Day 5 – Friday June 11 2009

Friday –

Sometimes I love not speaking the language because certain things absolutely get lost in translation. For example, not so sure what the context of the conversation was today but all of a sudden Chiara said, “e Breakdance” and stood up and started popping and locking at the table while the children nodded in agreement. Then she began to moonwalk! And asked me the word for it and if she was doing it correctly!

Today was an extremely long day. Fillipo and I had our first lesson! Chiara took Jacopo and Alice out for errands and we went for a while! He enjoyed it and he was truly learning a lot. He’s really good and remembers things like a sponge so I think he’ll do really well in his English classes. He always tries to speak to me in English so that’s great. He’s definitely learning. Now I know why stay at home moms are so tired. If nothing else, I’ll learn how to run a household during this trip. Chiara’s great, she took Filipo to visit his old school mates since he only switched to the school next to their house in the past year. So we all drove into Milan, it was great seeing old stomping grounds haha.

All the kids were ECSTATIC to see Filipo. He’s so nice it makes sense that he was so well liked but it was crazy, he was like a celebrity, later that night, at the end of the year party dinner, all the children were attempting to take photos with him.  It was amazing. There was another lost in translation moment, Chiara said we had to go to her parents’ factory to make goblet hats for the boys scouting trip on Sunday. I met Nonno Castro, who said I was beautiful, but also hugged me and called me Obama’s sister.

Racist? Nah, not if you’re Italian. We went in the back in the factory where Alice proceeded to gather up fur scraps and claim them for her room. I found her a prime piece striped with different types of pelts. I think she really liked me after that. So the goblet hats basically looked like santa hats but in Orange and Blue with the inverse colour pompom sewn on them. Pom poms that I made I might add! Learning skills, learning skills. We made one of these funny looking elf hats for everyone in the family. Maybe a goblet is an elf? On our way back to Cisliano we received Jacopo’s grades and he showed me his school room which was pretty cool. It was great that he wanted to show it to me as well. I consider it a breakthrough.

Haha then he went back to antagonizing his family as 13 year olds are prone to do. His problem today was that he didn’t want to go to fat & ugly Vanessa’s birthday party that he was invited to. During the day we also went to like the Italian Modell’s and bought her a bday present. A swimsuit, which I think is hardly appropriate to give a fat ugly preteen but so be it.  She got held back (something that cleared up another lost in translation moment at breakfast when the fam was asking me how to saw when someone has to repeat a grade) so most of the people she was inviting Jacopo wasn’t even friends with. Turned out she only invited him and like 5 other people so it was good he went. It was at stables. While he was there, we went to Fillipo’s old school’s pizza party, which he was the celebrity of as a mentioned. There was a chubby awkward girl who threw up gang signs in pictures and made me laugh so hard I was going to piss myself. The waiter thought I was a child so I got served early with the children (not complaining) but Chiara said the pizza at this restaurant was absolute crap. One girls mother spoke fluent English. She was beautifully tanned with a head of silver hair and a tattoo on her shoulder. I was a bit mesmerized by her. She was the mother of the class tomboy Nina, who Fillipo was really good friends with and Chiara jokingly said, “may as well be a boy” she then told me in a loud whisper “seriously, a lot of lesbians play soccer. My sister in law does!” But she’s okay with Lesbians of course. All in all it was a good night. When Jacopo came and met us he was in a corner at one point so Chiara sent me to go get him, thinking maybe he’d talk to me. I hope to get closer to him in Gallipoli.


December 3, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Travel. Leave a comment.

Summer Adventure Days 3 & 4

Ciao da Cisliano

Wednesday –

As I mentioned before, my flight was delayed so I was a little overwhelmed/ self conscious about my sweating haha when I met my host family. True Italian form they all gave me a kiss on the cheek and I found it amusing that the boys were my height! We drove back home and I found Chiara to be a crazy driver so that was very funny. The house was amazing. It’s a three story Italian house with a den and mini gym in the basement on a cul-de-sac of a cute little Italian village outside of Milan, Cisliano. You could tell how small the village was because everyone stared as we walked by. In the car ride mom asked me what my favorite food was and I said pesto anything so she was sure to make me pesto that night she said… or so we thought, she was out of pesto and ended up using Olive pate that she thought was pesto. I liked it, no one else did haha. I guess my palate isn’t as sophisticated.

However, before all of this she told me Alice– the 5 yr old, pronounced Ah-lee-che, had an end of school BBQ I could attend. I was pretty exhausted and really wanted to shower and unpack so a passed and had the house to myself for the first afternoon so that was pretty cool.
When she came home with the boys and Alice in tow, I met who was to become my crazy 5 year old spoiled but super cute host sister, lol I can’t get enough of when she dances around in her underwear musing to herself in Italian. Or how I caught her folding her arms and putting on a tough face in the mirror when she was trying on her sunglasses inside. When Chiara came back we went on a few errands, one, to check on the prices of the all important, Trefor Club, (the town’s new state of the art fitness and relaxation center), check the stationery story for the boys summer books, where there was an African man outside hawking goods– even in a small town– and went for ice cream, of course. I didn’t realize how important ice cream had become to my daily life until I got here to Switzerland.

Family dinner was great and Chiara’s husband Paolo is sooo funny!
None the less I was still really out of it, overwhelmed and feeling weird because of all the coffee I drank in an attempt to stay awake. I fell asleep a 9pm in my room, which is the Study. And then I woke up at 3am, unable to get back to sleep until 7am the next day. I was still feeling off and overwhelmed and I even cried myself to sleep that night. I missed the ease of home, I was feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of speaking Italian all summer and I really, really, hated the idea of being so far from Logan except NY and Italy at times might as well be the same distance from California. I spoke to Sade for hours about her wedding and Kat about the experience. I called Logan, whispering at 7am and my voice was shaking because I was going to cry so I told him I had to go.


So today we kind of lounged around until I had to take the kids to the Trefor club. Chiara drove us and we stayed there for about 5 hours. It was kind of nice lounging by the pool and I got a lot of reading done and am almost finished with Teresa’s book. It was my first real day here and I am definitely warming up the experience. The kids are really sweet and I’ve spent a lot of time with Alice today at the pool. Also during the day, while Chiara was out, her sister and mother stopped by. She mentioned to me her mother and father were manufacturers and producers of faux fur and had a factory and store in Milan and I helped her translate some stuff for the company’s website. So while she was out Nonna Castro stopped by with her other daughter. They were sooo sweet and fun, and just spoke to me in Italian. Nonna Castro gave me a fur headband like old ladies wear so I’m very excited to rock that in the winter instead of my fur earmuffs. Afterwards we had dinner with the family’s friends from the neighborhood: one great guy Guido from Napoli, a musician, and his cute wife who just got braces, their two adorable sons and then I forget the name of the other couple but you can tell they weren’t as close to my family.  The wife was quiet while the husband was kind of obnoxious and made it his purpose during dinner to torment me with questions in Italian like what I thought of Berlusconi, what I thought of 9/11, how was I affected by it etc. Funny too because Halley and I were just making fun of people that go, “Oh you’re from NY?! How was 9/11 for you?” Dinner lasted roughly 5 hrs and we didn’t leave the restaurant until 1! It was interesting because in the dining room of this restaurant there was a flat screen TV from which you could view the children’s playroom– where you sent your kids when you didn’t want to be bothered with them during dinner. I thought it was a genius idea! The main purpose of the dinner was for my family to watch a slide show of the other family’s Maldives vacation that they took last April. My family is planning a trip to the Maldives with them in Decemeber. I almost couldn’t resist laughing as the initial song coming up in the slide show’s play list was none other than 50 cents’ Candy Shop. So seductive…

December 2, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . Travel, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Day 1 – June 6, 2009

Well, considering Jet Airways allowed me 50 minutes of lay over between my flight from Newark transferring in Belgium for Milan, I was highly skeptical as to whether I would make the flight. And when we were at least an hour late in take off, I thought it was damn near impossible. However, I was assured by my flight attendant that there were many people on board the flight making the transfer for MXP so not to worry, the plane would wait for us. After undergoing the most tedious airline process ever, my fellow transferers and I missed out flight by a mere ten minutes. Pretty impressive but now I’m stuck waiting for the following flight out of Brussels that is due to board within the hour. I went through airport security TWICE, had my bags searched once, at which point I wanted to say, “Look lady, I just did this in your jabroni airport” but I held my tongue as her searching goon produced no “jelly” substance that my bag was supposed to contain and shrugged. I think she was talking about my face cream. Oh well, take that Brussels International Airport. 

December 1, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Books, Movies, Travel. Leave a comment.

Ahh Gay Paris!


After much talk, I finally did it!  I booked Paris next week.  From April 1st to April 7th.  I get into Paris Thursday April 2nd.  Oh so very excited.  Spring time in Paris.  Can life get any better?

Oui!  Oui.  So if you have any tips for things I should do, people I should see, places I should eat, parties I should go to, definitely leave a comment!

March 26, 2009. Tags: , . Travel. 1 comment.

Back from Puerto Rico

View from my Hotel Balcony

View from my Hotel Balcony

I’m back from Puerto Rico.  It was amazing.  And I arrived back… 7am in cold and rainy NY.  I will post more about Puerto later.   But new plan:  Cuba or bust!  I’m thinking via med school?  Post if you have any cool ideas about me getting there.  Besides on a raft Elian style.

Inappropriate?  It’s funny to think how invested I was in that case and I couldn’t have been older than 13 maybe?

December 1, 2008. Tags: , , . Puerto Rico, Travel. Leave a comment.

The Unemployed Life – Day 3 Back in NYC

I’m on Day 3 of being unemployed and I’m still pretty optimistic about the whole thing.  Having been laid off I feel very “American.”  Let’s face it, as a black girl from NYC I had about nothing in common with Joe the Plumber, but now with the whole economic crisis effecting me directly, I feel very in-tune with him.  I’m back in NY after hiding out in DC for a few days.  I was pretty proactive while I was there in finding a new job, looking and considering new careers.  I’m hoping in Puerto Rico I’m going (more…)

November 26, 2008. Tags: , , . Puerto Rico, self-realization, Travel, Unemployment. Leave a comment.