My first real Italian word. For those of you who don’t speak Italian, this means sugar, or to me, the thing Bianca loves most. Candy, gelato or just straight out of the bag – no matter how it comes, she loves her sweets. Heaven forbid she doesn’t get them, because tears will ensue.
That happened this morning, the first of my nearly 365 to go. Tears when Papa Carlo left for Milano, tears when I said no sweets before lunch and tears when she had to sit down and read her book.
“How do I handle this,” I questioned myself. In reply, I answered, “How you always do.”
I stared at her as she threw her fit. I watched her cry and waited (im) patiently until the alligator tears subsided and the wailing stopped.
“You quite done yet,” I asked her as she looked up at me, her small brown eyes still glistening with tears. “Because if you are,” I paused to make sure she was understanding my English, and a little to make sure she was actually listening, “You can use your words and tell me what you want. Otherwise, I will not listen.”
I don’t know where I picked up my nanny style. I guess I treat them the same way I’d imagine I’d treat my children; with a firm stance and with the use of words above anything else.
I’ve always been an over communicator. The people who know me best know I have a love of words and using them. I never say things in the simple manner, maybe that’s why Journalism will never really pan out for me. Run on sentences are my jam, using big words when unnecessary is my game and lengthy explanations and tangents are the way I choose to speak. Words are important, and they get you much farther than crying with me.
As Bianca decided to tell me that I was dumb for not letting her have candy before lunch, I smiled and said, “What kind of pasta would you like today?” She crossed her skinny little tanned Italian arms and with a grimace, nodded to the penne pasta to her right. I smiled, and knew I’d won the battle, but the war wouldn’t be won in a day.
There are a lot of things that I’ve had to adjust to in my 48 hours in Italy. The Italians are passionate. The yelling and attitude are a part of the way they communicate. That’s been the biggest adjustment. Every small dispute sounds like a match of who is next to die. Maybe that’s just because I don’t know the language yet, and everything yelled in Italian sounds overly heated in the moment.
One thing I will never get used to is this villa. It is something out of a fairytale. Emilio, the other child I care for, gave me the grand tour today and I was blown away. Room after room of a dulled opulence only Italy could offer. Grand chandeliers in every dining room, painted portraits of family members hundreds of years old and a bunker underneath the villa left over from the air raids of WWI and WWII. The ancient gardens overlook a river and are bathed in sunlight all day. The maids hum while they clean and the gardener doesn’t speak a word of English.
This life wasn’t the one I had expected when I thought about 23. Aside from the tears, skinned knee (yeah, I totally biffed it today, and ripped my jeans), screaming contractors (that’s another story for another time) and screaming children and their friends, it was a day for the memory books.
Fino alla prossima volta,
(Until next time)