Fairy Tales

It’s hot in Roma. It is so hot the choices are 1) stay at home in your underwear and drink everything cold in the house, never  use the stove because that will make heat  2) go away –far away from  Roma  3) go to the beach daily if you cannot afford to travel or  you have time to use before your vacation 4) Stand still.  I chose option 3- the beach is what i did for a week or so , more or less. I spend my days burning my already brown skin ( with SPF 30) until was completely even.

Ostia is easily accessible by train. The station is Piramide in Ostiense. It’s about 40 minutes from beginning to end . Then a 10-15 minute  bus ride, depending on what type of beach you fancy. My fancy is the free beaches that are closer to the end. Ostia doesn’t have picturesque beaches. Its a usable beach that works.

I went for a few days to pass the time sometimes solo or with friends. I am so tan right now my mother is going to have many words for me when I see her in a few days. Anyway, I was at the beach, trying to practice my weak swimming in peace when a man decided he should invade my space. Like a true shark he swam around me for about 2 minutes getting closer and closer  and then  creating dialogue.  He ask formalities and I answered with short answers. Then he decided to talk about the beach. “This beach is used also by nudist:”

Me:  I know I see them.

Man: I usually am too

Me: Good for you

Man: Would you like to try to?

Me: Why are you so uninviting?

Man: it is perfectly normal,….in fact i will do it now…( HE took off his shorts in the water) ………He was standing there feeling proud in his unclothing .

I turned and swam away. On the sand my friend asked me if she just saw what I witnessed..I shook my head yes.  We sat in silence.   The man comes out the water , puts on his pants and disappears for some time. When we are settled and relaxed , like a shadow, the man appeared.  I was getting ready  to responded when the couple beside us jumped in and told him to go away. He left for good. This is Roma.

I am a woman of color. I have many experiences of highs and lows of living here.  This is just one encounter that was UBER extreme. Overall, my experiences have been graceful and respectful. This guy was the first to just disgust me and I am sharing it.  When men ask if I am Brazilian , it’s more due to what they know of black culture. Despite watching all modern programs , music artists and pop culture…a large group of Italians are still un-evolved on foreign women. It is not only dark skin women in this boat. I am only mentioning my experience.

I have met normal guys here , yet as in all things the asinine encounters really stick with me.I don’t let them become my personality  I just don’t forget. I have on many occasions confront them , which makes them run. Having a strong character is a must here.  I have a great love for Italy in a whole . I love the feel of living in this ancient slightly modern world. I just have no desire for romance, which many women find here , as the Italians call it EAT PRAY LOVE moment.  I would love to have such a moment even a temporary one. This would  require a brave guy to rise from the non-commitment, mammoni , bubbled culture.  It sounds impossible …however I still believe in unicorns.

varco 3

What are you?

I am not sure where I belong.  I   fit slightly yet I am still out of  the realm. I live in the United States, where I am reminded through my cultural ways I am still an outsider with papers.  I have even a worst time living in the south , where I some how stand out even more.  I know it is natural to be different , just how different am I?

I recently went home to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday. He is such an inspiration, he keeps a positive attitude while he takes care of our half land, the house,  calls all of  us all on his cell phone,  and travels all the while missing my grandmother who passed away ten years ago.   I miss him so  when I am away yet he can smother you when close by and  I love him.  I was talking to him about belonging because when I go home I am ostracized a bit since I live in the United States. My culture is blended and somehow it’s not enough. I am either too much of the other never seen as neutral.

Leaving Jamaica was never my choice, I was a child. I never understood how important  a visa could be until now, when I see what I am able to do compared to many of my cousins back home.  At times, I felt like I had to be uber-Jamaican just to reassure  myself I am , what I am . Whenever I am back home  I hear comments in side conversations that jab at my American life, while in the states I feel like I have to represent just to preserve my culture. 

In a way,  this is why I find cultures fascinating. I am a anthropologist  without a degree, I like learning about different people , how they live , what life is like , and pick up a bit of the language.  My Papa, he told me all I can do is live my life and love people. Simple.  I can do this. I struggle with this because I somehow want to fit . Where? I have no clue . I just want to fit and not be always a foreigner.