Italians in London | Italians in London Anna Cafaro
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# 16

 Anna Cafaro

Photo and concept by © Rob Venom 2022

My name is Anna Cafaro and I was born in a small town of Calabria, 10 minutes away from the beautiful rugged Tyrrhenian coastline. I left my country when I was 25 with a degree in classical piano from the Conservatory and a Laurea in Foreign Languages, to pursue a different life and to change the world. I spent one year in Australia, one in Greece, five in Spain, thirteen in USA (Boston and New York), one in UK teaching Italian to foreigners and learning and growing up in the meanwhile.
25 years after, I could say that I didn’t change the world but I did mine. I feel a ‘luxury migrant’ with the same restlessness, enthusiasm and desire to change the world and to find my ideal place. I love meeting new people and finding out how they live and I am passionate about my job, teaching who I am, my culture and my language. I am proud of my courage and the choices I have made despite the price I have paid. Because I still feel a migrant I know London is just a stop and not my final destination.
What do you do in your life in London?
As I did in other countries, in London I teach at a college Italian language and culture including cinema, and theatre. I organise Italian film nights in Sutton, conversation groups in a pub, cooking workshops and walks in Italian. I also organise trips to Italy for my students in the summer.
What is the reason to leave Italy and come to London?
I left America because I was tired of the American lifestyle and lack of quality of life I had. I wanted to live in Europe again and I knew it was impossible to go back to Italy. In today’s society it is not easy to find a job with a degree in humanities. That is why I came to London. Honestly, I thought life in UK was going to be easier but it is not. To me London is too expensive, dirty, and not authentic.
What were your best and worst experiences in London.
When I first arrived I had to find an accommodation and I believe this was my worst experience whatsoever. It is a nightmare if you don’t know the areas and don’t have too much money. After a couple of weeks in hotels, I changed 4 times in 6 months (just rooms). I consider my best experience when I went to the Globe, which is the original theatre where Shakespeare used to write, perform and direct his plays. Priceless. Also, entering places like the Royal Academy of Arts made me feel lucky and enriched. I loved visiting Fortnum & Masons, the temple of tea, where the only thing I could grasp was not one of the inaccessible tea bags but the unique atmosphere of a huge empire.
I asked you to choose a place in London that you like or you are tied to, what was your choice and why you made it?
I chose to meet Rob at Victoria Station because, being in (one of) the centre of the city, it is convenient, it is big and makes you feel part of the city. Above all, it represents at best my essence of migrant.
During your early times in London, did you have any problem?
See number4.
What do you think about this project?
I find these kinds of projects interesting and important when they are carried on with professionalism and honesty. Learning about others is not just curiosity! I believe these projects provide a great opportunity to share experiences and points of view, get to know each other, reflect and learn. We all know how difficult being an immigrant can be, for different reasons. So we need to remind each other who we are and what we can do.
How do you think you could support and promote Italian culture? 
I believe I promote Italian culture every day of my life, when I teach the language and culture as well as when I buy Italian products; when I try to explain a recipe to my foreign friends, or describe them the art they can find in any corner of Italy.
I’d like to add that, although I can adjust to a new lifestyle and compromise on some aspects of life, I will never loose my Italian taste, my cultural essence and my pride of being Italian.