Panorama – il supermercato and anything sounds cool if it’s not your language

Ciao a tutti,

Now I love supermarkets in Italy, I just think that all supermarkets should look like the supermarkets that they have here. I mean, you walk in and they have everything, from the cheap clothes, that you would probably only buy to wear around home, if you could even bring yourself to purchase “supermarket” clothing, to the electronics (I know in New Zealand you can’t buy electronics at a supermarket, or in England either), to then having a whole large section set aside for french local produce. And all the formaggi (cheese) it looks so good, and so much cheaper than anywhere I else I have seen to buy my beloved parmigiano, for i’m pretty sure today I noticed it at €1.49 per 100grams. Which is much cheaper than in England where it was about 2GBP+! I probably should of taken more notice of the other prices too. But I was too obsessed with running around decided to buy Nutella – not even to eat, but to take back to New Zealand, purely for the container, I love that over here, they have special edition containers that you can use as glasses to drink from after you have eaten all of the Nutella. I got two last time we were here over summer last year, unfortunately I accidentally broke one a few weeks before we were leaving London, and they didn’t have anymore when I went to check, I think it’s a “spring” limited edition out at the moment. I am a little bit disappointed that there was no italian writing on the glass though!

The Panorama! Italy's adorable supermarket!

The Panorama! Italy’s adorable supermarket!

the olio e pomodori aisle! Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

the olio e pomodori aisle!
Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

The pasta aisle! A whole wall just of pasta! If only every supermarket in the world were like this haha

The pasta aisle!
A whole wall just of pasta! If only every supermarket in the world were like this haha

The book I convinced Matteo to buy for me to practise my italian! It's full of little comics!

The book I convinced Matteo to buy for me to practise my italian! It’s full of little comics!

After hiding from Matteo in the supermarket, and then convincing him to buy me a disney comic written book, we finally left the supermarket and made our way back home. We then went to enjoy a beautiful dinner made by his amico that lives across the road (it’s a one way dead end road, so like 10 steps away), with a couple of other amici, as I was sitting around the table with all the beautiful italians that they are, I thought, to me, everything in Italy sounds beautiful, even something like melanzane which is an eggplant of aubergine depending where you are from, all types of fruits and vegetables when said in italian sound so beautiful to my ear, even pentola sounds amazing, and that is a pot you put on the stove! So I thought well if myself, coming from an english country with no much knowledge of this language I think is so beautiful, thinks that even the most plain words sound beautiful when said in italian, does that mean that italians would think the same about english. And it’s completely true. I mean Matteo’s email address is big_cash….. now granted he did make it when he was about 14, I remember when I met him, and teased him about it, because to me it sounds like someone is bragging about having lots of money, but for him, not knowing much english, he didn’t even realise until I came on the scene, that “big cash” is a real douchebag sounding email address. It is because all of his friends call him Cash because of his last name being Castellani, but I’m sure to him, only having a very basic understand of english at the time (like I have currently of italian) it must have sounded cool. Our friend Chiappa, was saying that his nickname when they were younger was called “The Vice” I then went onto explain that a vice was what you put wood in, to make it not move so you can saw a piece off of it. After realising what it was, he cracked up with laughter.

Selfie time with my two Matteo's! Matteo and Chiappa!

Selfie time with my two Matteo’s! Matteo and Chiappa!

I guess it’s quite funny, that really in any language, we could say the most stupid sentence and it would sound really cool in that foreign language, but quite silly to anyone that could actually speak the language! Languages are weird! Ahhhhhhhh! haha I just wish my brain would work itself properly and make me understand it so much better! I managed to get the mango languages app on my phone and have started to do my italian course on there again. I just hope that my memory will improve so that everything I learn, I can actually remember! Because I mean, I love to learn stuff, if I find out something new about a topic I am quite interested in, I will get on the internet straight away and learn so much about that place, or person, and I will then go on to tell everyone about it, and they will probably find it incredibly boring, but it interests me and I remember it all to go on about it to them, but when it comes to italian, it’s something that really interests me and I want to remember it so much, but it feels like it goes in one ear and out the other! Ahhhhh! Why is that? Why won’t it just stick!

Well it’s getting late and if I want to convince Matteo to do something tomorrow, I need to try to wake up before him. This morning I got a phone dropped on my face to wake me up (he says its an accident, but sure sure) haha.

Allora… buona notte miei amici!

A domani!

Ciao ciao


Pay it Forward

Ciao a tutti,

I was going through my Facebook feed and doing some light googling this evening, and noticed a post about the pay it forward initiative on Facebook. So I thought, instead of doing it on Facebook, where only my Facebook friends can see it, why not open it up onto here, to brighten someone (or five someones) I don’t actually know!

So here it goes!

I’m participating in the “Pay it Forward” Initiative: The first five people to comment with “I’m in” will receive an absolutely brilliant surprise from me at some point during the calendar year of 2015  – anything from a book, a ticket, something homemade, a postcard, absolutely any surprise!

There will be no warning, and it will happen when the time is write and I will find something that I believe would suit you (after reading your blogs) and make you laugh (or smile).

But there is a catch – you must make the same offer to five other people. 🙂

Let’s do more nice and loving things this year in 2015. Here is to a more enjoyable, friendly and banter-driven year! 🙂

Now are you up for the “Pay it Forward” Initiative?


You may need to private message me on here to send me your address etc, but it will be lovely to do something like this 🙂

Ciao miei amici 🙂

Anna x

la famiglia e la febbre

Ciao a tutti,

Well my first week in Italy is over. And I haven’t done too much, I think the main reason really is because I caught a cold/flu of one of the friends we came to Italy with. So I haven’t been feeling too well. In fact I spent all day in bed today because of it, since I’m all blocked up and struggling to sleep properly at night time.

Oh the joys of being sick, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, it’s still going to screw up your day!

On Saturday we had a nice morning at the family home, then went  out for the afternoon to catch up with a friend from London who was over for a week in Rome, as hi mother lives in Italy. So that was really nice to see him and meet his girlfriend who was here with him. We went to some places that I had never been too before which was really cool.

we met up at Piazza Cavour, which was just across the river from the Pantheon, about a 10-15minute walk from there. Matteo and I arrived about 1 1/2 earlier, so we could have a look around and take some photos, unfortunately the reality of Piazza Cavour, is that there is a monument, some public benches and some stairs to a building and that is it. It did have some cute fountains, which I noticed a gypsy looking lady tossing a coin into one of them. But I don’t think many people do that, as it wasn’t like being at fontana di trevi where the coins are over flowing!

fontana di cavour… I don't know if it's actually called that, there were two of them exactly the same.  Photo Credit: Matteo Castellani

fontana di cavour… I don’t know if it’s actually called that, there were two of them exactly the same.
Photo Credit: Matteo Castellani

The public building in piazza cavour

The public building in piazza cavour

The big memorial.

The big memorial.

At around 2.45pm we finally caught up with Roberto and Andrea, and went across the river more into la città! As we were walking we came across San Luigi dei Francesi or the French Catholic Church in Rome, From the outside it just looked like your usual churches that are everywhere, but from the inside it was incredible beautiful, (as all the churches here are anyway), they even had original artworks from Caravaggio and they were just stunning, I think that is definitely something that makes me love Italy so much more, the amount of amazing artists that came out of this country, and the amount of original artworks that are still in perfect condition that are around for all to see! I mean, I know a lot of people are quite stick in the mud about the artworks and gold statues and all the other fabulous items the catholic church possess, but what I don’t think they realise is that, yes they are already helping the poor anyway, and if they sold all their wonders, it would be a great loss to an already crumbling italian economy, for all the pilgrims and tourists that come to see these beautiful relics and paintings and artworks for free. If they sold them all, they would probably end up with a private collector, hidden away from the rest of the world to protect the item from damage, but at least this way, everyone that ventures to this bella paese gets to experience the wonder and awe of these items that have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years!

Inside San luigi dei francesi Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

Inside San luigi dei francesi
Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

La bella chiesa Photo credit: MAtteo Castellani

La bella chiesa
Photo credit: MAtteo Castellani

The inspiration of Saint Matteo - by Caravaggio

The inspiration of Saint Matteo – by Caravaggio

Then after la chiesa we around a few corners to a “special” coffee shop that was well known for being famous, called Sant’Eustachio. When we arrived there was already a line outside the shop. It’s rather a tiny little caffè for the amount of business they get, which was quite a pain, as it was very squashed once you finally made it inside the shop. But that being said, it was an adorable little caffè and I did enjoy a delicious un tiramisu caffè! 

Waiting outside the caffè Photo Credit: Matteo

Waiting outside the caffè
Photo Credit: Matteo

Goodies that you can buy to remember the Sant'Eustachio!  Photo Credit: Matteo Castellani

Goodies that you can buy to remember the Sant’Eustachio!
Photo Credit: Matteo Castellani

When we got inside! Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

When we got inside!
Photo credit:
Matteo Castellani

All the sweeties you can buy Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

All the sweeties you can buy
Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

un tiramisu caffè nom nom nom Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

un tiramisu caffè
nom nom nom
Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

After we had our yummy coffees, we headed over to the ruins of Torre Argentina where they have the roman cat sanctuary, and wow what they do is amazing, as I’m sure anyone who has been to Rome, understands that there is rather a large cat epidemic, especially in the summer, and What the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary does is care for the homeless cats, feed them, spay them, attend to their every needs. What they do is amazing! If we ever move to Italy in our life time, I will definitely be going there to adopt a cat. The cats are so friendly as well! And beautiful! The ladies that worked there were so knowledgable and helpful, I would like to go back if we have a chance!


Enjoying love from one of the many gatti!  Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

Enjoying love from one of the many gatti!
Photo credit: Matteo Castellani

Afterwards, we all had to depart, it was nice getting to catch up with some wonderful amici in roma! After we got back home, Papà arrived, in fact he bet us home, as we saw him on our way back from town. We then went to his place, to catch up with him and matrigna. We enjoyed a nice meal at a little pizzeria, where they had karaoke, so I got to sing 🙂 hehe, that was quite fun! Then we stayed at their place on bunk beds. I claimed the top one! It was like I was having a sleepover as a child again! haha!

The following day we went to visit Nonni Anna and Alberto! And we had a delicious lunch, and then got to go through all the old photos of their family. I love looking at old photographs, so much history in them! It was nice to be able to look through them, and see similarities in the family! We then went to the mall, and then it was home time.

Unfortunately I have ended up with a slight la febbre, I slept horribly last night, all blocked up, constantly waking in the middle of the night, so today I spent all day in bed trying to recover, unfortunately Matteo is not a sympathetic nurse, (I think he thinks I must be faking it), but I said to him today, we are in Rome, and I love Rome, if I wasn’t sick, I would be leaping at the chance to go outside and explore the city. I didn’t want to eat much today, but nonna being nonna made me! She even brought me food in bed, she is such a sweetheart!

well this has literally taken me about 5 hours to complete thanks to the joy of the italian internet connection!

I hope we get to explore some wonderful sites tomorrow!

Ciao a tutti!


first “real” day in ITALIA

ciao a tutti

well I finally had my first full day back in Italy, and it wasn’t very eventful… the joys of not having a car and having a fidanzato that hates public transport, meant we were at home for the day, but it was nice and relaxing, waking up around 10am, getting out of bed to enjoy un caffè, then I put on my workout gear and did 20-30minutes of running on the spot, sit ups, crunches, mountain climbs and press ups (I need to try and lose some pre wedding weight while I’m here haha), then after a beautiful lunch of pasta, I enjoyed an nice long afternoon nap!

After dinner, around 10pm, finally something was getting to happen! we got in the Bella piccola nera Matteo’s mothers old black mini, and went to the meeting spot to catch up with his amici, turns out it was very cold, two others arrived and we all decided we were going to go to their friends house that lives literally across the road from Matteo’s family block. so we went there and caught up with all the friends for about an hour. it was nice for me for once, because normally when I would go there it was difficult, because I would try to speak italian but as you know my italian is very limited, so after a short while I would run out of things to say, and get lost in the conversations because they’re speaking too quickly, but this time I was lucky, because the friends who came with us from London were there too, so it was much easier for me because they talked to me and I didn’t feel left out. I guess because the girlfriend of Christmas (my nickname for him because his last name is Natale), is also an outsider of the group because she didn’t go to primary school with them, so it was easier for her to chat to me, because she knows me better. so that was quite nice! but I do love Matteo’s friends. they do try to keep me engaged, and if they can’t, they put the tv in English for me usually! haha!

The three Matteo's. or in italian they say “Tre Mattei”!

Matteo ed io!

After a while, Matteo, Christmas, Anna (christmas’ girlfriend), Chiappa, Giorgia, Luca and I all went to the Lord Lichfield’s English pub in Rome, it’s the usual hanging spot to go for a drink when we come to Italy! it’s very english, while they don’t exactly speak English, they have pictures of the royals and famous english people all over the walls! it’s very cute! so we went there and enjoyed a drink, and some patate fritta , then made our way back home.

Now on the way back was where the interesting part of the night happened. we were sitting in the car, singing along to the girly music that Christmas had on his iPhone, when we got stopped by the carabinieri! all 5 of us that were in la macchina had to get out of the car and show them our IDs, which as I later found out was so they could check that we didn’t have a criminal record, because I thought it was very strange that they had to ask everyone for their drivers license or ID cards. good thing I decided to bring mine! then I was explaining to Luca what happens in New Zealand when we get pulled over and the policemen didn’t seem to happy about me speaking in English because they didn’t know what I was saying, so they wanted me to say what I was saying to Luca to them. which I did, I don’t think they understood me anyway! Then I asked them if I could take a photo of their car, and gosh did they get upset with me about it, no no no! that was a crime to take a photo of their car! oh my gosh! that is just very strange to me, I just wanted a photo to put up on here, or on Facebook! ahhhhh! then after a good 15 minutes of checking everything out we were finally able to driver the two minutes back home!

Now it’s nearly 3am, and I’m finally tired and ready to fall asleep!

buona notte!


benvenuti a roma!

ciao a tutti!

allora, I have finally arrived back in Italy after 6 months away! being here last summer feels just like a distance memory! ahhh

after having to sit on the plane for 2 1/2 hours because the air traffic controllers in Italy decided to strike, the plane finally started to move! I had never been on Ryanair before, I guess lucky for me I have little legs! but it still wasn’t very comfortable, that’s what you get for cheap flights! haha definitely get what you pay for! :p



after seeing all the beautiful clouds and views from the air, we finally landed in Ciampino l’aeroporto! when I finally felt the fresh italian air on my face, I couldn’t stop smiling! I stood there with my little shoulder bag thinking “I am home”!

I think as a child I always felt a strong connection to Italy. I didn’t have much to do with my fathers side of the family, but would always claim that 1/4 of italian that was in my blood thanks to them. even though I had never been to this country before especially as a child it was fascinating, to learn about rome mostly even though our family came from Stromboli, one of the aeolian islands to the south of italy. I think I just loved Rome, maybe because I was a catholic and pope John Paul II was pope around that time, and Romans are cool and all that stuff, but even at high school I loved learning about the Roman Empire and then roman Gods and all that type of thing. even now I still find in so interesting! And now that I’m here, now that I’m back, I just feel like I’m where I belong! And seeing la famiglia again was just wonderful! seeing the aunties! giving them their regali that has been sitting at home since christmas time! and just sitting and chatting! and seeing bellissimo Daniel! who’s just as cute as always! it’s wonderful! And Nonna! Bella nonna rosa I always miss her the most, she is the most beautiful soul ever! as we were sitting around the kitchen table getting ready for dinner she was saying while caressing my cheek “after months and months and months you’re finally back here with me”

Being here and enjoying all this goodness and it’s only the first evening… is making me feel a bit scared, because I finally feel like I’m somewhere I belong, and I know we have to leave… and to go back to the other side of the world! while I can’t wait to see my family, I’m leaving my other family behind! I feel a bit like I’m between a rock and a hard place! I think that will definitely be the first thing we save up for when we get to New Zealand, will be a ticket to come back to visit! because I don’t want the length of time away from Italy to be like me and New Zealand! It’s a scary thought! ahhhh!

well I’m sitting in bed now, All filled up on frappe! thanks to Mardi Gras! I think I had about 10 pieces of frappe and still managed to eat a Snitzel for dinner! hehe! which I’m quite fussy, so me even trying the frappe was quite a feat in itself! turns out I like it after all! hahahahaha

buona notte miei amici!

I will put some other photos up when I get Matteo’s fine, since mine died on the plane trip! but finally managed to charge it again!

will write very soon! because now I’m here, I will have lots of italian goodies to talk about hahahahaha ha!

ciao ciao ciao


Italia a domani!

Ciao a tutti,

I can’t believe these past weeks have crept up on me so quickly. I remember it being early December and finding out my bad news that my visa for England wasn’t likely to come through, and then making the big decision with Matteo to take the leap and move to New Zealand together, as well as push up the wedding and location to the end of March and in New Zealand as well. I remember the arguments, the fears, the pleasant surprises and everything else that eventually came with those decisions, and now that we are here, getting ready to leave London, it all is starting to suddenly feel very real.

I can say that neither of us are disappointed to say goodbye to London, it hasn’t exactly been a pleasant two years for us here, it’s all been mainly work work work, we haven’t been able to afford to see anywhere in Europe other than Italy because the cost of living is so high, and well the English aren’t exactly welcoming, so no disappointments to say goodbye!

I started attempting duolingo again to brush up on my italian, but as per usual when it comes to my language learning skills, I get very exciting for about a week, and go hard out, then I end up burning myself out and stopping. So that didn’t work, but hey 5 weeks in heaven on earth that is Roma, I better pick up something of this bella lingua! I did manage to write my wedding vows in Italian. I’ll show you after the wedding, because I don’t want particular eyes to look on here and have the surprise spoiled! I thought that when we get to say them, we can say them first in Italian, because at least then for Matteo it will be in his language, and he might be pleasantly surprised, and then say them in English for the benefit of everyone else. And thanks to the help of youtube, disney, and some amazing english and italian subtitles on the same videos, I managed to write my vows based on about 6 or 7 disney songs. I just wrote out all the lines I quite liked, then put them all together in a few paragraphs that surprisingly made sense. And then I asked matrigna or Matteo’s beautiful Step mother, if she could read through them to make sure I had the correct tenses etc, she said that her and papà read through them and had tears in their eyes. So they must be alright haha!

I’m currently sitting outside my studio apartment on my laptop waiting for the cleaners. I’m not a very good casalinga, I hate cleaning, I mean I will do it when I have too, but where we were living, it only takes maybe 10-20minutes to clean up, but it only takes like 2 minutes for it to get messy again, and now that we are leaving, there is no way I’m going to get stuck in and clean an oven! haha So we might as well pay someone to do it for us! I think that’s a much better plan! I’ve got all our suitcases packed next to me, unfortunately we are going on ryanair to Italy tomorrow morning, so that means only 20kg of luggage, so we have had to throw a lot of things out. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to my precious electric blanket! At least when we go to New Zealand I am pretty sure we are allowed to fit in 30kg! I’ve had to pack Matteo’s precious XBOX one, and that is just 7kg by itself! ahhhhh! bUt we didn’t want to put it in the 8 boxes that are being shipped to New Zealand, just incase something happens to them! ahhhh!

But anyway, not long now until we are on that little plane on our way to ciampino airport, I’ve never actually been to that airport before, so that will be a nice difference!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic monday!


Write soon



Italia – Not so far away now!

Ciao a tutti,

I can’t believe it’s now febbraio! Only 12 more days until we arrive back in la bella roma… after 5 months! It’s a bit scary to think that this could be one of the last times we will actually be able to afford to go back, considering New Zealand is a lot further away than being just here in London! So we will definitely have to make the most of it. And I will have to make the most of the opportunity that these 5 weeks will give me to learn more of this bella lingua I have learned to love.

Some of la famiglia

Some of la famiglia

At least this time in Italy will be more about la famiglia rather than the actual country, and I guess lucky for me, they don’t really speak much english. So I guess that is definitely handy as well, providing I can get out of my comfort zone, and not use Matteo like my english crutch that I normally do. I remember when I was last in Italy, I went a week before Matteo, so I could practise with the italian language, and I actually made a lot of progress. We managed to communicate, (I think largely to the help of google translate), but I was actually progressing, I could sit down and have semi conversations with everyone, and my listening skills were getting better, I was learning to understand what everyone was saying, even though it was a bit of a process of Italian -> translate to english -> decide what I want to say in english -> translate back to italian. I remember when Matteo and I first got together, he had the same problem with his english, now he thinks in english when he is with me, so no longer has this problem. It just seems like it takes a lot longer for me to understand and revise this way of thinking. And I don’t want to lose it when we do go to New Zealand, I think I will try to speak it more when I’m there, because I want to feel like I will have this secret language with Matteo, that no one else will really understand. But it will probably just come out sounding all wrong. 😦

I think one of my main problems is that I try very hard to listen to a conversation with la famiglia like on Skype or on the phone, I sometimes gather the general gist, but then end of getting lost in the conversation, which leads to me losing interest in trying, and then I give up. It feels like an ongoing cycle. Even when we are actually in Italy, I do the same thing, like sitting at the dinner table, trying to understand the conversations, then my brain hurts, so it decides to shut off, then I feel embarrassed if someone is trying to talk to me, and I’m lost in my little kiwi brain of mine, in a far of distance land, that isn’t anywhere near the vicinity that I am actually in that moment!

Let’s just hope in these next 12 days, when we are catching that plane to the airport in Rome, I manage to get some progress in this journey!

I will write again soon

A dopo

Anna x