A dream, a goal, a wish expressed during a flight back from a honeymoon, back in 2002. Australia, the outback, the people, the climate, the colors have kidnapped the heart of Marzia del Fabbro and Matteo Baldelli. A destination chosen by chance which immediately made deep bonds with the land and its people. A whole family migrated 13 years ago: husband, wife, 3 daughters and grandma Giacomina.
Matteo is tall, clumsy, upholsterer. Marzia cheerful, an artist, a mom and a cook. Giacomina is a busy 68 year old grandmother, starting to study again. Everybody smiling, from their house’s living room they offer a threesome interview.
The decision to make our dream come true was taken in 2010. During diner one evening the youngest of our daughters didn’t simply ask us whether our day had gone well, but whether we had been robed that day, which happened quite often at the time. We looked at each other and we both realized we had to change something in our lives.
Being an upholsterer is in my genes, I can affirm I was born an upholsterer in an upholsterer family. It’s one of the most requested jobs in Australia and thanks to some wonderful coincidences I managed to find a “sponsor”, an Australian firm willing to hire me giving me the opportunity to gain a temporary visa. During the first six months I would work during the day and study English at night, attending evening classes. After much sacrifice I achieved the score in the English language testing which permitted me to gain an Australian visa. I returned in Italy, waiting a few months for permission to move. When the permanent visa arrived I was full with joy. Today I have a high responsibility job. Dexterity, precision, the skills that were handed on to me by my family are rare here. Being a precision artisan, setting up a well done project made to last is not easy to find in Australia. Here everything changes fast. The houses, the objects are not built with a “forever” in mind. Everything is in continuous transformation.
I often think at my people, at the places of a lifetime, at the exchange of greetings and I find myself counting the people who have been missing … It was not easy to start, but in the end I decided, because “on the other hand you die there too”.
Today I attend a course of English language studies organized by the government. Here life is different, there is more openness. There are important meeting times with neighbors, in which to exchange food, stories and customs. It is easier to live, there is more lightness and a lot of respect for everything and everyone.
At the beginning I stayed at home with the girls. Those months have been really tough. Matteo being faraway made things difficult to handle but I had trust. Our common aim, the idea of this new adventure together was the fuel that kept us going every day. The first step was finding a school for the girls and a house to move in once in Brisbane. Our personal belongings were held back at the port customs and we lived literally camped: we would sleep on inflated mattresses container and the neighbors, after seeing the totally empty house helped us out with folding chairs and picnic tables.
Today we have a big house of our own, with a pool, in front of the park alongside the river. We lead a peaceful life thanks to a stable job and the permanent residence permit. The girls go out in the morning with their schoolbag on their shoulders along with the grandma who went back to school at 68: she’s attending a government English language course. Life here is different, people are more open. There are important meetings with neighbors, where we can exchange food, stories and uses. Life is simpler here, lighter, more respect for everything and everyone. Sure we think about home. Matteo misses his family particularly. Not the places, mostly the people even though contact with his parents and brothers is made easier today, thanks to technology.
For me “the memory” is that of a place that has received my father’s ashes, hosted his soul. When I think about home I think about Ligonchio and it’s mountains, at the group of kids I grew up with, almost all of them Enel employees a small big community (enel: ente nazionale energia elettrica is the main energy company in Italy that built a famous hydroelectric plant in Ligonchio in the 1920s, translator’s note). We consider ourselves lucky because migrating is living twice, once departed you treasure your memories in your heart, you give yourself the chance to change and to move on, always. For a twist of fate we departed on the 31st of December and arrived with the new year, as they say “New year, new life” (Anno nuovo, vita nuova: Italian saying) .
If you think about it our story may be full of contradictions but after all, existence itself is full of them!