Monday, August 18, 2014

Story: Arriving in Milan. Part 8.

by Monica Graz (Parts 1 and 2 are written by Lady Charlotte, Parts 3 and 4, 5 and 6 and Part 7 are by Monica Graz)

It was mid morning three weeks later and once more I was mopping the floor, this never ending repetitive job of a maidservant. I was as usually in a disheveled form, wearing my cheap light blue chlorine stained poly cotton dress, my equally stained apron and my rough-looking clogs. I still wasn’t allowed to use rubber gloves and my permanently red hands started developing small calluses. They were the hands of a manual domestic laborer by now.

I stopped once more in front of the hallway mirror and looked at myself. I still couldn’t believe how different I looked. A completely transformed person looked back at me; a Filipino maid looked back at me! I was a transformed person because under Signora’s strict instructions I had a complete makeover. Her idea of turning me into a proper servant in all aspects was to make me resemble a South East Asian woman and completely separate me from my white European origins. My longish hair was dyed raven black, my eyes got a more oriental look with some sort of permanent makeup and my skin became several shades darker with the use of a special solution that wears out very slowly, something like a permanent tan.

In the mean time I was not allowed to speak English any more. I had to communicate with anyone I came in contact with in my poor Italian. As Signora said I needed a limited vocabulary to perform my duties as a servant, there was no need for me to participate in elaborate intellectual conversations. Though I tried to improve my Italian by studying it hard every night, being deprived from my native language was quite a blow. I did start feeling more like an immigrant domestic worker in an alien environment.