I don’t think I ever told my kids that this happened to me. So as I mentioned before, during the course of the homestay I lived with this lovely family in Castrolibero, a suburb of Cosenza. It was about a 15 minute drive to get into the main city of Cosenza (depending on traffic).
Now during the day, I tended to stay in the house during the morning while Maria worked. I would hang out, watch some Murder She Wrote (in italiano), do any work that I needed to do, write in my journal and read. Often, Sara and Alfredo would both be working, so I was by myself in the house. Which was normally fine…until…
One day I wanted to simply take out the trash to the dumpster (which was literally ten feet from the house) and do a little walk around the neighborhood. I had my own set of keys, but they only worked for the side door of the house in the basement. So, I grab the trash and walk outside. As I look over, I see the neighbor staring at me. I wave nervously and prepare to go on.
I hear, “Chi cazzo sei tu?” which basically means “Who the fuck are you?” I decide to head over and talk with him. I explain that I’m from the United States and staying with the family for a couple of weeks. He asks me a bunch of questions, which I respond to, growing increasingly nervous as he fingers his cell phone. I try to comfort him by explaining that I’ve actually met him once before. The family had some people over the week before and I met this man at that point. He had no recollection of me.
Now, gradually I assuaged his fears and convinced him I was just a guest of the family (an “ospite”) but it took a while. For a moment or two, I thought I was going to meet the carabineri (or police).
An ironic twist was that we had this same man over for dinner that night. We laughed about the whole incident then. I learned he worked for the electrciity company, which was under great stress because of the unprecedented high temperatures. He also told me of the two robberies that occurred at his home over the past four years and my family told me about the robbery at their house as well.
Thank goodness I was home alone for most of the days :)