Mamma mia! mamma tua, mamma nostra. Do you have an Italian mother?

Woman talking about religion

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We all know that Italians are considered “Mamma Mia” people, do you know why?
There are many other ‘family-countries’ though, even more conservative, still Italy is the land of the ‘mamma’.
It looks like that people from Italy are the only saying these words, in the most various circumstances. It has been reported that, even when Italian Astronauts are in the space, they have used this sentence.

We could spend long time researching the reasons why those words are used so often and the history of such an attitude which is now a indisputable italian stereotype, but this is not the only matter of this writing.
This is also the story about my Mother.

I don’t know if I can call myself Italian, I mostly say ‘I was made in Italy’, or ‘I am biologically Italian’, but one thing is sure, I do use the expression “mamma mia! ” as well.
I’ve never lost the habit of using that sentence. Because of this, some people makes fun of me (non-italians of course), but I don’t want to force myself to change this way of speaking, if “mamma mia!” comes in my mouth, I let it go.


MIA MAMMA

I didn’t just use to say ‘mamma mia’ as a random exclamation, I used to outcry  those words -or just the first- regularly, every morning, as a kid, when I could not see my mother in range of sight.

While teenager I finally stopped being a “Mammone” suffering of “mammismo” (‘mamma dependence’), not just because of my age going up but also because my mom went away, somewhere, without coming back.
She left in 1998 and even if I feel her presence inside of me, I didn’t materially see her.
When she left I remember that I was about to leave myself, I could not accept the happening.

The bizarre surprise I had, was that in those days, when I was aged 16 and I lost her, I noticed all people around me turning into friends, even long time ‘enemies’ and people whom I was fighting with short before. Those persons were suddenly so kind to me, this was quite distressing.

There was one kid I was regularly playing and arguing with, he waas called “Gennaro”, we had daily contentions because of his habit to kill small insects just to enjoy the action, give pain to harmless creatures and making me upset.


One day Gennaro told me: “If I was in you I would let bury myself in the tomb with my mother… but you didn’t”- blaming me to not have done it. To not have have screamed in the streets.

He was not the only one who had such a way of thinking. In south-Italy the death of a loved one (or even a hated one) is often an misfortune where, if you don’t show your complete desperation to the public, you are seen as somebody who is not suffering and many will think you are a miserable person.
At school and in the neighborhood everybody recommended me to go often to visit the grave, to be a good “christian”.
I didn’t do it.
I don’t think this would please anyone, also because whenever you go to a grave in that area nearby Naples, there is a mafia-system with some individuals ‘taking care’ of the graves, asking you -or forcing you- to give them money (actually Mafia and Mama’s have also some connection, but this is another topic).
I prefer to follow her words: “love me now, not when I will be death”.
My love for her, I will give to what’s next to me, following her words and lifestyle, on my way. Being happy and trying to transmitting positiveness.

She was often talking to me about an Italian book, called “Libro cuore”, telling the story of a group of kids, students, growing up and having adventures, contrasts and loves. It was a patriotic, colonialistic story where the author aimed to give an ‘unified feeling of citizenship’ in the newborn Italian Kingdom.
Strangely enough, Japanese cartoonists made a Manga from that story, a cartoon that was quite popular in Italy, of course (as many other manga’s are), but had nothing to do with Japan.

I thought that if more cartoons were made with ‘worldwide’ patriotism, or in better words, where the attempt of the author is to connect all the citizen of the globe, we would feel as part of one big territory, we would not even need the feel of citizenship or having patriotism-issues anymore.
Many manga’s were actually made where the earth was attacked by exterior evil forces (Mazinga, Goldrake, Daitan, etc…) still, we needed to have someone else to consider outsider, the bed ones, – aliens, etc- , because we never manage to just feel as individual beings in serenity, but we need to group ourselves into one certain category or culture, in order to feel proud of being alive and belonging somewhere.

From the manga’s I also developed an uncommon love towards Japan, which I will reach by Bicycle in some time.


 

MOTHER’S HONESTY

Mamma’s are often considered holy persons, for sure in meridional Europe and in other southern cultures, such as Latin America.

If we look deeper in the ‘Mamma mia’ expression, we could find links to the christian personage of Maria, which is considered by many religions to be the mother of us all, extremely worshiped in Italy (and many other countries).
The Italians use the exclamation ‘Madonna’ as well, which has exactly the same usage of ‘mamma mia’, with some more holy inner etymology of course.
Some say even ‘madonna, mamma mia’ all at once. Those are extremist Mamma Mia people.

Mamma’s are considered honest thus, I don’t know if I can define myself as honest as my mamma, but for sure I aim to not be dishonest, I actually remember a scene with my mother that keeps reminding me to be honest.

I was circa ten years old, me and my mom went to take a metropolitan train, which in Naples area becomes a ‘panoramic’ train, because of the long unaspected stops and delays. We had to ‘jump’ on it fast cause it was about to depart and we didn’t have the time to make a ticket. Nobody checks tickets on that train, also because the quality of the service is really low. My mother made tickets at the station where we get off , afterwards when nobody could have checked. She would feel as a thief if she would not have done it. This may seem normal for someone from north Europe, but in South Italy it’s not.


 

MAMMA TUA

In Puerto Rico I met Jimmy Navarro, I am glad to have met him not just because he is a popular Actor and experienced Theater Artist, but because I felt a good connection with him. Probably because of some similarities in our past.

Most of the few friends, that get really close to me, have lost one of their parents, ironically I get to know it just after a while I met them.
I noticed that I have better relations with persons having a similar sad past as me. Remarkable? Normal? just a Coincidence?

I believe that the common unfortunate family past made me more connected and spiritually aware with those friends.

It’s the ultimate negative experience, when you reach the bottom, thinking nothing can be worse, that gives you the power to understand it was a sacrifice, a loss that will not be filled up with another individual person, but with love for who and what is next to you.


 

A BOOK THAT HELPED ME UNDERSTAND DEATH

It’s not easy to know what to do and how to behave when you face the biological death of loved ones.

A book that helped me understand was: “No fear, No death” – by Thich Nhat Hanh- . In Italian called “Il segreto della pace”. Book that goes profoundly  into understanding that we are one big organism and how life goes in circles…

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Finland, the country of rabbits, objective stereotypes

Tattoos, sauna, coffee,  smoking, alcohol, many trees around you and stone under your feet instead of soil.
Stereotypes or real characteristics of Finland?


It’s hard to draw a line between facts and personal mental representations, but one of the facts is that the Finnish nose is really peculiar, you can recognize it directly, the central part,  between the holes, is a bit large at the bottom part. Really funny and sweet.

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HYGIENE:

Toilet in Finland
A Finnish toilet

  

One of the things I learned, not in Finland, but in the Navy is how to sit on a wc,  now that I travel is quite useful.
To stay in topic of wc, I can say that toilets in Finland are amazing. The shower bidet is just divine, I suggest you to get to know it.

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RELATIONSHIPS IN FINLAND:

Finnish girls have a really particular way of walking, completely straight on their spine, they don’t move the head at all and they just point forward with their eyes, it looks almost like a march.

Finnish girls
Finnish girls in the street

Having contacts with finnish women I discover that loving and caring too much for a woman in Finland is equal to lose her, good to know.

Because in Finland women behave like man, I start to behave like a woman, now I see what means to reject someone interested in you and you to love accompanied by interest…

I did learn something from women in Finland, for example how to recognize mushrooms and how to down from stairs without light, I tried it several times and is curious and interesting. But I travel to find a reason why to stop traveling,  for the same reason I did one night stands.

To give a bottom line in a more martial ‘artistic’ way: “As a samurai prepares himself life long for death, I prepare myself for you to leave me”

Ah, you would think, why do you just write about girls?
Don’t worry, ‘par condicio”, I write about Finnish man as well, just continue reading…

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THE FINNISH FOREST:

Bicycle, tent and me
Bicycle, tent and me

Like fighters in the aikido do (to stay in theme of martial art), I use external power and energies to get my own benefit with no use of my internal power. Like in yin-yang,  I don’t lose my yang by using other’s yin.
This is for sure useful while sleeping in the forest….

The forest is one of the most comfortable place to sleep, there is nothing as magnificent as opening your eyes and seeing the green leaves on the trees, hearing birds and other animals peacefully living their life.

A domestic cat between the trees of the forest, he looked like a fish trying to walk, not even able to make few meters without hurting himself, how sad.

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CYCLING AND (RE)CYCLING

Bike diving
Food from the trash

Sometimes life is really paradoxical, in Finland, one of the richest country, I learn one of the thing done mostly by (non-economically)rich people: “dumpster diving”.
But actually the day there will be no food in the trash, or even better, no trash at all, there will be no poor neither.

Bicycle, snow and food
Bicycle, snow and food

During the Finnish winter I set down a new polar record, cycling at -18 for three hours in total, in one day!
While cycling daily at -25 for about one hour.

Joulupukki
The real Santa

As reward for my nordics efforts I also met Joulupukki, the real Santa, which lives in Lapland and nowhere else. I have to say that he was quite shy. To be shy is just a way of damaging yourself and get others dominate you.

This is something I think, which applies not just to Joulupukki’s, but to Finnish men as well, which I find quite shy. While the women are not shy at all.
We often have more fears by thinking than by acting,  when you think too much about actions you alienate yourself from the reality becoming frustrated and fearful.

What makes me less shy is also riding a bicycle, it makes me understand how to live and how to love:
If I ride knowing and thinking that my destination is close to me and I should arrive in short Time, I will be anxious, hurrying up and ruining the trip.
If I just ride without the thought of My destination, I enjoy My time.
The same for loving and living.

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HOW TO…….. WITH A CONDOM:

How to find an address in a rainy day in Finland with a smart phone and a condom,

Home addresses in Finland are not like in other countries, one house number may be the same for one, two, three, even more than ten buildings!
Then there are letters to identify buildings: a, b, c, d…¢, §, Z!
Then eventually there are more numbers coming after the letter … 1….2…3…5…8…1018586.
House numbers, letters, numbers…. And locals mostly don’t know where an address is if you ask.
I am in a shop, outside is raining and I really need to use my phone to find the address of my host.
I don’t have a map, I need my smart phone but is raining heavily and I have no way to protect my phone, I put a condom on my phone, people is looking weird to me…
They don’t understand the utility of my act. But it works!

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THEATER & CULTURE

There are societies where public social services are good, other countries have just local people that help each other, the worst place to be is where none of the two things is to find.

Traveling I just realize that the only way to get to know a country or a culture is to go there, nobody can explain you the feeling and the experience of visiting a place, no matter how extensive they talk or write about it. 

One thing that I hate are airports or airplanes, they make you move so fast that you don’t realize where you are, they all look the same.

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The Capital cities are often the least representative towns of the culture and traditions of a country. But still I spend much time in capitals, cause I am lazy and in big towns I find much more services…

ah, I almost forgot to mention: if Finland may be not the country of rabbits, at least Helsinki is!

In Helsinki, I have also met a really skillful artist,  Aino Kurki:

Aino Kurki

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