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Chapter 4

My career starts and the unexpected arrives



I came back from the States excited, happy, full of plans for my future, I felt I was strong enough to start my own career.

I was an interpreter and a translator in English and French and after that long stay in Arizona, I felt I could start my own business.

I opened my Translation Agency in September 1988, with no money but great expectations.

My parents and grandparents were so wonderful that each one paid some of my necessary working tools: I needed a word processor – computers were not available at the time, I had my first computer when I was about 30 years old, a fax machine which strangely enough was the most expensive and an office.

Because of lack of money, I decided to cut on expenses and created a home office in the Garden room, one of the rooms I let to my guests in our Bed and Breakfast at present. It was a beautiful room with private bathroom.

I only had to buy a few furniture and I transformed this empty space – which was, many years before, my Mother’s very upscale lady clothing Boutique – into a very comfortable, large and practical office space.

I started working by introducing myself on the phone to each single company I could find in the phone book.

Many companies did not work overseas or were rustic enough to ask me what I was offering, they could not even understand what my services were.

After a very hard first month of aggressive advertisement carried on basically only through the phone, I managed to find a couple of small clients.

At the end of the month I earned 54.000 Lire which equals to 25 euros at present, what a small amount, but how much satisfaction behind that!

In a couple of months I managed to organize a full service for our Town Hall which was in charge of creating the annual meeting of the EEC – at the time ir was not EU but EEC – Cattle Markets. It was my first tremendous job, it took me a month to organize it but it turned out so well I received a thank you letter from Bruxelles. I had a few simultaneous translators for the English, French, Spanish and German languages. I was in charge of the whole 3 or 4 days of this Event and personally did the translation in English and French in the two nicest moments: the Berlucchi Vineyard visit and the last night gala dinner at our local theatre. That was one of the highlights of my career which made me understand the potential of our Theatre for galas and special events. Many decades later, I managed to organize another Gala Dinner with cabaret on stage on the occasion of Expo 2015, in my opinion, an event not to forget in this town.

In one year, I managed to have a few good clients and two became my best customers until they both, strangely enough, filed bankruptcy many years later almost at the same time.

I started working full time with one of these two: I managed the whole export account for him and took care of all foreign clients. I used to travel with him once or twice per month and on different occasions I also travelled for longer periods like when we stayed in Chicago in 1993.

The other huge client I had was the main cutlery manufacturer in Northern Italy and I was working with Brazil and Saudi Arabia for him.

These two clients were amazing and very good with me; they trusted me completely and the first one, who was the largest animal offal producer in Europe, allowed me to work with top managers from America and the UK.

After ten months working on my own, in July I decided I wanted to take come relaxing holidays on my own. A few of my girlfriends asked me to go on fun and “busy” holidays with them. I know what that meant: disco every night and lots of boys around.

I was not interested in that at all.

I was exhausted, emotionally and physically.

My first year working on my own and managing already demanding business left me really exhausted.

I decided to go to Djerba “la douce”, the beautiful island in Tunisia on my own. Booked two weeks and was supposed to leave around August 5th.

At that time and for many, many years, until I stopped working for these companies, my holidays were strictly in August, two weeks after the first weekend, as all Italian companies do still now.

A few days before my departure, the travel agent called me, they had done a mistake and I was booked one week at the hotel but my flight would have been a week later, so I got cross and asked to be reimbursed.

Obviously I was not going to have a holiday, that summer!

A local friend, travel agent, I spoke to weeks before for a similar holiday but he did not proposed me anything I was interested in, called me at the beginning of Augusts saying that he had a lady cancel her holiday because she had to be hospitalized for detachment of the retina.

The deal was: 2 weeks in Agadir, full board , 5 star hotel and flights for 1 million liras instead of 2 million liras. Now, this crazy amount of 1 million liras would be now 500 euros.

I had no idea where Agadir was so I asked “ where on earth is this place? If there is any water around, I will come to sign the check straight away”.

He explained it was in Morocco and yes, it was on the ocean.

I did not tell anyone, not even my parents whom I was still living with and I went straight to the travel agent and signed the check.

Once home, I had to tell my parents but they were not concerned at all, they knew I was a very reasonable young lady and would have been cautious. My father drove me to Milan airport and I left.

Two days later, I was leaving to Morocco.

Alone.

Not afraid, whatsoever.

I have always been extremely independent and loved any new adventure.

I was 26 years old, I had my own business, I was earning already a very good amount of money, I had lived in the States, why would I have been scared?

I landed at the airport and found it small, very different but everyone was so kind with me.

I arrived at the Hotel Les Almohades, an amazing hotel near Club Med and immediately fell in love with it.

The Hotel was huge, with a disco, a piano bar, several pools, beautiful palm trees, lots of extremely kind young waiters and an international young clientele.

My bedroom was huge!

Two double beds and a marble bathroom I had never seen before.

I even had a terrace and I could not believe how luxurious this place was and how beautiful Agadir was.

Showered and went downstairs, I was told by my insurance agent not to be too friendly with Arab men because I was young and they could have taken advantage of me.

How silly! They were all adorable and anywhere some people can take advantage of a young girl, you don’t need to go to Morocco to be in danger!

At dinner, I sat alone at my little table.

I am very extrovert so I found it rather hard not to chat with anyone and look seriously silent. Very unusual for me.

After dinner, I went to the piano bar and immediately met a couple of girls from Vicenza, another one from Viterbo and some boys from Spain.

I started chatting with them and, after a couple of hours, we were all friends already.

All of the sudden, this girl from Vicenza sitting next to me, touched my elbow and said “ oh my God, look at that young man at the low, small table on the right. Can you see him?”

How could I see anyone, I am so short sighted, I did not use glasses at the time nor the contact lenses I started using a few years later.

How on Earth could I tell if that thing over there was handsome or ugly? How terrible… I had to put my glasses on. I had to put my hand in my pursue and wear my classes.

Oh…Oh….Oh…did I see well or was it a dream?

I saw the most handsome, sexy, hot man I had ever seen in my life.

Oh My God, who was he?

I had no clue.

I could not figure out which nationality he was.

He was tall, dark skin, green eyes, very, very fit, he wore jeans and a green Lacoste, now that I think about it, I should have guessed from the Lacoste he could have been French.

No clue.

I started staring at him.

He was looking at me too.

We spent an hour looking at each other.

All of the sudden, I stood up and went for a walk with this girl from Vicenza to check out the disco and he, who was with another young man, followed us.

I expected him to introduce himself at the disco.

Nothing happened.

Oh nooooo…what could Ido to get his attention?

I decided to go back to the piano bar because I figured out that if he had followed us again, he would have wanted to meet me.

That was the plan.

Back at the piano bar, after a few minutes, he arrived as well and sat back and again, started looking at me very intensely.

Well, it was time I did something.

I never ever felt what I was feeling looking at this man.

He had something special, he was the hottest thing I had ever seen.

I wanted to meet him.

These years where my heart was frozen, shut to anybody or anything which wasn’t my career, all of the sudden were a memory.

I was in love, I was definitely in love with this stranger who could have been married, or maybe a womanizer, or even a killer, what did I know?

My heart was beating very, very quickly.

I never felt that way in my life before.

He was the man I wanted.

How could I meet him and what could I do?

I put my heart, my body, my fears together and I looked at him, stood up and said in English – because I did not know which nationality he was “ hi, would you like to join us?”

And he answered in his beautiful, charming and sweet French accent “yes, of courrrrrrrrse!”

He took his chair and sat next to me.

That was, for me, love at first sight.

I don’ know if anyone of you had ever felt in love at first sight but this crazy emotion exists.

I felt in love immediately, much before he said “ I am French, my name is Jacques, Nice to meet you. What is your name?”

By the time I answered , we were speaking French and I was definitely and forever in love.


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