When I first found the box of letters and photos, it brought me back to a sunny afternoon in the kitchen with my grandmother, listening to her stories about Italy and feeling the magic of being “Italian.”
So when I saw the same address on a few different envelopes, I started to wonder, what if these people are still there? What if I have relatives still living in Italy?
I thought about it for a while before I hand-wrote a letter to that address and sent it off to Italy. And then — without bothering to wait for a reply — I booked a ticket to Italy for spring break.
My life changed when I got off that plane…
After finding my way through train strikes, language barriers, dead ends, and even pickpockets, I arrived at the address on the decades-old envelope and found my family I’d never known.
There’s an entire story there… but it’s not the one I want to tell you about.
You see, in my endless adventure to trace my family’s roots and get my Italian citizenship, I ran into problem after problem. The language barrier. Complex bureaucracy. Hard-to-find documents. (Not to mention those pickpockets.)
And in spite of my best efforts to find help, there were no reliable services to guide me. So I had to figure it out on my own – later creating the company that I wished existed when I was doing this for myself 20 years ago.