Tuesday, November 29

It's official...(and Tuesday's Tune)

...sometimes living away from home sucks.


As the brother left on Sunday I had agreed to go out Sunday night with some friends to a play/dinner and wine event.  I knew that I would be feeling a bit down after saying goodbye to the bro as, although it was awesome to see him, it brought to light all the homesickness feelings I've been avoiding for the past 3 months.

So.  Sunday night I found myself in a circular room, in a winery, lit only by candlelight, listening to "confessions" from 10 men who individually knelt beside me and talked for 5 minutes in Italian.  Right in my face too.  One of them even pulled me closer.  Talk about daunting!

Of course I had no idea what they were saying.  (just imagine now, sitting in a room with someone speaking a language that you only have a small knowledge of)  Odd words/sentences I understood like figlia, madre, adesso etc (daughter, mother, now etc) but without a concrete context i.e. restaurant, pictures, music etc, to match the "confessions" to, I was really stuck.  However this did turn out to be a good thing as 9 out of 10 confessions were pretty disgusting.

My Italian friends afterwards refused to relay all of the details back to me after the play as they themselves had found some of the confessions pretty disturbing.  Apparently one man had confessed, in detail, how he had....you know...had sex with a corpse.  Another proceeded to confess sleeping with his daughter before killing her, and I could go on but I don't want to.  It was a really "interesting" (might be the best word) evening which I really enjoyed.  The set up of the play could work in any language and it was very, very clever.  Most of the people were questioning what they had heard and it did make for some interesting conversations at dinner!

P.S.  No one has materialised to live in the spare room as yet, so I'm still Queen of my very own castle! 

Tuesday's Tune:  Addison's Uncle - B1159

I discovered this when reading Seth Lakeman's facebook page because I received his latest album (a signed copy).  This chap had left a comment on Seth Lakeman's page and I followed the link he left to a recent review.  Loving the randomness but brilliantness of this song.  Wish I could go see him...

Sunday, November 27

The Bro. and Rome

So the younger bruv has returned to England and is probably enjoying crossing roads without having a near-death experience every time.

Ok.  So I went to Rome when my Mum was here in August and on reading the blog from that visit (Yeh...we went to Rome) I can safely say that my view of the city has improved.  The city is indeed "very big" and on my second visit I managed to cover some areas that I hadn't been to before.

Now, the truth: when walking around the city with my brother, I was all set to "blog" quite negatively about it.  I feel that the buildings are just all plonked together and then connected with strips of tarmac for good measure.  Almost akin to the cities I built when playing SimCity many, many moons ago.  But.  This was around the area of the Colosseum, and the Vittoriana thingy-ma-jig (a big, white monument to honour the first King of unified Italy) where there are wide roads  Something happened late in the day that completely, and I mean, completely changed my whole opinion of Rome.

I walked up the cupola (dome) of St. Peters.

It was amazing.  After being taken up "3-levels" in a lift there was an ascent of 300+ steps.  Hmm... the word "steps" doesn't quite cut it.  At one point the "steps" were a tight corkscrew with a vertical rope as the banister.  At another point they were in a claustrophobic, arched corridor just about wide enough for the majority of people and another set were slanting inwards, well the floor was slanting outwards and ceiling inwards, on account of being...in a dome...duh!...

However.  I never been so rewarded with such an ascent as when I emerged at the top.  It was sunset.  And it was beautiful. 

In fact, my writing is not good enough to convey the experience accurately.  Next time you see me ask me about it.

Thursday, November 24

past the 3 month mark

So the younger brother arrived here yesterday.  I was extremely excited (and still am).  This has made me think about the adjustments I have made since being here as my life settles down to become a sort of "normality".

I look left then right when crossing the road.
I am used to walking down (and back up) 4 flights of steps with a bin in the morning to do my bit for recycling.
I am used to running down (and back up) 4 flights of steps with a bin at night to beat the timer on the light, to do my bit for recycling.
I buy my fruit and vegetables from a market instead of the supermarket.
I drink more water than ever before.
I can survive without playing the piano but it ruddy hurts my soul.
I am not able to survive without listening to music at some point everyday.
I find the Old Testament reading of the UCB notes much easier to read now I have the time.
I am not daunted by a lack of knowledge of the language, I've found it is others that impose this on me.
I can work with three and four year olds, and I actually enjoy it.
I have been able to live on my own quite happily.

But one thing will never change.  I still have no knowledge of "current affairs".  Changing country has not affected this, I did not expect it to.  But someone told me there's an economic crisis that could mean the end of the Euro.  I hope it's got nothing to do with Italy...!

Tuesday, November 22

Tuesday Tune - 22/11/2011

Today’s Tuesday Tune is Two-fold:
  1. it is the first Italian song I purposefully listened to, and it has become a favourite of mine
  2. the video is reminiscent of how I’ve been living for the last two months (mainly in my dressing gown and dancing that is, not making things work with a funky move!)
Tomorrow my “living alone” time will end.  My brother will be here until Sunday.  And then Monday...there will be someone living with me until the 12th of January 2012.  This is an exciting time of change but also the end of my new found “living-alone love”.  I love living on my own.  I can dance in my dressing gown and live out of an empty fridge with no complaints from anyone else!

The song is La notte dei desideri by Lorenzo Jovanotti Cherubini


For a translation of the lyrics click here

Saturday, November 19


...shoes, gloves AND pyjamas, hooray! 
So yesterday I went to Bata (please see previous post here) and I managed to not only buy a new pair of lovely leather heeled black shoes suitable for all smart occasions SIZE 42, I also purchased a pair of black leather gloves which are going to keep my fingers toastier than my €2 fleece pair, or my €5 knitted pair, both of which showed signs of wear after a week.  I have also got a pair of calf boots on order that will mean I will be able to wear dresses/skirts/tights/leggings once more instead of trousers and trainers all the time!  I am excited as I normally have ankle boots for the Winter season, not these beauts!

Yay!  Shoes in a size 42.  And they are made in Italy.  Who would've thought!

And today has been an equally productive day with my friend.  We not only managed to buy her a new, shiny, crimson bicycle with a basket, lights, and a lock; get some keys cut so she keep her bike secure at her house; we also found a sleepwear shop that actually has brushed-cotton pyjama's.  Now, they might not sound very warm to you, but for me I have actually been dreaming about my two pairs of brushed-cotton pyjama's that are in England awaiting me to collect them.  Oh...how I longed for their softness and warmth.  So now I have in fact got a brand new set, which are equally wonderful and comfy.

Please.  Do not underestimate brushed-cotton pyjama's.

Oh yeh....one more thing.  I tried on a damned puffer jacket (click here to see why I hate them) and I actually didn't look that ridiculous.  But, I'm still not 100% on the idea.  I've looked at a few temperature charts for the average temperatures in each month for London and Pescara and London does seem to be, in general, a few degrees cooler so I'm just going to see how it goes.  I was able to survive the cold in London (just about!) so I'm going to do the same here.  Heatings off, I've got my pj's and a blanket and 2 electric heaters; one upstairs, one down.  Let's keep the gas bill down!*

*I know I could move into the downstairs room as it would be a lot easier to keep it warm and keep the heating costs down.  But the thing is I actually don't want to live in the downstairs room.  I have stood in it many times and I don't like it, simple as that. So please, none of you "smart alec's" who think they have a solution go suggesting I should move into the smaller room.  I like my room and that is that.  I will live with the cold consequences.

Thursday, November 17

Bro's, Mo's and...

...Bata big!

So...on Wednesday the second favourite, my younger brother, is flying over here to visit.  I'm very excited and have a laid back but also packed itinerary planned tailored to his requirements (i.e. "I want to see the Colosseum.").  I've even booked a night at a hotel in Rome that's apparently 500m from the Colosseum just to make sure he doesn't miss it.  Of course, this should make all my friends think "Hey, it must be pretty easy to visit Laura if her brother's going there so soon." and make them all book their flights out here!

And I move onto the Mo's... It's Movember and I just want to promote my two bestest friends who have embarked on a Mo-journey.  For those of you not in the Mo, Movember's aim is to: "...raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men." (find out more here: http://uk.movember.com/about/)

The Hubby C has decided to grow a mo, and poor Wifey C and their delicious daughter T-cake have to live with the astonishing consequence!  Take a look here, or just give a little cheer for do good-ers like the Charlton's.  (Honestly, I saw "the Mo" live on Skype tonight and Wifey C and T-cake are the ones who should be sponsored for having to avoid kisses from a whiskery Hubby C!)

And finally I sign off with the news that Bata has a range of footwear catering for ladies with size 41-43 feet: "Bata Big".

The absurdity of my shoe size to Italians was confirmed Monday night when I went bowling.  The guy at the counter giving out the bowling shoes was shocked when I announced "42" and handed me a pair of guys shoes.  Yes, people of Pescara, girls who aren't the average height of an Italian woman...163 cm or 5'4" according to http://wiki.answers.com...would look pretty silly walking around on size 37 feet.  So an objective for tomorrow is to investigate whether the Bata shop in town stock this range of footwear.  However I fear the brilliance is a "website only" commodity.

Tuesday, November 15

Tuesday Tune 15-11-2011

Because I love listening to music and because, like most people, I love when music is well matched for it's purpose I have decided that each Tuesday I will share one particular "musical entity" that has impressed me that week.  I'm guessing that this could be music from anywhere, or anything.   

So...to start us off.   I love the song on this advert which is getting a lot of TV time at the moment....yes it's an advert for socks....

The song is Lovely On My Hand (feat. Dorotea Mele) by Fabrizio Campanelli

Saturday, November 12


There have been a few little things that I've said/done that have made me laugh (and others laugh when I've shared the hilarity).

Gigglefest 1:  I am in the bar just round the corner from my house.  I am with another English speaking girl.  I am buying bus tickets:

"Tu sei un biglietto per l'autobus."  The girl looks at me, with a very puzzled look.

"Un biglietto per l'autobus."  I repeat feeling confused as I thought my Italian was improving.  She smiles and realises what I want and I proceed to purchase 4 tickets.

Two hours later we are eating lunch, on a park bench, opposite work.  Lunch is a "Lidl Lunch" consisting of ciabatta, salami, sliced cheese, a packet of lettuce and Freeway Cola.  It suddenly dawns on me the hilarity of the earlier situation.

"Tu sei un bigletto per l'autobus."  Yep...I told the girl in the bar...."You are a bus ticket." 

Gigglefest 2:  I have been looking at new excercises that I can do at home to stop all the yummy Italian food I am eating spoil the size of my midriff.  Please try and imagine me (or maybe not), in my room, wearing trackie bottoms, a novelty jumper; the one that cost a Euro from the market, in my bedroom doing this whilst laughing hysterically...


"Upper body comes up, lower body comes up...BAM you just wanna pump them out..."

*cough* or not.....

Tuesday, November 8

Fancy a trip to the Post Office?

I arrive at the Post Office at 9am but turn around and head for the market because the queue is already massive.

At the market I purchase:
•A ball of wool to complete my hat
•A jumper from one stall for €3
•3 pairs of long socks for €5
•5, yes 5 jumpers for €5, three just because I need jumpers, one for doing "sport" in and the other is a massive thick proper olde style jumper with a wintry picture on the front, my Dad will be proud of me! 

Although there aren't charity shops in the same way as England (and I am a frequent visitor to charity shops), the used clothes stalls at the market make up for it.  Definitely the place to get myself a nice, warm puffer (bleuck) jacket as I don't see the point in me spending lots of money on something I currently hate the look of.  I completely understand the practicality of a "puffer" though so it will have to be done!

I head back to the Post Office, aware it will still be busy, as now I have the time to stand and wait.  I get my ticket: A155.  Look at the board. A65. My goodness me, 90 tickets to beep through.  Obviously some people have given up waiting but I need to pay the gas bill.  This, I spy, is the reasons why everyone else is standing with bills in their hands... 

Whilst I am waiting I go to the bar for a cappuccio and even sit down to drink it.  On returning to the Post Office the board displays A85.  Phew, promising...

At A122 I decide to go home to put my shopping away.  I get changed ready for work, go to the toilet and put my jumpers in the wash.  Back to the Post Office and it's on.....A1...2...8.  SIX numbers more. ARGH.

(I eventually pay at 12.32.  Incredibly it was an hour and a half wait for a 40 second transaction!)

*I discovered, after speaking to my Italian friends, that the first days of the month are when pensions are collected, in alphabetical order.  So that AND all the people paying their various bills equals the massive queues.  When it was at A80 people were taking tickets that were A288, crazy!

Sunday, November 6


...ooo yeh!! I went olive picking.  Climbed trees and everything.  Also met some lovely new people, ate lots of yummy food and even played cards.  Hoorah!
(1) The olives start on the tree....(!!)

(2) A net goes around the base of the tree.
(3a) Then you just "comb" the olives off the branches.
(3b) You've gotta love the bright pink hoody!

(3c) Obviously the olives are all over the tree so sometimes it's just easier to get in it!

(4) The olives end up on the floor and it's just a case of helping them roll to the bottom of the net, which is lifted up at the edge to catch them.  Then put them into containers.  Simple!
(5) Every Olive picked!
Snack Time!