Monday, October 29, 2012

Weather Italian style!

Yes, that's a bloke in military uniform doing the weather.

This is the weather on TG2, Rai 2's news. It's put together by the Servizio Meteorologico dell'Aeronautica Militare, the Italian Meteorological Service; and as the Militare would suggest, it's part of the armed services. Which means that if you watch the weather on Rai 2, the forecaster will be a member of the military.

And with the inappropriately dressed women (called meteorine) doing the weather on Berlusconi's Mediaset channel Retequattro it goes from the sublime to the ridiculous...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Classic

Zucchero, born Adelmo Fornaciari, is one of Italy's most well-known singers abroad. This is his 1987 single Senza una donna. An English version of the song, Without a Woman, was released in 1991.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to avoid unwanted attention in Italy

Yes, I know, I'm rubbish at self portraits.

Dye your hair red.

I'm deadly serious.

For around three and a half years after my arrival in Milan my hair was blonde by Italian standards. Yes, for some of the time I did dye it, so I do admit that I brought on some of the problem myself. I've been a redhead for nearly 6 months, and the difference it's made to the amount of unwanted attention I've been getting is incredible. Nearly every single time I left the house there'd be someone commenting at my appearance, as much as it baffled me. And nearly every comment involved the word bionda, blonde.

Now that I'm no longer bionda the comments have stopped. Random men no longer say anything to me in the street, and I can walk around everywhere in peace.

I can't believe it was that simple.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Italianniversary to me!

Today's the fourth year anniversary of my arrival in Italy. For me it's an important milestone, as I spent four years studying Italian at university. Before I made the move I never imagined that I'd still be out here four years on, but now I can't imagine living anywhere else.

I'd like to thank everyone who's put up with me this year, and also to the wonderful people I've met over the course of the last 12 months. You make everything a lot easier. Grazie!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Classic

Singer-songwriter Eugenio Finardi was born in Milan in 1952. 1977's Extraterrestre is one of his most successful songs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Snaps from Milan - Sant'Ambrogio

Heading down from the Duomo towards Parco Sempione you might not notice this statue in Via Mercanti. It's of Sant'Ambrogio, known in English as Saint Ambrose, who is the patron saint of Milan. He was an archbishop of Milan, and one of the most important figures in the Church during the 4th century. His feast day is the 7th of December, and as with other cities around the country and their patron saints, it's a bank holiday for the city.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Classic

Renato Zero is one of Italian music's most flamboyant personalities. He was born Renato Fiacchini in Rome in 1950, and he released his first single in 1967. Triangolo from 1978 is one of his most well-known songs.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cabbages and Boxes

Image credit: Iain Farrell

Or: How to Avoid Swearing in Italian.

What I've found about swearing, and the words and phrases that are used to avoid swearing, is that the Italian's usually much more creative than what would be said in English. And to avoid swearing Italians more often than not use, yes you guessed it, the Italian word for 'cabbage/s' and 'boxes'.

Cabbage is cavolo, with the plural being cavoli. Box translates as scatola, or scatole for boxes. Don't ask me why they're used though,  but it's brilliant.

So if someone or something is breaking (rompere) your scatole, they're getting on your nerves. If your boxes are spinning (girare) then basically, you're not a happy bunny. A 'breaking of boxes' (rottura, the word for 'breaking' on its own is also used for the same purpose) is something that's difficult, annoying, or something that you just simply don't want to do. A person who's 'on your boxes' (stare sulle scatole) is someone you can't stand.

Cavoli, depending on the context, could either translate as 'gosh' or 'heck'. When used on its own in the plural form it's an exclamation. It's also used in its singular form in phrases and sentences, 'Che cavolo stai facendo?!' translates to 'What the heck are you doing?!'.

Yes, I've been here for very nearly four years now, but all these boxes and cabbages in everyday speech still totally amuse me.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Il cambio di stagione

After nearly four years in Italy I still haven't got used to the change in seasons in Italy. At home I was used to having even all four seasons in one day; and summer was always a wash-out, so I never had the range of temperatures that exists in northern Italy. Currently in Milan we're still hitting maximum temperatures during the day of around 21-22 degrees, but considering it was over 35 not more than a month ago it's quite a change. I'm happily walking around in a cardi, jeans, and my beloved Converse, but I've seen some of the Milanese walking around in full-blown winter coats much to my amusement.

What I've found in my time here - and especially here - is that the 'cambio di stagione', the change from one season to another, can be used as an excuse for a myriad of things. From illnesses, lack of sleep, and obviously depression and irritability. I can understand the psychological effect the change in weather can have on people, but for me this temperature is what I was used to during summer when I was back home. The weather hasn't been particularly awful recently, we've had some rain, but nothing really out of the ordinary.

But still, it is affecting me. How? Well, I've gone into full-blown 'fattening myself up for Winter' mode and I'm pretty much eating anything I can get my hands on. The preference being stodgy food such as pasta e fagioli, lasagne, oh and also delicious cotoletta. All of my willpower seems to have disappeared with the warm summer weather. I'm also more tired than usual, I'm not sure if it's just down to the busy few weeks and weekends that I've had since the end of summer, but I'm definitely putting it down to the cambio di stagione too!

I do like the cooler weather too, this year I got more fed up of the hot and stuffy summer weather than usual. I've been reunited with my duvet and my 'normal' clothes - another reason why I don't like summer, the summery clothes I have to wear because of the heat. Oh how I missed my jeans this year! and I'm not sweating just by sitting still! So I guess a few extra kilos and some tiredness is the price I have to pay for the temperature being bareable again!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Song of The Week

Niccolò Fabi is a Roman singer-songwriter who released his first single in 1996. His 1998 single Lasciarsi un giorno a Roma is one of my favourite Italian songs. Una buona idea is his lastest single.