By American standards, I am an exceptionally emotional person. Here’s just a small sample of the things that have brought me to tears in the last few months:
1. Getting a good grade on a humanities paper. (“She said…my argument…was ‘well-reasoned’!” *sob* *hug the essay*)
2. Phelp’s 8th Olympic gold at Beijing. (“He’s…so…talented!” *sob* *hug my friends*)
3. Watching an episode of “House” (“Life is so beautiful…yet so short!” *sob* *hug my mom*)
4. When my math TA told me it was a pleasure to have me in his class [in retrospect, probably as a formality]. (“Really? *wrapping him in an enormous bear hug* Well, you were a pleasure to have in my LIFE, Mister! I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU.” *run away weeping heartily*)
And the full list would go on and on.
American people, on average, tend to find my behavior somewhat strange. I often get asked why I cry/hug so much, and find myself at a loss for explanations. However, these last, emotionally-charged days of my month in Italy have provided me with a much-needed explanation for my excessive emotional-ness.
I am secretly Italian.
It’s the only explanation–there is no nation of people in the world that is quite as emotional as the Italian one. Looking back on my trip here, that there were a lot of things that got my tear ducts all hot and bothered. There were the Colosseum moon rises. There were a whole bunch of moments with our incredible professor. And obviously, there was the food.
I know what you’re wondering right now: did all these things *really* make me cry? You bet they did. Not a single one of these incredible experiences went unmoistened by my tears.
But the difference? Every time I got emotional, I was matched by Italians who were right there, getting emotional with me. As I tearfully scarfed down a cream-filled cornetto in a bar where they were showing Phelps recieving his 19th, record-breaking medal, I noticed that mine were far from the only watery eyes in the room–and they weren’t even American! A grandmotherly-looking Italian woman sitting next to me began to moan outright. When the channel cut to commercial, she walked up to the television screen and kissed the spot where Phelps’s face had been. “Michael, my boy,” she whispered, the tears streaming down her face. “I am so proud.”
People stood up and clapped for this old woman, who was probably just about as related to Phelps as I am. And I was far from the only one whose eyes got wet from the clapping.