Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Speaking Words of Wisdom

Two days of work have come to me like a magic spell--a random telephone call to an English school in Macerata, an interview, and immediately an "I need someone to deliver these flyers...do you know anyone?" I felt like I was waving my hand in the air yelling "Me! Pick me!' Anything to start me out--I just want to work!

So, while delivering flyers to mailboxes all around town isn't the most prestigious job, I felt some sort of connection with the fact that they were flyers for an English School, and, if I am lucky, the success of the flyers will hopefully help me actually land a teaching job with this same school. So you give and take--you deliver flyers in hopes that it pays off in the end, and in the meantime you earn a little money, you walk all around Macerata (get a little exercise), and you get to know parts of the city that you never were in contact with before.

For instance, take yesterday. Magda (the other flyer delivery girl) and I walked all around the neighborhood of Collevario, an area any normal Maceratese probably wouldn't even know existed, it's so far away from the city. Collevario is sort of the anti-italian neighborhood. Teams of apartment buildings all with the same basic design, cul-de-sacs, a super-supermarket, confusing high rise buildings stuffed with doctor's offices, shoe stores, pharmacies, an occasional osteria--it felt like I was back in suburban DC driving home from work.

So Magda and I trudged along this basically depressing neighborhood of sports cars and the Italian take on town homes, wondering where Italy had gone. The windy roads that are typical of a suburb made it easy to get lost, and by the time we had finished one apartment, we had lost each other, wandering aimlessly to the next, only to turn a random corner and say "Oh! There you are!" It felt hopelessly American except that all of the street names ended in vowels.

And just as I had come to grips with the idea that suburbs are the same the world over, I ran into something strictly Italian. A shrine to Mary. In the middle of this non-descript, American-style complex, here was a shrine to the Madonna, the kind you find by farmhouses, in the fields, in the mountains even, or on historic streets in the middle of Rome or Florence. And this statue of Mary, in her classic white and blue, gazed peacefully from her shrine, her eyes falling on the pastel apartment buildings that filled the neighborhood, side by side the same--swarms of Italian suburbia.

And Mary, with her hands folded in front of her, smiled at Collevario with the same smile she might use to bless the churches in Rome.



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