From Italy to Canada From Canada to Italy
A decade ago my husband and I were walking the streets of Victoria BC Canada.
My husband was wearing his Italian hoodie. We walked into a coffee shop. As soon as we walked in we heard 'Bella Italia'. We looked around and standing there was a beautiful woman admiring my husbands hoodie. She let go of her fear thinking to herself, 'OYM' - open your mouth.
Open her mouth, she did. We became friends. I gave her this butterfly to take with her on her trip. Today she is in Florence Italy. She planned a 3 month holiday to celebrate her 70th birthday. She spent one month in Portugal and two months in Italy. She back packed in Italy in the past. Soon she will be in Sorrento. Today I talked to two of my brother in laws who met her when they were on a trip to visit with us and our family five and seven years ago.
They are going to pick her up and take her to their home town to meet the rest of my husbands siblings. She will see the true Italian culture and their customs. I asked one brother in law to be sure to take a photo of her in front of Bar Sessa. This bar is located next door to my mother in laws home. My mother in law passed away four years ago.
My Italian is fairly broken, but my brother in law understood how much it would be appreciated. My friend had hosted both my brother and sister in laws for dinner when they came to visit us in Victoria. Our favorite runaway place.
One of the brother in laws came to visit us 36 years after his first visit here. He was held in custody at the airport in Toronto. Why, you might ask? Thirty six years ago he overstayed his welcome. So they had a record of his time in Canada. Turns out while in custody he was asked 4 questions. He had to open his mouth and speak his truth. Over the phone my husband was asked the same 4 questions. IF the answers were the same they would allow him to come to Victoria but they'd have to shorten their visit. My husband opened his mouth and the answers were the same. That paved the way for my brother in law and his wife to fly to Victoria to spend some time with us. We did have to scramble for new flight tickets though. So our drive from Victoria to Calgary turned out to be only a 3 day visit upon arriving in my home town, Calgary. It was originally planned to spend 3 weeks in Victoria and 1 week in Calgary. They came for our sons wedding which was in Victoria. Our son married a girl from the Island. My brother in law had just finished his journey with cancer treatments. We were grateful he overcame cancer and now he understands our journey with cancer.
My other brother in law is a barber. He was the first one to open his mouth and put a stop to smoking in his shop. What a situation that was. He's never regretted it. He has more clients than before.
The dream of my mother and father in law in 1975 was to bring all the family to Canada for 10 years. Save lots of money and build a villa in Italy. They had four sons, and two daughters. The sons would work hard then they could go back and live like kings in their home town. Creating a vibrant life. Didn't quite work out that way. I got in the way and so did the dream of their first born son for a more prosperous life.
My sister in law was the first to live in Canada at 17 years of age after she married an Italian man from the next town who had come to Canada for work with his brother. With my father in law insisting that they get married (they were engaged since she was 14) because he was away for two years too long, not realizing that his daughter would be going to Canada as well after her marriage. SO what's a father to do? He sent his oldest son (who became my husband) to go to Canada to protect his younger sister.
Are you confused yet?
My husband did NOT want to come to Canada. His parents pushed him to go for an interview in Rome to file for landed immigrant status. Me opened his mouth and told the authorities that he was a bum, had no job, had no desire to work or to learn a new language!! Guess what? He got the stamp of approval. When it was time to go, a neighbor gave him a $20 Canadian bill and off he went to the airport. He flew in on Canadian Airlines. A couple of Italian brothers, who were painters called him to give him work after only 3 days. He was never out of work. When it was time to settle down and get married. He asked God to send him a woman who would wake him up in the morning. That's my job. I've been doing it for 41 years now.
My sister in law ended up living in Canada for only 12 years. My mother in law was forever looking for a job for me so her son would also move back to Italy. She thought I could work at the Nato base because I spoke English and could learn Italian. Nato is the navy base in Naples Italy. When my husband was 40 he finally opened his mouth to tell his Mamma he would not be moving home.
On one trip to Italy we were on the train going to Naples, with our three children for a shopping spree. A group of high school kids got on. They were complaining about their English teacher. I understand simple Italian, but spoke little. When ever we are in Italy my husband asks me to be quiet so the vendors do not raise their prices while on a shopping spree. But this time, I had to speak up, so OYM is what i did. Open your mouth!! Open my mouth I did. In English I said to them - "Excuse me, if you want to learn how to speak English, you must listen to your teacher!" Well if you could see the look on their faces. I wish I had a camera!!
I'd love for my husband to write a book about his life. He is not willing to do that, so I write short snippets!
My father was a Hungarian immigrant who married my Canadian Mother. I married an Italian immigrant. I am SO blessed knowing two cultures. I was a shy quiet Canadian girl. God chose an outspoken Italian man for my husband. The lessons learned would be through the language of love. I fell in love with this Italian immigrant and his Italian Romantic language. That's what it took to push out all of my fears to be the woman God created me to be. I was SO afraid to be myself. My life was filled with fear. I didn't accept this new love language. It was too loud and uncomfortable for me. I built a wall of protection until I ran out of bricks (ideas of protecting myself).
Now the wall has come tumbling down. I am an outspoken woman. I have learned the universal language of love. It's not Italian. It's a language from heaven. Grace, Mercy, Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Humility, Joy, Kindness, from My Big G, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
My husband said to me just yesterday, "It's been over 40 years now, trying to understand how your brain works, and I still don't get it!" "Wonderful, I said. I hope you'll give up trying now!"
Communication has always been a challenge for me because I didn't believe in myself and now I do.
Now, I seem to do what needs to be done at any given moment. I find myself being quite spontaneous. No need to think about anything. Just do it! Just because I think it's a great idea!! My husband is getting used to living with this new 'after cancer' woman and who she is inspired to be. Herself!
I am free to be me. Mamma D Butterfly. I am Canadian! I speak two languages. English and broken Italian. I took 8 years of French when I was in school and the only thing I remember is: 'Ferme ta bouche', which means close your mouth!! What happened? It took too many decades to open my mouth again. Thank You Big G.
As you open your mouth, sharing your stories with family, friends and their circle of influence - know that sharing brings healing. That's what I do, share and heal on this journey with 'healing the mind'. Encouraging multicultural butterflies to go to My Big G for help.
With Love and Encouragement,
Dorothy - Mamma D Butterfly
Visit me at: MyBigG.com