By Lucia Cannas from Italy

It was July 2008 when I met my Indian family. I didn’t know them, I didn’t know their culture, probably I didn’t even know myself. I was 16teen when I went to Mumbai for my exchange program. One year of my life which actually change my way of thinking. They welcomed me as their daughter since the very beginning. They became my dad, mom and sister

In November 2016 I came back home for a internship. Although I could choose any other country, the desire to come back to my Indian family was stronger and more intense than any other feeling or wish.

I really became part of the family nine years ago. I had forgotten how your relationship got so far and how we met … it didn’t matter anymore. The exchange program had just been a channel to link our paths. Nowadays It seems that they know me since my birth and that I have spent my childhood with my sister, she knows me so well!!! We understand each other so deeply. This Christmas I have met my brother for the second time. He lives in USA with his lovely family. We never lived in the same house, but I could feel that we belong to the same Indian family. We know rules and thoughts which connect and put together Agrawal’s family members.

Italy and India are very different, Cagliari and Mumbai have only the sea in common, and even that has a different color. I am the same Italian girl. Of course, I have grown up both as an Indian and as an Italian. I have experienced what it means being 25 years old in Mumbai. Sometimes it feels like a second life, and I guess it is, not because I change, but the world around me does changes and so my habits.

My Indian dad came to Italy and met my Italian family, it was fantastic and it felt great to show him my hometown and tell everyone “he is my Indian dad”. When my Italian mom and my aunt came to India, it felt strange and amazing at the same time. I tried to be a cultural mediator both the times. I was happy, I can’t really explain how does it feel to say “dad, this is my dad” and “mom, this is my mom”. I have two names now: in Italy I am Lucia Cannas, in India everyone knows me as Lucy Agrawal.

I will always be thankful to my Italian family for letting me go so far away and I will always say that I have been blessed because I’ve got another family in the world which loves me as much as my biological family does. That’s what I feel every time I come back to my second hometown.