Casa Fin Family Stories: Daniela's Life Story - Daniela Mitchell (née Fin)

daniela 01daniela 01As “number 6” and the last of the Fin girls, I certainly had a lot to learn from all my sisters! You see, I was different to my sisters and brothers. Both Mum and Dad were faced with a huge decision once they found out Mum had contracted rubella (German measles) in her third month of pregnancy. This decision was whether to terminate me or keep me. Of course, they decided to keep me and their decision was the best thing. When I was born, the Doctors confirmed that I was healthy and normal. But Mum was convinced that I was different to all her first 5 daughters. Mum had a lot of trouble finding the right Doctor to confirm that I was Deaf!
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daniela 02This brought about many changes in the family. They were advised by the specialist that I shouldn't learn Italian or learn to use sign language Auslan (Australian Sign Language), to avoid confusion with my speech. I did go to a special school for the Deaf for short time until I was about 8 or so and then I started to go to Mainstream school along with my sisters and brothers. Fortunately I have to say it was ok but it wasn't easy being the only Deaf student with hundreds of hearing students. There were lots of times I was feeling “homesick” and wanting to go back to my Deaf friends but I survived...
Now, I am proud to say that I am the Mother of 4 wonderful open-minded kids; I have given them all Italian middle names after our relatives, so I want them to understand why they have these names:
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William Giuseppe - 16th November, 1992.  William was the name of Chris' Father, who sadly passed away 2 months before he was born; this was to be his first Grandchild whereas Mum and Dad already had 7 grandchildren, so it was decided to have both our Fathers’ names. I am glad we did that because it really suited him. He has a nickname "Wiggle" due to the fact that he was such a wiggly baby, never keeping still. He is very
daniela 09 proud of his Italian background and in Dec 2009, William went on a student exchange trip to Italy for 6 weeks and he now can speak the language well. William is a bright and happy –go-lucky person, who gets on well with everyone - except for anyone who smokes. I recall that at the age of 3 or so, he would go up to strangers and let them know that they were “going to die" if they kept on smoking!!!!!

James Alessandro - 17th May, 1995. aka Jiggle. Chris and I didn't really have a name ready for him until the last minute just before he was born, but I knew I wanted to have Dad's Father's name as his middle name. James was always the one going to Hospital - whether it was a cut from a broken glass door or fractured wrist, which left
his poor Mother with only about 40 minute sleep over-night at the hospital. Today he stands at almost 6 foot 2 inches and he's not 15 until next week. I remember when he was at a fitting for his 1st communion suit; the shop owner didn't believe me that he was only 10 yrs old, as he was already tall for his age. James is willing to learn Italian, but he much prefers his computer to trying todaniela 06 learn anything at school and he loves eating lots of sushi!!! But he is the cuddliest person ever...

daniela 07Samantha Caterina and Vanessa Anna Maria; 25th April, 2001. (aka Twiggles) This was a total surprise for both Chris and me. The whole family and friends were stunned too, but in the end it was the best present ever. They were born on Anzac Day and their middle names are after Zia Nella, Dad’s eldest sister, and Nonna Anna Maria, Zia Maria and Anna, my sister. During my pregnancy, I can honestly say that I could feel Nonna Anna Maria around me and I am sure it was her that looked after me and sent my Twiggles to me. I managed to carry them to full term (39 and half weeks), after which I was ready to murder my wonderful patient Doctor!! Both have different characters and are very lively girls. As a small child starting to speak, Samantha would speak with an American accent, whereas Vanessa would talk with Australian “Ocker” accent and to this day we have no idea why and how but it was certainly funny. They are now into Music (Cello, Saxophone/Violin and Clarinet), dancing classes and swimming. Both are keen to learn Italian. And just like their Mother, they never stop talking!!! (Well really, the whole Fin family never stops talking!!)

Chris and I are very proud of them and we both love them all very much. They all go to a wonderful school, the International Grammar School, which has multicultural languages. I am proud that I have convinced our kids to learn Italian and to never give up as it is a beautiful language that I wish I had learned too.
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 Apart from wishing to learn Italian, I am so proud of myself that I managed to learn the language that the so - called “specialist” managed to convince my parents was not a good idea to learn in the first place - Auslan (Australian Sign Language), which now has landed me a job working with the Deaf community, which I have come to love so much. I have also found my own identity, which I have been struggling to deal with for as long as I can remember. However, I AM lucky to have both worlds, I can speak and sign at the same time thanks to my family helping me to correct my speech or understanding how things should work etc.

Imagine if Dad had never come to Australia and didn't meet mum! Then my 5 sisters and 2 brothers and all the beautiful nieces, nephews and great niece, whom I love very much, wouldn't all be here here's wishing you a very Happy 80th Birthday, Dad!!!

Sydney, NSW