1982 was not a common year for Italy: the national football team won the third World Cup, the first since 1938.
All Italians, old and young, keep in mind this date.
Simultaneously, in the summer of 1982 another story began: the Italian adventure of a Macedonian man who left home to seek his fortune.
His name is Sedat and through this interview we will know a little of his life halfway between Italy and Macedonia.
When you arrived in Italy and why did you choose this country?
I left Yugoslavia because there was no work there, we were five brothers and we needed money. I went to Italy because from there I wanted to move in the United States, this is why when I arrived in Rome I registered under a false name, as a Bulgarian born on 05.05.1955, because at that time the citizens of Yugoslavia were not accepted in the US. Unfortunately, a fellow citizen of mine recognized me -I never knew why- and reported my situation to the authorities. So I stayed in Italy for 33 years, until 2015. But that’s okay, I really like Italy!
Did you easily settle in? Did you find similarities between Italy and your country?
At the beginning it was hard because I did not know anyone and I was without residency permit. Then, fortunately I met lots of good people. I have many Italian friends who have always helped me. I think that Macedonian and Italian people are similar, they are friendly and willing people. Furthermore in Rome there is a neighbourhood inhabited by 50 percent of Macedonians. There it was like being at home.
What about food?
I love Italian food. I miss him so much! In Italy there is a culture of food that here in Macedonia is missing. I especially like “lasagna” and “risotto”. But let me say one thing: I always preferred the Macedonian breakfast, which is more nutritious. I like “cornetti”, but because I ate them every morning now I am diabetic!
In conclusion, do you think there are differences between the emigration at your time and nowadays? What can you suggest to a young Macedonian who wants to move to another country?
Today, as in the past, to emigrate is hard. It takes bravery, determination and a bit of luck.
First of all, it is essential to know the language of that country, so you can understand it. Second:
integrate yourself in that society, do not create slums. But at the same time keep in touch with friends and family, because one day you will come back. Grow together the roots and the roads.
Don’t do what I did: now I’m a stranger in my country.
by Igor Giammanco