I was 7 years old; at that time I was used to scream my friend’s name from the balcony, and we would have met to play soccer on the street. We played so much, all together in front of the house. I still live in a very small town in northern Italy and till a few years ago, that was my safe place, the town were I was born, grown, and were I have my own identity, where I am Federico.
When I was 18 I took part in my first Erasmus exchange in Spain. I still remember how anxious I was about the plane: I had no idea how take one. Just during this year I took 11 flights. What has changed then? Well, I simply got to know the world a bit more, but let’s start from the beginning.
I was born in Andezeno, a little town on the hills of Turin (Italy), I studied here until high school, which I did in a town nearby. Then, when university time came, I had to move to the city, to Turin. In the meantime I started to travel thanks to the Erasmus+ projects, and it quite changed my perspective of life: airports, train stations, metropolis, undergrounds, different languages, different cultures, nightlife and much more. The world is alive, I learnt so many things, I met hundreds of people, but I suddenly became “one of the many”.
In Andezeno, where I still live, I know everybody and everybody knows me, I always find someone to talk to when I walk the dog, I have a house and I have neighbours, I know all the streets, all the spots with the best view, I know where all my ex-classmates live. I am a person with an identity. I am Federico.
At the same time, the town where I live is too tight-fitting for me right now. Whenever we want to do something different we need to move, I can’t meet new people and new cultures. It’s starting to get “boring”. What should I do then? Keep living here, moving to the city, moving abroad? I have no answer for that right now. The truth is that there are pros and cons for all of these situations, there’s not a perfect one, but probably a best one for the different stages of life.
Surely, what happened is that the small reality, the small town gave me firm values, but the experiences out of it enriched me so much, they let me know the world a bit more and they kicked me out of my comfort zone, out of my safe place.