Saturday, November 28, 2009

Educating the Italians about flu...

There's a government campaign on tv in Italy, as you'd expect I guess, to help prevent the spread of swine flu (most commonly known in Italy as Influenza A), and to clarify who needs to be vaccinated against the seasonal and/or 'A' flu.

And these adverts feature a kids' puppet. I must admit, I thought the puppet mouse was just some random creation for this campaign, until when trying to find the ads, when I discovered that this particular puppet was a well-known and well-loved mouse by the name of Topo Gigio. So, admittedly, had I have known this, I probably wouldn't have been as baffled as I had been when I first saw the ads. A puppet mouse educating the Italian masses on the flu vaccinations!

After a bit of searching, I finally found that advert I was after on youtube, the one that deals with the vaccines. The advert which deals with the 5 rules on how to stop the spread of the flu I can sort of understand, it's basic stuff kids need to know too. But the vaccines??

I don't know... Maybe if I were Italian I'd see things differently??

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Song of the Week 2

So for this week, here's Zero Assoluto's new song, Cos'è normale (what's normal)

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Favourite Italian Words - So Far!

1. il piccione - pigeon
A far funnier word for those annoying creatures!!

2. il riccio - hedgehog
The funny thing is that this word also means curl or curly - hedgehogs definitely aren't curly!

3. il bimbo - (little) boy
Slightly immature, but I don't care...

4. strambo - strange/wacky/freakish
A new word I only learned a couple of weeks ago, and according to my Italian friends, it can be used for those 3 English meanings.

5. il trucco
Used most commonly for 'make-up', but it also means 'trick' - clever those Italians, eh?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Italian medicine

I was convinced I'd done a post about medicine in Italy, but it seems not...

Last night I went to pick up some medicine in the pharmacy on the way home that the doctor had prescribed me. Nothing serious, a dietary supplement; the packet would contain 10 little bottles to take once a day, before breakfast.

Which cost me 19.50 euros!!

I nearly had a heart attack!! The doctor had prescribed me two packets, but the pharmacy only had one - and at that price I'm glad that was the case!

I almost dread to think how much money I've spent on medicine in this country since I've got here, even the most basic things are so expensive. A packet of paracetamol or asprin costs around 4 euro, cold medicine can easily be 5 euro, and when I've had a stomach bug, things for it have cost around 10. The supplement I had in the summer for my low blood pressure cost over 13 euro for 14 packets. It all seems a bit excessive to me, especially after my experience last night. And coming from a country where you can buy paracetamol/asprin/ibuprofen for 40p - and cheaper, and it was always the cheap stuff I bought, and I never had any problems with it. Oh, unless it was a migraine that I had, then I had to shell out on the hardcore migraine medicine.

I think I've just made myself seem like I'm always ill, which actually wasn't far off the truth last winter! But this winter I'm prepared, I've got my vitamins, my supplements, some cold medicine already, and I'm hoping I'll be able to dodge more lurgies this winter then last time round - to save money for one thing!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Song of the Week 1

Ok, so this one's been around for a few weeks, but the first few times I heard it I wasn't convinced. I'd actually only got to know the original thanks to the edition of X Factor I was in the audience for, when one of the contestants sang it. It's Ma il cielo è sempre più blu by Giusy Ferreri. It's a cover of a very well known Italian song, originally by Rino Gaetano, released in 1975. Even though I still don't like how the intro in the cover's been changed, I've grown to really like it!

And for comparison, here's the original...

There's always going to be something to miss...

So, over one year on in Milan, what is it that I miss the most from the UK? This time I'm not talking about the obvious things such as family, friends and the like, but the little things from daily life back home that I used to take for granted...

Intelligent TV programmes
Le sigh. There's really no hope left for Italian tv. There are a couple of rare gems, such as (in my opinion!) La prova del cuoco and Affari tuoi - both imported formats, known in the UK as Ready, Steady, Cook and Deal or No Deal respectively; which in Italy become all-singing, all-dancing versions (literally!) - and the odd fairly-interesting game show (the Italians do love their game shows...), such as L'eredità which I started watching at uni; and my favourite Italian language soap (dubbed from the original German), Tempesta d'amore, there isn't really anything exciting about Italian TV, especially if you still have bogstandard analogue TV like I still do. To make some sweeping generalities, it's full of chat shows, dubbed programmes - many even 15+ years old, which have been repeated to death - and the veline - the half-naked showgirls... But there are a couple of things - bar my soap! - I couldn't live without, namely the two music channels, the newly-launched Deejay TV (love!) and MTV.

There are only a couple of things I follow religiously from the UK - Casualty and Holby City; but what I miss are the interesting documentaries and dramas, both of which are extremely scarce over here. It would be nice to settle down in the evening in front of the TV, knowing I'd be watching something that was actually intelligent...

24 hour openings
Not exactly an obvious choice, but it was something I took completely for granted at home, especially when I was living on campus at uni, when I'd have a 24 hour Tesco 5-10 minutes from my halls. I could go on a late-night chocolate run, or a hungover wander to get fry-up making ingredients without thinking about it. The nearest supermarket to me (Esselunga if anyone's interested, what one of my English friends here calls the Italian Sainsbury's!) is usually open 2 Sundays in the month; but as the only place I've seen the Sunday openings advertised is in the shop itself, and also as it's on a street I don't go down on a daily basis, I never really get to plan a Sunday trip in advance. Then here's the little mini-Unes up my street that doesn't open Sundays at all, and is still faithful to siesta hours. All in all, in can make even popping out for a bottle of milk difficult!!

Looking for something...?
This is from a conversation I had with an English workmate yesterday - how difficult it can be sometimes to find the easiest of things, even in Milan! The object in question yesterday was a notebook; a non-squared, nice, cheap notebook. But most notebooks in Milan are either for schoolkids or are too expensive - or a combination of the two!! Even clothes shopping can be a mission when you're looking for a specific something! I was surprised when it took me two shopping trips to find a dress to a wedding I went to last month (though admittedly, I found a dress for a party I went to last Monday in the first shop I went into!), and I've still not found a pair of boots here yet. The problem is that everything's all the same, there's just not enough variety in the clothes here - which creates a lot of problems sometimes!!