Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Just when you think things are starting to look up you realise you have two busted tires. I swear that I hate cars at this point in my life. Considering I walk everywhere during the day unless it’s too far or these days too hot. I wondered how life would be without a car, well last week my dreams came true as I put my car in the local garage for a week to fix two tires. It’s amazing how much of a celebrity I have become in this little old village of Viadana.

There was a girl waiting for her little tires to be filled with air (wonder why she didn’t do it herself) who knows...anyway…
I suppose she thought I didn’t understand Italian when she asked the owner of the garage…is that the English girl who drives the BMW?
He said ‘yes’ ...
ahhhh she said...and then she looked at me and smiled. After she left Ceaser (the owner of the garage) filled me in that her friend had told her there was a BMW in Viadana that has the driver on the opposite side in the car…and was from the UK, and low and behold it’s a black lady that drives it.
He asked me what I did for work and I said ‘shopping, and playing with my 2 year old daughter …I’ve been a housewife for the last 5 years.
Well that got a shocking looking out of him...and then he said “ the girl asked if you were a TV star or rich, and I told her I didn’t know.”

It’s amazing how even a large village can have a complete story about someone like me. I told Ceaser the next time someone ask him...tell them I’m very famous. Hahaha. The funny thing is that this is not the first time that I’ve been mistaken for someone famous. Whilst having lunch with Gareth in Parma and another friend, the waiter said he recognised me from tv and he was convinced that I was that famous American actress…that one ..ummm the name escapes him. He wouldn’t accept my denial and insisted on an autograph. So of course I gave to him…and in which he gave us free food and wine. Perfect isn’t it! I did feel horrible for leading a lie but well I tried to tell him repeatedly and he wouldn’t take it, so it was maybe it was a God send for us to have a free meal that day. Shame it wasn’t tastier.
I know that I can’t play this role forever….surely someone will figure it out one day...but for now it’s fun. I never understood why I got looks whilst drying down the road or when walking with friends…surely some are of disgust but others of wonder…according to my friend Consuelo …I look so unusual that the only way to make sense of it is that I am famous.
But then that brought up a host of questions whilst talking to friends about this subject. I asked why would someone like myself who really isn’t that unusual looking, be considered different looking than any other person on the road…here is what they explained to me

1. You wear clothes that no one in Italy wears ...and if they did they would be someone in Milano or Roma. But never someone who is your skin colour would wear these clothes because they are too expensive.

2. You wear your hair in stylish ways ..which is the opposite of what most people do ..Most people just put in a ponytail for the beach yet you actually style it ...let alone people who have your skin colour usually don’t have hair like yours.

3. You drive a luxury new car…most people who drive this car are rich, or executive in the city….and we have never seen a foreigner let alone a black WOMAN …drive a car like this. NEVER…and its from UK..why would an normal person drive a car from the UK.

4. Your personality is very outgoing and confident and funny, and entertaining. Like someone on TV…most foreigners don’t have your personality.

So when it all boiled down to it basically because I’m black and a foreigner I’m breaking the mould…interesting. After this discussion I begin to watch others out there and sadly it’s true. I’ve never even seen foreigners attend the local festivals in our town, or go to the local trattoria, or even shop in the supermarkets that I go to. The only black women I see here are from Africa which is of a completely different culture and that’s fine but I never see them with other cultures, only together. But even after talking to two African ladies a few time after conversation class …they made it clear that they are not in Italy to integrate, they are not here to make friendly with the Italians (not that they are opposed to the idea. But they aren’t going to go out of their way to try), they are not here to look like them, dress like them or be like them...and they will do things the way they do in their home country, they do not want to eat Italian food or do Italian things (surprisingly they all like gelato though) hahaha
...they are only here because of the job their husbands’ have. I was shocked...and more so when the ladies from India in the class agreed (somewhat) as well with the others. One of the Indian ladies shared how she has her ingredients for Indian food imported to Italy every other month so that she doesn't have to eat Italian food and eat Indian food every day. Now I love Indian food lOOVEEEE. Don’t get me wrong but wow.
I moved to Italy by choice, not by recruitment force. These women made a choice to move their families because their husbands were recruited by huge factories who knew they could underpay them to overwork them. How sad. But if I moved my family to any country because of my husband’s work. I would still attempted to get to know the country’s culture, food ect. But I think Im just a different breed maybe. If I lived in India I would (happily) eat Indian food every day...if I lived in Africa I would eat whatever they ate everyday.. I’m not saying anything is wrong with importing you’re cultural foods that you love and reminds you of home on occasion...but I personally cannot think of anything from American, Australian, or English culture that I just can’t live without or ever have a crazy craving for.
So with all this said. I feel completely blessed that I made the choice to give up so much just to live here. We have less money and less privileges…we have more frustrations, completely confusions sometimes…. all so that we could integrate into Italian culture, so that we can eat REAL Italian food every single day of our lives, so that we can attend Italian functions and be a part of the Italian community. I feel completely blessed yet understand why I receive so many stares as we are in some Italian eyes out of the norm…and just plain odd…and I’m fine with that!

1 comment :

  1. You are a celebrity Miss Jessa. First of all you are a child of the creator of the Universe and a christian hence you are salt and light of this world.Most of all you are Olivia's mom and Gareth's wifey, now ain't that something. Viadana ain't ready yet,they gotta fall back and show some respect. Happy Landings