“Perché Bergamo? . . . Perché Bergamo? . . . Why Bergamo? As they bring their hands to their chests, pinching their fingers — That’s the question Bergamaschi ask us the most. And then, when we tell them we’re from San Diego, they chuckle, and say again, Why Bergamo?!
To be honest, in the beginning we were actually concerned. I mean, did we pick the wrong city, what’s wrong with Bergamo, what are we missing here?…but now, seven months later, we just say with a smile, “Perché non Bergamo?”
When you think of Italy, millions of things consume your mind – the coastlines, the canals, the mountains, the saturation and overwhelming feeling of history laced within the simple confines of life, the wine, the cuisine, the unrelenting passion, the Italians insatiable desire and commitment to make everything beautiful – perhaps without knowing it. And when you imagine yourself in the most famous cities in all of the world, Roma, Milano, Napoli, Firenze, Venezia, and even the smaller towns of Toscana and Sicilia, and others nestled against the most beautiful lakes you could possibly conceive, Bergamo’s artistry looms — a place where life exists and resides within an Impressionistic painting.
But we don’t love Bergamo for her beauty: for her vast landscapes and panoramic cityscapes, for her backdrop, where the layers of the city’s topography is an arrangement of gates and entrances into the unknown. Where trails and paths of greenery take you through a labyrinth of sights and peaceful settings, bringing you into the cobble stone footprints of the Venetian walls, eventually finding yourself through walkways of the upper city’s riches — the cafes, restaurants, stores, cheese shops, and wines bars await with such customary vigor.
No…our affinity is simple. It’s not based on this romantic imagery that we all have of Italy, but rather its daily life, the daily routines and its gestures that ultimately capture our attentions. Even with the mundane errands, the presence of ordinary days, grocery shopping and activities of monotony, along with the familiar discomforts and challenges that come with raising a family in an unknown environment and language, the separation of fantasy and reality still remain a blur for us.
Look out the window and draw what you see.
-March 2020, COVID-19 (month two, day 5 of school closure)
Since arriving in September, our three kids (all under 9), are experiencing a transformation of confidence, witnessing an infusion of affection, attaining new levels of learning, and the absorbing degrees of personal interaction constantly embraces their transitions. Our school here in Bergamo has created a standard; its ways of expression has endeared us and our kids’ environment has been changed. Their minds have been stretched by the incredible connection their teachers strive to have with their students. Our kids look forward to going to school, and have reached heighten levels of pride with their schoolwork. Their teachers welcome them each day as if they haven’t seen them in a month, and when the day ends, the smiles across their faces are the byproducts from the day they just experienced. They love their school, they’re proud of it, they speak of it with reverence even if they’re not saying it.
And when they’re not living within the boundary lines of their school, they are completely connected to it. Homework is completed with the idea of not wanting to disappoint their teachers. Their classmates have become friends – writing notes to each other, sharing birthday parties, dinners, sporting activities, walks around the city – their enriched relationships with the Bergamaschi families have enriched our lives. Perhaps our kids can’t articulate their connection with Bergamo, but their lives can be understood in any language.
Perché Bergamo? . . .”