Thursday, March 29, 2012


I am feeling overwhelmingly compelled to write about a recent experience I’ve had. But I want it to be clear that I am writing about it for myself and not for the person who was involved, just in case they are lingering out there and think that they have gotten the best of me. I know who I am and I know what I am worth and what I am capable of. And FYI, I don’t shriek, I ROAR!

Yesterday I received a very insulting comment regarding the post I wrote about Italian men. I was not only personally insulted but I was also insulted for the many women I know who are in happy, healthy relationships with Italian men. I understand that I am writing a post which expresses my opinion to certain degree (although most is based on experience) and I am always open to the thoughts and opinions of others, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t allow comments on my posts and I wouldn’t care what you all think, but that’s not me. In fact there is nothing that I enjoy more than your comments! I didn’t post this particular one of course and I won’t share the specifics, but I will say that it was extremely disrespectful and entirely unnecessary. 

There was also a second part to the comment that criticized my writing skills with more insults there.  I do not consider myself to be a writer but this person INSITS that since I am expressing my thoughts through words then that makes me a writer – I disagree. Why do I have to label myself as a writer if I choose not to? It allows me more freedom to express myself however I choose without having to conform to the rules and regulations of editing and formal writing. If one chooses to draw a picture or make a painting does that automatically make them an artist? *I certainly hope not as I believe that that would completely discredit all of the professional, hard-working creative minds who dedicate their lives to their work.

Why am I not able to share with my readers my experiences in any language, slag, dialect or misused grammar that I choose? Why must I follow someone else’s strict, rigid rules? I would think that if any of you reading this didn’t like the way I write you wouldn’t be reading my blog. I respect that.

What is upsetting to me however is that there are those who find it necessary to use cruel words simply because they feel themselves to be superior or more intelligent. Or because they believe those things should be done a certain way and anyone who does not conform to those rules is by default, without discussion, ignorant. This to me is a very closed and limited way of living, which does not allow for many experiences outside of that belief system.

I made the mistake of contacting said person and explaining why I was not going to post their comment. I did this in what I feel was a professional, yet stern email letting them know that I did not appreciate their insulting comment and that it was not their place to correct my writing skills or grammatical errors and that if they did not like the way I write they were in no way obligated to read my blog. What I got back was not only more insults but also a refusal to address the statements I had made in my email, and mind you, the responses were each at least a page long audaciously attacking my writing skills with two full pages of English lessons. Needless to say I was dumbfounded.

The original comment was not made anonymously, in fact it linked directly back to their profile and own bolgs (this of course is how I got the email address) After reading the most recent post on their blog I found out that this person has gone though some very difficult times in the past year.  For this I am truly sorry. I wish nothing bad on anyone. Not even someone who treats others poorly.

I was surprised to read that this person talked about how these recent events have changed their life and caused them to reflect more deeply, yet at the same time they still felt it necessary to write insolent comments on my blog. This person also claims to be a Christian and spoke about the period of Lent and how it is the perfect time to be quiet and still.

I firmly believe that each and every person on this planet has the right to their own beliefs whether I happen to agree with them or not and all I ask in return is for that same respect. I am not a Christian, or a Catholic or a Muslim or a Jew or a Buddhist. I choose not to have a religion. What I choose is to treat other people not the way I want to be treated myself, but rather the way I want my mother and my father to be treated, or my sister, brother, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle or best friend to be treated. I believe in compassion and humility and it saddens me when I am met with such hostility and arrogance without basis, especially from those who claim themselves to be Christian, or anything else for that matter. 

I am open to listen and if any of my readers would like to comment on my writing style or subject matter, please do by all means. All I ask is for courtesy and respect.  There is always a nice way of expressing your opinion even if it’s a contradictory one. I do not expect everyone to agree with me or like what and how I write, my goodness that would make for a very boring world. But I do expect to be treated with respect.

I also believe very strongly that everything in the universe comes back to us and Karma is very real and alive. I spent most of the day yesterday in an email correspondence with a person who sucked me dry and made me feel terrible and who outright told me that it was gratifying to them that I was getting upset. Wow!

But I do not think of it as a lost day, I think of it as a lesson learned and I know there was a reason that it happened. I’m not terribly sure what the reason is just yet, but I have no doubt that I will; although, I did have the best run in my half-marathon training to date. As my very dear friend Johnetta says, ‘take it out on the pavement!’

I would think that after having the experience that this person did they would become a bit more humble and grateful, count their blessings and surround themselves with only positive energy rather than insulting people that don’t even know. 

However, if this means that I have helped them though their struggle by allowing them to release their anger and aggression on me, well I guess maybe something good did come out of it after all.  I am strong enough to be trampled on and come out in one piece, stronger than I was before.

**Happiness in life does not, nor ever has, revolved around grammar and rules. It's about sharing yourself with others and about surrounding yourself with love.

Peace, Pace, Shalom, As-Salāmu `Alaykum, Namaste

*This is an edit that was made on March 30th
**These beautiful words are from my dear friend Laura, who made this comment after I explained the story to her.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Italian-American (Anglo) Culture Clash #2, That's a Bit Out of Line

If only they were as organized as their trees...sigh...
  A few weeks ago my husband and I made a trip to our electronics store to replace our old rusty refrigerator. After making our decision the salesperson filled out a form and told us to take it up to the counter and pay and then we could go pick-up our item from the warehouse down the street. As we headed over we could see that there was no one in line in front of us….

…..and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, this woman comes walking up (more like speed walking actually) and just swoops in right in front of us. And I mean we were literally 2 steps away from the cashier. My husband and I just looked at each other in disbelief, dumbfounded, and then just shook our heads and chuckled.

Unbelievable! And by now I know that I should expect things like that to happen but there are just some things that no matter how long I live here I just can't seem to get used to. And it happens everywhere you go, no matter what is happening, there they are trying to cut in front of you. I just stand there watching out of the corner of my eye, feeling myself getting more and more irritated with each centimeter closer to they get to me, and then I try to inch my way up a little further so that I can somehow have the advantage over them, but then, its that moment, the moment when the cashier is ready for that next customer, and somehow, I never know how, but they always manage to sneak their asses right in there ahead of me as if they have been waiting there patiently the whole time. Errrrrrrrr!!!!!!

I made the mistake of saying something a few times and then you just feel like a complete idiot, because the response is always, with a incredibly surprised look on their face, ‘oh scusi, non ti avevo visto.’ HOW EXACTLY DID YOU NOT SEE ME????  You were breathing down my neck for the love of God! And its not like there is really anything you can say at that point, they didn't see you!

What is it about the concept of a line that you don't understand people??? One after the other! Everyone will get his or her turn.

Waiting in lines in the country is really, truly a test of that virtue they call patience and Lord knows I am lacking it in spades.

But…..there are some things that are just left well enough alone. Either you can get upset about it or have a chuckle at how unbelievably ridiculous it is! The best way to handle the situation is just to say prego, and gesture for them to step in front of you. That way they will either feel like an idiot themselves….

….or not, but at least you can stand in line peacefully. 

But even if you foaming at the mouth ready to spit fire at the next person who dare try and cut in front of you, if they are over the age of 70 you may just want to retract your claws because the elderly have this special power around here, they get to do whatever they want and no one can say a thing. Although, if you saw a little Old Italian lady in the grocery store with an arm full of groceries, I imagine most of us would be happy to let her take cutsys anyway.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Italian - American(Anglo) Culture Clash #1: Give me Fever

A while back my Italian brother in law tried to argue with me that the only difference between living in Italy and the U.S is the language. I beg to differ. The truth is however,  that after 11 years, I tend not to pay attention anymore and when something does come up I brush it off, but I am  now starting to think that it is worthy to point them out as they occur. I hope you will find some interest or at the very least a bit of humor in dissecting the differences between these two ways of life.

So here we go, I'll start with #1

What to do in case of Fever:

Last week my husband was sick. He woke up with a fever of 38.5 (101.3).  Certainly uncomfortable and definitely worthy of staying home and resting. After taking a fever reducer and before getting back in bed he puts on another sweatshirt and gets under the down comforter. I proceed to take care of him by placing a wet wash cloth on his forehead and making sure he has a bottle of water next to the bed to stay hydrated. I pull the comforter off of him in my attempt to help him lower his body temperature.....big mistake.

 This apparently is NOT the way they do things around here. ( Mind you, in the 11 years that I have known him this is the FIRST time I have ever seen him with a fever)  No, in his upbringing being cold (shivers as a result of a fever) means that illness is sure to surmount and that the only way to get better is by staying warm, i.e under the covers. He then proceeded to eat steaming hot pastina for lunch and dinner.  Surprisingly, even after having taken the fever reducer again his temperature was still 101.3. I wonder why?

And of course my explanation that keeping his body warm by eating hot food and staying under the down comforter was not the proper way to reduce a fever was contradicted with his explanation that being cold will only make it worse and why would I want him to suffer like that?!

Speaking of illness, any illness, the Italians believe that the cold is to blame. And this is why you will rarely find air conditioning in Italian homes, even if it is 101.3 outside, they will tell you that air conditioning is bad for you and it will indeed, senza dubbio, cause every sickness and ailment under the sun from a cold to bronchitis, from a stiff neck to a back ache. Ho preso freddo ieri sera is a common expression used in the morning around my house. 

So there you have it. Cold = bad, so make sure you cover up out there!

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