Sanity is an art form

After four years in Italy I still can’t get used to the “Italian ways of family”. I guess you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl. My Canadian upbringing is ingrained in me and although I admire the closeness of Italian families I think that if my mom called me 3-4 times a day I would lose my mind!

Mama has found me an apartment. Well, I should say Mama, and Zio and Lord knows who else was involved in this scheme. I was set-up with an appointment to meet with an agent who also happens to be a close friend of a cousin. Is everyone in this country related?

The apartment is actually quite nice although ironically only minutes from Mama’s house. Originally I had hoped to find something in a small neighbouring village but after searching endlessly it has become quite apparent that the commute to work would be long and difficult. So, for now I must compromise.

But the deal is not final yet. There is still the meeting with the owner. This is to take place next week and apparently this guy is a hard ass. Not only have I been told not to wear my torn jeans but also no high heels or too much make-up etc. to the meeting!

I’ve known my Italian family now for six and a half years and am stunned at this advice. I NEVER wear high heels or much make-up and although my jeans have fashionable tears in them I would like to think by now they know I still have some common sense.

I swear to God, keeping one’s sanity in this backwards country is truly an art form.


About lmarmstrong66

I'm a blogger, painter, writer, singer. For the love of all things in nature and creativity.
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11 Responses to Sanity is an art form

  1. Nancy DiFinizio says:

    I give you credit. I stayed with family in Naples for one week last year. I was in awe of the differences in culture, but I can see how that awe would develop holes over time.

    My Italian mother-in-law lives with us and I talk to myself constantly because I’d go crazy otherwise.

  2. kay says:

    šŸ™‚ I used to have to swallow my dignity and ask my young single friends how I should dress etc… now I trust that it is ok to be me, but there are still some occasions when a quiet word would be nice! No high heels….wow! You are obviously far too attractive then! Take that one as a compliment, I would say|

    • Hi Kay, I’m Canadian and we are a conservative bunch as it is. I can’t wear high heels anymore because they kill my back and I walk a lot here on those uneven bricked streets that are quaint if you’re a tourist and murderous if you live here!
      I do find myself either dressing like an old school marm or wondering if my shorts are too young for my age but I haven’t lost my common sense to know that shorts are for the beach and not interviews! I think it goes with being in my 40’s. This guy is apparently very connected to the church…I didn’t know it was sinful to be thought of as too attractive! Thanks for the compliment…

  3. kay says:

    PS with advice like that I think you should change the locks if you take the apartment, or at least have a bolt inside the door. Good luck!

  4. So you found it in the end! I hope you will love the new place…. šŸ™‚

  5. Leslie says:

    OMG I thought I was all alone in this type of experience. Every summer I take my kids to Calabria to my mother-in-law, ALONE!!! We spend 6-7 weeks there. Been there, done that with the unsolicited fashion advice. Being a Canadian myself, we are very straight forward people. Well, in Italy, every action has to be preceded by a careful analysis of what everyone else will think about your actions. It is SO complicated!! So you end up telling little “white lies” that in the end will come back & bite you in the A.
    Oh yes. What I learned is EVERYTHING is a BIG DEAL. God forbid the kids have a little fever!
    A/C?? OH!! That will make you sick. My Mom-In-Law would sleep inside a little bedroom, sans A/C, in 43 C heat!! The first year, she called my husband & told him that I was freezing my kids in our air conditioned bedroom. Don’t forget about the daily reports of what I was doing, behind my back to my husband.
    Central heating in houses in small towns are pretty non-existent. Hate being there in the winter.
    I used to draw myself a little calendar & cross off the days one by one, in seclusion.

    • Well Leslie, as you know, it’s exhausting.
      I never know what the truth is anymore and I am always second guessing people’s motives here. Then I am told to relax and don’t let it bother me.
      Now I just have the mindset to not believe anything and trust no one.

      Mama has been telling me that the uncle has been eating my nutella and I just went to get some after nobody has been here for 3 days and it’s gone! If I say something to her she will blame me for leaving it out in the open and not hiding it in my room! She just told me that her daughter is upset with her boyfriend because he came home with some chocolate and they ate it all and now she is angry at him for bringing it home! Don’t these people have any self control??? It’s shameful.

  6. Leslie says:

    Thank goodness I have thick skin. I don’t really let it bother me anymore. They are good people but have really funny quirks. Like when there is a breeze but the temperature is still 40 degrees, my mother-in-law will put a sweater on!!! If you’re sweating to death, don’t drink water with ice. Never mind you’re dehydrated as heck. It’s true, don’t let it bother you. They are what they are. There is an ulterior motive to every action. I don’t know about other areas of Italy but in the south, they LOVE to criticize you as soon as you turn your back. You have to laugh it all off. Deep down, they are good people. Just funny!!

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