Monday, October 31, 2011

NaBloPoMo

Last week I had a bit of a crazy idea. I would participate in NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. It's basically a spin-off of NaNoWriMo, a project that was created to celebrate National Writing Month, which is November. That involves writing a 50,000 word novel during the month, and it's something I've wanted to do for years, since I was in 6th form, but for one reason or another I never manage to get round to doing it.

For me it's going to be a challenge, not so much the writing part but the actual ideas part, I'm not sure I'm going to find 30 different things to write about this month. But I feel that it'll be a positive thing for me, because I don't write near as much as I should or would like to. I've always loved writing, ever since I was small, and it's about time I dedicated more time to my blog.

Tomorrow the adventure begins!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Three Years On

Today's three years since I packed my bags and got on a flight from Bristol to Milan Malpensa, to begin my Italian adventure. It's such a cliché, but time really has gone so fast. I'd only originally planned to stay in Italy for a year or two, even though I didn't then know what I would've done when I returned to the UK. But I'm still here, three years on.

The whole point of moving here was to improve my Italian after I graduated from university. I didn't move out here for love or work. Ever since I first set foot in Italy I'd always felt a connection to the country, leaving to go home was always heartbreaking. And I guess I'd got a bit bored of living in the UK, life wasn't challenging enough, and I'd had enough of the small-town mentality I'd grown up in where everyone knew everything about everyone. About half-way through my degree I decided that yes, I would move out to Italy to continue learning the language, but also for a fresh start.

The anniversary's naturally made me reflect on my time here, especially the last year. It's been a big year of ups and downs. At the moment I'm going through a bit of a difficult patch, I'm feeling at a bit of a dead end. I don't think my Italian can get any better than it is now, but I'm frustrated at only being able to use it during my free time. I've been threatening for weeks to go back to the UK, even though deep down I know I'll never bring myself to actually leave Italy. I'm happy in Milan, and in Italy in general, that's not the problem. I'm hoping things will improve during the next few weeks though, as I don't want to be unhappy here.

I'd like to take the chance to say thank you to everyone who's supported and helped me over the last three years, and also to everyone who I've met during this last year. Thanks for putting up with my whinging and ranting, and thanks for helping me get to know the real Italy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Il Censimento

Today's census day in Italy. Over the last few weeks the forms have been sent out by post - amazingly mine actually arrived in my post box, a very rare event... - and even though they still haven't been received by everyone, today was the date that the census would be based on.

After looking at what seemed like quite a complicated and confusing form, I decided that I'd complete my form online. A dedicated site had been set up, and in order to complete the census you had to log in using your Codice Fiscale and the password which was written on the paper copy of the census form. I figured that not only would I complete the form quicker as I wouldn't be writing everything out by hand, there would be less chance of getting things wrong and completing questions I shouldn't be answering.

Unfortunately though, Istat's website hasn't been able to cope with the demand. Twitter has been full of complaints, and the hashtag #censimento (Italian for 'census) is first in the trending topics. It took me about ten minutes just to get logged in, and after getting thrown out of the system several times during the process, it took me six (yes, I counted) attempts to send the completed form. A process of around an hour and a half, which ironically I wouldn't have spent writing the form by hand.

To be filed under Only in Italy I guess.....