I’ve never been one to be bitter about the economy or ungrateful for the life I’m living. However, Monday I was both.
I’m Swiss. For me this is an identity. In encompasses who I am and the way I was raised. Though I can trace my maternal grandfather’s roots back before the revolutionary war, I’m not a Patriotic person, that however, is a story for another day. My maternal grandfather, or Opapa as he was known to the younger generations, was an Italian American. He served in the first World War, became an American Diplomat and married a Swiss woman. He died before I was born but his younger brother I knew and loved as “Uncle Rudolph.”
My first trip to Europe and Switzerland I was about 2, I have vague memories of that trip, but I continued to see my European family every other year until I was 16. After that, 9/11 happened, the economy tanked, and this country just went down the toilet. My parents got divorced, I graduated from high school and the purse strings got tighter and tighter and tighter. Vehicles were sold, horses were sold, recreational vehicles were sold, and plane tickets to see family were out of the question. It was okay though, everyone was suffering, everyone was paying their dues, eventually I’d see my family again.
My cousin is getting married in September, and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to scrimp, save, and hoard money for one last trip to Europe to see the eldest generation. I was wrong. I’m bitter and I’m angry. I love my family and it irritates me that my family has sacrificed so much and rolled with the punches and I was unable to see my Uncle one last time. The generations are moving up the ladder and it’s difficult to think in a modern world with new technology an email or a skype chat is the closest I can be to family far away.
My great uncle was a wonderful man. He was generous, kind, and gentle. I will always remember sitting in the library, sipping a ginger ale conversing with my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Rudolph, in the Wohlen House.