A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Road Rage January 25, 2010

Filed under: Italian Life — italicana kitchen @ 10:26 pm
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I’m usually a very tame driver.  No flipping people off…honking my horn…or slamming on my breaks to tailgaters. Maybe, occasionally I’ll let out a “You freaking idiot!” comment to a car that cuts me off, but that’s about the extent of my road rage….that was until I started driving in Italy. Now, for those of you have never driven in Italy before, we’re not talking about a little bit of road stupidity, we’re talking about everyone who is on the road is “freakin’ idiots” stupidity. Yet, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em I guess, and I’ve seen myself start to get into the Italian style driving….tailgating cars…passing on solid lines during curves…shaking my fists and cursing in Italian…but the line has to be drawn somewhere, right? Well, I have my chalk out and I’m marking a big fat line….so watch out you Italian drivers. I will not tolerate this new “move out of my way” approach to passing.

While driving back to Milan after a day of  snowboarding at Courmayeur, I saw car after car try an “ambulance pass” approach to passing. Imagine three lanes on the freeway. The far right lane for trucks, middle lane for speed limit traffic and the far left lane for fast-moving traffic/passing. Well, I was  comfortably driving in the middle lane adhering to the speed limit, when what do my surprise I have a fast approaching car a few kilometers back flashing his brights at me. I instinctively, move to the right lane as I thought it was an ambulance, but moments later I shockingly watch an Audi A4 cruise past. I can only imagine a greasy-haired chubby 40 something year old man smoking a cigarette tilting his back and laughing hysterially in that “muwahhhhh” tone of voice as a cloud of smoke swirls in the air.

Now that does it. One should never be interrupted from belting out the lastest Alicia Key’s song for such an unwarranted act.  I can tolerate a little tailgating but I will not tolerate you Italian drivers who are too damn lazy to put on your blinker and switch lanes if you want to pass. Watch out you lazy bastards, this gal is holding her ground!

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Language Blunders November 17, 2009

Filed under: Italian Life — italicana kitchen @ 9:15 pm
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I always have to laugh when I make language blunders.  Actually, I start laughing when I see the look of shock or confusion on the other person’s face…

Cannibalism, The New Fashion:

After a coffee date with a friend the other day, we were walking back towards the car through the narrow cobblestone streets and I commented on his down jacket that zipped all the way up to the tip of his hood much like a mummy sleeping bag.

“Your jacket looks like un sacco di pelle,” I say to him.

He stares back at me, his eyes narrowed with confusion.

“You know…for camping,” I continue.

Then his eyes lit up and he bent over laughing. Historically might I add, to the point that I thought he might choke from not getting enough air in his lungs. Oh, cause don’t you know “un sacco a pelo” means sleeping bag, where as “un sacco di pelle” means skin. Yup, that’s right my friend, you’re jacket looks like a sack of skin.  Nice one Cindy.

TMI….Too Much information:

Of course, not to be out done, my Italian friend who likes to practice speaking English with me also experienced quite the hilarious language blunder. We had just packed up our books and were leaving the library when she whispered something in my ear.

“I need to go to the bathroom to put on my fart,” she said.

Sometimes her English is missing a word or two, so I translated that phrase to, “I need to go to the bathroom to fart.”

“Uhh, huh….interesting…well, thannnnks for sharing friend,” was my first thought.  That is until after I realized that she probably said “fard” which is another word for make-up.

Even so, Italian gals, when talking to someone in English, just remember the word make-up….never, never, say the word fard. I promise…you will get quite the shocked look if you do.

 

New Blog! :: Italian Isolation April 10, 2009

Filed under: Italian Life,Italy,living abroad — italicana kitchen @ 10:45 pm
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I will continue to write on a Traveler’s Terrene about general ideas and thoughts (and keep it going for when I take another big trip), but for everything related to my life in Italy you can go to my new blog: Italian Isolation.

From topics such as my passion to write a book to learning fluent italian, from whether Italian men are really stallions to where to find the best gelato–I plan to talk about it all. Think of me as your new travel spokesperson on life in Italy, and learn a little Italian along the way in the Italian vocabulary section!

 

Prayers for the Victims of L’Aquila, Italy April 6, 2009

Filed under: Italian Life,Italy — italicana kitchen @ 5:40 pm
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Today my heart goes out to the victims of the L’Aquila earthquake. In less than 3o seconds, a 6.3 quake left 92 people dead with the death toll still rising, over 1,500 injured, thousands homeless and historic buildings dating back to the 13th century crumbled into ruins. A devastating and horrific event, only proving that life is full of unexpected events that you can never predict.

My prayers and thoughts go out to the victims, families, friends and rescue teams.

 

Another Vocab Blunder… March 31, 2009

Standing outside a restaurant last week, my friend introduced me to a group of friends.  While he turned to continue his conversation with another person I began to chat with one of the women.

Of course, our conversation started out by saying the introductory greetings of “Ciao/Hello…” “Come stai?/How are you?”….etc.  Later in the conversation, I noticed her beautiful red necklace.

“Che bel collare!” I exclaimed.

I received a puzzled look from the woman. Then I pointed to her red necklace hanging around her neck.

“Oh!” She said a wide grin flashing across her face, “La mia collana.”

Ah yes…”collana” because “collare” means collar.

“What a beautiful collar!” …so…I basically just told the woman she looked like a dog. Awesome.

 

Flying Bread and a Scratched Eye March 29, 2009

Instead of trying to back track and describe all of the amazing and incredible experiences of living in Italy for the past month and two days, I am going to simply flash forward to the present. Well, the present minus one day…last night…

I accompanied a handful of my new Italian friend to a birthday party celebration at a restaurant they had rented out for the evening. I planned to stay for dinner and afterward, while the rest of the fifty-some group of friends were going to a discoteca to dance, I was going to a fashion show! Yes, my night was beautifully planned out and I was looking forward to both occasions.

The dinner party started out great. A buffet of exquisite Italian appetizers: asparagus topped with polenta, varieties of focaccia and pizza, rice and pasta salads, veal layered with tuna spread and one of my favorites, l’erbazzone , a thin pastry bread filled with baked spinach.

The main course was on it’s way out of the kitchen and while the rest of the group had found their seats, there were four of us still standing in conversation.  Unintentional, and certainly wine-induced, a fellow friend threw a piece of bread at the man standing in front of me to get his attention to join everyone at the table. Well, unfortunately he had horrible aim in hitting a large target and a surprisingly impeccable ability in hitting a bulls eye….that being my eye. Not above, below, to the left or right of my eye–but smack dab in the middle, and so quickly that my eyelashes didn’t have the opportunity to defend itself from it’s attacker: the sharp edge of a crusty piece of bread.

Time nor eye-drops made the pain in my eye go away and after a half an hour of not being able to open, or even see out of my left eye, I let a few friends drive me to the emergency room. The doctor cleaned my eye (to the point where I wanted to scream it hurt so bad) it then the pain was more or less abated. He prescribed some medicine to help heal the corneal abrasion and although I could get the gyst of what the doctor was saying, I was glad to have my friend Lucio there to translate, especially the dosage for the prescriptions.  Fifteen minutes later, I was exiting the E.R. with my wallet still full of money—it didn’t cost a cent. Got to love Italian health care…I could only imagine the fees this little episode would set me back in the states.

Lessons learned: be thankful for every part of your body every second of the day as you never know when something unexpected like a piece of flying bread could change your life. Fortunately for me, this incident should clear up in a few days, but some accidents don’t. So, right now where ever you are, just count your blessing for the health you currently have.

 

Living an Italian Dream. March 18, 2009

It seems surreal that it has been three weeks since I left the States to start my new adventure: to live in Italy for a year! Last year I embarked on an 10 month around the world trip, this year I am in pursuit of fulfilling additional dreams to live abroad, learn fluent Italian and write a novel–something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember but have never taken the time. When I look back on my life I don’t want to remember that I wanted to do something, but rather that I did that something. The fear of failure is the greatest failure in life.  Why would you deny yourself the opportunity to try to achieve what your heart desires for fear that it cannot be done?

Sure, I may  not achieve all of my endeavors, that is to be somewhat expected. However, with every pursuit I will certainly grow, learn and strengthen myself with the mere act of trying.  The end result is a compliment for ones ego, but the passion that fills one soul in the process is the true reward. To feel alive with passionate hunger and desire is the only life worth leading, without feeling and emotion life is a stagnant line. I want to be a heart beat. A pulse. A movement in space that is always surging and never at rest.

Let the infinite possibilities of life consume me,  my dreams engulf each moment I spend on earth, and give me determination and perseverance in maintaining an unwavering aim to lead a life of unrelenting passion and romantic adventure.