’s what you seem to do. Wise of you, for sure. …It snowed today, on Hannah’s birthday, and I recalled to her in our phone conversation how Grandpa and I drove out to see her when she was born, and I94 was full of snow and cars in the ditch. Speaking of your Grandpa Tom, I am slowly getting around to write about him for you guys’ ancestor book, and have copied a dozen or so pictures of him. I’d have to say, I think he looks like you, or you look like him when he was young. Interesting.

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