For sometime now, I’ve had a complex relationship with independence.
On one hand, I seem fiercely dedicated to prove myself a self-sufficient and productive person, while on the other hand, I’m so hopelessly dependent on family for emotional and financial support. STILL.
So, I did what any independence-hungry new graduate would do. I put an ocean between myself and my home to simulate independence as much as possible. I mean, if I can’t have it for real, then I’ll fake it like a champ!
Granted, part of the problem is that a scandalous amount of internships are unpaid and in today’s economy, aspiring journalists are lucky to even get those. But that is fodder for another entry.
So I arrive in Rome, ready to be an adventuring little Romana, and within a week I realize I’ve failed in even simulating independence. Alas I’ve traded one kind of involved mother (Hi Mom!) for another kind of mother.
You see, in Rome, I live in a house and I rent a room that was once the old maid quarters. The family that occupies the greater house are friends with the family I stayed with when I was a student here some years back.
The house’s matriarch/my landlord is your classic fussy Italian mom. I get home from work and I see extra nick knacks strategically placed in previously unoccupied places, a new heart shaped bath mat, my bed a little more orderly then the way I left it in the morning.
She has gone even so far as to stock my fridge and hang up my soppy laundry on the clothes line, and neatly fold it after it’s dried. I certainly didn’t ask for such consideration. In fact, if I asked my real mom to hang up my laundry or make my bed she’d probably spontaneously combust, or give me that look of shock and dismay as if I’d said something profane.
And true to motherly form, my landlord has on several occasions knocked on my door while simultaneously walking in on me either napping or just stepping out of the shower, naked as a jay bird. After which she’ll launch into some chit chat as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. It’s pretty adorable actually.
Due to all such behavior, I’ve lovingly dubbed my landlord my Italian mom.
So in the States I have my real mom, who when it comes to domestic affairs is as about estranged from me as Joan Cleaver, but with complex life issues is all but the voice inside my head, and even that’s debatable.
Then there’s my Italian mom, who’s never probed beyond sharing events of the day, but when it comes to my living comfort is all but my shadow, and again, that’s debatable.
Thus independence has eluded me again. In many ways, I still feel like the baby of the family, or the bambina in this case.