Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Italyversary to me!

Today's the one year anniversary of my arrival in Italy!

It was around 10.30 at night when my flight from Bristol arrived at Malpensa, and it was the start of a big adventure. I had no permanent address and no job - only an interview the following week. It was risky, but I was determined to go out to Italy, and find a job and somewhere to live.

Luckily I had friends scattered all over the country, including an absolute star who offered me a place to stay until I found a place of my own. Those couple of weeks was one of the best periods of time I've had, I had so much fun and met new people, and it helped me settle back in to being in Italy.

And then I got the job and was off to Milan!!

And that's where I've been since - apart from the couple of short trips home I've had obviously! And I can't believe a year's passed already. And I'm very happy here, I think Milan's a great place to live. It's a big enough city without being too big, and even though there will always be the odd thing that baffles/amazes me, I do feel really at home here. The fact that it's a foreign country washes over me most of the time to be honest, it's where I live now. I think it'd feel different if I'd started working back in the UK, as I came out here pretty much straight from university - just over 3 months after graduating if anyone's counting. I used to say that I'd stay out here for a year or two before going back to the UK - to do what though, I never knew! But one year's already passed, and I know the second will go just as quick! I haven't got any long-term plans, but at the moment - and this may sound really bad, seeing as my family and everyone else I grew up with is back in the UK - I can't think of anything that could draw me back to the UK. So I'm here for the foreseeable future, and after that, who knows!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Italians vs Europeans

Yes, this video's been around the block a few times now, but it's only since I've been in Italy for a decent amount of time that I've realised just how true it actually is - especially the part about crossing the road!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nerys's Guide to Italian Music - Jovanotti

I'd been thinking recently about sharing some of my favourite Italian songs, and to my amusement, the list got quite long, so a change of plan was needed! I'm not pretending to be any kind of expert on Italian music, it was something I had not much of an idea about up until just over 4 years ago, when I first came to Italy - my education's been mostly listening to far too much Italian radio during my time in the country!

So I've decided on a guide to Italian music, my style! And the first artist is one of my favourites, Jovanotti. I was introduced to him pretty much on arrival in Urbino, to what's remained one of my favourite Italian songs ever, Mi fido di te.

Annoyingly I couldn't find a video of it that I could embed, so there's a link to one on youtube instead...

Jovanotti - Mi fido di te

Even though I could only grasp the odd word in the song, I fell in love with it. And now it reminds me of the wonderful year I had in Urbino.

Over the last few years Jovanotti's chilled out a bit, compared to his stuff from the 90s (his songs that *I* know at least!!), releasing ballads such as Mi fido di te and Come musica from last winter. One exception though is this summer's cheese-tastic Punto with Sergio Mendez!

And my second favourite song of his is another one I discovered during my year in Urbino, it used to get played in a club we used to go to in the town - L'ombelico del mondo ('the belly button of the world!')

A fantastic, fun, party song - if you ask me anyway!

And one more to end with! The very beautiful, and very soppy A te from the summer of 2007. Here's a live performance from last year's Sanremo festival.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cambio di Stagione

I don't know about the rest of Italy, but up here in Milan, people are starting to think - and some have already gone about it! - about the cambio di stagione. It's getting to that time of year when the Italians put away their summer clothes for the winter and bring out all the winter things they put away in spring. It's not like the UK where you wear pretty much the same clothes all year round!! I did my cambio di stagione earlier than I as planning - next weekend I'm at a wedding, and the weekend after I'll be preparing to go to London for a week; so I decided to get all my clothes sorted this weekend whilst I still had the time. Apparently it's supposed to get a lot colder this week, but bar the odd shower - and thunderstorm like the other morning!! - the weather's been nice up til now, still in the 20s, still mostly sunny. Cardigan weather - if that some days! But it's been cooler this weekend though, tonight I've been wearing a jacket round the house for the first time in months and I'm finally wearing proper PJs again, instead of shorts!!

I really need to find a coat now, before it does start getting too cold. Last year I left it too late, when I arrived here in late October I didn't bring a coat with me. I thought it'd be warmer up here for longer than it was, and ended up getting caught out. The coat I did eventually find is now 2 sizes too big, so a new one's definitely needed! Some new jumpers wouldn't go amiss either; or some boots, especially after all the snow we had last winter...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Welshie on Italian TV!

Let me just explain first, it was last night X Factor, and the audience, so I'm not famous yet!! Being the massive Mika fangurl that I am, I jumped at the chance to go and see him at X Factor last night - even though I've never even followed the UK version, never mind the Italian!! And I was lucky enough to get a ticket to be in the audience, along with 19 other Mika fans!

If anyone saw X Factor last night, the people in the back row, with the gold pom poms (which were actually gold wigs!), yep, that was us! The back row was obviously not our choice, and it was a bit of a pain, as cameras were swooping past us and could choose to film from there at any point, which meant no standing up or waving our arms about. We had to sit still. Which obviously didn't happen when Mika was on, though we were actually sat for the whole performance - we only stood up when he came on & when the performance finished :D It was fantastic, I was in full-blown fangurl mode! And he made a great judge too, even though the simultaneous translation did my nut. I can't stand it, let the boy speak!!

Even though I've never properly followed X Factor at home, it's not exactly difficult to avoid, I've watched lots of bits over the years, so obviously I know enough about it. So it was interesting to see Italy's take on the format. You'd think for a reality show not much could change, well, you'd be right. Obviously, there's not really much you can change, but it is very different! For a start, the Italian show was an epic 3 1/2 ish hours long (I didn't check the exact time that it finished), the judges argue much more and for longer, and just generally talkandtalkandtalk! The voting system's different than the last time I watched the UK version too... Oh, and the audience are more lively, and heckle the judges - shame there were a lot of injokes I didn't get, things that were incomprehensible to my ears being chanted; but people singing " sei bellissimooooooooooooo" to Morgan was win :D - a lot more! It was more enjoyable than I expected actually!

And I'd like to thank everyone who made yesterday so enjoyable and made it possible for us to be in the audience, it was an unforgettable experience!

Friday, October 2, 2009

At the hairdresser's...

The fun of living in a foreign country is the change in doing everyday things such as going shopping, travelling around the city, or as in my case this afternoon, getting my hair cut! I mean, something as easy as "It needs a good trim, the ends have gone a bit scraggy" just doesn't work in my Italian... And then there's the problem of wanting to dye my hair blonde... After deciding to risk it in December, today was the second time I'd dyed my hair here, and luckily this time it turned out fine, but the first time I wasn't very happy with the colour as it wasn't light enough. The colour I've got now is 'very blonde' by Italian standards, and for some reason if I'd have wanted a lighter colour I would have only been able to have highlights and not an all over colour!

My hairdressers is fab, they deal with a fair amount of native English speakers too, which helps! It's funny how in the UK the people in the salon make you a cuppa tea or coffee if you're having your hair dyed - here they order it from the bar just down the street! Today and the last time I went there was one point in the afternoon when the girls decided to order coffee, and they asked us punters if we wanted something too. It did amuse me, I must say!

So here's my new hair, it turned out shorter than I thought it would - nothing to do with anything getting lost in translation! - but I'm very happy with it.