Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The BIG 30 in Roma

Can someone tell me the difference between 29 and 30? Or, wait. how about the difference between 20 and 30?
Anyway, the BIG 30 came on the 19th and I must say I haven't noticed the difference. From about the age of 25, I always thought that 30 would be different than 20. I for sure thought my bones and mind would be weaker from everyone telling me that 30 was old. But I have realized now isn't so bad and as I have only lived 8 days into my 30 I believe all things get better from here. I am actually waiting for the day that I start to look 30. What does that look like? Everyone one says I look younger, which is a nice compliant, thank you. But what is a 30 year old woman supposed to look like? I guess as I live through my 30's I will find out the answer to that question.
For my 30th bday I was taken to Roma which was a pleasant surprise. My first trip to Roma a few years back I hated it. I felt like I was in tourist central no matter how I tried to get off the beaten path. So when I landed there this year I had only expected it would be better due to the fact I was traveling with an Italian who knew the city farely well. Our BWB (bed with breakfast) was nice, minus the small quarters. Don't be fooled people bed with breakfast is not the same as bed and We were very outside of the center which meant using the metro to communte each day. I actually enjoyed using the metro minus the fact that I had to watch the BF's back for the every so cleaver pocket pickers. The metro kinda reminded me of NYC's train system but I felt I had to keep my eyes open more often while riding the Roma metro. Since my BF was traveling with a black girl, caring a Nikon camera (professional one), we really looked like tourist. And for this reason a not so nice lady had the nerve to try and charge us 20euro's for two cappuccino. The restaurant owner thought we were American tourist eventhough, my BF ordered our drinks in his perfectly spoken Italian. When my BF approached the lady about her ridicoulsly over priced cappuccino, she said in Italian "oh, the prices are on the wall". BS, there were no prices on the wall and their wasn't even the prices in the menu. My BF mentioned to her that the couple sitting next to us, who were obviously Italian (from Roma) ordered much more than we did and were charged a lot less, she responded by saying "I don't know how that happened". Then my BF asked for the receipt and realized that on a Sunday in the early evening the restaurant had only produced 27 recipts for the day, he immediately knew what kind of restaurant we were in. Anyway, at the end of all this we paid for 2 cappuccinos and a tiramisu 16euros, which in my opinon is overpriced. Overall, I really enjoyed Roma. I was able to visit many places I did not visit on my first trip. On the way home we stopped in Firenze (which is my FAV place in Italy) and Orvieto. Here are some pics, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Graduation & Condoms

I have been in the square many times when graduates have been celebrating their long and hard work over the years. What this means is that the graduates are greeted with loud cheers and chants by their friends and family in the streets near the University of Padova. It is a tradition here that when you graduate you dress up like a fool and walk around the city showing yourself off while everyone else makes fun of you. Once the graduate presents their thesis to the academics the are greeted with chants of "dottore, dottore" (the title means a lot in Italy). The graduate must read a long poster a loud which is written by their friends and family outlining all their flaws. Some are dressed distastefully however its very amusing to watch, here is a pic, enjoy.

As for the condoms, I came across a machine selling condoms awhile back. While I was taking the pic everyone was looking at me, strangely. What I have never seen a vending machine that depenses condoms, so I decided to take a picture. I think they should have condoms accessible 24=7, why haven't they thought of this in Canada?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Italian 101, Part 2

Learning a new language can be a difficult thing to do expecially at my age. I started my language lessons prior to my arrival and I thought it would be beneficial to have a head start on the language. Shortly after I arrived and started to listen to people around me speak I soon realized that what I had learned in Toronto meant nothing here in Italy. Dialect is so widely spoken in this part of Italy, not sure why? maybe its because speaking dialect is easier. If the person I am listening to is not speaking dialect they are speaking super fast so I am not able to understand, how frustrating is that?
When I walked into my Italian class on the first day I wasn't too surprised. I was one of the many immigrants registered in the class. Many of the students in my class are from Eastern Europe. There are four English speaking students in the class, two from N.America and two from the UK. The four of us all sit together and speak to one another in English when we are not able to understand what the teacher is saying. The teacher often calls on us to translate a word into English when she doesn't know or when she finds that some of the students are not understanding her.
I am somewhat satisfied with how the lessons are being taught. I find it a little slow for me as I have already learned quite a bit grammatically when I was in Toronto however its a nice refresher at the moment. I wish the teacher was a little bit more vocal when the other students are talking during her lessons. I find myself being the one to tell the interrupters to shhhhhh or SHUT UP!
I am now one month and a bit into my lessons and have 8 more months to go......uuuggggghhhh.
Those of you here (Italy) learning the language, do you find it hard to build up your confidence to speak? This is my problem, I am afraid to make mistakes and be laughed at which always happens when I say something wrong.

alla prossima!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Anymore questions?

So, I have attended many social gatherings since I have been in Italy and realized one thing, I have and continue to be asked the same set of questions. The most common question is "what did you eat in Canada?" my response "the same thing you eat in Italy" of course minus the pasta for breakfast, lunch and Next question, "when are you having children?" what the bleep, since when is that question asked to someone you barely know. My BF answers this question because he knows that I will not. And for the second most commonly asked question "who does the cooking at home?", now really why is it so important for anyone to know the answer to this. So what if my BF cooks every night? what's the big deal, really? I realize that they are just trying to know me but I find the series of questions to be a little too much. I would be more comfortable if they asked other questions like "how is life in Italy" etc...etc.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Who wants Milk?

Literally. I had to blog this because I was amazed when I saw that you could buy fresh milk from a machine. Apparently some company thought it was a good idea to make milk available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It cost approx 1.00 euro per litre and you have the option of bringing her own bottle or using the bottle supplied by the machine. I never would have imagined purchasing milk from a machine and no its not like purchasing coke from the machine.
My BF purchased a bottle as I was curious as to how it would taste, mind you I did not taste it. He said it tasted like regularly milk, just a little more tasty, meaning "fat"

Unexpected SMS....

and yes in deed it was unexpected. We got the SMS this morning from the Questura for my PdiS appointment. When my BF asked me to guess the date I laughinhly guessed November 19 (my birthday) and of course he laughed back and me. My appointment is for March 5 2008, yes you read correctly. I mailed out the kit on September 21, received the SMS on November 1 and will be interviewed on March 5 2008. If that ain't BS bureaucracy, I don't know what is. I am just happy I was not given an appointment after the expiration date of my VISA.
Further update on this topic, March 2008.

Ciao a tutti