Happy (Late) New Year! What I’ve Learned

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Are you guys having the best time EVER!?

Happy New Years! Revisiting The 1920's, booze, guns, wine, and jazz!

Happy New Years! Revisiting The 1920’s, booze, guns, wine, and jazz! I HAVE A FEATHER!

This year has been crazy. I feel more like myself than I have in a long while. I’m hopeful and I feel like my goals, while scattered, are actually coming together. My book is quasi finished. It took me 6 months longer than planned but I guess that’s life, right? I’m okay with it (or at least I’m trying to be, if I say it over and over again I might be…).

For New Years we were going to stay home with the in-laws but decided around 11:30 p.m. to go out for a few hours. By then everyone was already drunk or asleep but we found a Gatspy party in Phoenix that F was totally determined to go to even though it was practically midnight. We only stayed for a short while but we saw friends, a few fire breathers, some samba dancers. Everyone decked out in their finest 1920’s attire. I was practically naked and totally freezing but that’s what champagne is for. 2015 started with us on a hotel roof, champagne in hand, me, clad in fishnets and black fringe, F wearing a mobster outfit and gun holster.

I think that this year is going to be a big year for us and hopefully it’s totally BADASS.

Resolutions: my entire life is a giant resolution. I make them daily, weekly, and monthly but I only accomplish them about 9% of the time. I usually skip the New Years resolution but I think this year I could use an extra boost. We have a lot of decision to make, we’re on the cusp of so many huge projects coming to fruition. Holy shit! It’s pretty scary. I want to finish my books, get more articles published, blog more, and do more things to make the world totally badass so we don’t die. The world needs a lot of help, guys. Did you guys make any resolutions this year?

What I’ve learned this year: The only way to accomplish goals is to take the steps necessary to accomplish them every, single, day. There is never a right time to do it. Don’t think about it, or talk about it, just get on it and get it done. Don’t try to do it all at once, just do it a little at a time. Put everything you have into everything you do. I wish I’d learned this earlier. What life lessons have you learned? Put it in the comments below. I’m a slow learner and could use any help I can get.

What else I’ve learned? Go to Hawaii for the holidays from now on.

The holidays have been insane and have taught me a number of hard lessons like this gem via my MIL, “You’ll die if the house is warm and you go outside. So, you have to keep the house cold or wear three puffy coats, a hat, scarf, and hypothermia prevention blankets to venture out into 60 degree weather.” I might be slightly exaggerating that one, but not by much.

I’ve also learned that if I want to have any kind of a future, I should quit writing to “learn how to give pedicures at the beauty school,” again, according to my MIL. I should also get pregnant, like tomorrow, so my in-laws can punch my kids because good parents “smack their children a lot.”

We’re getting closer to starting a family. This year could be that year if I can get over my Tokaphobia (it’s a real thing) and be cool with having a freeloading sea monkey in my stomach for 9 months followed by it ninja-killing my vagina. Mostly. Having my in-laws here is kind of like baby repellent for me.

Another thing I learned: Multi-cultural families are very, very difficult. Approach with caution. They can be amazing, enriching, and wonderful but they can also be exclusive, prejudice, and confusing. A lot of the American expats I know find everything Italy related to be blissfully perfect (including nationalism and bigotry mistaken for “pride”). I don’t. I think that every country has its pros and cons and an ideal situation would allow you to pick and choose the best cultural things to create a whole lot of awesome. For example, I like the “Go Get It!” culture in the US, but I dislike the individuality and selfishness that can come with it. I love how family-oriented Italian culture is, but I dislike that appreciation and respect can quickly become controlling and manipulative.

After I gestate our mini-us, it’s going to have to be a person (and given the way my dog turned out my mini-person is going to awesome and a total terror). Also, this person will be related to my husband’s family. They’re not the worst people in the world and they have a lot of good things to offer our kids if they could just chill out a little (or a lot). It’s not just that they were raised in a tiny town, it’s not abnormal that they are traditional, a little narrow-minded, and not at all accepting of anything that isn’t from small-town, Italy.  They are also type A personalities, Italian nationalists, and people who have been married for forty years and dislike each other a lot which is probably common and is sad but they’re a little bitter and have some insane arguments on the reg that I’d prefer my kids not to witness, ever.

In addition, everything we do is always up for family debate. We once had a 40 minute conversation about what color of underwear I was wearing with tan pants and another time they carried my pap-smear results around the house talking amongst themselves about my vagina. I don’t mind the intrusion when it’s because they are concerned or just want to help. I loathe it when it’s a, “this is how we do it so you must or the world will end,” thing aka, “you can’t drink coffee before you shower,” or, “real men don’t do dishes.”

This attitude will be problematic for me because my idea of child-rearing is a bit different from theirs. Their parenting sounds like an 80’s rap song, “Just hit it… preferably in the head. If you can’t reach it to punch it, then scream in its face in public.” It’s not that I was never spanked, I definitely was, but I’d like to do things a bit differently with the fruit of my loins. What I’ve learned from having a dog around them is this: Regardless of how much I’m against hitting dogs, if I’m not around they’ll go ahead and do it for me. This worries me because if someone take it upon themselves to “spank” one of my kids I’ll break their damn arm off and beat them to death with it. The real problem is that my husband has “perfect son,” syndrome and he has a hard time telling them, “no,” and standing up to them. It’s not that he’s scared, it’s that he doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. I get that. I love my parents, a lot, but I’m okay with yelling at him, when he says something homophobic. Same with my mom. Franny, on the other hand, tunes it out and goes to his happy place somewhere deep inside his weird/brilliant engineer brain. Which is okay, but it leaves me yelling things at his parents like, “STOP POINTING AT BROWN PEOPLE AND SCREAMING, “MEXICAN!” WE ARE NOT IN A ZOO!” It’s awkward and not something I want to deal with as a parent. I might explode the first time my three year old plays, “Spot the Morrocan,” with it’s grandparents. I feel helpless because I feel alone in dealing with it. I also feel like it’s not my place to yell at someone else’ parents because I was taught not to yell at old people.

Even talking about children in front of them gives me anxiety. They have this idea that our children will only belong to Francesco. They’ll be HIS kids, completely absent from myself or my people. “You cannot raise your children to be multicultural. They must be Italian! THEY MUST BE ITALIAN” They told my husband, hysterically, as he tried to explain to them that our kids will be Persian, American, and Italian. Their view that anything that isn’t Italian is inherently bad is just depressing and it makes me sad to think that our kids will be “tainted,” in their minds. How will my kids feel being told they are only half “good?” My husband and I are in love and we’re happy. You would think that that alone would be enough for any parent.

Other words of wisdom from my in-laws regarding kids, “Your dog would be better if you hit him! HIT HIM! You can’t do like this with children! You’ll have to hit them”

“We believe that if you don’t baptize babies, if they die, they’ll go to purgatory.”

“Pasta is not a carb.”

“It’s healthier to eat donuts for breakfast than eggs.”

What I’m Trying To Learn This Year: How to navigate difficult personalities in a loving way without ruining relationships or murdering anyone. Hopefully it will be on my list next year of “Things I’ve Learned. If you have advice, I’d love to hear it.

Family aside, I want this year to be a year of accomplishing things without bullshit. I’m a procrastinator. I self-sabotage and am probably more afraid of getting what I want more than anything else. I hope this year I can kick my own ass and accomplish things I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Such as, FINISH MY DAMN BOOKS, travel more, possibly bake a mini-us, paint and draw more, and train Oliver to walk on a leash. Also, to be more romantic with my husband (on days I don’t want to put forks in his eyes). By “romantic,” I don’t mean “have more sex.” I mean, like, surprise him with dates, buy him flowers, and stuff. You pervs.

Another thing I’ve learned this year: We don’t have that much time. Time goes so fast and before you know it you’re 90 and haven’t done shit that you set out to do.

I hope you guys have a wonderful new year filled with magic, love, and accomplishments. Thank you for all the support, for the fun stories, the great advice, and the new friendships. Tanti baci, from us to you!




21 thoughts on “Happy (Late) New Year! What I’ve Learned

  1. I go through some similar feelings with my future in laws as well. THough they aren’t as crazy as yours sound, we are still from two different cultures and I have a really hard time relating to them too. At times I feel the same as you do. Hang in there.🙂

    • Dealing with the in-laws has been our single most difficult problem to overcome in our relationship. Thankfully the Surviving community is full of fun, crazy, people with hilarious/terrifying in-law stories. Good luck darling! Keep us updated! I love a good story!

  2. I feel the same way sometimes! Although my future in laws don’t sound quite as crazy, we are so different culturally… I have such a difficult time relating to them, it makes me feel really alone in a new country and homesick for my own crazy family, because at least that is a kind of crazy that I understand! Hang in there.🙂

  3. Another great post. You are so pretty and part of a handsome couple. I love your frank discussions about the baby rips and concerns. Kudos to you to blunt honesty with a sense of humor. Happy New Year, happy writing, and happy … intercultural stuff. I would actually love to hear more of your Persian side stories. Yes, being in love should be enough. It is more than most have at any rate, and what the world needs more of. Ciao, Kelly

    Kelly Borsheim: sculptor, painter, writer, and teacher

    The Art: http://BorsheimArts.com ArtNews: http://BorsheimArts.com/newsletter.htm The blog: http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.com E-mail: sculptor@borsheimarts.com Tel. (+39) 334.245.0129 [Florence, Italy]

    The book [available around the globe via Amazon]: “My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1463774702/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1463774702&linkCode=as2&tag=borsartsstud-20

    On 1/11/2015 8:13 PM, Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing

  4. Felice anno nuovo! enjoying as always your posts- did you move back to the US ? just curious ! look forward to reading more about your adventures in Florence.

  5. Sounds like a full and productive year ahead! But reading about your lovely, hilarious and whacked-out inlaws and their views re: child rearing makes my blood pressure go up. And if anyone ever laid a hand on my dog (or kid, for that matter), they would wish they were dead by the time I was through with them. You must have the patience of Job!

  6. The hardest life lesson that I’ve learned, and continue to forget, is LIVE IN THE NOW….be present. I have to stop thinking about what I have to do, what I haven’t done, what I’m gonna do….I need to be here and now. Life feels much fuller this way…for me, anyway.

  7. I am not sure if your in-laws are “outside” of the norm😉 but most of my experience around Italians and children is that they adore them and seldom reprimand them! I think once that baby arrives the nonni will be so over the moon they will probably berate you if you “reprimand” or “scold”!! Don’t sweat stuff like baptism – my mother-in-law asked about it and I said no. In hind sight it would have made her so happy and would not have caused anyone harm. Yes, it takes a lot of patience but since you have survived so far and seem to really like and admire your in-laws in many ways (they did raise your fabulous husband for one😉 I am sure your humor and grace will enable you to navigate any future “white water”. In bocca al lupo!!!

    • Oh, i think our in-laws might be a bit different. Mine are actually quite…uhm, severe with my nieces. I do love them, but i’ve never met more difficult people in my life. I’m hoping the humor (and kind words from readers like yourself) will make it more digestable. We are pretty sure we have a lot of turbulent times ahead. Many, many screaming matches.😉

  8. Pingback: An expat’s New Years resolution | Unwilling Expat

  9. I thought my in-laws were tough! You really need to hold firm in your beliefs and not let them overpower you or wear you down. I am assuming the younger generation does not share the same old-fashioned beliefs as your in-laws or you will be raising mini versions of them! Have you ever thought of moving to the Northeast? Your husband will feel right at home with all the little Italy neighborhoods and Italian Americans – hell, your mother in law might even enjoy some of the food (and the bakeries are to die for)!! We are a crazy, screwed up country in so many ways, but it really isn’t all that horrible! As with everything in life, you learn to balance the good with the bad or you will always fell like you are making a sacrifice. The only other choice you have is to move to a completely foreign land. HaHa, now that will totally drive your in-laws freaking crazy! You may be able to use this as a threat every time they “misbehave”. By the way, I’ve been married for 34 years and haven’t killed my husband yet, though I’ve entertained that thought soooooo many times! You two will be just fine.

  10. Hello: I am a 65 year old who married an Italian American (he calls himself Italian lite) 43 years ago. I am freakin dying laughing at your blog. Everything is absolutely spot on. Oh God, the men! After years of Italian Lite, my husband just lately has taken to SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE WAITING FOR HIS MEAL TO BE PLACED IN FRONT OF HIM. Uggggg. What the hell? Regression to the olden days of Italy? We did spend a fair amount of time with his relatives near Rome in past years. And I remember the men SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE WAITING FOR THE MEAL TO BE DELIVERED and then yelling that the meal was too cold. . Your description of the Holidays is hilariously true. Now, I am of Scandinavian descent. A Scandinavian party consists of a darkened room, cigarettes, and a suicide note. YES. But I have spent 43 years in the basement (Italian kitchen) for just the Holidays you describe. Bat shit bonkers. Kill me.
    My half Italian daughter married a wonderful Aryan man. My grandchildren are Hitler’s Delight. Blond blond blond. Sigh. I am so happy for that. Am I a bad person for that?
    Cannot stop reading your stories. So so good.
    And a word about Giovanni? I know you buddy. You are about 5’2″ or 3″? right? Eat shit Giovanni. Eat shit.
    Happy summer to all!

  11. Oh , girl! You are FRIGN hilarious! Kind of my younger, brunette doppelgänger. I am looking at homes in Italy and plan on moving next year. Have to find the right place for me and the seven spawns I adopted last year( they are wonderful kids! All teenagers.)and my red bone weiner hound, Fat Ass. I really enjoy your blog!

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