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Dealing with “being different” in a small town (Monica Pischetola)

Living in a small town doesn’t make you conscious at all of other realities. You only know what surrounds you: same people, same places and same activities. Nothing new never happens in small towns. You are stuck in the same boring routine but probably you don’t even realize it until you find out other realities. Everyone knows each other and no one is ever doing their own business.

People in small towns aren’t used to changes: even dyed hair and different clothes may take

time to be usual in this kind of environment. Small towns are also a “safe place” for the same

reasons that make them boring and I’ve always felt safe here until I became 12 years old when I realised that I was “different” than the other girls because I didn’t like boys at all. In a first moment it was a shock: I didn’t want to tell anybody and I was so scared about what other people would think and say. Since that moment the castle where I was living was falling into pieces and I had to get out of it.

At 13 years old I joined my first Erasmus+ family exchange in the Netherlands. It was a shock but I was finally living something different. I was living a completely new reality: different weather, culture, food and a completely different mindset. I had to live with another family and in another house. I had to go to a different school and I also had to learn how to be in time! I’ve learned a lot and also for the first time I was living without caring what other people would think about me. In just one week I became more confident about my behaviour.

For the first time I was proud of who I am. This first experience was life-changing at all.

Since that moment I’ve started travelling around Italy and Europe, meeting people and visiting places trying to bring with me every positive aspect of any person and any place.

Every time I learn something new about myself that probably I would never know if wouldn’t take this opportunities. I always try to take this changes in my small reality and to tell everyone about the opportunities that they have.

Living in a small town may stop you but you must be able to leave and come back so your town can grow up with you.

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