Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Classic

Mare d'inverno is by Milanese singer-songwriter Enrico Ruggeri. The song was written in an area of Italy I know very well, the province of Pesaro-Urbino, in a seaside town Enrico used to go on holiday to when he was young. The song was released in 1984.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Word of The Week

La consegna - delivery

The photo is from the Japanese restaurant's menu where I ordered my sushi from on Monday. Consegna a domicilio is 'home delivery', which is free for orders over 15 euro from this place. With Saturday's panzerotto I'd broken any personal record of ordering takeaway in such a short period of time, and I'm very tempted to order something else tonight! The healthy eating idea for January has completely gone out of the window!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Song of The Week

Invece te is the beautiful new single from Dente. Dente which means tooth in Italian, was born Giuseppe Peveri in February 1976.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

American week at Lidl

I love international weeks at Lidl!! Yes, I know the stuff's produced in Germany or whatever, but it's a very much welcome change from eating Italian food all the time (says she who ordered sushi last night...). After Lidl's wonderful British week, my favourite is American week. So much delicious junk food!

My haul tonight consisted of:
Two bottles of pancake mix (seriously, this stuff is brilliant for when you roll out of bed on a Sunday morning and want instant pancakes)
Barbeque sauce and crisps
An interesting-looking packet of cereal (maple syrup omnomnom)
And even though it's considered pretty much blasphemous in Italy, ham and pineapple pizza! Result!!

And all that stuff is going to disappear very quickly in my house...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mangia che ti passa

January's always such a stronzo, right?

Mangia che ti passa was the advice my veneta friend gave me on Saturday when I said that I was feeling miserable. 'Eat and it'll pass'. Or to put it more creatively, 'eat and you'll feel better'. The Brits back in the Old Country fix everything with tea, Italians with food... in general. I've been trying to stick to a diet since the new year, and after a week of behaving I decided to follow her advice. Instead of falling back on the tried and trusted chocolate and gelato which would have meant leaving the house (err, no.) I decided to order some takeaway online. The delicious panzerotto I had didn't hang around long enough for me to take a photo of it!

Today's a miserable Monday. It's finally stopped raining but it's been grey all day. Even before I had lunch I had ordered tonight's supper - yes, it was going that bad! Not quite as greasy and fattening as Saturday's meal! And as a bonus the delivery arrived at my house the same time I did!

Buon appetito a tutti!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Classic

Rino Gaetano is one of my favourite Italian singers of the past. This is Nuntereggae piĆ¹ from 1978.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Word of The Week

La musica - music

Last night I was stalking Mika at another TV show, Le invasioni barbariche on La7. I was in the audience along with many of my friends, and we had a great time. It was slightly surreal due to the meeting between Mika and Dario Fo, who I'd studied at university. There was a lot of singing much to our delight! It's wonderful the effects that music can have on your life and how it can bring people together.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Song of The Week

Levante is one of my favourite Italian voices at the moment. I heard her new single on the radio for the first time a few days ago, it's called Sbadiglio, which is the Italian for 'yawn'.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Classic

This week's Sunday classic has been inspired by two of my favourite radio presenters' new show, Mauro and Andrea from Radio Deejay - who I also had the pleasure of spending new year's eve with - are now keeping the people of the night company. If any Italian speakers happen to be awake between 1-4am Italian time, listen to Radio Deejay as they're doing a great job! Jovanotti's Gente della notte from 1990 translates to 'people of the night'.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Word of The Week

La notte - night

This week I've seen far much more of the notte than I would have liked. Tuesday night I slept especially bad, it took me forever to get to sleep and after waking up around 1.45 I was wide awake until around 3. Luckily Wednesday night I passed out asleep around 9, but I was awake for a while in the middle of the night on Thursday too. The strange conicidence is that the last time I had a slightly insomniac phase was when I was reading an Italian translation of a Russian novel, which is exactly what I started doing at the start of the week...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Awkward moments for an Italian speaker

Disclaimer: I don't claim to be 100% fluent in Italian. I never will be as I wasn't raised in this country. But I'm damn close, even though some days certain things go straight over my head. It's from those times that I've decided to put this list together of awkward moments that I as an Italian-speaking foreigner face on a regular basis.

The use of dialects
Ok, Milan isn't the greatest example of a city to use when dealing with dialects, as there's such a mix of people here from all over Italy and beyond, but there are times when people who were born and grew up in this city use words from the Milanese dialect with me - especially online - and I'm left puzzled. I only hear a few words of the Milanese dialect on a daily basis, so I've learnt very little of it. At Christmas I was given a crash course in Veneto whilst staying over at my friend, visiting her old neighbours - some of the ladies were of a very impressive age! - who were speaking Veneto dialect at full speed. I understood most of it to my surprise, but it was very disorientating not understanding everything that was being said around me, like it used to be years ago.

Having to repeat yourself
On New Year's Eve I was in central station in Milan. Ordering lunch I had to repeat the word 'menu' three times for the man serving me to understand what I wanted. Tired after the previous night's celebrations I was so close to going off on one about my accent not being that difficult to understand! But I guess sometimes it is. My friends are used to how I speak, and they all say that they love my accent. Meeting new people however, isn't always easy.

Someone speaking in English
Ah, the dilemma of how to answer someone who speaks to you in English. If it's an Italian I naturally speak back to them in Italian, by now it's a reflex that I don't think about. I hear an Italian accent and I reply in Italian. Some however, stubbornly go on speaking in Italian... But what if it's a foreigner who lives in Italy? One of the men who sell things on the street? They're not Italian, is it better to reply in Italian or English?

The mistakes
I make some clangers sometimes. One of my most memorable mistakes was calling myself a zoccola dura (hard slut) instead of zoccolo duro (hard core), just by confusing the gender of the word zoccolo. I may be able to laugh at it now but at the time I was absolutely mortified. I don't make little mistakes like incorrectly conjugating a verb (ok, yes, that does sometimes happen...) but I feel like the ones that I make are more noticeable as everything else around them is correct. I've lost count of the times my friends have told me that I speak Italian better than a native speaker, so it's even more frustrating when I come across words I don't know.

Speak the language means you understand other aspects of life here? 
I often think here that the level of Italian fluency reflects how well you've integrated. It might not be the case, but if you speak the language you're at least not a foreigner who's just got off the plane. Many things still confuse and escape me. During New Year's Eve I witnessed a conversation between two of my friends as to which nuns were unlucky, white ones or black ones. Seriously. I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing, but that's Italy! Speaking the language is only a small part of it, I know I'll never fully understand Italy and all its mysterious ways.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Classic

I must have heard a clip of this song at some point during this week, because the chorus won't get out of my head this morning. It's Strada facendo by Claudio Baglioni, from 1981.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Word of The Week

Il cane - dog

I had the pleasure of making this gorgeous creature's aquaintance on New Year's Eve at the radio! His name's Vinicio and his padrone (owner) is Andrea, one of the ragazzi who was on air that evening. As soon as we arrived Vinicio came bounding up to us to say ciao! He was very well behaved all evening and got lots of fuss and hugs from us guests!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

14 Things to do in 2014

Happy 2014! I had a wonderful new year's eve at the radio, doing the countdown to midnight with everybody on air is something I'll never forget! After the fun and games it's the start of a brand new year. I'm not usually one for new year's resolutions, even though I always see a new year as a fresh start and a chance to improve myself. What I've thought of this year is a bit different though, a list of 14 things I'd like to do before the end of the year. And I'm writing them here as extra motivation to get them done!

  1. Go to Naples and the Amalfi coast
  2. Write more
  3. Visit more places in Lombardia
  4. Learn more about Italian dialects, and especially the Milanese dialect
  5. Lose 10 kg
  6. Worry less about speaking Italian and making mistakes
  7. Read more contemporary Italian fiction
  8. Study more Italian history from the unification onwards
  9. Learn to knit
  10. Take better care of my skin
  11. Swear less, especially in Italian...
  12. Go to Puglia
  13. Go on a daytrip to Italian speaking Switzerland
  14. Learn how to make a good lasagna