Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama Invited to Dinner with Italian Family

On Thursday my classmates and I were invited to dinner with an Italian man, Emidio. Last weekend we had met him at the Festa de la Republica celebration in the main piazza of Cagli. Last night was the dinner date.

After meeting him in the piazza, and riding with him through a harrowing, Italian car ride to his house at the top of the mount in New Cagli, we arrived to the most beautiful panorama.

Emidio's house overlooks the entire old town of Cagli, as well as the three mountains surrounding it. The view was breathtaking, the cats were cute, and the cherries from the tree in his backyard were delicious. Suddenly the stress from the past week evaporated. And this was before we even got inside the house.

Inside the house Emidio's wife was cooking us dinner. She is the chef at Buona Scena, a restaurant that overlooks one of the mountains near Cagli. As she was finishing the antipasto, the appetizers, Emidio showed us his new plasma TV and satellite cable.

He kindly flipped through the channels until he came to an English news program, Fox News. It just so happened that it was 7:30 p.m. in Cagli, and 12:30 p.m. in Green Bay, WI, where I am from. Fox News was showing a live broadcast of President Obama's speech at Southwest High School in Green Bay - less than a mile from my parents' home.

Politics of Change

Having lived overseas while George W. Bush was President of the United Staes, and now living overseas while Barack Obama is President, I feel in a unique position to realize just what America's last election meant to the world.

While I can't speak for everyone, those I've talked to have a sense of hope and adopted pride that the U.S. took a step toward progress by electing our first President of mixed race.

Diversity is also a strong issue in other countries, in fact, my team and I are producing a story on that very topic in Cagli. But what makes some countries different, is that they seem to look to America to set the tone and pace for progress. That's not all-ecompassing, mind you, but when Americans elected Barack Obama as President, the world saw us taking a step in the right direction. And they want to follow.

Progress Translates

I knew Obama was planning to speak in Green Bay on Thursday, I just never thought I'd be able to watch the live broadcast...from Italy.

So there I was, sitting with a nice, Italian man and two American girls, watching the President of the United States speak in my hometown while I was half a world away. It was a great moment.

I've only been learning Italian for 10 days, and so all I could say was, "Sono di Green Bay! Ma abito a Green Bay!" to try to show my pride to Emidio that the President of the United States was speaking from my home town.

Emidio, bless his heart, understood perfectly.

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