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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Let the games begin!

I love soccer (or football as it is more appropriately named). Perhaps it is because I played it all throughout middle and high school, perhaps it is because I was one of 10 people supporting Baltimore’s indoor soccer league, the Baltimore Blast. Perhaps it is because I had a crush on an indoor soccer player when I was 14 and he replied to my fan mail. Or perhaps, as many men charge women viewers, it is because football players are hot. I think all of these play a part in my enthusiasm. However, it is one of the only sports events that I recall watching excitedly since I was young.

Of course, international competition always brings up the question of nationalism which is a difficult one for me. However, I have recently reconciled this by labeling myself “pan-national,” which I define as having ties to all nations. Therefore, which team I route for often depends on who’s playing that day- if Argentina is playing Brazil, I will route for Argentina because I have been there, loved the people and was enchanted by Buenos Aires. If Korea is playing Ghana, I will route for Korea because I have a lot of Korean friends and often feel like a token Korean. If I have no leaning toward either team, I will either route for the home team or the underdog. If the U.S. is playing Paraguay, I will probably route for the U.S. because I don’t have any particular attachment to Paraguay. However, if Italy is playing the US, then… I apologize to all my American friends. It stands to reason then that if Italy is playing at all, that supersedes all other logic…

Which brings up my next point: I usually get in a lot of trouble during the World Cup season. I remember being in Italy, watching a U.S. vs. Germany game, in an American school, with mainly Italians and some Americans, during the time that I was dating a German… As you might have guessed, my American classmates were not amused by my loyalties.

This is why the label pan-national is a much better fit for me. I feel linked to many countries because of the experiences I have had and the people I have known from each. I am legally American and Canadian. I am ancestrally Egyptian, Syrian, Armenian, and I suppose, far back enough, French. I am Italian “nel mio cuore” (in my heart). I have ties to Ireland because of my sister. I am Korean by association. For the same reason, I would say I have also recently become Serbian. A part of me is still German from my time there. So I feel connected to a lot of the world, and perhaps what I like so much about the World Cup is not the competition, it is the worldwide stage- the pride in different countries- the buzz shared in all time zones- and the excitement that vibrates across oceans.

So pick a flag and raise it high. My heart requires my support of Italy, but in all likelihood, I will route for your country at one point or another as well.

Photo credit- FIFA & For a schedule of games go to


  1. Korea welcomes you whole-heartedly (yes, I speak for the entire nation). GO KOREA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) i will be up at 4am PT watching the game!!!!


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