The phone challenge is over!






I took the proverbial bull by the horns and tossed him over my shoulder. “Not today! I am in charge!” While this may sound like I am the only one who conquered the challenge I wrote about with my phone, it was actually a village that raised this child. I was beaten and despairing about my situation with my phone and my colleagues came together with me, in complete understanding of not being able to share the joys and sorrows of being away from those you love. What I came away with, is this: “La que no habla, no la escuchan” (she who does not speak, is not heard). While this is Spanish and not Italian, I think you can get the gist. This was a lesson in communication. While I could have suffered in silence and worked on a solution on my own, I chose to communicate to my house mates. They communicated with their friends and pretty soon I had various persons rallying around what I could do and how to do it.

My housemate was my guardian angel, she and a group of other young ladies had seen a phone store on their shopping excursions and remembered how to get there. They offered to walk me over. We walked through the labyrinthine pedestrian walkways of Rome and within minutes we were there. We came to a phone store that sold phones, but not plans. Again, through communicating our plight, the Italian clerk pointed us in the right direction to a store that sold phones and plans. We described the situation to the Italian customer service agent and with a smile and a “nessun problema” she quickly found me a phone and a plan at a reasonable cost. This returned my peace of mind and my confidence in being in a city so far from home.

I was recently asked the question “who do you miss”. I think this is a great question that also pertains to communication. While you might think the obvious: my parents, my significant other, my family, I have found that there are other people that I also miss.

I miss the communication and interactions with America, the deli lady at Albertsons, with Mike, the clerk from Santa Cruz Market and Norma, the lady at McDonalds that took my coffee order. I miss the hellos and goodbyes, the checking in on each other and all of those commonplace and mundane conversations that connected and bonded.

In Italy, as I engage in my routine of going to the same grocery store and coming to the school center, I find that I am creating new bonds. I find that the common bonding is a little different culturally, but I am making my way and blundering through the language asking for assistance. Generally, it is well received and patiently corrected. Slowly a bond is created on mutual trust, respect and communication. Being in a new country is exciting and new. I am learning that the everyday “buongiorno” and “arrivederci” have deeper meaning in the realm of communication, connection and integration.