Why Brightalian? I’m Italian, and decided to move to Brighton, East Sussex, England, for an open-ended period. Well, to tell the whole truth, I’ve also chosen this nickname to try and deviously persuade you that I’m a “bright Italian”…
As to the tagline, it reflects quite precisely my concept of nationality: no chauvinistic reference to the family blood and the sacred native soil, but a dispassionate quest for the places that best respond to every person’s peculiar sense of community and expectations.
I bought a one-way ticket to fly from Naples to London Gatwick on January 12th, 2012. By the way, there’s something I must confess: I had never been to Brighton before. So the question is: how can you decide to permanently move to an unknown place? Don’t you think you had better perform a preliminary on-the-spot investigation? Well, I’ve got three answers to this legitimate remark.
First: did the Italian emigrants who, a century or decades ago, took the train to Belgium or a steamer to the USA have the faintest clue of how Liege or New York would look like? Therefore, why should I have any advantage on those brave pioneers?
Second: actually, I do have an advantage! Nowadays we have Google Street View to help us get an idea, however faint and superficial it can be, of what we’re going to find on the spot.
Third: I lived in London six months when I was an undergraduate student, and kept visiting England regularly ever since. Therefore, England is no Wonderland to me…
Last time I was in England was February 2011, in Southend-on-Sea. I was eager to take a close look at the town, since it was my first choice at the time. The reason was, rents and the overall cost of life seemed to be lower. I was a bit disappointed by the town, though, and realised that lower prices also meant less job opportunities. That’s how Brighton, my second choice, climbed up the list…
Well, let’s get back to my early period in Brighton… For the first few months, I’m going to flat-share downtown: I don’t want to take buses or, worse, buy a car! Soon or later I’ll rent a small, unfurnished studio. Except for a mattress (or even a futon!), I’ll take my time to furnish the flat. One of the amazing things about England is, you can easily find bargains if you run short of money. If you check websites like Freecycle.org or drop in at charity shops, you can stuff your house with all you need for free or at extremely reasonable prices…
I owe you another obvious explanation. Why Brighton, and not somewhere else in England? Well, searching for a good place to stay, we were looking for:
1. Mild and dry weather (well, to English standards, at least!)
2. Seaside (I’m from Salerno, a town on the sea on a par to Brighton in some respects)
3. Fast connections to London (an hour by train!) and to a low-cost airport with flights to Naples (Gatwick is 30 minutes away!).
4. Chances to get a job
5. A wide and active Italian community to get some help in the beginning and a chance to keep practising my native language!
Well, all the above considered, I realized that Brighton would be perfect. Don’t you agree?