Respect Your History

Jonathan - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect

Respect Your History

I believe in respecting my history. I believe it should be honored, whether it be the history of our ancestors or the history of our country.

I used to believe my family was fully Peruvian. My father’s side of the family was Peruvian and my mother’s side of the family was Peruvian as well. I never bothered to ask my parents about my ancestors and their accomplishments. Two years ago, my mother’s side of the family found out some surprising facts regarding our past. My uncle had found out my great great great grandfather was an Italian man who immigrated to Peru. It was at this moment that I learned there are numerous things I don’t know about regarding my family history.

It was strange claiming I had Italian blood in me when I knew nothing about my Italian ancestors. I felt like a completely different person, I kept asking myself questions such as: Am I more Peruvian than Italian? Does this in any way affect me? Am I going to have to learn to speak Italian? I wasn’t ready for this kind of discovery, I barely how I became Italian. All I knew was the name of my great great great grandfather, I didn’t know about his wife, his occupation, the day of his birth or death. I felt somewhat ashamed that I had ignored this man and all the rest of my ancestors. I believed it was a form of disrespect to forget their existence like taking away an apple from the family tree.

Each day I would be anxious to hear any new information about the Italian ancestors, hoping each day I’d discover anything that might’ve influenced how my family acts and talks. This was like finding buried treasure to my family. A couple months later, we found the largest jewel in the chest; pictures of the Italian ascendants. It was a typical Italian family, my great great great grandfather had a large mustache, men with slicked back hair and an extended family behind him.

As I heard the news, I heard the laughter of my grandparents, uncles and aunts through the phone. Learning the history behind our Italian family members became our goal, our ancestors were finally getting the recognition and praise they deserved. More documents and pictures fell into place as we made calls and searched the right cabinets, our next goal was to have enough evidence to receive our Italian citizenship. Without stumbling upon the documents about my ancestors, we wouldn’t have gotten this far.

I’m proud to say my family is very close in becoming Italian citizens, we just need to dig up some more documents and get a couple more stamped in an extremely long process in Italy. I believe in respecting my history in order to make my story of life more meaningful. I also believe in always being optimistic no matter how tedious the process to be Italian is.