23 May 2013

planning & pondering identity

Lately I've been spending time working out the details of our summer travel plans, most of which will be in the States this year. It's given me pause to think of how completely different my daughter's childhood has been from mine in this regard. I boarded an airplane for the first time as a junior in high school on a school-sponsored trip to DC. I never left the country until I "took a break" from college to follow a man across the ocean & never really explored much of the US outside of the Florida panhandle and our beautiful state of Louisiana until I sarted residing outside of the US in 2001 and then began the summer stateside visits. (My break was short-lived. Thank the heavens...but I needed to do it.)

Quite the contrary, Young One was born and is being raised outside of the country of her citizenship and has already visited several European countries, a few of them many times:
Czech Republic

She's been to nearly every region of Italy, including long stays on two of her islands.

And she's visited (not just passing through) each of these states in the US:
South Carolina
North Carolina
The District of Columbia

She is nine. Most of those nine years have been spent living in the north of Italy.

This summer we'll head back to our families in the States, and she'll visit two new states: Texas and New York. 

Not too shabby. 

Sometimes I think she would be just as happy (or happier) to be a little Cajun girl surrounded by the comfort of family and culture in South Louisiana...I really, really do. She adores her cousins and pines for them throughout the year, this girl of mine.

Or maybe, just maybe, she'd prefer being a mixed Cajun, Italian, American, Virginian, Neapolitan, hybrid, Third Culture, bilingual, music-loving girl...in Paris, of course. Of course! Because, at times, she loves those parts of her just as much.

Our strong message to her is that she (and only she) is the one who decides her ultimate identity. No one has the power to tell her who she "is." She owns that. People love to do that, you know: put us all in neat, nicely-labeled boxes. Hopefully, these blessed travel experiences will shape that identity for her and contribute to her freedom to forgo the box.

Afterall, who wants to live in a box when there is Paris?

or New Orleans?
or Rome?


  1. Ben detto, Dana! ciao, have fun with the Ladies

  2. I agree! This weekend I am from New England. I spent two years hear as a child and many a summer. It is where the majority of my family live. Have a great summer!