Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A little more about me...

I think I'm just coming out of one of my writer's block periods. It's been a bit of a strange couple of weeks for me, since being on the radio I've not felt quite myself. I know it sounds silly, but after living your dream (even if it only was for half an hour) it's difficult to get back to normal life, right?

And as usually happens after one of my all-too-frequent writer's block stints, I've decided that I need to devote more time to my blog. And, for the second time, I think I need to give a bit more background to myself in order to do that. So here goes...

I don't have any Italian relatives, not that I'm aware of anyway. Even so, before I started studying Italian my closest link to the country was one of my aunts. She's lived in several different places over the years, including Rome when I was small. I don't remember ever speaking to her about Italy before I started studying the language, but it was as if I was always aware growing up of her having lived there.

I didn't start studying Italian until I was 16. But for years before then I was interested in foreign countries and cultures. Up until a few years ago the National Eisteddfod used to have a ceremony called Cymru a'r Byd (Wales and the World) which was basically a ceremony to celebrate and welcome home Welsh expatriates who had left Wales to live in countries all over the world. My favourite part was when the countries that were represented by the expats were read out one by one, and the people who now lived in that country would stand up, wave to the crowd, holding flags or mascots from their new country. I've tried to figure out which Eisteddfod it was exactly, when I was in the audience in the Pavillion with my mam, to watch the ceremony, but I can't remember exactly. I'm pretty sure it was the 1993 Eisteddfod in Builth Wells, when I would have been 7 years old. I was so pleased that I was able to see the ceremony, it fascinated me, all those people who'd grown up and lived in the same country I was living in, but were now living in far away countries. It sounds strange, even thinking about it now, but even at that age (or maybe a year or two older, seeing as I can't pin down the year) I wanted to be one of those expats. One day, some point far away in my future, I wanted to be standing on that stage, representing a country, even though I didn't know which one.

The Cymru a'r Byd ceremony isn't held any more, it was scrapped a few years ago, after I'd started studying Italian at university. It was criticised for being old-fashioned and out of touch with modern Wales, which, as much as it annoys me to admit it, was true. It's a shame. It would have been fun to stand on that stage, representing Italy. It'll always remain an important step on my road here, even though I never knew how much of a significance that one day in August would have years down the line.

Oh, and before anyone asks the obvious question, I don't have an Italian boyfriend or have ever had one, and after the ragazzi I've met here (the gay guys I know however, are lovely blokes!), I can't say I want to go out of my way to find one either!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You Know You're Becoming Italian When..... Winter Edition

Here's another little glimpse into what Italians are really like:

- A fever is the worst symptom of an illness you can get. Even if you have the slightest fever, and apart from that you feel fine, that's it, you're not going anywhere. A cold or flu isn't serious business unless you have a fever!

- You make sure you're wearing enough layers or have a thick enough jumper, or you will end up with a mal di pancia (bad stomach).

- If you don't wear a scarf when it's cold you're worried that you will end up with a stiff neck.

- You're never without a supply of Tachipirina (its main ingredient is paracetamol). Italian housewives swear by it. It. Cures. Everything.

- Even if it's 17-odd degrees outside, unless it's properly full-blown summer, you're still wrapped up in a jacket and scarf.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Song of The Week

Ok, this's cheating a little bit, as there's English in this song, and usually I only feature songs completely in Italian. But one of my favourite artists, Caparezza, is back! His new song, Goodbye Malinconia, features Tony Hadley - even in the video!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Un Giorno da Deejay

Those of you who know me would know that I'm a bit of a radio geek. I'm always listening to it whenever I can, and it's pretty much been like that since I was 11 years old. My favourite station in Italy is Radio Deejay, who, this weekend, gave a chance to 100 aspiring radio presenters to go on air from the radio's studios here in Milan, with the presenters - and I was one of them!

The 'Un giorno da Deejay' was done last year, to celebrate the radio's birthday on the 1st of February, and it was decided that it'd be held again this year. After thinking about it for nearly two weeks, I decided to send off my application so that I'd stop brooding about whether I should try or not. And a week ago today, much to my surprise, I got the phonecall, telling me that I'd been chosen to go on air. I was lucky enough to be able to choose to go on air with my two favourite presenters, Federico and Marisa, and was given a slot of 3pm on Sunday.

So after a very nervous week, Sunday lunchtime I started the long tram journey that would take me across town to Via Massena, one of the streets off Corso Sempione. I got to the radio around half an hour before my slot, and met the other girl who I'd be on air with (nearly everyone had been paired up, like last year, as there were so many of us!), who, unlike me, had a bit of experience in radio. Shortly before 3pm, we met Federico and Marisa, who were enthusiastic about me being on air with them! Marisa, when she first saw me, practically ran up to be going, "Neryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyss!! Perché non ci avevi detto??" ('Why didn't you tell us??' I'd sent them a text when they were on air the day I found out that I'd been chosen, but as she explained, they get so many texts when they're on air that they don't get a chance to read them all.) before giving me a massive hug! I was really taken aback by her kindness!

Then, we were live on air. It was an amazing experience, to be on my favourite radio station, speaking to listeners all over Italy. I was living a dream. I was much more relaxed than I expected, pretty much once I started speaking I calmed down so much! As all the others had done, we spoke about ourselves, our backgrounds, our interests - nothing too challenging luckily! And having spoken twice to them on the phone last year helped, I sort of knew what to expect, what the pace would be like, and that I'd need to think on my feet a lot. Luckily my Italian didn't let me down!!

I stayed at the radio til around 5.45, when I got hungry! I hadn't eaten anything since lunch, and since I wanted to take the tram home so I could carry on listening to the radio, it would take me about an hour to get home (and it actually took longer than that!). I met a few of the other presenters, and a lot of the other participants, who were all lovely and very talented.

Today life's getting back to normal, and yesterday feels like some sort of a strange dream. I never expected to be chosen, and I never quite got my head around the idea that I'd be on the radio! I'd like to say a big grazie to Radio Deejay for organising this weekend, and giving 100 of us the chance to live a dream. Grazie to Federico and Marisa for being so lovely and putting me at ease. And thanks to everyone who listened to me and supported me, it means a lot to me!

Oh, and you can listen to us here (yes, my name's misspelt!) and there's a lovely photo of the four of us here.