I spy

At Termini  station in Rome I just came off the metro and made my way to the ground level when a skinny, tall, lanky, big eyed Italian approached me. This guy -Fabio looked like Ichabod Crane Disney version not Johnny Depp. He asked me if i was a model. I told him nope just a Jamaican.  I continued to walk and he continued to talk to me. He asked me about Jamaica.

Side Note: Many Italians have no clue where Jamaica is. They do know where Dominican Republic , Brasil and Cuba are located , however for other reasons that I will share on another occasion. Anyway this is how the conversation usually goes except in an Italian accent.

Italian person named Fabio: Where are you from?

Me: Jamaica

Fabio: Jamaica! I love Jamaica

Me: Cool!

 Fabio: Where is Jamaica?

Imagine having this same conversation for six months. I decided to have a file saved on my phone and did the quick spread sheet  with a map , showing location, population, food, flag, where I am from exactly , agriculture .etc.

So after I get the routine   out of  the way, he told me he had been to England and saw  the Caribbean carnival  and thought it was wonderful! He was there learning English and asked if I could have a coffee with him.  So I did. We sat up stairs where there is a lovely view of train schedules and Armani ads.  I got a cappuccino and I sat and enjoyed it slowly. Fabio asked me many questions about Jamaica and the Unites States and I gave him answers to the best of my ability.

Then we came to the occupation part. He asked me what I do, I told him: an educator. I asked him the same : private investigator. Now the conversation became interesting. So I asked what type of cases he gets. Fabio said sometimes criminal and most of the time infidelity. Oh Italia! He told me this is where the big bucks are, watching  cheating spouses and naughty girlfriends and boyfriends. Apparently, money is no object when it’s about following a cheating lover. He told  he once followed a “subject” to this station and boarded a Trenitalia train to Salerno without a ticket. He had to hide most of the trip in the restroom to avoid the train agents.  I asked was it worth it? He told me yes she went to see her lover and spent the weekend.

Then to really get me going he told me he was following a “subject ” who was to arrive at the station for a 1:20 pm train. I said okay , well good luck. Then he went there….do you want to watch me work. I said no. He began to be persistent and pushy.

Why youdon’t want to wait with me ?  You have a boyfriend ?

 I said yes , he is from Napoli.

I learned that mentioning a boyfriend from Campagna region especially  Napoli makes unwanted advances diminish.  My friend’s nonna from Napoli taught me this. She said if a man is a man he will not be afraid of strong man from Naples.

Poor Naples has the worst reputation for no reason. It’s an older city. Some say the first state of Italy. It has it problems but so does NYC; people still live there.  Anyway when I tell people from the north of Italy I am going to Napoli the reaction is something like this…” You be careful there, people die there. Because only bad people live there. et …YES! people do say this.

Back to Fabio. Fabio’s big  eyes got quite bigger then he asked is  he is a very jealous man then?

Yes , I say VERY. You know how they are.

After these words left my lips , Fabio decided to leave me be. I thanked him for the coffee and continued on my way. I did look over my shoulder just in case he was following me…after all he is a detective.

Night in the Park

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I have never been to the Borghese at night until now.  I am here , waiting to watch “The Lobster” at a tiny cinema that is called  Cinema dei Piccoli ( tiny cinema). It is so small that you have to wait outside until your designated movie starts.
Why go to the movies in the middle of a park at night?? Because sometimes I feel abandoned and thus I go places that I feel I could disappear into.  In a few days I will be at a  Christmas party and I will be eating and forced to eat endless yummy artistry and drink countless vino….yet tonight, this second….I feel abandoned. Go figure.

I was walking around the park , waiting for my designated time  and  discovered this staute.  I have never been this side of the park before so it was interesting to find her. I have no clue about who or what it means. I know she lost her head and it was a  tragedy.   I would have to Google or asked a historian friend for details yet I prefer to make up her story.

Let’s begin…this is llaria the mother of Joy.  She was always a happy woman even when someone died, or when she stubbed her toes or a major disaster happened she continued to be happy.  It was not that she was mocking peoples’ suffering but she could not frown. She was blessed and curse with happiness. Llaria was a beautiful woman for her features were diverse.  She had curly dark hair that depending on the time of day went from light brown to black. Her eyes were like water. Her skin like Nutmeg.  She smelled of lavender naturally and was a helpful woman.
Like all women she desired to be in love. After a time she encountered a robust man with a  moustache that curled and who was charming despite his selflish laugh. Soon they were married and she was pregnant.
Llaria was always happy. Her life seemed happy, however, it was not. Her robust husband became more robust. He treated her bad while she was pregnant.  If you didn’t attend the wedding you would think she was a servant of the house and not the lady.
Llaria endured.
One day she was in the barn feeding the animals when her water broke. She screamed for help yet the noise of the animal drowned her out. She screamed and push and screamed and push until a little head pop out, then shoulders , arms,body and tiny toes,looking all wrinkled and bloody.  She felt a tear and it was joyous. She named the baby Joy.  Joy was a boy.  He was her joy. She had felt pain,anguish, anxiety and tears, sweet tears for the first time thus he was joy. When she had enough strength she ran away into the forest. To whom or where no one knows for she didn’t reach far. She heard her husband shouting her name and turned around in which she ran into a tree that took her head.

Joy never knew his mother, only the tales told. So he made a grand statue in the garden. For she was his tragedy.
                           FIN

I do think that the park is quite calm at night despite the cold. I can see my breathe! I am sitting on a dilapidated bench …….

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writing this post on my phone and waiting to see if the Lobster becomes a lobster.  Ciao

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

Big Sister

I am an emotional loon hiding in Roma. I have been so blessed, fortunate or just dumb lucky. I think it has a lot to do with my mindset. Despite my fears  and insecurities life has been opening her arms telling me to walk and don’t worry…………. ..”I gotcha”

Lesson: Openness 

On my first day in Roma; I cannot write Rome anymore; I stayed at a hostel.  I am familiar with the owners so it made perfect sense as I was waiting on housing to come together. Once I registered and put my bags down  my first mission was to get a phone sim. Luckily, there was a TIM store at the end of the block of my hostel so the search was quick.

The store is very small and there was only one person ahead of me, a lady with long black straight hair. She spoke Italian with a thick Asian accent. The sales clerk was a bit annoyed with her because she making him do his job instead  of sitting and doing nothing. At one point , the clerk asked me what I needed while he was helping the lady before me. I  responded in Italian-English I needed a sim card. He was use to foreigners and comprehended my  nonsense speech.

The lady before me, turned and her eyes grew big! “ You  American?!” I said yes. “ Oh! good I need  practice  English. I do not speak very good and need  practice” She then turned and said something to the clerk. Unfortunately, I could not understand at the time.  The clerk was getting annoyed since she was talking to the two of us at the same time. She was talented, switching from Italian to English in a thick Asian accent.

She later forced the clerk to help us simultaneously so that we could talk about her English lessons. This is how I met my big sister-the opera singer. After frustrating the clerk for about an hour she took me to find a hairdryer. I had mentioned I just arrived and needed to get somethings..hairdryer, flat iron, cosmetics. I figured it would take a few days to acquire the essentials. However, with my sister I obtained all my necessities within two hours. She then told me I would be coming to her house tomorrow for lunch and then SWOOSH  she was off to another appointment.

It was too unbelievable yet I made a friend in under an hour and was going to have lunch with her the next day. It sounds odd from State sides that a person would do all of this, plus going into a strangers car in under an hour. It is a bit different. I knew her name and address in twenty minutes and for some reason I said OK.

My sister made me an amazing lunch of fresh , homemade sushi. It was amazingly good. I know it’s Italy, yet how often do have fresh made sushi in Italy..rare. In truth many Italians are skeptical about the sushi places in Roma. (There is a theory about fish bought far from shorelines is questionable. I have found one that I will recommend called Yoshi in zone Ostiense; visit countless times and still livin. Another place is Fish Market, it’s an Italian restaurant. Fish Market smells fishy yet the food and service is good). Anyway,  my sister has been a great source to  my life here. She pimped me out. She did. She took me to restaurants, events and community centers, she introduced me to many important people she knew from the orchestra hall to celebrities. She pimped me. She knew I was an English teacher. I would not be working at my school until September. I had a few months to get adjusted.  She helped me get business cards offering English lessons over the summer. It seemed far-fetched to me yet I had income coming in.
She has been in my life heavy and yet like the wind she leaves, touring through Europe and making trips to Korea. Now I barely see her.When  she is here, I check in giving full details of what I have been up to; who i am dating, any new plans, ecc. She is always cooking for me or treating me to a meal.  No matter how I ask to pay or try to contribute she reminds me, “ I am the big  sister, it is my duty.”  She is just this way. She is off always now. I miss her. She has become my family here and I am forever grateful to her.  This is what happens when I open up and just be.

Tanning 101

                                  This is how she tans…true story

life moment: Dating

I am really sorry but I don’t know how to date or cross paths with a decent guy. I have met a guy here that is adorable to me, he is tall, slightly funny and we like barely anything the same. We connected in a strange , social media way with our common love of parks here in Rome.  I know it  seems hard to believe with my magnificent wit and sarcastic charm that I prefer quiet solitary activities (and met a guy on social media). I function better with quiet moments. I have been flooded with social activities that at times I make up  excuses  just to be alone. Rome has nice parks and some that look like a dump yet there are parks everywhere.

Back to the guy;  we  met , we talked, actually he loves talking and talking and is heavily opinionated without considering the alternative of what others think or feel. He is religious and very critical of others, very Christ- like, I know.  He sees life in black and white, HIS version of black and white.   I see silver grey, fuchsia, teal and  mahogany. We were not a match made in heaven, he was adorable though. Open dialog  with him always ended with him running away every time I said something he felt was insensitive or disagreeable. It was not only me he acted like this with; no the whole world received this treatment. At times I wonder if he was bipolar. Anyway, he always came back. I would still  be lost on what I said that was so wrong. I felt like the man and him the woman. He is older than me yet he was a bit like a newborn baby not childlike which I think we all have inside of us. No he was a big baby. The biggest problem with letting go of the big baby was  me being new here still (my excuse).

Half a year had past and I was holding on to a big baby because making friends was a bit hard at first.  As well, I was feeling homesick and down, he was beccoming familiar in a bad way.  It’s  barely mentioned when you relocate to another country and maybe even a new city, with 10,000 miles between you and what was home, fear and doubts devour a person especially at night.  Thus the cry baby felt like nothing and I tolerated. Then one day , maybe by magic we faded out.  I was still grasping my homesickness  yet I survived. Every now and then big baby messages , wanting to fix our situation at times because he is adorable I start to think yes then I think and realize no is better.

I met another guy, he was a more accepting of my personality.  It always works that way the guy I really want to be into disapprove of my personality or I down play my true self out of fear he will dislike the real me. Stupid! I know. Dove should do a campaign about that. Anyway, guy two saw the real me, liked it and took me to amazing places , concerts, met dignitaries, embassy parties,  Hollywood people of Italy. He was a great friend, however, he hoped I would love him or want more than his friendship and I wanted to wait. He hated my answer and the outing continued.  I was hoping that maybe I could feel what he felt , I felt bad that I didn’t have a chemical attraction to him.  He is an awesome friend yet I never felt excited about him in that way, SHE never wanted him  and so nothing. He thinks I am being too “American” and not letting myself go with  nature. I never told him about the lack of chemical attraction just I treasure our friendship and  I didn’t want it to end. I even said lets wait let time happen with us, but nope, he wanted us to be in love. We had a rough patch yet we are friends again, I think.

Now i just date. I am pretty clear that a friendship is my goal.  The responses have varied from silence to feelings of outrage  because of my friendship request. Few actually respect this. I want a man who is a friend on some level not just my boyfriend. On my dating adventurous, I  have been  kissed on the cheek by a strange guy at a party. He was like a lion in the Serengeti,  he would pop up and kiss my face and disappear.

By his third try I caught him and punched him, then I was called “American”  They think calling me American will make me upset.  Go Figure.

I went out with the quiet professional guy , who is highly routine and attached to his mother, who he visits every weekend  and calls three times a day. We went out three times, we had the same conversation three times.

Another professional guy, who only believes in labels and designers, took me out. Now I teach him English.

and now my dates are with girlfriends and group events. This works for now.  I don’t have a romantic ending,  I have no ending…..I  just continue living my story.  Ciao!

Vità Roma

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Today, I enjoyed 70°F weather in November. I never would have immagined such a thing. It drizzled on and off yet nothing major.

I have developed a great liking to random walks. I just go whether with friends or alone, no set plans or direction just feet in motion.

I like this. Its simple. It feels natural.
Buon weekend tutti!

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So, I am here… for the moment

Traveling like Romans??

Traveling like Romans??

I am scared. I wanted  to be somewhere far away from my familiar and yet all I crave is my  familiar-my crutch of safety. I am scared half the time because although, I have made new friends and am having a great time; I am lonely. I am a scared introvert half the time.  I am in Italy, Rome to be exact the Eternal City of Love. It is  a nice city from a touristic view, full of OO’oos and AAAaaa’s yet working here is a totally different story.

I wanted to try something different since I didn’t do anything stupid enough as a youngster, I decided to leave my miserably cushy job of constant work, no free time and lack of social life for teaching English in Rome. This life so far is full of social time, countless free time, uncushy work schedule with espresso in three hour intervals and little work ethics. I never thought I would join the bandwagon of countless expats, but it’s true ..Italy is straight confusion.  Sorry Italy, maybe it’s because I am a new arrival still on a US schedule but there are some things that just baffle me.

I have learned so much about the system here I am surprise Italians are still living here.  This country is a treasure of archeological finds, sweet people with a naïve nature at times yet they are stuck in a cycle that is not good. I will say I respect their values  always placing family and socializing first. This is the main reason I am here.. I am getting drawn in at the same time I pull out. I am not sure what to make of it. It’s a corky place with many wonderful things , yet so confusing.

So I ask you…..Why does the bank close at one for lunch and open at 3:30-4pm only to close at five?? Why does the Metropolitana go on strike between the hours of  noon-4 & 8-midnight on Wednesdays and Fridays. Why does the bus  driver drive the bus like a race car  seeing  a bunch of people waiting  at a stop and still pass by only to stop in the middle of traffic so passengers can board? Why after a person turns 25 years old they cannot really find work because companies won’t hire them since they will have to start paying  tax for their pension plan? Why do cleaning crews clean the city at night when they cannot see the garbage thus it looks the same the next day?  Why is it that Italians know English grammar rules way better than English speakers yet they cannot speak in English? I can keep going.

The answer to all these questions..” E ‘solo cosi ”… It’s  just so.

Hello!

Hello!

So, I am here for a few months of my life. A new adventure in a new world. I needed to try something outside of my comfort zone and this is it.  I believe my thought will change the more normal these things become to me and soon I too will say ” E ‘solo cosi” about everything here and abroad.

 

So torturous ..the agony of being able to walk in peace on a beautiful day.

So torturous ..the agony of being able to walk in peace on a beautiful day.