Isn’t that how the saying goes???
Well, ok, not exactly, but I am wondering if there is some Italian variation on this.
What am I talking about?
Without divulging any names (or too much information) there is a small phenomenon (at least in my eyes) going on around Calabria. I am not sure if it is limited to our poor, desolate part of the country, or if I am just surrounded by some of the most giving people in the world.
There is guy we know who has a brother getting married this year. The brother and future sis-in-law want to have the Calabrese wedding of their dreams. As you may – or may not – have heard, this means BIG. The problem is lil bro and futura sis can’t afford the wedding themselves. So, our friend, who had been saving his centisimi for a new house, is helping out. What a nice thing to do, right? Of course, if you have a great job, paying thousands of euro a month – it would be nice to help out a brother in need. This is the not the case. In order to be his brother’s keeper, our friend is forgoing dinners out with his friends, skimping on important things he needs, and is passing on a trip to his best friend’s wedding in Naples (that has been planned for almost two years.)
Let’s say…some people we know…have a kid brother who yearned to go to college in the capital city. Instead of moving to bella Roma, finding a small job to help pay expenses, and working himself through school, his family has decided to pay. That is ok! A lot of kiddos do this in the states. What is the problem? The “problem” (which evidently isn’t a problem for them, but makes me raise an eyebrow) is that it isn’t only Mom and Dad who are sending money. Big Brother and Older Sister, again who DO NOT have even what could be considered decent-paying jobs, are footing the bill.
I know some of you are reading this thinking I must be the most selfish person in Catanzaro (I mean, I feel that way even writing this.) I certainly don’t mean to JUDGE family ties or loyalties. But, I don’t know many siblings back home who would or have made the same sacrifices for their families. And, I am not sure what I think about this.
On one hand, it is an overtly selfless act. What could be more noble than helping a sibling in need…sacrificing your own pleasure for another person?
But, where is the expectation coming from? Is it personal pressure to help…does it come from Mom or Dad…or is it requested by the sibling himself? In a region as barren as Calabria, how can a person, not only make ends meet, but actually get ahead?
That is the question on my mind…