For Blogger Donatella Gasparro, going back home after her studies has never been a priority. ‘But the love for my land, although well hidden, crouched somewhere, keeps on tickling me.’
© Sven Menschel
Belonging to a place, being rooted in it, mastering its features and working to bring out its best and improve its worst: these are things I took for granted before leaving the place where I was born and raised. When I left, almost two years ago, I said out loud more than once: ‘I’m leaving to come back.’ Of course, I didn’t believe the words coming out of my own mouth. The only thing I knew was that I knew absolutely nothing about what would happen. And I had the feeling that friends and family also understood this. Polite words fitting circumstances, but soaked in bittersweet melancholy.
What happened, in these full, lifechanging, exciting months here in Wageningen, was way beyond expectations. I didn’t know, I couldn’t imagine the world would be so small and so accessible. I grew up between two seas, perceiving that the rest of the world was far away. Now, it feels like everything is possible. You want to do one thing? You can do it. You want to go there? You can go. My mum told me once, years ago: ‘You can go wherever you want.’ I still hear that in my head, clearer than ever.
The thing is: where do I want to go?
Save some poppies for me
Recently I’ve been thinking often about the future: internships, work opportunities… and I bought plane tickets to go home, just for a while. I guess if you feel lost, you look for your nest. And no, no flight shame for going home. I know a lot of people who came here only with the intention to go back to their home countries. For me, coming back home after my studies has never been a priority – and it still isn’t. Nonetheless, when I saw a picture of the explosive red of poppies lining the countryside’s stone walls these days, I almost got emotional and asked a friend: save some poppies for me, please.
Being one with something bigger
I often think: it doesn’t matter where you are. The people matter, the opportunities, the amount of trees around you, the community, a healthy environment, whatever. But the love for my land, although well hidden, crouched somewhere, keeps on tickling me. It’s like an imprinting, a landscape shaping the concepts of belonging, home, being one with something bigger. How big is it and how big can the world become that our biological selves can stand it? Where’s the boundary, the borderline?
Global change happens solely through local action. Local action arises from love, care, deep connection with one place and its people. Is this the secret of transformations? Going home?
Help me answer this question.