Sunday, April 14

Things I do since...

...I moved to Italy.

While walking to the metro one Sunday morning, in the rain, with my umbrella, this led me to reflect on how certain actions have become habit since I've lived in Italy. I would have seldom done the equivalent in the UK!

1) use an umbrella

In fact, until a few years ago, I was very anti-umbrella, but now, I do use one. In the UK umbrellas would be at my eye height and cause many problems, add to that how British rain doesn't necessarily fall in a straight line, but can float around, lingering in the air, and so a waterproof jacket was my preferred option. However, rain in Milan falls down in a line, it can be diagonal, or vertical, but a directional line none-the-less. Therefore you can block it with an umbrella with minimal dampness occuring: it's usually just my bag and feet that get wet now when using an umbrella.

2) 'hug' buildings

I use this term in reference once more to a rain defense system. Coupled with the above umbrella usage, it is very effective protection to walk as close to buildings as possible when it is raining. In the UK, the areas I lived in didn't have buikding directly on the pavement, but front gardens or low walls, both useless in protecting people from the rain. 

3) use the colon in sentences 

I must admit, I never really knew what a colon did in a sentence: turns out it adds extra information! From what I now understand it can be used like a connective/conjunction and I only know this because in written Italian, it's used more than I experienced in written English. In fact Italian paragraphs can generally be one sentence that is divided up using colons, commas and lots of words, rather than the three sentence paragraph I learnt to write for essays.

4) say "no problem" 

...or "my pleasure" or "no worries" or "you're welcome"...these are terms that have one word in Italian, the infamous prego. I say "no problem" at school after someone says thank you to me that the children in my class have picked it up too (a good thing). Yet I never used to say forms of "no problem" this much in the UK.

I'm sure there are more things I've picked up, but living them I don't notice!

Monday, January 28

Crochet and a Post Office

I am a big fan of crochet, it's one of my stress busters and it can make things so much faster than knitting.

Today has been a regular Monday at work, it was after work that leads me to a blog post: I managed to complete two rows of a crocheted gift (76 double crochets and 76 single crochets for those of you interested), tie off the loose ends, and pack it into a jiffy bag in the time it took six numbers to roll past at the post office. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

There was a hair raising moment between the numbers 162 and 166 (my number) as numbers 163 and 164 had in fact left the building, with 165 being assumed so too. My heart was racing as I fought with the sellotape to close the packet securely as 164 flashed up, I still had to stick on the address label. I jumped up just as 166 was called with my coat, scarf, bag, jiffy package and purse flailing away but I managed it. By the time I'd refocused on my destination, 'sportello' 5, I saw that 165 was present after all: 165 saved the day!

I headed to the empty counter (sportello 4) where I stuck down the label and copied the address onto it from my phone. It then transpired that number 165, even though appearing quite a pristine, well-prepared client, had just whipped out some items from a holdall that needed packing: he was faffing with his parcel at the counter! Did he not know this irritates cashiers?

Thankfully I was close enough to make eye contact with the cashier and show him my 166 ticket, the number that should be at the counter. He took my jiffy package to be weighed while number 165 continued writing away. I did get reprimanded for not having covered all the writing on the jiffy bag (I recycle them), but the cashier stuck sticky labels over the words anyway. Last time I posted something at the post office I was reprimanded for having used envelopes that were too small, and therefore cost twice as much: it seems you can't get anything right at that place no matter how prepqred you think you are.

Anyway, the crochet gift has made it safely into the postal system and will hopefully be on its way to the recipient soon, with standard postage. It could take weeks, if it arrives at all. If it doesn't arrive it just gives me a reason to crochet another gift. Win, win!