My name is Loane Granger. I am 18 years old but don't feel like an adult yet.
I was born on the 17th of January 2000 in Rome. My father works at the Bank of Italy, as did my mother before joining the ECB in Frankfurt. My father likes his routine and cares about the past whereas my mother does not like to stand still and is in search for adventure. Their opposite personalities led them to separate when I was only one and a half years old. On my part, I inherited my father's attachment to the past and my mother's need to travel and have new projects. This contradiction between the past and the future seems to be the guiding thread of my life.
For the rest of my life I lived with my mother. In Rome, I used to see my father every second weekend. He helped me a lot for school so I did not think of him like an absent father. I used to go to a private catholic school, where the leading values were rigour and discipline. Girls were even separated from boys in secondary school. I was a quite reserved child but I had friends. I had my own group, with boys and girls. Progressively, I built my personality, keeping the sensitive side under a thin layer of self-confidence.
Looking back now, I realize that this school favoured values I had been looking for ever since I left Rome and that I found nowhere else: competition spirit and team spirit. Then I found out that these could not evolve without the feeling to belong somewhere.
As a born and bred Italian, I used to complain all the time, especially about the amount of work one can have in S3 in Rome. So, when my mother got an offer to work at the ECB for one year, I was released to move away from Rome for a while and thrilled to discover a new system. Here I was, at the European School of Frankfurt, ready to build a brand new social life and to pursue my academic success. Except that my integration in the ESF did not end up to be as easy as I thought. For once in my life, I was the new one, the one who needed to prove something. And as much as I wanted to say things, I could not, because I did not speak English or German.
There it was. The paradox between past and future. Should I go back to Italy and stay in my comfort zone or should I stay and go back to fight. As futile my fight could seem compared to large scale political issues, I decided to fight. I tested all kinds of English courses: private lessons, group courses and computer-assisted correspondence courses. I spent three weeks in an American family in Orlando, with five children. While my English was getting better, I needed to work on my behaviour. Indeed, to fully live the European experience, one needs to become European. This implies being open-minded and devoted to projects. On Wednesday the 14th of February 2017, I found the perfect opportunity: the Valentine's day bake sale. I put my heart in chocolate cakes coated with milk chocolate and crowned by flower-shaped almond paste. Then I had to sell them. Speaking English ended up being productive and thrilling. I had forgotten how it felt to be social and I liked it.
If the language barrier was halfway down, one problem remained: I still could not relate to the majority of other students. As much as I wanted to become European, I could not, because this feeling of nostalgia kept arising. Each time I was going back to Rome, I was feeling like myself again. The greatest journeys are, indeed, the ones that bring you home. I could hear the hubbub of people in a street café and look at passers-by. I could observe the way they dressed and the way they behaved. Fashion indicated where one was from as much as it represented the possibility to reinvent oneself, to be someone one day, and someone else the other day, it meant freedom. After all, it meant everything. At that moment I felt so confident that working in the fashion industry seemed obvious.
Back at the ESF, I had started my S7 year. The year that would sum up my European experience as a success or a failure. It is also the year to make choices. How to choose between fashion marketing and politics, between thinking about studies or thinking about friends, between past and future?
After all, who do I want to be? In times of doubt, you become paralysed in front of all the choices you have because, as a French writer said, choosing is refusing. This is precisely what makes you sit hours in front of your homework, knowing you have to hand it in the day after, but so frightened to start and choose that you give up and ask teachers for extra days. This spirit of competition I had felt years before had vanished. I was giving up. I was no longer passionate, no longer thrilled.
When passion leaves you, hopefully you are left with reason. You know it is better to succeed than to fail, you know it is better to finish that piece of homework than to give a bad impression to your teachers. Even if you don't feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins, you keep fighting because you have to. At 18, it is time for me to take responsibilities. Past or future? That is not the question. So from now on, I will stop thinking and start doing.