“Masti cazzi!”

The two shared a laugh, as I methodically stabbed a piece of cantaloupe with my fork and lifted it to my mouth.

“Do you know what this means? It’s one you should learn.”

I had been sitting on the outskirts of their conversation, a comfortable place I have learned to call home.

“I always mix up the profanities, but ‘cazzo’ means dick, right?”

“No, no, it’s not a profanity! It means ‘nevermind.’”

“What’s the literal translation?”

“These dicks. But that’s not what it means.”

“Ahh okay. We have phrases like this in English, too.”

“But it’s not a phrase. It’s a lifestyle! For example, you wake up late? Masti cazzi. You forget your laundry in the washing machine? Masti cazzi. You lose your job? Masti cazzi.”

So it’s the Italian hakuna matata, but with dicks? Ho capito.

“How long have you stay in Italy?”

“Otto mese.”

“Why haven’t you learned Italian yet?”

“Sono pigra.”

I have the latter part of this conversation at least once a day.

“I’m lazy” has always been a lame excuse for something deeper.

“I battle with a constant, depressive existential crisis and struggle with interpersonal self-motivation,” is not exactly polite to say. Even if I said it, I don’t think it would mean anything.

Now, ‘I’m lazy’? People can really sympathize with that. And I’ve built a solid defense for this excuse. But I accidentally learn something every once in awhile. Piano, Piano. It’s not a phrase, it’s a lifestyle.

Over the last six moths, I made an important transition from “living in Italy with a random family and being totally clueless” to “living on my own in Italy and being totally clueless.” I have been teaching English for a private company in Monteverde Vecchio, which I recently understood quite literally means “old green mountain.” This old green mountain, which sits 298 steps above the tram tracks, is adorned with vibrant vines climbing up the sides of distinctive romantic houses, in pale yellows or baby pinks, contrasted with deep-hued shutters on door-sized windows. The ceilings are tall, just like the trees, and everything feels a bit closer to the moon when night begins to fall.

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Teaching English has been a strange and rewarding experience. Before, I never had to think about why my verbs agreed, or how time and language are so deeply tangled together in an expression of existence. Now, I have been asked to explain things for which I had never previously assigned reason to.

“What dose how mean?” an adult student once asked me, causing my brain to implode. How do you explain how? It’s something I’ve been considering ever since. It’s the way by which something is done, but also related to a state of being. It can express both quantity and quality. Methodology and measurement. When she asked, I didn’t have a thoughtful answer. I believe I said, “ummmm.”

It felt like I was teaching someone how to breathe. I don’t know how, it comes naturally.

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Apart from needing to consider my language in a thoughtful way, I also began an exposition into the psychology of learning. I had 40 students, aged 7 to 40. Some were in small groups, others individual lessons. Each leaner needed to be motivated in a different way. The biggest challenge in teaching is keeping students interested. The school is full-immersion, which means it’s forbidden to speak in Italian to the students. I can’t speak in Italian anyway, so it was an easy rule to follow, but it proved to be very trying in a class with eight 7-year-olds who don’t speak a lick of English. Some of the worst-behaved kids were my favorite students, because I saw a lot of myself in them. The bad kids were usually the most intelligent. They were bored, so they clung to distractions.

In a way, each class was its own chemistry experiment. I had to learn through trial and error how to be relatable. The first step in learning a language is a desire to communicate. I quickly learned my younger students are Justin Bieber fans. My 10 year olds even had opinions about Donald Trump.

Sometimes I would have to separate students, or a few kids would be absent. This completely changed the classroom dynamic, and I started to understand more about the influence of a social setting. Different combinations of students brought out different social environments. I learned the importance of developing an individual relationship with each student. Disappointment is a more effective tool than anger.

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The school year ended last Wednesday and I realized it’s been six months since I published on my blog. Everything about life has changed. When I moved to Italy and began this blog, I was really bored. I thought if I threw myself into an ambiguous situation, I would finally have “something to write about.” Roma has not disappointed, and I feel incredibly shocked and lucky each day that I’m here. I hope to continue writing, and I thank anyone who takes the time to read. I’m not an expert on anything, I’m just a girl with a hypothesis.

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I am running up a flight of stairs, cocktails barely balanced by the tray in my left arm. Each step synchs with the pronunciation of a piano key. I am on beat, or maybe the band is.

I am at Gregory’s Jazz club, working my first night as a waitress without a cause. I was hired because I speak English, and most of the clientele are tourists. Tonight we are booked full of Italians, and I don’t speak a lick. I’m jolting in and out of spaces like an eight-year-old boy who drank too much mountain dew. My hair is tied up in a sloppy bun held together by criss-crossing pens. I have no pockets, so my notepad is hugged against my hip by the elastic band of the top of my leggings. I’m starting to wonder if my life is an episode of “I love Lucy.”

The clarinet sounds better than I remember, and the gentle “tsss” of the symbol keeps my energy in balance. I feel myself transitioning from frantic footwork to silky side steps as my hips begin to sway without my consent, navigating through the crowded room like a dance move.

Italians are very relaxed, not troubled by the idea of rushing through anything. They take their time, and shamelessly indulge, which is my favorite aspect of the culture. There is no “to-go” coffee, you take a moment and drink it at the counter. Maybe order something sweet, too, then have a cigarette before you’re on your way. The bad side to this quality is they are largely disorganized, particularly when it comes to systems. The public transportation actually circumnavigates the center of the city, and busses are liable to not just be late, but never come. I had one hour after my last English lesson to make it from Monteverde to the Spanish Steps. Geographically speaking, this isn’t a lot of distance to cover. Still, I was late.

I arrived to Gregory’s out of breath, but high on the adrenaline specific to the experience of racing against the clock. I was determined to transcend the space time continuum, hoping that somehow I could make the ticking minutes multiply.

“Ecolla,” said my manager, as I burst through the doors like I was about to rob the place. He was not mad I was late, rather happy to see me in general. Without missing a beat, I was delivering drinks and staring blankly at Italians. Questions poured from customers looking for simple items my vocabulary could not provide them. My only solace in these moments was the fact we were not working for tips.

“aaahh, sorry, no parlo Italiano. Parlee Inglese?”

With younger people, this was not a problem. After the second world war, they started teaching English in the schools, replacing the previous second language of French. For the older clients, the ones who have made this jazz club their weekend home, my muted vacancy was not impressive.

We were booked to full capacity, yet somehow continued to find new places to fit eager customers. The iPad operating system was very efficient, but the table numbers were confusing and I once again found myself in a new job with few instructions. There were not enough minutes and not enough clones of myself to accommodate the overflowing room. At one moment I decided I was going to quit. I’ve worked in a lot of bars and restaurants, but the chaos of this one had nearly broken me.

The drinks were served, the jazz was swinging, and I finally had a moment to take a breath. “It’s not so bad,” I thought on a long drag of a cigarette, peering through the window, watching the bustle of a busy business. The beautiful thing about the service industry is the ability to meet and speak with people of all walks of life. In this night, I met a surgeon from Berlin. He said he found us on yelp.

“People do not come here by accident,” the owner told me at a quiet table the night I was hired. “They come here for good jazz and good whiskey.”

What I love about Rome is it feels like a time capsule. In this club, I imagine people in the 20’s and 30’s, sitting in a smokey bar, listening to the same notes. Time goes by, but music is everlasting. It can transport you to a specific moment, and connect you to millions of other people who once heard and thought about the same song. Maybe we do not hear the same thing, and maybe the songs are played with a different energy, but at the base of each song is a beat we cannot deny. A compulsion to tap or sway along. Music is the language that moves.

It is the end of the night, but the happy customers show no signs of leaving. They are joking and drinking, with humidors and fat cigars and never-empty glasses of whiskey. I am upstairs, where the stage is, sweeping up chaotic crumbs resting in the dark. A many is softly playing the piano. I hum along.

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The silhouette of a stiletto glided gracefully across a seafoam floor, like a swan in still water, generating gentle, quiet wakes. Notes of an Italian ballad hung almost visible in the air, controlling the movements of each dancer like the puppet strings of fate. The women held practiced posture, their elongated necks aligning to the stars. A man is now checking out my combat boots. It doesn’t take long to notice I am an outsider.

It is my first night at tango, and I haven’t a clue about the rules of the game. It feels like the adult version of a middle school dance, amped up on the pheromones of sexual energy. Men are waiting on the perimeter, watching the scene, hoping for the right moment to swoop in on a target.

“You invite them with your eyes,” Alessandra explained, as we sat on a black painted wooden cube lined with jackets and discarded drinks. “If you make eye contact, a man can then ask you to dance, but the woman has the choice to say yes or no.”

The friend I came with is lost somewhere inside the scene. All of the women are dressed in tight fitting clothes with strappy high heels, teetering the line of sexuality and class. I am not worried someone will ask me to dance, because I look as elegant as a worn-in recliner on a strangers’ front porch. Comfortable for a weary traveler, but nowhere near desirable. I am content in the concept of my own isolation.

Some sips of a beer later, enters Skillo Spaghetti. He says something to me in Italian. “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian,” I reply in a courteous tone. He told me his friend wanted to dance. “I’m sorry, I don’t dance,” I smiled. Marcello Mastroianni’s ghost could not have pulled me onto that floor.

“We don’t dance either,” he exclaimed, nearly ashing a cigarette on somebody else’s shoe. “What do you do?”

“I teach English.”

“Ahhh Madonna! You teach me?

“Maybe, if I have the time.”

Outside of the dance room was quiet room with a bar. I made my way to the less dramatic space and quickly made friends with a barman who Skillo later informed me I should call “Tarzan.”

We were at a cultural center, the home of hundreds of immigrant families of who don’t have a place to stay. The basement of the center hosts a variety of events each month, including the tango night we were attending. They range anywhere from zumba to writing workshops, I observed, as Skillo thrust a calendar into my hands.

“Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” Tarzan shouted when I returned from a cigarette. I told him he had a good memory. He made a show of disagreeing. Tarzan and Skillo told me the whole operation was illegal. I asked how it was running so successfully. “The police can’t arrest us because we don’t let them in,” skillo beamed, a tiny wrinkle traveling through the star shaped scar situated under his left eye.

We talked politics for awhile, it seems neither of them supported Hilary or Trump. Bernie Sanders was “OK.” They laughed and joked with staff workers who all came from diverse backgrounds. Most who worked here also lived upstairs.

“I want to see you here again,” Skillo said, he was about to go upstairs and take some rest. When I said goodbye, I was reminded of a lot of great people I have met. He had an unwavering personality, a keen interest in life and the people who inhabit it. He was himself with no restraint, and I thought back to my years working in bars and meeting characters of the same fabric. These are the real people. The ones who don’t care how much money’s in your pocket or who you know. They’re the ones who have seen things, not always good, but came out on the other side with a child-like innocence about the nature of man. When I agreed to come to tango, I didn’t know what I was going for. Sometimes life pulls you in the right direction.

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“Will inspector Sams please report to the central concourse,” boomed an overhead radio system into the mostly empty cafe.

I am at Victoria Station, eating a cheese sandwich, and drinking a tall glass of Strongbow cider. Neither taste the same as they do in the States. It’s a nice break from cheap pizza and economy-sized Peroni.

I arrived in England peering through half-open, sleep-filled eyes, depicting a hazy scene that could have also indicated I was in purgatory. Travelers were immediately ushered into orderly queues, organized by paperwork and bureaucracy.

Turns out, I was spoiled entering Italy as my first foreign country. I walked off the plane, into the airport, picked up my bag, and hopped in a taxi. No one checked my passport. No one asked me to declare anything. Everybody was taking their time, stopping for a coffee or tied up in casual conversation. Today was a different thing. I waited in a snaking line full of silent minds, and something about it felt clinical. No one was speaking, but the space was near full. It was like a class of elementary students who were just threatened by the teacher. One peep, and we’d all miss recess.

A woman handed me a slip of paper identifying the time I joined the queue, for quality control, she assured me. I was asked to give it to boarder control as a method for measuring our lines’ wait time. Twenty minutes off the plane, and they were already utilizing me to benefit the system…sneaky Brits. Well played.

From Stansted, I took a spacious bus with leather seats and a flatscreen TV mounted above the driver, displaying a live feed of the street in front of us. I’m not sure what this was for. I think it was supposed to help us feel like we were driving. The whole thing was meta, but in a depressing, endless expanse of highway kind of way.

In the hour and a half bus ride to London, I examined the back of my eyelids, struck in the middle of dreaming and thinking. Never fully committed to being asleep or awake. The content of my thoughts were muddled and disturbing. A cocktail of the wrong ingredients. A manhattan made with rum.

I forced myself awake when I realized we were in the heart of the city. I was curious to begin the identification process. When I came to Rome, I knew of certain landmarks, but I never spent any time with a map. In part I wanted to be surprised, and in part I’m really lazy about my adventures. I had a vague mental image, but I never tried to define it. I didn’t want to ruin it with expectations. I came to London with the same sentiment.

On first impression, the buildings are sleek and smart. More modern and abstract than I would have expected. You can sense the Germanic influence. There is a coldness to the architecture, especially in contrast with Roman romanticism. It feels like a cleaner, smaller and better organized NYC. At one point, I saw a man raking leaves into very precise piles off a side street. The city workers seem dedicated and plentiful. Well organized, and with good attitudes. This is already different than Rome and the States. A healthy sign for a city.

London feels chic and current, with “healthy fast food” restaurants peppering between buildings and taking advantage of the “vegan, soy-free, conscious consumption” movement. I’m not complaining, because their design and marketing teams have done a killer job. I will add that anytime someone markets themselves to be something, they probably aren’t that thing, but okay, they still did a hell of a job. There’s a level of stringent sophistication permeating from the concrete. I’ll be curious to find where the homeless sleep. You can learn a lot about a city from their homeless.

I keep saying “ciao” and “grazie”, which is really terrible, because I have a strong American accent. They’re at the tip of my tongue, because these are the few words I use to communicate with Italians. After a few months of conditioning, it seems like I don’t know how to speak to people.

When I first came to Italy, street conversation was extremely alienating. It made me uncomfortable to not know what people were saying around me. After awhile, it became a white noise in the background, enabling me to develop intense focus on my own thoughts in public spaces. Here, I can understand conversation bits from all directions. It’s disorienting, and I’m experiencing a lot of noise pollution. This has been the biggest surprise for me, the realization that I like strangers better when I can’t understand them.

On the surface, I like the feeling London gives me. There is a crisp quality to the air that makes me feel like I can breath. I’ve navigated the public transportation with virtually no problem, to which I can thank the horrible transit system in Rome. I’ve spent most of my day alone, except for a quick stop at the gallery for a long hug from an old friend. This is just the beginning. I have a city to learn.

 

336A8731.jpgHas anyone ever metaphorically spat in your face? It just happened to me. I received a long lecture on how abruptly leaving a job as a caretaker is, well, careless. I was told I was not respectful, and to do what I’m doing makes me a bad person.

It’s hard to disagree with, and brings up memories of me leaving from a string of situations on less than graceful terms. Naturally, it has snowballed into an overall speculation about the nature of my existence, and if, in fact, I am “bad”.

To answer this question, one must first understand what defines bad or good.

If you take a dog for a walk on a day full of sunshine, a soft breeze tickling the hair on the back of your neck, whispering in your ear a melodic cacophony of early spring, this might be good.

If you’re getting a last miute haircut by the only hairdresser who doesn’t have clients booked, and the blow drier short circuits causing a spark to light a fire that burns down the building and also envelops your whole head of hair, this might be bad.

However, both applications of these values are created by yourself in the scenario, meaning they don’t construct an objective reality for which we can build a consensus. Generally, most people would agree that these situations are “bad” or “good”. But what if you change perspectives with someone else in the scenario? What if the dog really hates you, and being forced under the control of your subordinate leash brings him great anguish and turmoil? What if you’re walking the dog past a girl who had her own dog die recently, and the sight of your dog triggers her grief? Alternatively, what if the proprietor of the building always secretly hoped for a fire because he had a big insurance policy? Now he is happy. And I don’t think he cares about your hair.

The problem with morals is they are subjective. Everything in reality is. Physics tells us time does not exist the same on street level as it does the 9th floor of a building. I constantly vow to give my sisters “tips from the future” because my day occurs 8 hours ahead of theirs. This is a different problem, though, and we can talk about it later.

So what are these morals, and where do they come from, if everyone is looking at the same situation with different eyes? Most of us assume that murder is wrong, but is it still wrong if you murder someone who is trying to murder you? Where do we derive our rules for how to navigate life? For many, it’s religion. But throw religion away for a second, and pretend it isn’t real. We could still probably agree on the golden rule. “Treat others as you want to be treated.” Okay, that’s nice, so *WHAT IF* I’m really into being tied up and spanked? Does this mean I go around tying up people and spanking them? Seems like a bad rule of thumb.

I was asked to turn the situation around, and see it from the employers perspective. I tried to explain I’ve gone inside and out of the matter, but sometimes you just have to let other people talk. “What if we decided we were throwing you out, with only three days notice before you must leave?” I said I would have to create a plan and find somewhere else to go. This was not a satisfying answer. “Yes, but what would you tell other people when they asked you about this situation? You would say we were bad people.” For me, the idea of having to find a new place to live seemed like it would be the most important thing on my mind. She did not believe me.

One time in college I was sitting on a bench in a tree-spotted greenspace referred to as the oak grove. I was pretending to do trigonometry homework, but mostly watching a group of “larpers,” or, individuals who do role-play jousting. A dog stopped beside me, who I began to pet, surprised by his outgoing personality. The dogs companion, an old gentleman with white Einstein hair and crystal blue eyes, approached me next, and started telling me conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination and what really happened on 9/11. He then told me he used to teach sociology at IUP, segwaying into a lesson I didn’t ask for. He explained the “A,B,C theory of emotions,” developed by Albert Ellis in the 1950’s.

Einstein-man told me “A” stands for an action. Life is comprised of action and inaction. There is no connotation associated with these things. Nothing is “good” or “bad,” it just is. “B” stands for the conscious or subconscious belief we have regarding the action, which provides the action with assigned meaning. “C” stands for emotional consequences, or feelings we derive from the meaning we assigned to an event. For example, A. Sally sees a snake. B. Sally has heard bad stories about snakes. C. Sally is scared. With this logic, we assign meaning to everything, and that meaning is left up to our conscious or unconscious thoughts to translate into our emotions. Realistically, we can control our emotions about an event by assigning our own meaning to it. This is a therapeutical technique aimed to shift the traditional viewpoints and approaches about human behavior from assigning a one-size-fits-all template to “actions,” and instead giving an individual the power to customize their feelings and beliefs. That was a really long sentence, and I’m sorry.

I’m headed to London tomorrow, and before leaving, I was asked to pack up my belongings and reimburse the employer for 30 euro. This is all action, and my conscious belief tells me after I’m on the plane, I’m going to be just fine. I’m headed to visit a dear friend for his final photography exhibition, as he graduates from the University of London Arts with a degree in photojournalism and documentary making. His project is called “sonostalgia,” the inverse of nostalgia, which is the phenomena of feeling homesick for home while still living there. It’s feeling homesick for the way things used to be – a place you can never go back to. And when I return to Rome, I will begin a new life, something I have become quite practiced in.

IMG_6527.JPGWould Thanksgiving really be a Thanksgiving if people didn’t fight? In a way, I think this is the hallmark of the holiday. It begins with a facade – A nice welcoming dinner where everyone comes together to be thankful there is enough food. The pilgrims and Indians did it, and now we do it, too. But what happened after? The pilgrims were like, “Hey, thanks for all your help, we’re taking your land, and in return, here’s some smallpox.”

Yesterday I hosted my first Thanksgiving. In Italy. With family and friends. On the surface, it was okay, because I managed to produce a traditional dinner with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and (okay) a chicken.

Everything was going well. People smiled, and ate, and talked and joked. I drank a LOT of wine. And then, in a moment of false security, everything began to fall apart.

I was giving a speech about wanting to go back in time to 14-year-old Juliette, sitting in the Berkeley Plaza theatre with Sara Hanshew, eating sour-neon gummy worms and drinking 99-cent energy drinks smuggled in from the nearby Big Lots. I wanted to tell her, as she watched Eat Pray Love with wonderment, that one day, she too would be hosting an American Thanksgiving in Italy. I wanted to see the look on her face. I promise you she didn’t think it was possible.

So after this speech (which I was clearly drunk if I was giving) something happened. I don’t know what it was. Everyone wanted different things. At the root of man, I believe this might be our problem. We are slaves to our desires.

In addition to ending up in a weird fight I vaguly remember with anyone I’ve ever met, I also had to break up with my family.

“It’s not you, it’s me,” I said to my unimpressed reflection, wishing I could conjure better cliches. I’ve never been good at breaking up. Or endings. Or emotions. I try to avoid them, because otherwise they chew me up and swallow me whole like the last piece of pie on a rainy day. I closed my mouth. I look much prettier this way.

In the midst of still being kind of wine-drunk when I woke up, I told my host family I was leaving them. For a new job. Where I can learn a skill set. They were not pleased, and in this moment, I was not either.

Everything looks better in the rear-view mirror, I’m trying to remind myself, as I reach for the past, aching for the comfort of old things. There is beauty in what is already behind us.

It’s starting to seem to me that good news is almost always also bad. “I’m moving on” is never met with unflinching support. “I’m ready to improve” is never met with big hugs and handfuls of confetti. It’s never met, because you have to reach for someone else’s common ground. Other people don’t want you to change, they are comfortable with the current you.

“I’m sorry” I said through weeping sobs and handfuls of tears I tried to catch so as to not ruin the upholstery. It was the hardest break up of my life.

The problem is, and always will be money. The wealthy have more room to act with morals, because they have less of an excuse. Which is interesting, because wealthier people seem to have LESS morals. For the poor (me) we have to act on opportunity. Which typically means compromising morals. Concession will never keep you warm at night. Purchasing a blanket with money you made from your job, will.

I guess this means I’m moving out, reader. I guess this means I’m moving on. I thought that opportunity would make me feel full, but even after that giant thanksgiving dinner, I feel empty. Loneliness is an old friend I said I never wanted to see again. I turned my back, and he was waiting.

I’m not talking to my friends or family right now (okay, they’re not talking to me) which is why I’m talking to myself. Or the internet. Or whatever. I’m sad because I want more. The world is not enough. And I know that’s the wrong way to look at it. I’m trying to control the weather and I can’t. It rains for a reason. Another problem is I really love the rain. It’s never quite as interesting when the sun’s out.

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The infant was standing on the edge of the sink, facing me, supported by my left arm. With my right hand, I was washing the “cacca” off his small, pale bottom, feigning enthusiasm as a mechanism to keep him calm. I slid my index finger into his tiny crack, encouraging the moss colored reincarnation of his last meal to “come hither”, and leave the child in peace. In this moment, he leaned forward, and kissed me. I think we’re dating now. Things are getting really intimate.

The above situation, I can happily inform you, exemplifies my newest marketable skill: patience. It’s never been a strong suit of mine, but since taking a position where I cater to the needs of an infant, it has emerged from me, if anything, as a proper defense. Another morsel of knowledge I’ve acquired is understanding the notion that the world is not about me. I just happen to be in it. And to be perfectly honest, it’s a great relief.

Back to this patience item, because I heard it is a virtue, but also, it got me a job. I applied, with no expectation of response, to a company that teaches English to Italian children, using creative, non-traditional tactics. Coming from the girl who turned a research paper on “the crisis in Darfur” into a “rap” to get people’s attention, this is my dream job. Also, the money was right. “Au Pair,” contrary to popular belief, is not synonymous with “baller”.

Anyway, they DID respond, and offered me an interview. Which I aced. And then they offered me a job. I was ecstatic. My interviewer asked me a lot of questions about why I was qualified for the position, despite my lack of experience in ESL. Turns out, my current position as a slave-to-children means I am empathetic, rational and, you guessed it, patient. All those things, in addition to the fact I am an English mother-tongue with a degree in communication, enabled me to beat out nine other candidates. (Go me.)

Here’s where the story (unfortunately) gets good. I needed to talk to my host mother/ employer/sister-friend to ensure it wouldn’t interfere with my current work. I came to her with options about how we could handle certain conflicts, and I was shot down. She was too worried about contingencies, like sick children and natural disasters. The more I plead my case and articulated my feelings, the more I understood she doesn’t want to loose the flexibility of having me “on call”.

I was angry. HOW DARE SHE. I stormed into my room like an angst-filled teenager who wasn’t allowed to borrow the car for prom. She was, after all, ruining my life. I began searching craigslist for flats in Rome. I decided it was time to move out.

After allowing myself to feel disappointed by the circumstances, I went outside, smoked a cigarette, and got a hold of myself. Yes, it was unfortunate that this new and exciting job couldn’t fit into my schedule, but in reality, my family comes first. They aren’t my blood, and our skin doesn’t respond the same to Roman water, (mine is very dry at the moment,) But when I chose to come here, I chose to be in it. I chose to clean up the infants “cacca”. I chose to follow someone else’s rules. In return, I have a support system. I have a bed. I have a dinner. For all the bad moments, I also get the good ones. Yes, I wish I could balance both things, but really, I don’t get to make that choice. The employer I live with gets to make that choice. That’s the reality I signed up for.

So, I swallowed my pride, went to the kitchen, grabbed a stack of plates and began to set the table. I met my mother/employer/sister-friend’s anxious energy with a warm smile, and at dinner tonight, we had both bread AND wine.

There are a few take-away’s from today’s experience. First, I am capable of applying for a job I really want, in a company where I don’t know anyone, and being hired. Second, if I can get hired once, I can get hired again. Third, I am patient (finally). And last, bad experiences usually make for good writing.