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.

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. :)

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.

Lost in translation or just don’t want to know

I recently have had the privilege of going to a few end-of-the year dance recitals in Rome. I teach English and some of my students are children.  The contrast between American kids and Italian kids is very visible and interesting. Kids in the states are made independent , people say “stop babying him” even though the kid is three years old. Here, children stay children for a very long time, in many cases into adulthood. Overall, Italian children are truly dependent on their teacher. In fact, Italian children will have the same teacher for the first five years of school, if they don’t move or change school.  The teacher becomes family, the second mother not only to the kids but to the adults. Everyone is dependent. Another contrast, parents invite the teacher out for drinks and Facebook it and the teacher still has her job the next day!! I am talking to you USA; the land that  doesn’t believe teachers are people too.

So, I have been to a few recitals and they are sweet and adorable as they always are. A friend that is an adult; has been taking dance lessons. He has been practicing for a few years now. In true Italian fashion he invited me a couple of hours before it started to the spettacolo.   I do like the word spettacolo, it means show but  it makes me think of some death-defying feat that I would see at the circus. I love this word!

As well, I really wanted to go home.  It was über hot day for June and I had been out all morning doing a photo shoot for a friend that is leaving Rome for good after three years here. I was spent but decided to support his show. So I went home,changed and again went out into the heat waiting on the bus , on a Saturday, which is so annoying, I have a better chance winning the lottery than one of the three buses by my house arriving on the weekend. I have a great dislike for the buses on the weekend. They are suppose to run…… key word SUPPOSE to yet somehow they become ghost on the weekends.

The show was at Teatro Brancaccio on via Merulana. This area is really trendy and nice. It has some great bars and is really close to Vittorio Emmanule metro stop and somewhat close to Termini (main metro /train stop in Rome). The teatro is really nice and beautiful.  You can get chips, soda, popcorn and espresso  at the concession stand. There are a lot of stage performances here, Louis Armstrong and the Beatles have played in this fairly intimate theater.

The show was misleading with time. It stared at 4 pm and finished at 8:30 and claimed to be two hours and a half.  The dance studio where my friend practices puts on a show displaying all ages. Beginning with the children’s performances  that took two and a half hours plus an intermission.  I want to say that children are very cute when they are learning choreographic dance moves. They are always looking to the right side curtain where there dance teacher is telling them the dance moves. Second , I was a bit lost on watching young girls from 5 to 16 perform at least 15 dance numbers doing the same two-step continuously. I saw people walk out.  I began to wonder how much the parents pay for their child to be at this dance school.

To make this show more eyebrow raising-picture it: pre-teen girls in the typical unitard bodysuit dancing the two-step to Don’t cry for me Argentina performed by Madonna, Miracles by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and wait for it Talk Dirty to Me with Jason Derulo and 2Chainz explicit version. They played 2Chainz part  three times!! If you don’t know it, which I didn’t, you will now:

Dos Cadenas, close to genius
Sold out arenas, you can suck my penis
Gilbert Arenas, guns on deck
Chest to chest, tongue on neck
International oral sex
Every picture I take, I pose a threat
Bought a jet, what do you expect?
Her pussy’s so good I bought her a pet
Anyway, every day I’m trying to get to it
Got her saved in my phone under “Big Booty”
Anyway, every day I’m trying to get to it
Got her saved in my phone under “Big Booty”

Yep! this happened.

I was falling asleep when  I heard “you can suck my penis”. I thought I was having a weird delusion but nope this was happening. To make in even more inappropriate. The instructor, who is a really beautiful, petite, blond lady with a six-pack abs; came on stage did a belly dance routine with a mature appeal while the girls tied the belly dancing hip wrap on and then proceeded to have the girls do a sexy dance , booty shake , sexy spin , with the pointed toe body dip. Not once but several times and then they turned their backs to the audience and did a booty dance , with a stripper pop-lock-drop. I was looking around to see if I was the only one seeing this.  I saw some people looking lost and uncertain on how they should responded and other on their phone checking Facebook.

When they finally finished this number a few people applauded. I want to believe they had no idea what the lyrics were to this song that their little angels just stripper danced to it. I want to believe the dance instructor thought the rhythm was great and bypass knowing what the song was saying. I want to believe I was the only one who saw and heard it. Yet, during intermission I heard a few  people at the concession stand questioning  what they just saw.

After this big  number the rest of the children’s show was quite mellow , they did another inappropriate dance for I’m a Good Girl from Burlesque, otherwise they stuck to normal kid stuff with a two-step. It was something I never expected.  Compared to the other kids shows I have seen in Rome and in the States, I expected cute and adorable without awkward dance numbers.

I was extremely happy the kids portion was over. I don’t think I could have stayed for another Burlesque-kid performance. Finally the adult show happened. When my friend finally performanced; I was on my second macchiato to stay awake in four hours. They did the tango, a lot. It was nice.  I realized I dislike choreographic dance. I will stick to nonsense dance moves. I have no patience to learn. My friend has been driving everyone crazy about his dance practice. He has been going twice a week for countless months.  I am not sure what he did but we watched, we cheered and we congratulated after the show.

On that note, I end with Paula