Friday, February 10, 2017


Too legit to call it
Nah, we haven't quit yet either.
In refugee land, F took Emmanuel to the police station in Pistoia where the immigration agents greatly appreciated the chocolate sourdough bread he made them. And yet, no permesso renewal for Emmanuel. They are still waiting on some documents apparently. I hope we are not giving away all these carbs for nothing.

F also took Paul to see a room for rent near the restaurant where he is dishwashing. The great part is that we know the American woman who has the rooms and she is willing to write him a hospitality letter so he could get residency. Even though the owner of the apartment which Paul is currently occupying has decided not to come back, and so he could continue to stay there rent free for the time being; it might be a good move for his future if he spends the money and does the rental because it would make him more official in the eyes of the law. 


Freedom's family hot water heater broke again. Eltion, the Albanian man with a van, came to the rescue even though he is away for work in Milano this month. He got the plumber to return for free this afternoon; and, at least for the moment, it is working.
I have had more than one heart attack about Peace's family this month. First of all, I was worried that she had fallen off the high bed on to the ground. So I ordered them a baby bed barrier to keep her from falling again. Of course, I got Peace's cold and have been sick all week long. I called to ask if everyone was well before the visit, but apparently my timing was off and they didn't figure out how sick she was until after the call. Italians and Africans have some pretty funny ideas about how you catch cold and none of it has to do with the transfer of germs, so we are forever sick here anyway. My students often lament how a cold wind caught them without a scarf or how a change in temperature is the culprit. It is maddening. 
Anyway, I accidentally entered the wrong address for the package. Being in Italy, they won't let you change anything on the order. I even followed the Amazon.it advice of contacting the delivery service, which in turn makes you register on their website and wait for a passcode. An hour past our bedtime, the website informed me that you can only change address mistakes on future orders, not past ones. So I bought another bed barrier and figured I would try to get our money back for the second one. Then while I was teaching back to back English classes all week and fielding refugee phone calls, the courier called me and asked me for the correct address. The class listened while I fielded the call in Italian, and then laughed hysterically when I acted out the situation whereby Peace told her father in baby sign language that he better not let her fall through the cracks again. Anyway, that is why Peace is safe from rolling off the bed either to the right or the left, from her mother's side or her father's side.

Even though I am still getting so little sleep that my eyelids are all wonky, I still have been fending off advances of several of my male students and it is hella awkward.

In unrelated news, I did get a tour of the workshop at Fabio Perini where I got to see the converting line machinery up close and personal. The explanation of the mechanics was in Italian, and I understood most of it and was able to ask questions. I've come a long way baby. Let me know if there is a Trivial Pursuit board game edition dedicated to how toilet paper and towel paper rolls are made. Life makes some turns that you can't predict, folks. 

Meanwhile, T's whole class at the Classico high school are all going around like the cast of some Goth telenovella because of the number of quizzes, interrogations, and assignments the professors have lined up for them over the next two weeks. Their group chat is so dark that even the cable tv stations would have to think twice about putting it on the air. Their gallows humor is not for the faint of heart, and I, for one, certainly hope they all get to chill out during Erasmus week when they will host students from other countries, including the Danish girl who will be living with us, god help her.

Jennifer, Wisdom's mamma, called me to ask for some of the money we allocated her to start up a business of selling Nigerian clothing to people in her community. We think it is a genius idea and she prefers that to an Etsy store, but, of course, if business is good, we can always help her to develop an online component. Our hope is that all of the people in our group can live independently, that is why we are meeting with Anna Morelli tonight to ask for her help once again in finding jobs for the men. She is the one who gave us the contact that ended up with Paul's getting hired. Even though, my eyelids say differently, I am apparently going out for cocktails tonight. 
Tina is also interested in going to work selling Nigerian cosmetics. I am very worried about her because of her expired Nigerian passport. I have been pestering the lawyers all week, but I still haven't gotten an answer about whether her only choice is to return to Nigeria to ask the embassy in person for a new passport. She would have to get herself and the baby Peace vaccinated. I worry they might get sick or have problems coming back to us. I worry enough that I can't function like a normal human, but she continues to seem happier that I've ever seen her. I want to see if the lawyers can make a case that she tried to get a passport, but was turned away.

Two fabulous parents from the Piccoli Aiutanti, kid volunteer program group, offered up some baby books for babies. I picked up donations from a South African woman who knitted them all baby booties and collected some toys for them. She also gave me some clothing for the men. We read my article in the Grapevine magazine in some of the English classes, and only one of my students said anything xenophobic, so I'm calling that a victory. In March, I will be meeting with a researcher from Pace University who is writing about refugee issues regarding childhood education. The more, the merrier, I guess.

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