First a road trip, then a dream come true

Massimiliano Chiodo. (Courtesy photo.)

This is the story, or stories rather, of my father, Massimiliano Chiodo, coming to the United States from Italy. My dad was born and raised in Crema, a small town about an hour-drive east of Milan. He went to elementary, middle and high school there, before studying physics at the Universitá degli Studi de Milan, the main “state” university there. In the summer of 1977, two years after he graduated high school, he went on a transcontinental-road-trip of the United States with a group of six friends. They rented a motor-home in New York and drove west. Some of his fondest memories of the trip include Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon. And of course, McDonald’s.

After that trip he finished his collegiate studies, and it wasn’t until 1989 that he was given the opportunity to come back to the U.S. for work. His company — something based in computer software/engineering — was a sponsor with University of California, Berkeley, so he volunteered to come to California for a few months to take classes and participate in research. He ended up staying for over two years. During that time he met his wife and my mother, in Berkeley. They began dating, and were married in July of 1993. They spent a few years living in Italy before eventually settling down in the Bay Area. Now they live in Piedmont, California, where me and my two brothers were born and raised.

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This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.