18 April 2014

A Long Way from Italy

As a migrant myself, I am very interested in other people's experiences when trying to build a life in an unfamiliar environment. Even though I spent most of my early life in England and have always spoken English, trying to communicate clearly and accurately has sometimes been a challenge for me here in Australia. 

I am especially interested in the migration experiences of people who have travelled to places where very few people speak their native language.  Perhaps you are such a person yourself, or your parents, grandparents or great grandparents were such people.

Migrating is often a search for peace of some sort, and even peace of mind.  If your ancestors travelled to Australia from Italy sometime between the 1880s and the 1920s, can you imagine what and how they must have thought and felt upon their arrival in unfamiliar surroundings?

Your heritage may include ancestors from Viggiano in Basilicata, in an area once known as Lucania.  Were any of your family members musical at all?  Are you musical yourself?

I have only visited Italy briefly on a few occasions and I do not speak Italian.  Being unable to communicate clearly has, however, been one of the main frustrations during my own travels so I cannot imagine what is must be like to attempt to make a living in an unfamiliar language. 

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