by Melinda Gallo

No Italian citizenship for me

Today started as a bad day. Had I known how it would turn out, I would've just stayed in bed; however, nothing would have changed. When I saw the email from the Italian consulate in my In Box, I had a bad feeling. And, unfortunately, I was right. I found out that I'm not eligible for Italian citizenship because my father's father obtained American citizenship before my father was born. I did receive a document from the INS that stated he claimed his American citizenship in 1947 (after my father's birth), but supposedly he was granted citizenship in 1901 when he was 9 years old.

At 9, it must have been my grandfather's mother who acted on his behalf because my father told me that he was very proud to be Italian and came back often to Italy to visit family, which I've never found any information on.

What is odd is that while I was waiting at my doctor's office this morning for two hours without having the chance to talk with her because she left before she saw me, I looked at the other people in the waiting room. I started to think about how I would never be Italian no matter what. It was an odd thing for me to think about today of all days since I hadn't really thought about it before. Even if I had been granted Italian citizenship, I still would always feel American. It wouldn't have allowed me to feel Italian in any way. Although, strangely enough, I felt more French living in Paris than I have ever felt Italian living in Florence.

When I first read the email, I was sad. Not as sad as I thought I'd be. I felt mostly disappointed. Disappointed that citizenship, even though it really is handed down through lineage by Italian law, can be taken away so easily. I'm sure my grandfather felt Italian his whole life because he was born in Italy as were his parents and their parents.

The Italian citizenship would've been a great gift to me especially since I never had any contact with my father's Italian family. Unfortunately, they have all passed away, so that contact will never be made now. I will, one day, after I recover from this blow, try to see where my grandparents were born. Because in the end, I still have Italian blood running through my veins.

P.S. My not getting Italian citizenship will have no impact on our living in Florence. We live here legally and will stay for as long as we desire.

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