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

Republic Day !

Rome is an active city. In fact, compared to the rest of Italy it’s the best place to be for an active social life, in my opinion.  This week began with a four-day weekend, thus the masses heading to the sea for sea air, burning sun of 30 grad Celsius and just chilling. One of the perks of living in Rome is the lifestyle.

On this lovely day I woke with a lovely headache, probably from the Moscow mules I drank at an aperativo; as well, I had forgotten to close the blinds thus the day woke me too soon ( 5am). With this lovely feeling pounding in my head I cancelled my plans for another beach day to remain in the city.

I tried to fall back into my sleep-like state yet no luck. My mind began to wonder: lessons plans for the week, man problems, how to get my hair to stay straight for more than a day and what to do later?  I slept maybe another 40 minutes after my racing mind calmed down again.

When I woke again, my headache was still present so I got up and embraced the day. A friend recommended I get a coffee and aspirin to  get rid of the headache. I got a cappuccino and cornetto (intergrale) and set off. My first mission, actually my only mission, was to reload my metro pass. I kept pushing it off and so I had to find a place still open to recharge on a national holiday. I had money for the metro yet I hate paying for a single ticket and the local buses were not running. I walked through the neighborhood and ask any newspaper stand and tabacchi shops open if they could do it.  After an hour successes!

Since I was out and my head started to feel better I decided to check out the parade in the center.  I had seen some of the prep work in days prior, so I had an idea of what the parade would look like yet I knew little about the holiday.  So what is Republic Day? Italy was a monarch society governed by Mussolini and a fascist regime. Festa della Repubblica is the celebration of the people of Italy voting the monarchy out and creating the republic. It was told to me the holiday was originally celebrated the first of June and in 2000 was changed to the second.   In Rome, the parade is conducted near Piazza Venezia with an air show and military march.  Near Termini, the train hub, there was a free concert which was really beautiful to hear as you make your way through people. It gave the day an uplifting feel. Plus I am happy because this is a three-day work week!

Bacio!

2015

2015 Festa della Repubblica

FR2

2015   Corazzieri

2015      Corazzieri

how to watch a parade

how to watch a parade

Termini 2015

Termini 2015

BUS CHRONICLES: one

I ride the bus and metro to get around. I have been told I should buy a macchina (car) of some sort and join the Roman rush-hour of terror. Since I am quite indecisive and only been here a year ( already!) , I  get around by metro, bus, feet , taxi and Friends.

Riding the bus is an adventure for me always.  I have used the  bus for educational  purposes; it’s how I learned the language for getting off the bus.    On the bus I have to be nosy in order to understand Italian. It’s where I get a short and sometimes long sightseeing tour of the city I call home-Roma.

Today, I experience something many females  have encounter…the  guy who  “accidently” touches you.

I am tired often in the afternoons and in many situation getting a seat on the bus requires gladiator skills. In the country of tolerance , there is NONE for the seats on the bus. Where I work buses are few , cars are plenty and metro is somewhere far. I wait for the bus every afternoon and so I am zombie routine numb.

This afternoon , I boarded as always , quick gaze saw there were no seats available and thus my next favorite spot is where the handicap/ baby strollers would reside. I am not super tall so this area makes an okay back rest for me. I use this time to check emails from across the pond, instagram/Eyem post -routine.

Another thing with the bus, people touch you especially when crowded and the driver has to murder the breaks every five minutes because everyone cuts him/her off or he/she is on their phone chatting.  

Today was not so bad, there was a lot of space for breathing room… personal space doesn’t exist here. If this is a problem for anyone, don’t visit. So, I have my arm around the rail  so I can check my messages, to my  right,  to help my balance and my feet in a firm mountain climbing stance when I felt the bus jerk. Normal. Again the driver breaks , someone bumps into me. Normal. Again, a jerk happens, someone hand is on the same rail I have my arm wrap around and touch me. Normal.

The bus is moving …I feel something light like  a fly touch near my neck. At first, I was  so into the phone it took a moment for my consciousness to alert me.  As I become  aware,  the  feeling was gone. The bus  stops and again I feel a light touch , however this time a few quick soft “brushes”. I realize someone is touching my neck on purpose.  I am a notorious shades wearer, which is good  for bus situations. I was able to see if I was crazy or not without being noticed and in this case I was not crazy.

This is not the first time nor will it be the last someone does this. The first  few times, I made a scene. Now I just move myself.  In this case I  shifted to my left and turn to look at him. He moves his hand from the rail and looks the other way. The end, right? No

He decides to move more in my view by two feet and a half, facing me. He stares at me, for a minute or two then turns around to exit at the  stop.
He was an okay looking business suit wearing guy, yet he resorts to such measures on a bus is beyond me. Yet, he is just one of many that do this.   When speaking to my girlfriends they all have experience it and the taxi guy who asks if you’re single (luckily, this hasn’t happened to me).  If you take a bus from the center to Termini, touchy guys practically live on the bus to touch people; mostly ladies. It happens, be alert and aware. However, from where I work the bus is not a tourist packed region and so to experience this was really unexpected.   The moral is people touch on the bus they just do.

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!

My Hood

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This is my hood, where I get down. Where political  parties are frequent, everything is closed on the  weekend and the people are truly old-school. 
The streets are filled with graffiti, the ice cream shop and the park stay full into the late night.   Dogs from small chihuahua size to full size  mastiff faithfully following old men with folded hands or wear a scarf following their lady.   Where football is king and the three  P’s reign supreme (Pasta, Pizza &  Pane)
This is my hood.

Where old ladies try to marry me off to  their sons. The bar at the corner always say “Salve Bella”every morning when I head out for work. Where the building are old with character.  Where clothes hang from  windows, balconies and terraces.  People have window conversations and a monthly mercato brings everyone out.
This is my hood.

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Where cats like people and dogs are eternal puppies. Where classic Italian films were made and a popular series remains.  This is where I stay.

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How I roll

Hello, I keep fading out. I am completely overwhelmed this chapter of my life here.  The first six months have been so boggling learning a  language, culture,  fashion, guys and bureaucracy!

I still feel like a fish without water, actually no that is extreme. I am not dying or on  the verge… I realized as I wrote that expression that it’s a horrible to image.

Okay where was …..I am an immigrant!

The first time I said this I paused. It’s  a profound thing. My parents did this when I was small so I had no understanding of what it feels like to say that sentence for the first time.

I think if you can be an immigrant for a spell is great experience despite the feelings of confusion, discomfort, enculturation  and the most diabolical……learning a  language.

I have enriched myself even though it was never my goal. In truth, I have no goals here or a logical reason why I am really here. When I am asked, “Why Italy?” My answer is very honest and truthful…I don’t know.

Really, I don’t know. I had a very good understanding of what life would be like here, I knew that bureaucracy would be my spouse, I knew the pay was low, I knew that the culture is slow, I knew that finding a job could be very.difficult, I  knew what housing would be like yet here I am.

I found a house in a trendy zone in a week, a job in two weeks, and bureaucracy is truly a motherfucker. I have friends here mostly other expats , Italians are friendly yet  the guys are more willing to  hang out than girls (Italian girls are not that friendly) and some nonne (grandparents). I am holding my own here.

Mangia

Mangia

Merry, Merry

It is a strange feeling when you travel and return home, excited to see friends and family and seeking some comforts from home.  Seeing  your family and friends they ask about your adventures and how amazing it must be living in another country, especially Italy. You talk and answer questions for a few hours; talking about the splendor yet making them aware of the hardships that surround the ancient world of romance thus ruining the images that films have created of how  “amore filled” adventures cascaded from the sky from the gods.

This is the scene day one and maybe day two afterwards you are you to them again; the only difference you have been somewhere. Then Christmas begins and the real traditions start. And the usually statements begin…….

-“SO…. , no boyfriend yet?

-“when are you going to get married , you’re not young anymore?”

-“You DO like men, RIGHT?”

-“I would think some guy over there would marry you ”

-“well, maybe one day you will meet someone…,,,,,,,hopefully”

-“You DO want children?”

-“well , how do think you will meet a man when you keep running them away”

-“Dress up more”

It goes on and on .

I am an adult yet these moments happen , my parents thankfully are NOT the culprits of this just the rest of the family and some friends ( the- married -and -second- kid- on- the- way-friend) have disapproved of my lack of skills in “capturing” a man.

I feel pressured.

I leave the room, walk away from the conversation, or go for a walk. I hate this part and always will.

I just want to return to Italy now, where this part of my life doesn’t happen. Even though I do want a partner, I have no clue how to “capture” one to the point of marriage  and/or children. I just want some one that will  automatically warm my feet in the winter under the covers.  I am not skilled in the art of seduction or whatever is required now a days to attract a mate.

My family and friends they mean well, it’s their way of showing concern ( I hate it) yet I still love them. This has been the way of expressing concern for centuries.  It is not the best way yet it has made it to 2014 and counting.

holiday-workout

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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Ramble III

I have to admit I do not think I will ever be able to experience a true relationship with differences and similarities involved in being a “we” instead  of an  “I”. I think I will never reach this place. I know they say  never say never, yet never feel accurate with my track record. This  pinnacle  that many people reach in a relationship or at least I believe they are in the right direction; I feel is out of my realm. I am alone. I have tried and complicated many opportunities for a possible happily ever after  only to some how feel alone even in the dating-relationship stages. I feel that my potential in this department becomes weaker every year.

How do I deal with these feeling of being possible alone for  maybe the rest of my days? I am not sure. I just know its time I admit I cannot function right to have a beginning in a relationship .I sabotage me.  I wish it was abandonment issues with my father or neglect yet I a not sure what is the true source of my unwilling and afraid nature of accepting a life joined with another person outside of family

In many occasions I blame it on my introverted nature , yet that is not fair. I think of times I speak out and expression my feelings which get me labeled as crazy.  Then if I hold everything inside I feel trapped and let things fade out in an unresolved way which I  then I re-enact in my mind what I should have said or done.  I need to be the protagonist of my story and not a viewer. I do not have a fairy tale life  nor  a hard knocks life. I just have a life in transition with ambiguous potential and I have no clue how to utilize it.  What can I do about it? figure me out and maybe I can reach a beginning of where I start forming me.