Month: April 2012

…I have arrived to the city

Ciao i miei amici!

I have arrived to the city of Rome, and what a change! I think I must have become used to the Roman country lifestyle because I feel like a fish out of water here. Nothing changes your perspective of a situation until you are removed from it. I awoke to beeping cars instead of the crowing of a cock.

i have attended my first day of Italian language classes and I really like it. We have rotating instructors, which is great because they have their own teaching styles. I also enjoy my fellow classmates – all ages and nationalities.  Even though I am 6000 miles away, one of my classmates is from Playa Del Rey! And she’s Black!  Small world.

The route from home to school is so short – about a 20 minute walk. Its not the best area, being on the edge of Chinatown and the Termini station. However I’m calculating safer routes, which, funny enough, include traversing Termini station.

I shopped at a local supermarket for the first time by myself – nerve-wracking!! I shopped for over an hour for 10 basic items. I don’t know what I’m doing! I don’t know what I’m reading! I just take an educated guess and hope I don’t kill myself buying dish detergent instead of vinegar. Don’t worry, I’m not that daft. But it is troublesome not being able to explain yourself in a food situation, when food is so near and dear to my heart.

There is something about the Italian supermarkets that I wish the US would employ. In the produce sections of these markets, they have disposable gloves that you must wear before you handle the food. Great idea! It would be especially handy for those nasty shoppers who have colds and pick all over the food while attempting to stifle a cough.
While I enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life and seeing people regularly, I do miss the country. Its much more peaceful.

Regardless, overall, I had a good day!


…mi dispiace

Hey, sorry for the delay in posts. It’s been a crazy two weeks, of which I won’t go into detail here. I owe you an explanation of my daily life on the farm still! And I’m already at my new family home in Roma…ah well. I’m doing my best, but internet access is limited. Bare with me… thanks for reading!

baci, baci, baci!!!


…refocus…grounding…start again

Ah, self reflection – a thorn in my side sometimes…

I realize that I need to refocus because the purpose of this trip has been discarded like a used tissue on the ground.  Stop – I wanna get off!

The purpose of this trip is ME. Me, the last person I focus on. Me, the last person I give attention to.  Me, the first person who needs focusing on. Which is so funny, its like I’m working at several of my previous jobs – putting what I might require on the back burner, but making sure everyone else has everything they need. I even have tense shoulders. It’s also about recognizing the equality in relationships, whether I’m working for someone or not. Whether male or female, rich or poor, simple or complex.  Moving 6000 miles away has not resolved what on the surface I believed to be was a need to dissolve my association with my job field.  Maybe what I really needed was to revisit the core truth of this journey — I am the most important person in my life. Curling up in the warmth of this statement does not preclude the importance of others in my life. In reality, it produces more lush and well-balanced relationships. When I navigate away from this core truth, I find the world and my ‘self’ to be a truly hectic place.  For the record, I have detoured from my truth and am stuck in a pothole!

The world, in all its hectic glory, is reflecting back to me those difficulties that I have yet to figure out an apt response to.  They will continue to appear in one form or another until I find more conducive ways to resolve them. It is a struggle to admit this, but it is a path that I’ve created for myself and now I must continue on while I find an alternative route that’s peaceful, where my effortless responses are immediate and amicable (whether the situation is positive or negative), and where my stance is always undeniably and authentically me.

…the water is back on!

Water is precious.

It’s been back on at the house for several days now.  Before then I was able to take a shower at the campsite where Ms. G works before going out with friends, so it wasn’t too bad.  Even though it was raining, I was able to hang out at the lake and read a little bit, so good news all around.

Yay again for free-flowing water!


…a Kenyan and an African American walk into a bar…

I know, this could totally turn into some sort of silly joke butta’erm — nope.

So my newly acquired friend Ms. G was invited out to dinner with friends, and she thought that I would enjoy their company as well so she invited me to attend. So exciting, a lovely time out meeting new people — I love doing that!

So we arrive, introduce ourselves all around – three fluent Italian speakers (including Ms. G) and three English ones, a Kenyan, a Germanic Spaniard and myself. I sat on the side of the table where the Italian speakers were because its good for me to listen, it helps me distinguish sounds and inflections as well as have my ear pick out words that I am familiar with. I attempted to express myself in Italian to one of the Italian speakers, and the Kenyan immediately said “Your Italian is awful”.  WTF?  (And I do not mean why-the-face, Modern Family lovers) Now, since he said it amongst a bunch of people speaking simultaneously, the Italian speakers didn’t quite hear it or pay attention. However, I heard it, glanced quickly at him, ignored him and continued to speak in my ‘awful’ Italian. Really? That’s what you say to someone you just met? Within the first 15 minutes? I am glad my Buddhist sensibilities kicked in immediately. I figured I’d give this ass the benefit of the doubt.  Changing seats to get to know him and his extrememly tired and non-talkative Germanic-Spanish girlfriend better (yep, that’s the Buddhist in me), I found this man attempting to compete with me.  I suspect I might have ruined his ‘being-special-because-he’s-the-only-Black-or-of-color-person-in-the-room’ schtick. He goes on to say that Italian is non difficile, that he’s been here for 2-3 months and he’s picked it up quite easily. So I reply, that’s great for him, but I’ve been here for two weeks, so yes its easy for him but not for me yet.  He really didn’t have much to add after that.

Fortunately for me, I have heard too many native Italian speakers who didn’t know me tell me that my pronunciation and inflection are great. Brava, they tell me!  No reason to butter me up if you don’t know me, so I kind of lean towards believing what they say.

Anyway, the Kenyan and I had another kind of disagreement about whether its important for Black people to know which parts of Africa they descend from (ummm, a fervent YES). And then I reminded myself (since I had already made this distinction in my head after his eloquent opinion of my Italian) that I had no desire to hang out with him again anyway. In my head I thought “Why can’t you just enjoy the damn meal, meet new people, and engage in friendly conversation? Without exploiting your insecurity by insulting and then attempting to compete with someone you just met?”

What I’ve learned about people over these past 30+ years is that when someone tries to compete with you verbally, just remove your ego from the situation and agree with them. It takes the bite out of them, and usually you can move on to another topic.


…water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink

Taking care of a farm is interesting. You have to go along with the ebb and flow of the country life, otherwise you might blow a gasket.

-it's a little dry here

Today we woke up to the disappointment of no running water throughout the house.  I came down to wash my face and put my SPF 30 on and niente.  However I am thankful that I was at least able to wash my hands after taking a pee. Yeah, I said it.

We don’t expect the water to be fixed today since the utility company said they wouldn’t be out here until tomorrow. Maybe.  I hear things in Italy are a bit s.l.o.w.  And who knows? It might not get fixed then either. I’d really like to take a real shower and wash my hair — we made a burn pile today and I did so much transporting of branches back and forth that I’m icky and smell like smoke.

We’re using well water (can’t drink it!) and the local community water reps brought over fresh drinking water that we will use until our water is fixed.  I’m also expecting to go out with some local friends tomorrow.  Not if I can’t take a shower!

What a time to be without any water to wash…

…10 things I’ve done so far

  1. Watched how to make sofrito – Italian style.
  2. Ate pizza with a knife and fork.
  3. Strolled through the Mediterranean Sea.

    i miei piedi a Castello Odescalchi
  4. Washed a man’s underwear that were not my boyfriend’s.
  5. Made coffee with a stovetop coffeemaker.
  6. Asked for a small cup of gelato in perfect Italian.   Una coppa piccola per favore, grazie. Caffe, per favore. Grazie mille! Buona serrata! 
  7. Prepared artichokes for dinner.
  8. Poured olive oil on my white rice to eat.
  9. Walked barefoot outside. Outside!!! Barefoot!!!
  10. Bought jeans for the farm off a hodgepodge table at the weekly market for 1€. And they fit.