America. After a two years’ absence, I feel like so many immigrants who came before me. And, although I know the country (I’ve heard the stories from NYTimes.com or Jon Stewart), and the language, I will be taking my impending trip with a new perspective… blogging about my experiences in the New World while I’m there…(these two months). It is not the promise of the Yankee Dollar, while my liras keep deflating...zeros added to them time again. Instead, with the strong euro, my American dream appears as a 50% off sale (when compared to European prices) and (relatively) cheap gasoline. Perhaps even 1 day dry cleaning and Tivo. And, as long as I avoid Starbucks, I might even find a bottomless cup of coffee at a local diner, but sadly, no free wireless.
While I do not carry livestock, I have little Trevor in tow, stuffed in a bag for the 16 hours (between take offs and landings) underneath my seat. I do not have to endure the trials of those immigrants stuffed in the bowels of the ships (although Trevor does), so wonderfully portrayed in the movie, Nuovo Mondo (or Golden Door - its name in English). But, traveling in ‘cattle class’ can, at times, feel much the same. Cramped conditions, no leg room, but at least treated to a movie while being served a wonderful grilled chicken dinner with a fudge brownie for dessert.
Stay tuned as I bring you my experiences in America…First stop, Newark Liberty International Airport [that would be, NEWARK LIBERTY all attached and not, Newark Airport or Liberty Airport, to use interchangeably as in the Fiumicino / Leonardo DaVinci debacle…].
Can’t wait to meet the Mother of Exiles as she greets me -- one lowly bit of 'wretched refuse' as described in Emma Lazarus’ epic poem. Of course, most of us being received only after finger-printing and taking shots of the irises of the eyes). And, while we have to claim on a form we've not been in contact with Mad Cows or various Swine (e.g. people), it still beats the health exams of Ellis Island of days of yesteryear.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
* picture from NIAF - National Italian-American Foundation online banner