27 May 2010

Fruits of Tuscany

In a few days, I will be moving.  I'm a little sad about relocating since I feel like I am starting to plant roots ("radice") in my 'hood. Well, I'm not going far, only a couple blocks away, though it's a temporary transition.  My neighbors all say hello, and we make small talk.  I have developed a habit of drinking my morning American coffee on the stoop across the street from me (part of my morning ritual before Mabel and I venture out and have the real thing, un cappuccino.  Sometimes, when I'm working and in need of a break, I descend the sixty steps from my apartment and return to the stoop outside.

Having just completed a work transcript, I took such a break, and was greeted by my neighbor who gave me a few handfuls of these beautiful cherries ("ciliegie") locally grown right hear in Toscana.

Little gifts and acts of kindness make the world a nicer place to be.  Like the rippling effect of a pebble tossed in the water, by one small act locally, we each can make a difference globally.  

--Josslyn "Giosalina"
Florence, Italy

23 May 2010

Becoming Official

Little by little, day by day, I'm becoming a local.  Just got myself a library card where I can check out books as well as use the free WiFi.

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Florence, Italy

05 May 2010


I am a scaredy cat.  I fear many things.  I hear "fear" come up in my vocabulary more frequently than I would like to admit.  Just as the word starts to ooze out of my lips, I want to retract it, but it's too late.

Every day here is filled with at least one kind of adventure.  Today I was expressing to an Italian friend a fear I had about something that I was about to do, and as we parted so I could go tackle my fear, he yelled out to me "Don't be afraid."

I have been teaching a few people conversational English.  It's easy, and it's fun.  I still think I learn more than my students.  Having been hired by an Italian teacher to teach her first-year-university-student nephew an hour of conversation and an hour of grammar each week, I prepared in advance and trekked across town to where we were to meet.  In the beginning, he just nodded his head and muttered words in Italian.  I thought to myself that we are going to start from the very beginning.  I was fearful because, in all honesty, I felt like I was bluffing my way through.  I use English in my profession and as a result have a pretty good knowledge of my mother tongue, but I don't have formal teaching experience.  I remembered to breathe and to lengthen my exhale, and it went well.

When I arrived home, I received a phone call from the aunt.  I was afraid -- See?  There's that word again! -- of hearing something along the lines of "You're fired."  But instead she told me her nephew was "really, really happy" and excitedly told her more than once, "I spoke English!"

In spite of my many, many, many, many fears, somehow I manage to usually feel the fear and go forth regardless.  One reason I do that is I am afraid of the experiences I would miss out on otherwise.

Longer exhale.......................

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Florence, Italy

02 May 2010

Sono Tornata a Casa

Being in L.A. was a culture shock I never got over even though I stayed nearly four months and longer than intended.  Within ten minutes of my arrival, I was ready to return to Italy.  Being bombarded daily with obstacles and challenges was frustrating.  Leaving behind my sweet Mabelina and others I care for greatly was painful.  Not having succeeded to accomplish, complete, or resolve any of the things I went to L.A. to do was beyond unsettling.

The benefit of all the NONpositive experiences is that it has become crystal clear that L.A. is no longer home.  Is Florence, Italy?

Driving in the taxi from the airport to my apartment, I relished in the chaos of the traffic and the life on the streets that make Italy Italy.  Turning down my street, I was greeted by my two American friends, Campari in hand (cocktail hour for them) on the stoop across the street from where I live, awaiting my arrival.  Dragging my three heavy bags up 60 stairs to my home sweet home, we then enjoyed appetizers and got caught up.

Being away so long while many friends remained behind, I often have felt like an outsider (real or not, feelings are feelings, not fact) as their relations flourished.

The party is over.  L.A. is no longer home.  Florence is the place I want to call “home.”  Serious I am about finding solutions to survive here.  Again my hope is renewed, though, I must admit, with some fear I did not bring with me last October.  Determined and with a bit of time, I will overcome the fear and enjoy my own dolce vita.

Writing this post in the park at Bobolino with Mabelina next to me, the journey resumes…

-- Josslyn "Giosalina" 
Firenze, Italia