Mamma Mia!

So, I got a cell phone last week.  That was fast, I know.  I have decided to share my reasoning with you all because I think it is important to communicate the good things along with the bad.  First of all, it is not easy to move to a new country where you don’t really know the language.  I have not been all that stressed about it this time because I have done it before, but there a few things that I need in order to feel that all is right with the world.  The most important of those things is to be able to speak with my family.  My mom helped me get a rechargable phone card that would work from Italy as a toll-free number so we would be able to talk.  My host mother knew I had a phone card and that it uses a toll-free number because she helped me dial it when I first arrived so I could let my parents know I got there safe and sound.  However, I tried to use the phone again a few days later, and she came to my room and saw that I had the phone (about to make a call) and started yelling at me for taking it.  I guess I just assumed that since she is getting a lot of money for me to stay there that I would be able to use the phone as long as I was using a phone card.  Even if I did not use a phone card, she knows that I am here for three months and so she could tell me how much it cost and I could pay her.  It never even occurred to me that this could be a problem for her, especially since the only time I can talk to my family is after she goes to bed because of the time difference.  So she couldn’t be upset about me tying up her line.  Anyway, so there I was, in my pink pajamas with cakes all over them, standing in front of her wide-eyed like a deer in headlights while she berated me over and over for taking her phone.  I tried to calmly explain about the time difference and that I had not talked to my mother in several days and that I had a phone card and everything, but she would not let me speak.  She just kept saying over and over again that it was HER phone, HER phone, HER phone, and I guess I was just supposed to accept that as a proper and legitimate explanation for not being able to use it.  I understood everything she was saying but I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal, particularly because she has had many students stay in her house before so she surely must understand the importance of communication with one’s family.  I just kept trying to put myself in her shoes and imagine what possible reasons there could be for her attacking me, especially since I consider myself a pretty good guest.  I am always home in time for dinner, I clean my room every morning, I sit and watch TV with her… I thought she liked me.  Anyway, of course this made me pretty upset because I was looking forward to hearing a familiar voice, so I went to bed feeling quite sorry for myself, but was sure that when I went to school the next morning I could explain the problem and then they could talk to her about it or something.  So the next day I was sitting in class and one of the ladies from the school pulled me out of class for a talk.  I had no idea what it could possibly be about, so I went with her into the hallway where she proceeded to yell at me for trying to use Delores’ phone.  Delores apparently called the school and told them to tell me in English not to use the phone (even though she knew I understood the night before), and she apparently told them quite strongly because the lady from school got right in my face and started yelling at me again!  I absolutely could not believe it!  I mean, I am an adult and would never expect in a million years to be treated like a child.  I tried to explain myself, but she wouldn’t let me talk either.  She just kept saying that it is DELORES’ phone, DELORES’ phone, and how could I think that I would be allowed to use it??!?!  I said I had a phone card and she said that it didn’t matter, that she could not believe that I didn’t get a cell phone already and kept asking me why I have not gotten one yet.  I peeped, “Well, because it has only been three days!” but that apparently was not good enough.  The whole situation made me so upset that I had to go sit in the bathroom for several minutes to collect myself before going back to class.  Okay, so I made an honest mistake, but is that reason enough to get yelled at twice in such a violent manner?  I mean, I know that Italians are a passionate lot, but I guess I just expected them to have a little bit more understanding.  Anyway, I went and bought a cell phone that allows me to make (expensive) calls to the US.  However, we have figured out that if my parents call me with a phone card that it is much less expensive and turns out to be a pretty good way to communicate.  My mind is at ease now that I have a reliable means of communication with home, and I have tried over and over again to re-play the situation in my mind and find where I went wrong.  I mean, it is only a phone, and it is not like I was stealing it or anything.  I think I am pretty understanding when it comes to differences in culture, but this one I just don’t get.  Anyway, this post has turned into a bigger animal than I intended it to, so I think it should end here.  I just wanted to see what other people thought in case there was something important that I was missing.  As always, comments are welcome.



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2 responses to “Mamma Mia!

  1. It sounds like you handled the confrontations better than I would have. Glad you got the cell, and I hope you don’t have any more surprises like that again.

  2. gnothisautonknowthyself

    Sounds like one strange duck.

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