The rOME cHRONICLES: all paths lead home…

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It doesn’t matter where you come from; a little bit or a lot of your heart will stay in your home country…
It’s exciting, living in a foreign country where the language is not your own, where things are different & new.
When one thinks of a life in Rome, they may think glamour…fun…but realising that home is so far away can take it’s toll…

If only for a brief moment the young lady wanted to be herself away from the scrutiny of eyes she did not know and those who judged her regardless. Was she from eastern Europe, a babysitter, a secretary or a rich man’s lover?

Only she knew the answers, only she knew who she was as the eyes and taunting faces questioned her and mocked. Some of the women perhaps, were even envious of her and that she’d left her country, family and friends to settle in a new one…she looked different this is true and she dressed differently too and of course she sounded different, Italian was not her mother tongue.

Why had she come here, why had she left her home so comfortable and secure? She had been to university, she was clever. Wasn’t she? Doubt filled her thoughts as the countless faces trudged passed her as she made her way home, hands laden with bags of groceries. Only servants trudged kilometres with bags in this city. They were heavy too and she’d had to park so far away.

She wanted to be home, in the confines of her appartment where the eyes could no longer see her and she could be herself.

All paths lead home…don’t they?

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WOrds… never cease to amaze & engage

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The lights went out in the theatre leaving the audience seated in complete blackness. That is, except for the whopping great sign that read ‘eisteddfod’ It is the strangest word and as it dangled up there from the ceiling, it looked even stranger. In fact, the man sitting behind me remarked to his wife what a strange word eisteddfod is. I had to agree. While I studied it I thought it could be broken up into lots of little words, like the obvious:
of
is
dot
deed
fed
Wow, I actually began to break into a sweat trying to remember all of the little words I was finding.

A lady sitting near me commented too, ‘Gosh, doesn’t eisteddfod look so weird, it’s as if lighting it up like that has made it look all wrong’.
It was true, the lighting made it look defective…odd, unreal…

The choir began to sing or rather bellow and the guitar strummed loudly and our thoughts digressed from the mystery of the word eisteddfod.
Gosh, I hope I spelt it correctly for the purpose of this blog. Gotta love the english language, it never ceases to amaze and entertain…

e-i-s-t-e-d-d-f-o-d

The rOME cHRONICLES: …It was almost a ballroom twirl…

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Moving to a new country always has it’s fair share of settling in dilemmas and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ can impact on the way you fit in. Most of the time things are new and exciting and other times just plain daunting…Fitting in is the key to enjoying your new life…

Claudia always had perfectly peroxided hair and bright red lips; so much so that the red would seep into the creviced lines around her mouth. Years of smoking had taken it’s toll…
She slipped me the party invite as we passed each other on the stairs. Both of us rushing to be somewhere.

An invite to her daughter Angelica’s fifth birthday, to be held this Saturday afternoon in their apartment on the second floor.

My little girl would be delighted to learn that she had been invited. I probably wasn’t as excited. I knew how these Italian parties went. All the pomp and pageantry of a ball would be executed and the guests would diligently rise to the occasion in their finest attire. I knew I would have to rush out and buy my little one a gorgeous smocked dress with a velvet collar and sleeves so that she would blend in. It would set me back a few thousand lira (no such thing as ebay) but it would be money well spent so that she would ‘fit in’ and not ‘stand out’.

Saturday arrived quickly, Angelica answered the door in her black velvet dress with it’s ballooned sleeves and lace trim. She had a head band to match and so did my little girl.

Coordinated headbands were a must in Rome!

Angelica beamed as she embraced our arrival and welcomed us inside. My little girl handed over the cumbersome present with the crimson bow. Claudia was close behind in a full length red taffeta skirt. I remember the long full skirt matching her lipstick not her headband… Everything looked beautiful… Claudia had excelled herself; she must have worked into the wee hours of the morning to have managed it.

The apartment was brimming with children and parents. I noticed that highly polished silver adorned the white table clothed tables. Silver teapots, silver trays, silver cake tiers and silver cutlery; it shone elegantly as the light through the windows caught it’s attention.

The children were ushered into a separate room to be entertained by a clown. Laughing and clapping could be heard from outside the closed door as the clown wooed a tireless audience.

A maid dressed in her perfectly ironed maid’s uniform approached me and asked whether I would like a coffee or a tea. She gestured to the overflowing table and it’s wealth of foods. The detail to the miniature cupcakes was incredible! Shortly, a butler approached offering champagne glasses filled with the glorious bubbly stuff.

Finally, Erica, one of the mother’s I knew from school arrived. After having completed the ritual kiss to each cheek and formal hellos we both took a glass of champagne. My nerves began to settle as I relaxed into the cordiality of the child’s party.

Claudia flittered from guest to guest, I imagined she might do a twirl soon as her red taffeta skirt would definitely allow it, but no, interrupted by the chain of giggling children emanating from the bedroom I guessed the clown’s antics were over, which left no time for ballroom twirls. Claudia automatically switched to her motherly expertise, pouring drinks and filling party plates.

I sipped on my bubbles and surveyed my surroundings. My little one in her smocked dress and velvet sleeves and not to mention the matching headband had fit in and not stood out.

‘Mission accomplished’, I thought to myself as she turned to look at me grinning from ear to ear,silver cup in one hand and miniature cupcake in the other…

Needless to say, we were invited to many more parties on the second floor for grown-ups too.
Oh and Angelica and my little girl became bosom buddies…

The rOME cHRONICLES: …and so it goes the tale of ‘the Mouth of Truth’.

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A Roman with very broken English quietly explained the tale of the Mouth of Truth to me with a stern look of seriousness.I was mesmerised, not only because it was difficult to understand him so I clung to each word but also because the story was creepy…

…If you are to place your hand in La Bocca Della Verita’ and you are an untruthful sort of character who tells fibs or even petty white lies then the mouth will chew off your hand, I mean rip it off, bite off fingers one by one as blood trickles down the corners of the giant mouth. The Roman actually played out the biting of fingers with his own hand shoved unpolitely down his throat. It was an unusual scene.

But don’t laugh I actually fell for this… So, having heard the horrific tale from someone who lives in Rome, I was genuinely petrified when it came time for me to visit ‘la bocca’. A teenager, about three people ahead of me, plunged his hand into the cavernous hole. His smile quickly receded as he struggled to retrieve his hand. I gasped, as the onlookers laughed raucously. The teenager pulled out his hand, still wholly intact, waved it to the crowd and moved away.

I felt a little ill, ‘I don’t think I’ll have a turn, non posso…’ I backed into the line of eager tourists, whom with a sense of camaraderie stopped my regression.

‘Tu puoi’, my boyfriend urged me forward. The line forced me onwards.

Crazy thoughts invaded my head ‘Well, we’ve all lied before…but what if I was the unlucky one and my hand really did disappear…what if it was true and a bunch of people I didn’t know watched my hand get crushed,eaten and blood oozing…weeping…?’

I approached dubiously and with my eyes scrunched up tightly, I placed my right hand into the ominous mouth. I’m left handed and I needed that one if anything did happen.

The line of queue waiters stared intently at me and my hidden hand and my boyfriend waited patiently to the side…I managed a small breath…

I survived the ordeal and I still have two hands to show for it, I guess it really was only a tale…it had me going though…and thousands of other tourists too…

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One life: a tale of an Aussie girl in Rome

A journey always starts somewhere…

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”
― Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

The travel bug is contagious & thanks to my Dad who has been travelling for as long as I can remember, I too caught the bug.

I can distinctly recall sitting at the window as a little girl, waving Dad goodbye as the taxi driver whisked him away to the airport. I would remain behind the festoon curtain until the car had sped out of view and for moments after, I’d sit crying.

This is me ‘The teenage mutant Greek ninja turtle’ ready for action in Athens, Greece at the beginning of my journey.

That's me!   Greek Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

This is me two years after the start of my journey…
Yes, I’m on my way to the altar…

That's me, on my wedding day

The happy couple…
I was to learn that the pull & drag of home would never leave me…no matter how strong your love is…

Just married in the red room Rome

My novel memoir is the story of how a young Australian girl came to marry a Roman and live in Italy for 10 years. It is a story inspired by an old box of letters I found tucked away in a cupboard.

I hope that once published ( hopefully :)) it will encourage other women and men to chase a dream and live vicariously, for we are given but one life…

Mum & Dad were left waiting at the window for 10 years until I came home…

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Tale time: the rain beats down

imagesCA9E3W39imagesCAHQVTHMI love short stories with impact, with enthrall and with suspense.Don’t you?

How many stories offer the thrill of riveting suspense?
How many women live for their children and their husband?
How many live each day waiting? Waiting for what in essence?

“If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

‘The phone rings, it is pouring with rain outside and the kids are screaming. ‘Hello, Burton household’, she chirps, faking happiness.
‘I’m um..blank..call..ing..to..off..er’.
‘Listen, you are breaking up, hang on’. She mutes the phone with a cuffed hand. ‘For goodness sake, will you shut up , you noisy kids, I’m on a phone call’.
She uncuffs the phone. Muffled screams and taunts continue through the walls to the kitchen.
‘Sorry, what were you saying?’ She continues through the crackles, puffing on her now half lit cigarette.
‘I call from..Sc…on..doo..Maam..’
‘I can’t understand a word you are saying’, frustrated now her words mixed with fury, ‘the line is crackling’. A murderous scream drowns out her fragmented conversation.
‘Awwwww, that hurt, I’m bleeding’. Her phone call ends as she rushes to the adjoining room.
Terror marks the faces of her two frightened children as one lies motionless on the floor.’

A controversial gypsy life in Rome

A sea of cobbled streets

A sea of cobbled streets

The gypsy’s perspective is one that is not acknowledged on the cobbled streets of Rome.They are regarded as beggars and thieves. Maybe this is a fragment of what their lives might resemble if we were to walk in their shoes:

NAME: Cosmina
AGE: 40
Mother of four children
Lives in a caravan in the outskirts of Rome.
Gravely ill with MS (undiagnosed)

” I can hardly take a breath under here. The black hood covers my head as I inhale the filth of the cobbled road beneath me. The winter chill has possessed my bones and I am chronically sick. I have walked kilometres in the last few days. What I own is on my back, my feet are worn and dirty. They jeer me you know, they think I am vermon, they don’t know where I have come from and how much sufferance I endure. To them I am faceless, the beggar with no identity. Some toss me a few coins, others ignore me and one or two tut-tut as they pass. I hear them beneath my layered rags. I hear the words, the blasphemy. My numb hands rolled into fists are practically lifeless but my hearing is faultless.
When approaching footsteps hasten I know they will not stop or look my way but when the footsteps hesitate and then slow to a halt I know there is a chance the odd coin will be thrown my way.
They don’t know where I have come from and how much sufferance I endure”.