Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Actually, I live out there"

The statue of the wizard Merlin in my hometown, Carmarthen

It's always strange going home. The first few days I want to go back to Milan, and by the time it gets to the last couple of days or so I want to stay longer. And this time I felt like a fish out of water for longer than usual, due to the amount of time I'd been away for.

Even though I'd been in London at the end of February last year, the last time I'd been back to see my family was Christmas 2009. And a lot of things can change in 16 months. People change, places change - you change. With it only being a week it's then never going to be a normal week home, like the weeks I'd spend during holidays during my time at uni for example. So little time means trying to do as much as possible. Seeing people, days away, meals out. As I said to a sales assistant at Heathrow on the way back - the same conversation created the quote in the title of this post - it was a holiday, a holiday from my normal, everyday life in Milan. My life was upside down compared to the holidaymakers she usually saw.

Trying to get Honey, the family dog, to pose for a photo is no mean feat...!

But in all its strangeness it was still a nice week. I caught up with family and friends I hadn't seen for the best part of a year and a half. Everyone said I'd changed, thanks to my slightly drastic haircut. We went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant we'd been going to since I was around eight years old. We went down to the coast for a day - and had some fantastic ice cream at an ice cream parlour founded by an Italian family! And of course, we went shopping! There's a new shopping centre in my hometown, and I got quite a few bargains (£1 jeggings, thanks New Look!!). And the weather was beautiful, all week!

The amazing sundae at Fecci's, Tenby

But I never felt like I belonged, not like I used to, not like I do in Milan. Regardless of the fact that I was only there for a week, walking around my hometown I felt like a foreigner. I expected the strange looks that I still sometimes get in Milan, from not looking like the rest of the population. Well, I certainly wasn't dressed like everyone else - everyone else was walking around in their summery clothes whilst I was still in jeans and a jacket!

And I missed being in Italy. Little habitual things that I used to take for granted such as listening to Italian radio. It's nice to be back. I'm used to it here, I know what to expect. I guess that's just one of the things that you have to learn to deal with if you're away from your home country for so long - feeling like a stranger in your own country.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter With The Yours

Please see this if you don't get the joke ;)

Later today I'll be getting on a plane from Linate airport bound for Heathrow. After the disaster that was Christmas It'll be the first time that I've been home since December 2009, and the first time back in the UK since the end of February last year. It makes me sound a bit selfish, I know; and the only way I can defend myself is by saying that it costs money that I didn't have last year, and as the journey takes around 12 hours door-to-door (thanks to both Cardiff and Bristol airports failing epically when it comes to flights to Italy) going home for the weekend is out of the question. Needless to say, I'm very excited to be going home and to be seeing people I haven't seen for ages. And eating lots of food. And doing lots of shopping. And watching British TV. Aaaaaaaaaand.....

So I'll be back in a week, in time for Easter itself, but it's still sort of Easter at home, right?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Everyone's Talking About...

So I've decided on a new feature - what the people of Italy have mainly been discussing during the week.

The crisis in Lampedusa continues. Unfortunately this week we saw a boat full of immigrants sink on its way to the island, 250 people died according to the Italian media. The immigrants who originally reached Lampedusa are being transferred to other centres in Italy, and are being allowed to apply for temporary permits to stay in Italy for six months.

The weather
Italy, as with many other countries in Europe, has been basking in sunshine these last few days. The temperatures in Milan yesterday reached an unseasonable high of around 30 degrees! Many Italians have been making the most of the weather this weekend by making the first trip of the season to the beach.

Actually, when is Italy not talking about Berlusconi? This week the highly-anticipated 'Rubygate' trial started, and after a hearing of only seven minutes was adjourned until May 31st. He was also in the news for telling an off-colour joke to students at the Sapienza university of Rome, which was met with total silence!

Il calcio
The race for the 'scudetto' is heating up! After a disastrous week, Inter won 2-0 against Chievo last night; but after their win today Napoli are tied with first place Milan with 65 points. Milan are still to play this week, away against Fiorentina tonight.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What do you get if....

... you cross a world-famous DJ with one of Italy's most well-loved singers?

Well, in the case of Bob Sinclar and Raffaella CarrĂ , this!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Milanese Pet Hates - Part 7

The result of a night's roadworks...
Roadworks at night.

WHY would you do that on a residential street??

I was aware that some kind of work was planned as there had been signs up for a few days telling people that they weren't allowed to park on the street, but I never imagined that said work would be carried out during the night. But a couple of nights ago, around 9pm, I heard what sounded like a street full of heavy vehicles and people, and wondered how long it would carry on for. It was still going when I went to bed around 11. And when I woke up around 4am.

Needless to say I had a pretty sleepless night. Is it really so difficult to create a diversion and do the work during the day?

Epic fail Milan. Epic fail.