Casa Fin Family Stories: Isabella Fin

Hi there….My birth name is Isabella Francesca Fin….but I answer to, “Dali”,  “Bella”,  “Cry”, “McBowsie”,  “Micky”,  “Issy” or nowadays…”Isa”…. or any other name would smell as sweet….

isa 05I’m the 4th child of 8 so that makes me the “middle child”. Growing up the middle child of 8  could make me a candidate for  some serious physiological analysing, but basically it all turned out ok…..could be grounds for debate here, but let’s just leave it at that….don’t want to bore you with sob stories ….”Life she is….”   but as mum would say…”go fight your own battles”…or, (as Rita has told us”)   “Just get on with it,” and “take yourisa 04 responsibilities” were phrases that were well embedded  into our being. (Tenks Gots) (Let’s not forget Mum’s other gem … “Don’t be one of the sheep”!!....also very helpful)

One thing that sticks in my mind is the fact that dad was always pushing me to learn Italian. Somehow I managed to wriggle my way out of having to attend Saturday morning Italian school with my sisters, preferring to pursue my interest in netball. Anyway, why would I want to go to school on Saturday and what possible use could learning Italian have for my future???

isa02When I started school Rita pulled me aside to give me some big-sisterly advice…”Don’t speak Italian, don’t tell anyone you’re Italian and you’ll be ok” (She had to start school after having just returned from a 6 month stint in Italy and her English was somewhat handicapped) Being of Italian origins in the late 60’s in Australia was not “trendy” and being in a school which was predominately “skippy” was not an ideal situation for winning friends. So I never mentioned my Italian lineage and went to school, walking behind my 3 older sisters and obediently throwing my mortadella or salami-filled sandwiches over the fence of some (unfortunate) house along the way, …..Thus going hungry at school.
isa 03
Time passed and I was in the 6th grade and I was the ringleader of a very tough group of “skips”. One day the kids in my group were making fun of some “wog” in my class who happened to be Italian. Something clicked and I proudly announced “hang on, I’m a wog too” to which they said “Yeah, but you’re different, you’re a white wog” Which got me thinking…..”That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”   So I changed my friends and wanted desperately to be able to speak Italian, but I couldn’t. The barrier had been erected and it seemed, was too late.

The years passed, I joined the cops and after 7 years I’d had enough of locking up bad guys.
 I worked a short stint in Real Estate then talked my way into the position of Manager  of the Props department for the Australian Opera. After working at the Opera house for a year in a job I really loved,  I began to get itchy feet. I just had to travel. Some voice was calling for me to go, so I just had no choice.  I then spent the next 18 months back-packing around Europe, spending a lot of time in Italy and slowly picking up the language.  (Oh how I wished I’d listened to dad….it would have made things so much easier…)
Isa 01

I went back and forth to Australia a few times but I suppose my heart was stuck in Europe. I moved to France and learnt French! (I bet this surprised everyone) and was happily living and working in Paris, when an unexpected twist to my life occurred. I met Gabriele. An ITALIAN!!!
Within 6 months I had packed up my belongings and moved to Italy to live with him. That was 13 years ago and here I am.

 We live in a small town on the eastern outskirts of Milan and we have a wonderfully bright and funny daughter who we named Veronica. She is completely bi-lingual and thankfully doesn’t have the “stigma” of growing up with two cultures. In fact, she isisa 06 proud to be part Italian, part Aussie and people here are jealous of her ability to switch effortlessly between the two languages.
Now I find myself teaching English to Italians and have been doing so for the past 12 years.

Life is funny; we never know which direction the wind will blow us. I ended up speaking the very language that I so painstakingly tried to avoid learning. (Dad, you were right)  Now I’m very proud of the fact that I come from two fantastic cultures and looking back, I realise that it makes me stand out as different and I can proudly say that I’m not “one of the sheep.” 

May 8, 2010
Milano, Italia.