Friday, November 04, 2011

Fearless Friday's

Tonight I had the courage to do something that I've been trying to do for a while now. Do you know what it feels like to have a flock of butterflies invading your stomach? No, not the wonderful I'm in love butterflies, but the kind you get when you're about to tell your parents you're pregnant with twins at 10 years old or break up with your already suicidal boyfriend. What I'm trying to say is, isn't it terrible to have to be the bearer of bad news? After a lot of thought and conversations with some of my closest friends, this is what I had to do earlier this afternoon - I had to quit my job. 
Let me begin by saying that no, I am not coming back to Canada. I'm still staying here in Rome to work as an au pair, just for a new family. There are several reasons why I decided to move on from the one I'm currently with. Its not because they aren't amazing (they are, which made breaking the news so hard) but because I found another family who needs an au pair until June, which is when I go back home to Canada. The current one only needs me until Christmas, and I was afraid that if I didn't take the new family's offer now, I won't have another opportunity like this when its too late. Keep reading, and you'll see why I feel that this other opportunity is worth taking.
I sat down with the mom and told her how I was feeling about explained my situation. We had a mature conversation about what was going on, and we agreed a date that I would move out. And that was it. Being able to have this conversation with her really proves how wonderful this family is, because she understands why I have to do this. It was such a relief once I finally came out to her and spoke about it, because I was so afraid she would be upset with me. The worst feeling in the world is when you disappoint someone you care about, but now that I spoke up, I feel so much better. 
After the Christmas holiday, the mom wants the girl I au pair for, Giulia, to have a 'break period' from an au pair to see how responsible she has become. However, we're going to work out a day where I can visit the house each week and tutor Giulia in English. Earlier in my stay I mentioned that my sister would be in Rome from May 3rd to June 20th to hopefully work as an au pair. The would like to have another au pair in the spring, and have agreed to hire my sister (who I know would absolutely fit into this family much like I did). Well, breaking up is hard to do, but I did it. And so in a couple of weeks, I'm leaving the quiet suburbs of Rome to the bustling neighborhood of Campo dei Fiori. 
My soon-to-be new neighborhood
Campo dei Fiori is in the centre of Rome, and right next to the Vatican. I will never have to take the bus again, because all of the hot spots in Rome (the Colosseum, Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, etc.) are all in simple walking distance. In Italian, Campo de Fiori means 'field of flowers'. Don't let the name fool you, though. The name originated from the Middle Ages when the area was a meadow and used by the Romans for public executions. The great philosopher Giordana Bruno was burnt alive here because his theories (such as heliocentrism) were deemed dangerous. A statue of him now stands on the exact spot of his death, directly in the centre of the square. Today it offers one of the best open markets in Rome where fruits, vegetables, handmade accessories, clothes, and anything else you could possibly want are sold each morning. There are tons of outdoor restaurants and cafés in the area that turn into bars at night. So whether you go in the morning for some fresh food or the night to meet up with a group of friends for drinks, Campo de Fiori is the ultimate location. 
Hey, Benedict XVI! Guess
who's moving in next door?!
The new family is actually the same one that my friend Shayna worked for last year, so I'm going into this family knowing the ups and downs, and feel prepared for what's about to come my way. The father works as an oil broker and the mother is a professor for the history of architecture in one of the local universities, so they are ridiculously wealthy. They have four children - yes, four. However, I'm only responsible for the two little ones. Clemintina, the eldest, is 14 years old and an artist. When I met her she dressed beautifully in Ralph Lauren and showed me her artwork in her loft. Manfredi is 12 and very shy, but the mom assured me that he's very independent and spends most of his time outside of the house doing sports. Lodovica (Lodo) is 8 and is super talkative. When I went over to the house, she asked me ten thousand questions and gave me a tour of their mind-blowing home. Desideria (Daisy) is turning 6 in December, and I've been warned that I have to watch out for her. The mom very casually told me that she is "probably schizophrenic, hears voices, her head is messed with Italian, French, and English so she is difficult to communicate with." I know that this will be a challenge, but I'm ready for it.
My soon to be new street. My house
is on the left once you pass the arch.
The kids all go to the super exclusive private French school in the middle of the most famous park in Rome, Villa Borghese. The street they live on is how you would picture a typical Italian street - narrow, cobble stone, rich reds, oranges and yellows, with a huge arch you have to pass under to get into the house. They live in a five-story yellow townhouse with a courtyard, and the house is filled with expensive art and every toy imaginable. There's tons of interesting antique shops nearby and in order to enter the neighborhood, you have to pass one of the best bakeries in Rome. So whenever you walk by, you take in the smell of melting sugar and Italian pastries. 
Piazza Farnese
Two minutes from my house is Piazza Farnese. There is a palace in the centre that was designed by Michelangelo and is one of the most important Renaissance Palaces in all of Italy. It's run by the French Embassy which of course means it isn't open to the public for most of the year (those darn French). It's an area only for the aristocratic, so the prices are sky high, the wine is rich, and the fashion is beyond anything you can imagine. In about fifteen minutes from the house you reach the Tiber River, and right across from it is the most ancient neighborhood in Rome called Trastevere which literally translates to "over the Tiber River". The people that live here call themselves the real Romans and is full of winding streets, cool bars, and laundry hanging from the windows. In celebration of my new situation, I'm going to Campo de Fiori for a huge, delicious pastry while I continue to poke around the area.

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