the wog girls guide to moving out of home

My dad is Spanish, my mum is Italian, and I grew up in my Nonno’s (grandfather) house in Sydney’s inner west, need I say any more?

I was a boringly well-behaved child/teen growing up and gave my parents hardly any grief (I’m sure they’d attest to that) I never broke curfew, I never had to be picked up from a party because I’d passed out and my dad never gave me the “you’re not going out dressed like that” look. My parents were blessed with a modern day saint, I’m not sure if it had anything to do with the fact that if I did anything wrong my parents would ground me until my 30th birthday with no chance of parole.

Fast forward to my 20s and I started to rock their world, and by rock, I mean completely shatter the saint-like image they treasured for so long as I transitioned into “an Aussie.” Now, before I continue, if anyone asks “so what are you?” my answer is always “I’m Australian” and will always be. I’m a proud Aussie but I can’t deny my cultural roots have shaped my identity as a European Australian.

Ok good, now that’s out of the way, where was I?

Ah yes, I remember, Wog girls do not move out of home unmarried.

I’ve navigated the treacherous and at times almost fatal journey moving out of home, unmarried, and I’ve compiled my experience into a guide on how you too might be able to survive the adventure too.

The below however probably only applies if you’re the eldest daughter. My younger sister is blessed with ‘Wog Parents 2.0’ where curfews are non-existent, boyfriends are allowed to stay over and moving out of home is not only supported, it’s encouraged! So if you have an older sister, take a moment to shoot them a quick text to thank them for paving the way for you.

TELL THEM EARLIER THAN YOU PLAN TO MOVE OUT

I told my parents two months before I was even planning on actually moving out to allow time for peak family meltdown and return to sanity. Once the initial shock and sulking subsided (which spanned several weeks) my dad sat my boyfriend, Florian, and I down and had “the chat” where he proceeded to ask questions like “what will people think” and “but you aren’t married, why do you want to live together?” I was very confused because all my older unmarried cousins have moved out of home and live with their significant other, some even have kids so I didn’t know what the big deal was, but you know “the aunties will talk.”

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DON’T MOVE TOO FAR

I moved exactly eight minutes away from my parents (five if you don’t get any red lights) I loved the idea of living somewhere outside the inner-west but with distance- or lack of- between our two places, it didn’t seem so scary for my parents to accept.

TAKE EVERYTHING YOUR FAMILY OFFER YOU

My Abuela (grandmother) didn’t cope well with the fact I was moving out without inheriting my glory box (for those non-wog folk, a glory box is a collection of household items, stored in preparation for marriage) and began offering me lots of homewares. I tried to politely decline but she insisted that I’ll need six white towels with the floral embroidery, lace doilies, two dinner sets, two sets of cutlery, several large serving trays and several glass jugs for when of course, guests come to visit.

CLEAN UP BEFORE THEY COME TO VISIT

I am not a messy person per se, I just have a daily struggle with my wardrobe and the clothes ending up all over the floor. That plus Florian has a strange habit of leaving coffee mugs everywhere, I mean everywhere! I’ve found them in the bathroom, next to the bed, in the laundry, the car and there’s probably several I’m yet to locate. So when mum and dad are coming over for dinner, I get out the bleach (because a house isn’t clean unless you use bleach!) and scrub the place top to bottom so I don’t face golden sayings like “this place looks like a brothel.”Let’s pause for a moment, as I’d love to know if anyone else’s parents have ever used this expression? I never understood the saying as I’ve never stepped foot in a brothel, nor do I extend invitations to strangers to walk through my place but hey, thanks, mum!

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DON’T COMPARE HIS PARENTS TO YOURS

In the past, my parents have met former boyfriends parents and have labelled them as having been “straighty-180” and well looking back, like them! With Florian’s family, they are vivacious, loud and passionate about everything including each other, and even allowed girlfriends to sleep over without giving her the malocchio. So when I told my parents that Florian’s parents were happy we were moving out and supported out decision, it was received with “You’re not their daughter” and “what they do is their business.” So my advice, just accept that it doesn’t help to tell your parents they are being uptight.

BE PATIENT

It’s hard to remember that they grew up in a different time (and universe) and are still holding onto their cultural norms as it’s what they know. I tried to explain that times are different now and all our aunties are lovely and won’t care. Don’t get me wrong, they won’t care at the time you tell them, you’re wrong and they are right, end of story. I may have just accepted that the answer was no in the past, but I was 24 years old and ready to be my own person, so my attitude quickly changed to ‘you’re either with me or not but it’s happening.’

It’s pretty scary defying your parent’s wishes and standing firm but I guess they only want what’s best for you and have your best interests at heart.

If you have a similar experience, I’d love you to share them with me in the comments below.

-tgfs x

 


Credits
@My Big Fat Greek Wedding presented by Gold Circle Films (2002)
@youtube
@giphy
@thinkingcinema
@tenor

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