As I was walking out the front door, carrying my suitcase in one hand and the shabby shoes on my feet, Frau R. told me: Ich werfe dich nicht raus. I am not kicking you out.
It was early in the morning. A humid and grey morning. The Herr of the house had left a few hours before, at dawn, to launch into a Europaweit motorbike adventure leaving behind a little blond nervous wife and their two crazy children.
Yes I knew. I was kicking myself out of there.
My Au-Pair gig , in Frankfurt am Main, lasted two weeks. It took me a few months to get our of Moldova. I even had an interview with the wife of ambassador. And she did ask me, what are you going to do there?
I was done with ironing the entire family underwear, making coffee, feeding, washing, clothing angry little children. I was done with believing that this is all I can do with myself. I wanted more. Every night, returning to my basement room, a nice room but still in the basement next to the washing room, I was deeply sad. What was I doing in Germany?
I was also a lousy babysitter. I instinctively knew that those children needed a little bit of freedom and so I gave it to them. One day the older boy got out of his mind trying my limits. I was limitless.
What can I do an enraged child who wants to be left the fuck alone? I left him do what he wanted to do, as a present. He dug a whole in the garden, removed from the face of the Earth the cage build for Kaninchen by throwing around the thick, moist, musty wood planks. Throwing them on the perfect lawn that his dad was caressing every other day during hobby time after office time.
In the begging I tried to talk him out of these rebellious activities knowing that I will get in trouble later when the mother will come back. But the boy would get even more enraged and violent. So I just did what was better for him at the moment, let him be angry.
He turned the house upside down by doing exactly what his mother told him not to do. He took out all the snacks from the expensive cupboard and ate as much ketchup as he wanted. He walked around on the even more expensive floors with the shoes on. He mixed coca cola with another sizzling colored drink and drank that. He scattered all over the big bag of Moldovan chocolates that I had brought to each of them. And he ate lots of them grinning.
Then he went upstairs.
If someone would have been watching from outside, it would have been possible to see flying, through the bathroom window, the following items : white precious rug, white puffy towels, mom’s expensive cream tube, toothbrushes (he hated those),dirty clothes.
As it turns our, someone was watching indeed. From across the street. And this is how Frau R, the matron of the household, found out of the orgy. When the child got tired I did try to put everything in order but some of the flying items landed on the garage roof, linked to the house roof, I could not get there.
Even if afterwards the little angry prince was bitten by his posh, elegant father, walking around in shiny shoes and thick pullovers, I was convinced that he was grateful for having had the chance to express his feelings.
A big fight followed that night: woman out of her mind screaming and shaking a kid, man coming back from work all puffed up with the office tiredness, launching like a missile towards the rebel child.Hitting the child.
Child screaming as if cut into two.
Frau and Herr R. were confused and tired afterwards. Lost. Lost in their beautiful house staked up to the ceiling with bio food and old wines.
I understood the child at a deep level. If I could not take the pressure for two weeks, imagine living there for years and years pretending to be the most perfect human being on Earth. The smaller child, the little brother, was handling the pressure in his way. Each time his father would come back from work and would start shouting at his older son, the small one would run and hide in his room. He had a little desk full of little books, a little CD player, a little lamp and lots of little toys. He would put the music on and start browsing a book or hide in his little bed.
He was so little.
From his little window I could see the yard of the neighbors’ house. Another perfect life was in full swing. And next to it another one.
When I got there I had a few clothes. Clothes that I liked. It turned out that my things were not good enough for the neighborhood I landed in. First I did not understand what was wrong, why was Frau R. looking at me with that big, mature, serious eyes. Soon after she donated me a few pieces of clothes of her own. She took a ride through her garderobe deciding that some of those things would suite me. I did not have a winter coat. Frau R. asked around and someone in the family had sent an older coat. It was nice, it suited me fine. I put in on when it arrived, as they asked me, smiled and said thank you. Frau R was content.
The same Frau R. told me to leave everything in the room when I left. She checked it herself.
On the day of my departure, it was weekend and the kids were allowed to stay in bed and watch TV in the morning, I was asked to say good bye to them but mask the true reason of leaving. I was to tell them that I have to study, that is why I was leaving. Not because that was a crazy family and I couldn’t handle it.
It has always been like this for me. If the circumstances I am in are not giving me the possibility to grow personally, mentally, emotionally, I rather leave. In that house I was expected to act in a certain way, talk in a certain way, be hungry and humble, be needy and thankful for a place to sleep or for being legally in Germany. Their tension made me tensed and angry, frightful. While in the matron’s office, looking desperately for a cheap plane ticket, payed by myself, the chair was red when I got up.
An expensive chair with a red stain on it that I tried to wash away.
I was grateful for them trying, at least, to understand me but I could not stay for long.The damage would have gone too deep. I was confused also. My purpose was to study mainly. As part of an Au-Pair programs one has the right to take language courses. I was sooo excited about that. Frau R. was not. She told me upfront that it will not be possible to take all the classes. What if the children get ill, what if that, what if that? During those two weeks I manged to find the center where those courses where held and to pass the initial test with a high score. There were many stranger there. Many colors and forms. I even went alone to register myself with the police. I was happy. I was in a foreign country taking care of myself. Even buying fruits to eat because in the perfect house fruits had a rather decorative purpose.
On a weekend they went out all together, I chose to stay home and read, finally! They thought I was depressed. I was happy.
Returning home Frau R. gave me a little paper with a phone number, another Moldovan Au-Pair. I throw it away that very evening and decided to leave. I was trying my best to stay away from Moldovan mentality and she is instead pushing me towards it? She did not understand.
Forwarding a few years ahead.
Here I am in Italy cleaning rooms, floors, dishes, serving and cleaning again till late into the night. Castello di Montalbano – perfectly situated outside the town, on top of a hill. I got there by bus.The ride took an hour from the main station to the last stop.
If you look up this place and look at the pictures it would seem indeed a nice place to stay. The customers were mainly enamored couples celebrating something, her birthday most of the time.Or couples fallen out of love trying to get back into the mood.
Little did they know.
I remember the interview. I was lead into a dark room, stuffed with so many things scattered all over the place. Thick piles of paper were covering a beautiful glass table to the right. Right in front of me there was this black writing desk, it was wrapped in a type of leather. The desk was also half full of stationery utensils, the surveillance monitor, the phone, two desktop PC and more.
The man I spoke to was obviously well read.The words he chose were measured, precise and flavorful. An intellectual trying to run a castle or a businessman trying to be an intellectual? Will not know for sure.
For sure was that he was playing the cook. Each evening he would leave his dark room and enter the kitchen with his Ipad tucked underarm. Then he would choose a playlist and start commanding around.When done, he would disappear instantly.
At the castle I did different things: served strange food to strange people, cleaned the entire kitchen and the storage room, cleaned the guest rooms and the eating hall, ironed tablecloths and carried heavy sacks full of dirty or freshly washed bed cloth. When serving I would ask right before going out what was on the table. Remember that my Italian at that time was only starting to become a fluently spoken language. For all this I was payed under the table, 5 euro per hour. At the end of the day I would be crushed by my physical back pain and my inner pain. The half intellectual, a quarter desperate businessman and spouse, a quarter cook tested my computer skills one day by messing up with some settings and asking me to fix it.Why? His wife told me clean his office on day.Why ?
How far did I go from Germany?I wanted to work yes, but at what cost?Why do I find myself again in this situation cleaning shit in a strange country? What belief I am holding buried in myself?
Now I am here in Brno wrapping up my present,decent, job so that I could try again in Italy.
I wonder if this past year of self work will help me believe so strongly in my self, right in the middle of a debilitating reality, so that I could create my reality out of it.
Do I believe still that I, coming from a third world country, having experienced third world lives, don’t have a place on Earth?
I used to clean the roof of the Castle. It was a beautiful place.Peaceful. You could see Florence far away. I did not climb there on the New Year’s Eve, even if I was told so. I did not want the moon to see me there, cleaning and serving. I pretended that there was no celebration, no people dressed in fancy clothes, no roof, no castle, nothing. I hid in the kitchen washing up the mess. I was not asking myself what am I doing here ?
Now I do-What am I doing here? What are we doing here if not to transform pain into love?