Ciao mamma….

Allora… I had a not very nice trip to Italy on domenica at lunch time.

We woke up to a call from zia, saying that Matteo needed to come to Italy, but they wouldn’t say why, then after lots of messages between his sorella and himself on facebook, we found out the horrible news… Mamma is gone….

I have never moved so fast, got straight onto the computer, booked the cheapest direct flights to Rome and left as we had about 2 hours to be at the airport before check in closed. Then we arrived to Gatwick airport and was on the plane to Rome in no time, it felt surreal, like it couldn’t be happening… Matteo had just spent a week in Italy spending time with Mamma in the hospital… the doctor said she could probably leave hospital in 2-3 weeks… so that would mean she would either be out, or coming out of hospital by the time we were arriving for our holiday…. not for this to happen, it was a shock, I guess you can never truly be prepared for something like this. I am so glad that Matteo got to spend that week with her though, I think it was so important.

And to think back when we were both there together in febbraio I wanted to get a photo of all 3 of us. And Matteo said no, next time… well I’m never going to get that next time. Neither of us will…

It was quite different for me attending an Italian funeral, coming from a different country there were definitely aspects that I found strange. In the morning we went to the hospital where they had her body in the hospital mortuary. Matteo didn’t want to go in there, I told him it’s important, and Mamma’s fidanzato convinced him it was important as well. So I went with him, she was so beautiful lying there, it just looked as though she was sleeping and she would wake up any minute. I was so glad I could be there for Matteo, that he didn’t have to face it without me there. I was glad I could be there for his sorella as well. Because I know it’s hard of Matteo, but it must be just as hard on Gaia if not more. Because mothers and daughters always have that special bond that you can’t explain.

After we left the hospital we went to the funeral mass, where the priest talked about her during the homily, no one else came up to say a eulogy or anything, there was no slideshow with pictures of her life or anything and I couldn’t really understand much of what was being said. Then we went to the gravesite. That was the thing I found most strange, the priest never came to say a prayer or anything as she was being lowered in the ground. We just got there, they put her in the gravesite and then the grave workers put the dirt over the casket and that was it. Then the family put the flowers that they had gotten during the morning on the gravesite.

It was hard, there is so much I would of liked to have shown Mamma. I loved her very much. She reminded me so much of my mother in New Zealand. Even though I couldn’t speak to her probably, I wished I could of talked to her in Italian and understood what she would say to me. I wish I could have taken her to New Zealand to see what it is like on the other side of the world. I wish I could of just given her one last hug and told her how much I loved her.

But at least now she will be able to understand me. I think when you have faith it makes you understand that even though it’s hard, you believe that she is in a better place, she is no longer in pain, no longer hurting. And now when I talk to her, she can actually understand me even if I can’t speak to her in Italian.

Ciao mammina!

Ciao mammina!

Zia Paola found a good prayer/poem for us to think of It’s St. Augustine’s prayer of death is nothing.

I have just moved to the neighbouring room

I am who I am … you are whom you are,

That which we were to one another,

We will always be.

Call be by my name.

Speak to me like you’ve always did.

Don’t use a different tone ….

Don’t take that look; solemn or sad.

Continue to laugh at that which made us laugh together.

Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be pronounced at home,

As it always was,

Without pomposity or gloom.

Life is still the same

It is what it always was

The string has not been cut.

Why should I be away from your thoughts?

Just because I am away from your sight?

I’m not far, just on the other side of the road….

You see, everything is fine …

Wipe your tears and cry no more.

Just beautiful, and so true!

Yesterday morning after our horrid day on Monday, Zia Paola took me, Matteo, Gaia, Carlotta and Simone to see castel gandolfo, it reminded Matteo and I that the sun still shines after the storm. It was a nice morning to be together. Zia Paola bought me a piccola bambolina (little dolly) Matteo said that it’s a good reminder for us of the past couple of days. I said I will name my piccola bambolina Stefania. after Mamma. So now I will always have her in bambolina form!

And surprisingly for myself, after two days of having to speak Italian, my Italian drastically improved, only problem for me is, that whenever I speak it, everyone always repeats what I say in my little voice, because they think it’s so cute that I try. Che palle!

Well I hope everyone had a much better weekend/beginning of the week than we did. Was back at work on Wednesday! But I have two weeks now before I go back to Italia, it really won’t be the same anymore. I will never get to say Ciao Mamma anymore when I see her. I think that’s one of the things I will find the hardest, because I loved to say that to her, and I like to think that she liked to hear it from me too!


me con Gaia e Carlotta

me con Gaia e Carlotta on our goodbye of italia after the funeral, the sun still shines after a storm

Ciao a tutto!

A presto! xxx



il mio italiano è pessimo!

Ciao a tutti,

I am hopeless when it comes to writing aren’t I! I need to get more into it again! And really need to get into my practising of italian, considering it’s only 4 weeks until I go there, but I guess immersing myself in the culture and the language without my translation crutch (Matteo) will be the best way to learn. That way I will just have to speak it, I can’t get embarrassed about it like usual, otherwise I will be the most boring visitor ever if I don’t talk to anyone! I think I’ll just say any old words and add them together and hope they understand! haha!


Well I haven’t had a very good week this week, in the weekend Matteo and I found out that Mamma was back in hospital again. She hasn’t had a good run of it, that’s for sure! This time last year she was in hospital with pleurisy (fluid in the lungs, trouble breathing etc) and was in hospital for about 3-4 months. Then when she finally came out, she had had a reaction to the antibiotics, which made her thighs swell up, so she was bedridden, and 85 year old Nonna was taking care of her. I don’t know if any of you remember me saying, but when we were in roma in febbraio she was still bedridden. Only just recently it seemed like she was starting to get better, she was going out to the shops, seeing people. She really started to seem good, which was why we had booked out tickets so early. But then in the weekend just gone, we learnt she is back again in l’ospedale with Pluerisy and fluid in her lungs. She’s so nervous about everything, which can’t be helping the recovery. But I at least helped Matteo be able to afford to go there as soon as possible (which was today) to go and see her, and maybe lighten her spirits a bit in this difficult time. Then she will get bouncy ol’ me, coming in 4 more weeks! and then Matteo again the following week! So she will have plenty of us around to try to cheer her up!

It was mamma’s birthday yesterday, and I was messaging her on Facebook, and she said the nicest thing to me, after I had told her I had written a letter to papa francesco asking for him to pray for her. She said “Amore mio, My love con te ho avuto il dono di una nuova figlia. With you I have the gift of  a new daughter. Sono felice perche’ ami tanto mio figlio e questa cosa mi conforta. I am happy because you love my son so much, and this comforts me. Grazie per le tante preghiere per le tue e per quelle che arrivano da tanto lontano. Thank you for the many prayers from you, and from those who come from far away.  Sai Anna hai ragione tu perche’ non provarci ad arrivare in alto…  You’re right Anna, to go right to the top, Di certo male non fa…of course it cannot hurt riuscita a farmi sorrier! You did manage to make me smile Ti voglio bene piccola I love you piccola ci vediamo presto un grande bacio See you soon, a big kiss.

I thought that was just the sweetest thing. lei e bellissima! 

Well I hope everyone is enjoying l’estate! 

Ciao belli!


Anna x

Mamma and I snuggled up together in february!

Mamma and I snuggled up together in february!



prima di giorno in roma

Ciao a tutti,

Allora it is my first morning of waking up in italia, la sole shining through the window, a welcome sign for all of italy i’m sure to see the sun. This morning Matteo takes me to my favourite mall, Parco Leonardo, Penso we are going there because he needs a sim card, but it’s a mall and I love shopping, so I will make sure I take advantage.

Mini view of parco leonardo Photo Credit: Matteo

Mini view of parco leonardo
Photo Credit: Matteo

While Matteo went to have un fumo, I decided to go to the pet shop “Moby Dick”, now adoro animali negozi, I am forever dreaming of getting millions of animali, I found the most adorable animal in the world! I want one so bad. Un cricito roborowski! Which is just a little hamster! But it was molto carinissimo!

criceto roborowski! Photo Credit: me

criceto roborowski!
Photo Credit: me


Look how fast they go!
Photo Credit: Matteo

Ho fame, pranzo non lontano ma ho fame, so we have a quick bite of pizza! I love italian pizza, I love how you can buy it by the slice! i wish they did things like that in english countries where you can buy by the slice! It’s so much cheaper this way, because they are MASSIVE slices. We had one between two!


mi primo pizza di roma!
Photo Credit: Matteo

On the drive back to la casa di nonna, I notice a girl on the side of the road, randomly sitting in a white plastic BBQ chair. I said to Matteo “That’s a random place to have a chair” he replied with “She’s a whore, she works there…” oops…. I then see a second girl on a wooden chair this time. I guess i’m just so naive when it comes to seeing things like this. I’ve never in my life come across it, and we’re in an area where there isn’t much around. Both girls look dressed up like they’re going to the mall, they don’t like much older than me, if the same age, the don’t look like someone selling there body. It’s sad really.

When we arrivato a casa, nonna e nella cucina lei fanno pasta di pomodori, il sugo ha pomodori, cipolle e sedano. I was pretty pleased that I understood.

While sitting with nonna while she was cooking le pasta Alessandra Mussolini came on la televisione, I pointed to her and said to nonna “Nonno Mussolini” because I knew that it was mussolini’s granddaughter, nonna replied with “si, benedito mussolini” She then went on to tell me that when she was 12, she lived in anzio and all the american soldiers were there, fighting the war, and the next time she went back, they were all dead. It was so heart breaking to hear her tell it, I could see that it saddened her to remember. She went on to say that Mussolini by himself was great, but then came Hitler and all the rules and he became great no more.

Mangia la pasta per pranzo

Mangia la pasta per pranzo

At the dinner table, I learned all about pane casareccio (homemade bread) although it was bought from the bakery down the road, it is made without salt, typical in the tuscany and marche regions. It’s name is terni. It was very yummy. I’m trying to me more adventurous in my eating. As the last time we came here last year, I was pretty fussy. The terni was very yummy with a bit of prosciutto, melanzane e zucchine.

terni, di pane casarreccio Photo Credit: Matteo

terni, di pane casarreccio
Photo Credit: Matteo

mio panino Photo Credit: me

mio panino
Photo Credit: me

dopo pranza, since it is such a bello giorno I went out on the terrazza to play with Lucky, Matteo’s cane. It was so funny when we came in yesterday evening, Lucky wouldn’t stop moaning as soon as he saw Matteo, you could definitely tell who missed Matteo the most! haha


lucky, me e matteo
Photo credit: Me

Mio amico nuovo! Photo credit: Matteo

Mio amico nuovo!
Photo credit: Matteo

At 2 o’clock Matteo’s papa called round. It was really nice to see him, and he can speak a bit of inglese too, which at least makes me understand things a lot more clearly. On saturday he is taking us to Anzio and Cassino, and he told me it’s his first time to Cassino as well. So it will be extra nice for him too! He was saying at Anzio I will have perfect photo opportunities. My step father told me about Anzio the last time I was here in italy a year ago, but due to the weather and not having una macchina we never made it. I quite like learning about la guerra, and I know the New Zealand soldiers were there as well. My step father said in Cassino, he knew someone from a little town just out of ours that was ACTUALLY there! Crazy! Such a small world!

Matteo e papa Stefano Photo Credit: Me

Matteo e papa Stefano
Photo Credit: Me

After that, I had a wee nap, while Matteo went to il bar (coffee shop) where his amico worked to do some catch ups. sto stanco, cosi I don’t go. I woke up to the sounds of un bambino! Ecco Daniel! I was a bit frightened to go out of the room, because Matteo wasn’t home, and he has been amazing with helping me understand things, but I thought, no, Anna, you have to get yourself out there, and what better way to learn that to be forced to use the language. Daniel and I hit it off so well. Which I think surprised both nonna e mamma who were with him when I got up. Matteo told me afterwards that Daniel normally doesn’t really like strangers. He is 14 mesi, e molto bellissimo. I came into the room where mamma is, and brought the book all wrapped up for him, he opened it and I read to him. He was a bit cautious of me at first, looking up and me with his big brown eyes. So I read him his book, then I sang him incey wincey spider, and he started bouncing up and down with a smile on his face. Then he started roaring at me like le leone do, so I would roar back at him. The first time I did it, he jumped, it was so funny. Then we played with la macchina. Nonna gave me a succo di frutta and daniel did the hand gesture where you point to your cheek with your index finger and turn it in circles. It was just adorable! We had lots of cuddles. I had to have a little giggle, because he was on nonna’s knee, and he wriggled off to come and hop onto my knee. I think everyone was so surprised at how well Daniel and I were together. I was so felice. I can’t wait to see him again! By the end of the visit he could even say Anna!

Daniel reading "the hungry little caterpillar" - in italian of course! Photo Credit: Me

Daniel reading “the hungry little caterpillar” – in italian of course!
Photo Credit: Me

Selfies time! Photo Credit: Me

Selfies time!
Photo Credit: Me

Sneaking under the table! Photo Credit: Me

Sneaking under the table!
Photo Credit: Me

When Daniel leaves, nonna starts preparing for la cena. I watch her fanno crumbed chicken with thinly sliced breast. lei usare sale, uove e pangrattato (bread crumbse guarda buona! And boy did it end up tasting nice.

You know, I think I’m doing pretty well considering I only have my reading italian blogs and my course I’ve been doing, one word I think everyone in Matteo’s family says all the time is capito (understand) Or senti, senti! Listen to me! I think I could say these words, but I struggle to put a sentence together still, although that does seem to be improving a little bit. But even the understanding is a process. I will here it in italian, then translate it to english in my head, then think of it back in italian to comprehend the meaning, and then I understand it. Ahhhhh confusing sometimes!

Allora, I’m in bed now, getting ready to dormi. Oggi è stato fantastico! And both mamma e nonna have been so encouraging with my italian. I think by the end of this trip it is going to improve a hundred fold!

Buona notte miei amici! A domani!


Anna x

Lucky looking somewhat human! haha Photo Credit: Me

Lucky looking somewhat human! haha
Photo Credit: Me

View from la casa! Photo Credit: Me

View from la casa!
Photo Credit: Me

So much italian fries my brain


Amo questa bella lingua così tanto! Ma it just hurts my head so much from all this learning, i feel like my brain is frying! Is that normale? I guess I just want to understand it all so quickly and not have to do the hard work, but then I know the hard work is the most important foundation of lingua learning. I guess I will get it eventually, I just have to encourage myself to stick to it. I really want this, more than I have wanted something before. I want to surprise everyone back in italy with our much I’ve progressed, even being in an english country. I guess I really just need to believe in myself which is the main thing. I went on amazon this morning and purchased a dual language book of Le Avventure D’Alice Nel paese Della Miraviglie, e Le avventure di pinocchio. So hopefully that will improve my reading and pronunciation abilities.

Just had a big heart to heart with Matteo (il fidanzato) about language learning, because he had to do it from the opposite end, learn english from italian, and he said when he first met me and was having to speak english all the time he was always translating it from italian to english first, and it just always took so long, but then when he got here to london and started talking in english all the time and HAVING to actually speak it all the time, he started thinking it that language, so that cut out that whole long process of always having to translate in his head, he said his father said to him that you truly know a language when you start thinking in that language.                                                                                                                                                 But that when it comes to me I shouldn’t be so hard on myself when it comes to my language learning, that i should take it slowly and I will get there, and when we go back i should try and join in the conversations in la cucina con mamma e nonna! Which i shall definitely try to put into action when I get there! But as expatatbirth said to me in one of her comments, is that I should try to subconsciously pick it up as well, by having italian on in the background. I guess our brain is a wonderful thing with how the subconscious mind works. So I shall definitely start doing that. Domani will be my italiano grande giorno where after I go shopping in the morning to send some cake mixes to italy for mamma (since she can’t get Betty Crocker in Italy), I think I will do some exercises on duolingo, read some amazing blogs, listen subconsciously to gladiatori di roma and she if i pick anything up! 🙂 

Well it’s bedtime for me now! Got an early start in the morning!

Ciao tutti!

A Presto

Anna x


Ahhhhh selfie with the timer at il colosseo 


Capire so più che mi sono reso conto

Well oggi has been an interessante oggi con mia lingua apprendimento. I had another strano italiano dream, where I drove down this road to a area with a roundabout and le case everywhere, but on each la casa there was a small phrase that i had learnt in italian, so i could actually understand some of it, like È il sole, or random sentences like that.

Then di mattina Mamma skyped mio ragazzo e io, and I could actually understand a lot of what she said, not like usual when she skypes and I just sit there, looking at her speak and having no idea what she is actually saying, but this time i could actually understand some of it, not like enough to actually get what she was saying, but enough that I could understand the general gist of what she was parlando about. Some decent bits I could understand, like after she told Matteo e io that we were getting chubby from all the male cibo we were eating, she says to be “Basta caramelle Anna, basta caramele” now i love my lollies, i have the sweetest tooth in il mondo, so i replied “ma piace” I probably used the wrong form of “like” but she understood what I said and laughed. That’s always la problema when I try to parli italiano. I always get told i’m molto carino when I speak, then they laugh and my effort. It makes me so embarrassed when that happens, because I really do try my hardest, but when it comes to the crunch, half the time i forget all the great things I’ve learnt recently to be able to practise with, so then I tend to remain pretty quiet the majority of the conversations. I just wish I had more courage to Parli more!

Then Questo pommeriggio after I got home from lavoro I went onto my computer, which is my number one tool for lingua apprendimento, whenever I am on it, I always have about 3 tabs open dedicated to my language learning progression. Perchè most of my down time I spend on my computer, so if I turn that down time into ora italiana then I’m actually doing something productive rather than spending meaningless ore on Facebook. So as I was on my computer, lettura through Lucrezia’s febbraio blog I came across the blog posts she did reading Il brutto anatroccolo (The ugly ducking) so Io leggo through the written words, covering the english part with my hands, and piccolo did I know, capisco a LOT of what it was, certo there were some words that I couldn’t understand, but they weren’t many compared to what I actually could understand. So now I know I can read most of an italian book for the 6 – 8 anni age group! So that’s pretty exciting! I am planning to buy a bilingual version of alice in wonderland on pay day, which I think will be quite good, because it has it in italiano e inglese but I might look at getting some bambini picture books too, so I can practise with lettura them! Do help my reading skills. I was very proud of myself for how much I did understand, that means that even though I feel I have hardly progressed at all, it just shows that I have learnt so much more than I realised I knew. 

Ora è letto tempo!

Buona notte

A domani

Ciao Ciao

Anna x