Are you Chocolate?

I teach English to Italians, mostly children. Recently, I have been working at a summer camp. I was playing with a few of the kids when a little girl, was staring at me from a far; I waved at her. I smiled at her. I asked her if she wanted to play. I waved at  her to come closer. She did. She took my hand and licked it. Then she said, ” You look like chocolate”.

Yes, I do look like chocolate and she was hoping I WAS chocolate. All I could do was smile. She was so amazed by my skin she lick it. Now she licks me all the time. I am her chocolate.  It’s a living. 

Here, I am called brown skin. Here,sun-worshippers ask to touch my skin. I was at first, a little weird about it but now it’s like brushing my teeth-a natural thing. It’s normal to be waiting for a bus, or to be  shopping and a lady to compliment me for my skin tone; like it is gold. Tanning is a full-time  occupation here , not a pass time. I am the CEO.

I live in Rome. I have been to Rome before on holiday usually only three days and then I would either head north or south (SUD) to stay with friends. I never had such a reaction to my skin before in any other region of Italy.  Rome is something.

I naturally assumed that people would think I am African.It is the most logical thinking, I thought. Nope. I am asked on a regular which part of Brasil I am from. In many cases people start speaking Portuguese to me. It never fails. I have told them I am Jamaican; which they say (in the same order every time).
                                                 JAMAICAN TOP FOUR/ FIVE
1) Bob Marley!

2) Beautiful Beaches

3) Marijuana!

4) Where is Jamaica?

and for the bold ones…..

5) Is it true the men have big penises?

I am at times a celebrity because of my skin. I am not sure why they connect me with Brasil but they do. When I ask  why , they say I look like Brasil. Go figure. So I look like Brasil ,except in this World Cup ( what was that; 7-1!!) When I  don’t feel like going through the Jamaica top  four/five , I just say I am American. They find me a little less interesting when I say this. 

I have been told by a couple Italian males; “that you are pure chocolate, I just want to eat you up!” (Date ends and I go home-alone). Being dark makes me stand out. I have never stood out because of my skin. I am not sure if brown people of USA could handle it but to me it’s fine. It is an interesting approach to dark skin.

Working at a summer camp , I meet many children fascinated and curious about my skin. A few actually think I am chocolate, which is fine by me. Others ask how many hours in the sun I spend to be so dark. They touch me like I am fragile silk turned into a sheer gown. In many cases, I think I was the first brown person they have interacted with. I like this. It creates a good first impression about different people. Naturally children don’t fear the unknown yet conditioning creates barriers-I have broken barriers. šŸ™‚

I know there is racial issues here. I see it. African, Indian, Asians are treated differently in certain places. Despite how well dressed they are, how fashionable they are and that they speak more than one language. I have an American friend of Korean descent. When she talks they are surprised she knows English despite the fact she was born and raised there. In many situation when she says she is from USA, they ask, ” No, where are you REALLY from?”. She takes this in strides and with great poise despite how wrong this is.

An exception I have seen is beauty. Beauty makes people forget stereotyping, sort of. It’s not only men that are amazed by foreign beauty but even women. I went to an interview at a school recently, the director came in, she shook my hand, sat down and stared at me for a minute and said “You are beautiful”. Did I get the job? No, but she thinks I am gorgeous. Score one for me!

Older women have no problem telling a girl she’s pretty. The younger girls just look you up and down and give you a quick connection with the eyes as they walk pass you. Thus you know she likes your outfit.She just can’t say it.

Men do.They do just about anything for a pretty face. For instance, there is a bakery in my building. I cannot help it, I must eat dolce. When I arrive in the morning for my morning sugar rush, the owner has something for me -gratis (free). Why, because he thinks I am pretty. Even if he is not there , I still get a special treat.It is worth the weight gain.

I was waiting for a bus to go from the center of Rome to a place across the river Tevere, a bus that was not in service stop, for me. Usually a non-service bus drives past you with no remorse even on a rainy day. At first, I didn’t know what to think. He opened the door and asked where did I need to go? I told him and he took me. We had a nice conversation in my bad Italian. When I asked why he did this for me, because I am Bella. I had my own private bus; scratch that off the bucket list.

I am pretty chocolate. For kids I am fine with it. With men ..I keep my distance; this is the one biggest drawback to being pretty chocolate…every guy wants a piece (except my baker, thank God). So don’t be stupid and let the talk game fool you. In general, the men here act like a National Geographic program entitled “When Italian Males Hunt Foreign Girls” all that is missing is  Morgan Freeman’s voice.

I understand why the guys here like foreign girls, they can be easier. It’s true. As well, Italian girls are no saints, they just have a totally different way of getting their freak on; which can be more complicated for Italian males to conquer so they catch a foreign girl in the meantime as the crack the Italian girl code.
Until the love bug bites the shit out of me this chocolate knows the game and has manipulated the play-by-play.

Pork and Pig are different?

In my family pork is and was a no-no. We were raised messanic Jewish. This may sound strange to outsiders , yet common in the island. However, there was no formal name for this, just apart of island heritage.
Jamaica has numerous religions to date, the basics are: Rastafarian, forms of Christianity and Obeah (pagan voodoo).Ā  As history books state Columbus sailed the ocean blue, landed in my country and ruined shit. My orginal ancestors in the carib were dealt the same fate as the native Americans-destroyed by unbathed, yet overly righteous people from across the Atlantic. As the years of struggle began, the fights escalated, changes progressed and christianity found a home in Jamaica along with British training. This is my land.
Back to the point , pork is a no-no for me. I have had it on rareĀ  occasions and everytime I end up dating my bathroom. So I usually tell people I don’t eat pork, if they are really confused I tell people I am a vegetarian.
I currently reside in the south, Atlanta to be exact. Home of the fried and bbq. This where French fry is a vegetable(not kidding), cobbler pies and some pregnant women enjoy eating white dirt aka corn starch and where mega-churches are everywhere. I work at a hospital that is so drama filled, I contemplate getting sued just to write about the strange that I am immersed in.
Working here I see the vast differences between north and south, cultures and values that at times I look too heathen or too uppity. I have never truly fit,yet I endure for reasons I will not explain.
There is a big dialog-vocabulary confusion at my job, especially when understanding the similarity of pork and bacon,sausage,ham,ribs,pork chops.
It all began like this;there was a MuslimĀ  patient who called me because he was given sausages patty for breakfast. I told him I will call and get him a different breakfast. I called the kitchen and told them the patients’ chart states no pork. The person on the other end says okay. Time passess a new tray arrives, it has bacon on it. I am confused. I tell the girl he eats no pork. She tells me okay.Ā  The third go aroundĀ  sausage links (how are sausage links different from sausage patty, I Don’t Know)! I gave him cereal and milk that is in the mini fridge.
I am so confused now regarding the defintion of pork. So I take a breathe and call the kitchen. I ask, “why every breakfast you sent had pork on it?” The manager apologize and told me that lunch will be better.
He got a big piece of ham for lunch to go with peas and mashed potatoes.Ā  I call and ask, do you know what pork is?
Answer: bacon
Me: and what else?
Answer: the sausage patty
Me: and ham and any other name you know. They all come from pigs. Pigs aka Pork are the same.
Please stop giving this man pig!
Answer: gotcha. I didn’t realize it.

Okay, I think success finally! I again gave him mini fridge food, again apologize and told him dinner will be better.
He got a pork chop, I begged his doctor to change his diet to vegetarian because my head hurts. Problem Solved.

I have dealt with this confusion in different venues in Atlanta. A friend told me once,”I had a big breakfast with eggs, fruit, bacon sausage and grits”. I said that’s a lot of pork in the morning. She told no they are different.Ā 

It never ends….