Gio-graphically from Italy


Amanya Gonzales, Writer

   A Chex Mix. The Melting Pot. Call it what one will.

America is said to be a “country of many.” However, Giovanni Deiana—a foreign exchange student from Italy—believes that “America just kind of steals everything from other countries.” He may be right!

Pasta? Italy. Rice? China. Beans? Mexico. Each of these is present in the average daily American life. Often, though, Americans neglect to realize that these great dishes come from other parts of the world.

To Deiana, regarding Americans and their love for food, it is no surprise as to why so many are—as he so lovingly puts it—“fat. Lots of Americans are fat.” An ironic observation is that America, unlike Italy, is not shaped like a boot but rather, a large stomach. In a way, it’s fitting, as it is rather indicative of its inhabitants.

There are other things, though, that shape the people’s attitudes about foreign cultures. “I’ve heard from a lot of people that Italy is the country of love,” Deiana asserts. “That is not true. It’s Paris; it’s the city of love.” As an exchange student, Deiana is used to these weird comments and stereotypes that many question him about. In reality, though, aside from the hand gestures Italians are known to use when speaking, Deiana insists, “Italian food is the best.” He goes on to explain. “Pasta, here, just isn’t the same. I miss my family, yes, but I really miss my grandmother’s pasta”—proving that the secret ingredient to any great dish is the love that goes into it.

In deciding to leave his family for an entire year, Deiana confesses this: “I was actually pretty calm. I wanted to come to America!” But, what he left behind would be admittedly hard to do. Deiana comes from an island in Italy called Sardinia, which he describes “a destination for many tourists.” Adding on, he states, “It’s a small community of people, and it is very rural.” Life in Sardinia, he said, isn’t filled with trivial daily distractions that many in even Elkhart focus on—even concerning the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

The COVID-19 virus, he believes, doesn’t directly affect him or his community. Although in his eyes, “the travel ban isn’t the best.” Still, Deiana is grateful to be here in Elkhart where nothing quite that dramatic is happening. The virus, in his view, is very dangerous but is being too exaggerated. The more people freak out, he says, the worse things seem to get. Luckily though, he is fortune enough to be in Elkhart—the city of Martin’s and corn (not corona).

Setting all differences aside, Deiana admits that both countries are unique in their own ways. From the exquisite pasta that comes from Italy (the country that isn’t the country of love) to the city life of American citizens and their obsession with food (that they stole from other countries), each country has its own flavor. It’s really up to the person to taste and see.