Bill, Chiara, Dante and I are about to do something we’ve hoped to do for years: return to Italy.
Bill and I have always wanted Chiara and Dante to know where they come from. By traveling to the homelands of our family, we’ve helped them understand why both their middle names are Quashie (from their ancestors in West Africa), and why both their first names are Italian (from their father’s southern Italian roots). We loved bringing Chiara and Dante to visit these places, where they could personally experience their rich, complex and beautifully diverse heritage.
In 2010, Bill was excited—to say the least—to take us to the small Italian town of Sant’Agata del Goti, where his maternal grandfather grew up. Since then, so much has changed—for our family, for the town of Sant’Agata, and in our relationship with Italy. Now, the time has come to go back and visit once again.
Over the course of the campaign, our family received lots of encouragement from Italy. Without pause, letters and emails of support flowed to us from across the waters. On election night, we watched in awe as the town of Sant’Agata live-streamed Bill’s victory in a small movie theater. We saw Italians—people who had never even met us—erupt in cheers when Bill won the final vote. The day after the election, we received photos of children, celebrating in piazzas in Sant’Agata, as well as in Grassano, where Bill’s maternal grandmother was raised. And on inauguration morning, we celebrated Bill’s swearing in surrounded by our friends and family members—many of whom had travelled all the way from Italy to enjoy that special moment with us.
Returning to Italy this summer will be a homecoming for our family. It will be a moment to humbly express our gratitude for the family members and local residents who supported us and cheered us on over those long months. And, as our first family trip together since we went to Niagara Falls in 2012, it will be a moment to enjoy some much-needed time with Chiara and Dante.
When I pulled out our passports this morning, I couldn’t help but also glance through some old pictures from our 2010 visit—and some of the photos our friends sent us from Bill’s election night in Italy!