March 7, 2008 at 7:02 pm (Italy, life)

Sorry I haven’t been around recently, I’ve had a bad case of gastroentiritus! (That’s what the doctor called it anyway.)

It’s been a horrible few days but I did accomplish one thing, I have now made my first trip to an Italian hospital. It wasn’t as awful as it could’ve been as I had a great friend to translate but it was pretty miserable.

Anyway, I’m feeling much better now, so a normal service will be ressumed shortly!!

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Recipe Book

February 19, 2008 at 9:00 am (food, Italy, life, recipes)

I bought one of those books where you can write in all the recipes that you like and want to remember. Or, you can stick in recipes and bits and bobs that you find and create your own, personalised recipe book. It’s really cute with pictures of ‘castagni’ (chestnuts) on the front and all the sections are labelled in Italian. Now all I need to do is find some time to transfer all the scraps of paper that I’ve been collecting into it. I can’t wait. I’ll never forget how to make custard from scratch again!

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Homebase Advert

February 18, 2008 at 10:33 am (Italy, life)

I’m making an effort to keep our apartment clean and tidy in an attempt to make it feel more like our home rather than just a base for the next 5 months. It was getting me down that nothing felt like my home but just stuff I’ve borrowed from someone else (which is exactly what we have done when renting a furnished apartment!) so have been putting up pictures and buying flowers etc. Whilst doing this the same phrase keeps jumping into my head and it’s become almost like a type of mantra. It took me a while to work out what it was from and 5 minutes ago it came to me. “Homebase – make a house a home”. Adverts, you’ve got to love ’em!

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February 17, 2008 at 7:28 pm (Italy, life)

It’s amazing the difference that sunshine makes to my day. When I wake up and the bright light is shining through the windows and I can open the shutters and let it all in, it makes me feel cheery. Today it’s cold. There have been no streaming sun rays this morning. If there were any they’ve gone back to sleep, knowing that today was going to be hard, tiring and cold. The sun rays didn’t want to get involved and be associated with the rubbishness of today. Let’s hope that spring is on it’s way. No, scrap that, I’m going to hope that the full-blown summer is just around the corner. I love the sun.

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Which fruit?

February 17, 2008 at 4:28 pm (food, Italy, life)

I went to the ‘fruitivendola’ this week to buy all the fruit and veg that we might need. I always check which out of clementines and mandarins have pips because I can never remember and I don’t like the ones with pips. This week however, I was feeling brave, so I filled my bag full of ‘clementini’ and headed to the checkout. Today I ate my first one and there were 31 pips/seeds (whatever you call them)! 31 in one little, tiny clementine!!! I think I got the wrong type. Next time I’ll ask.

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February 5, 2008 at 7:09 am (Italy, life, music)

Being as I don’t go to church anymore and I don’t know what I believe, I’m not sure if I’m still allowed to call myself a Christian. With this in mind I have no idea why I still feel compelled to give something up for lent. However, in these times when pretty much anything and everything is available 24-7, I think it wouldn’t do me any harm to give something up and hopefully it’ll make me appreciate things a bit more.

I’ve been thinking about what to give up and the first thing that springs to mind is chocolate but here in Torino they have an annual chocolate festival mid February and I’ve been looking forward to it since we decided to move out here, so this year, it’s not going to be that. It could be wine, but I’m only just starting to appreciate wine and I feel like I’m in the process of educating myself, which sounds like a positive thing, so I don’t really think that’d be a good thing to give up either.

A and I download a ton of programmes from the internet and we generally watch them whilst we eat or sometimes in the evening. I’ve got a bit addicted to Brothers and Sisters and the US Writer’s Strike is affecting all my watching so haven’t been able to watch ER, Desperate Housewives or Ugly Betty for ages now. We have also ordered a load of books from amazon online and continuing from my 30-in-30 last month I would like to spend more time playing/creating music. So with all these things put together, I think now would be a perfect time to give up TV and downloaded programmes. It will force me to play the guitar more, read more and generally do different things.

For once I’m actually looking forward to the lent period! What a bizarre concept!

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Pancake Day!

February 4, 2008 at 11:57 am (food, Italy, life)

On Shrove Tuesday the tradition in our family is to eat nothing but pancakes for dinner. There are five of us so we used to have two pans going and a huge vat of pancake mix that our Mum had made the night before. I pretty much just stuck to the traditional sugar and lemon and I must say that it is still my favourite topping.

Although I no longer live with my family A has willingly accepted to take on this tradition, so tomorrow night we will be firing up the stove and squeezing the lemons. As we’re in Italy we are going to include chocolate, icecream and alcohol in the proceedings and I can’t wait. Get your frying pans going everyone and let me know how many you ate. (Last year I think I could only manage 5, which was rubbish considering I used to be able to eat 8 when I was a child!)

p.s. I’m blocking out the fact that I’m supposed to give something up for lent when all the pancake fun has ended. I’ll just concentrate on the pancakes for now and let you know what I decide about lent later.

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Delivery for Rebecca

February 1, 2008 at 11:01 am (Italy, life)

The infamous Rose Man struck again this week. What a nightmare! Now I’ve got to work out how to tell someone politely to p*** off in Italian. Worst off all is that every time I go to work I’m wondering if he’ll show up and I’m constantly on edge. Ah well, I’m not going to worry about it, he’ll get over it.

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Never Had A Haircut Like It!

January 26, 2008 at 10:35 pm (Italy, life)

I finally faced my fear and dragged my sorry looking hair down to the hairdressers on Tuesday. I’d looked up all the important vocabulary (for example, layers, feathering and fringe) but I forgot to look up essentials such as: “just a trim thanks” and “don’t cut too much off because I’m trying to grow it!”, so I’ve ended up going back 8 months on the hair-growing process! Bit of a bummer and I’m still not over it yet, which is why I hadn’t blogged about it sooner. I know it sounds ridiculous but it was just too painful!

The actual hour itself wasn’t too bad and I generally understood everything, although I’ve never been asked to flip my head over, so that anyone can cut away (ferociously) at the hair from underneath. So I’m not sure if I didn’t understand the request or was just shocked, but it took but a couple of minutes for me to respond!

The other memorable moments were when she cut the hair using a twisting and hacking method! Never seen this before and felt a bit uncomfortable without the regular two fingered clasp and measure method. The hairdresser also wanted to give me the ‘hurricane look’ and proceeded to blow dry my hair so that it was all over my face. I thought that this was just part of the process so when she held up the mirror I couldn’t believe that we’d actually finished, I couldn’t see anything! She did not once put my hair into the side parting as I’d asked and left it sticking out in all directions with a ton of static electricity. All she said about this was “Ooh, I think I better stop touching it now!”.

All in all, I am pleased that I went, as I needed the haircut and I did learn some vocab. However, I will never be going back again!

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30-in-30 2nd Update

January 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm (Italy, life, studies)

I’m on track to meet my quota of musical tasks before the end of the month. Hoorah! (I hear you shout) However, the Italian is not going as well. It turns out I don’t like hard work! ha ha! (I don’t know why I say ‘it turns out’ because I think I’ve known this for a while!) I can’t motivate myself to get the books out and study. With this in mind I don’t think I’d recommend anyone to split their 30-in-30 into two subjects. It makes it harder to choose what to do and one topic will always become the less favourable thing to do and it’s too easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow”, somewhat defeating the purpose of this exercise I feel.

I’ve come up with a few good ideas to try and make the Italian tasks more palatable though:

  1. watch tv
  2. listen to the radio
  3. get hair cut

So all is not lost, I will still be doing more Italian than I would have normally but it’s not exactly as studious as I had previously hoped. Ah well!

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