Tough cookie

20 weeks

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I have been feeling something of a tough cookie these last couple of weeks. I mean, I feel generally VERY pleased with life, full of love for the folks around me (ahem, that would be Ilario, with a few others mixed in), and just sort of at peace.

And yet in a very short time I have had three altercations with Italians where I not only stood my ground but defended myself rather aggressively:

1. the lady on that stairs of the apartment building in Milan when I got lost looking for the midwifery office. She was visibly disgusted, making eyes at her companion, and talking to me in a very condescending way. I responded in kind, telling her I hadn’t gotten lost to annoy her.

2. the ticket guy on the train home from Monza (see previous photo). He tried to make a quick 5 euros off of me because I forgot to stamp my ticket the second time for the return trip. I got very frustrated with him and refused to pay. Then I stormed off the train with him and his colleague helplessly following, because I had to change trains. Finally he agreed to give me a receipt and I coughed up the five euros.

3. a group of adolescents at the Bergamo train station. I walked into the waiting room and they threw an umbrella at me. I ignored it and sat down, and pulled out my knitting. Two came over and started teasing me about the knitting, while a third snuck up and put his radio in my ear, really loud. I turned around and snapped at the whole lot of them, asking if they had a problem with me being there and when they said no, I told them to leave me in peace, etc. Man, they backed off fast, and didn’t bother me again (though they did bother some others, but nobody like they did me).

I would be tempted to say it’s hormones, but then today we got the announcement of our condominium meeting, mailed ONE MONTH in advance. This may seem a small thing, but last year the manager mailed it 3 DAYS in advance and we didn’t receive it and obviously missed the meeting. I had Ilario call him on the phone to complain, and when I thought he was being too nice, I took the phone and let the guy know that I didn’t care what the law was (he is only required by law to mail it 3 days in advance), he knows the mail system here is totally undependable and he has an obligation to us- we PAY him to do his job, for pete’s sake! We had quite an argument and I was sure nothing would change. . .

I’ve had plenty of really nice interactions with strangers, too, several ladies on the train, and other random things, it’s just that I seem to have come out of my shell that being a foreigner put me in for a long time. I have the confidence to defend myself, and snotty ladies, petty bureaucrats and punk teenagers don’t scare me anymore.

But maybe the belly doesn’t hurt my image, either.

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