In 2006 I decide that I wanted to leave my home country. I wanted to try hard and make some space for me in the world (well, the tech-world). I was really tired of being paid fuck all, dealing with a country driven by old-and-hard-to-die politicians, not seeing any foreseeable future in front of me. I made a decision, and I started working towards my leaving (I finishing uni, so this required a bit of planning).
I left. And a lot has changed. Friends have changed (for the best, I believe); Love has changed; Family has changed (and still changing).
Before that decision, I looked at this tech-internet-world from far. From the far lands of the south of Italy. Yes, I had Internet… but everything was far from reach. I was scared. I was really scared. How could I, a Neapolitan-breed kid, make it into a world that a) knew nothing about where I come from b) what it knew, was mostly a stereotyped reality c) was moving to a speed for me unimaginable.
What did I learn? That I was wrong. The world didn’t assume anything on me. The world was NOT like us: we, my breed, we assume that “if it’s from USA, it must be better” or “wow, this comes from LONDON!” or “French people are snob” (well, some actually are!).
The world was just quietly going on without me. And would have continued going on without me: I’m just a freaking drop in a ocean of people. I do have something to contribute? Well, I’m welcome to do so. As everyone else on this galaxy (an maybe beyond) is.
I have met great people, and it took me time to learn their names (who knows me well, understands that is not because I don’t care - it’s because I have a shitty memory). I met terrible people, and their name stick to my mind like super-glue: funny how certain things work.
The C++ interview at Boundary Row. My terrible English. The cute Scottish engineer. Canning Town Station. The twin room with John. Boundary Row. Bootcamp Donatello. My team. The first year with Majid. Breaking up with Ale. The flat with the colleagues/friends. Mr Vladimir Stoyanov. Going back to Ale. Waterloo. Serage and John. Filling the washing machine with dish soap and the foam covering the floor. Spilling coke over my MacBook Pro, yelling “O’Madonna! O’Madonna!”, cleaning it and reselling it on eBay like it never happened. The heavy snow. Me falling down like an idiot while trying to walk on the freaking snow. Orange Labs. Luca. Mobeen, Rafel and the other guys. Losing Vincenzo, Alessandra and Manuela. Betfair. Having gay colleagues (such an honor and a satisfaction to say it back home! - I can’t resist to write this down: for me IT IS a BIG deal working with free men). Paul. Matt. Rediscovered the pleasure of Cycling. Losing almost no weight. Still loving it. Maj. Gui. PhantomJS. Finally finding an Open Source project to which I feel like contributing something. The Stanford AI class. Ariya. Neustar. Here.
Well, more or less it’s all there. Almost 5 years (will be five this April), and they have passed so fast. A friend of mine just tweeted:
... where did time go?
USA, a totally new place. A place where, apparently, everyone wants to be. A place where everything else is not THIS good. The place where, if you are strong enough, you can actually make it, and make it BIG. Is here the place for me? Could I live in such non-European culture? Don’t know, maybe not.
What I can though, is work with great engineer, develop new stuff, have fun, challenge difficult problems, solve some of them, fail at others. Hopefully, keeping low the number of failures: I’m here to succeed.
Yes, I know, I’ll be working mostly from UK, but this doesn’t matter anymore: I learned that truly I can make something of myself. I just need to have fun! That’s all it is: what I do for job is fun. Learning or applying: it doesn’t matter. Learning is when I start modelling ideas in my head. Applying is when I prove that those idea were good (or shit, as Jobs would say).
I’m in! And I like it.
PS Sorry, I know the title suggested I’d have talked more about my experience so far in USA. I just pushed the random button this time and blew off some dust off those boxes at the back of my head. Have fun with it.