Ciao a tutti!
So I managed to finally write my first newsletter! It’s a bit basic for now, but I guess it’s better now than never! And It’s a start! 😀
Click the picture below to check it out if you’re interested! 🙂
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.
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
Ciao a tutti, I was lucky during my italian summer to get to visit a Castle, FINALLY. After our disaster in febbraio last year, when we tried to visit Castello Orsini-Odescalchi in Bracciano about 30km out of Roma (although I’m pretty sure it took us around 1 1/2 – 2 hours to get there) only to find that everything in Bracciano happens to be closed on a lunedi (Monday), I was finally going to be able to pretend to be una piccola principessa in a castello! And all we had to do was get a ride to the centre of la citta di Roma!
Castel Sant’Angelo! Finally I got to experience a historic Italian Castle! I remember always being fascinated by the idea of Princes and Princesses and Castles and fairytales. When I first imagined going to Italy, I think apart of the fact that all the historic buildings and structures seemed like something out of a fairytale, made the idea of going to Italy so much more appealing! (It probably didn’t help that as a child my mother and step father used to fill my head with ideas that I was dropped off at the doorstep in a basket because I was a long lost Princess haha) Italy, and it’s history and castles were just all so appealing! Not that Italy had exactly had a monarchy, after they managed to abolish the monarchy in 1946 and send Re Umberto II into exile! But Finally I, Anna (without the king) was finally getting to experience stepping foot into a 2000 year old castle!
The Castle of the Holy Angel, as it is called if you translate the name in English, was in fact originally constructed as a mausoleum by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, in 123 the building works started, for what would later turn into a fortress and a castle for the catholic papacy in the 14th century.
I guess when it came to the Papacy and the Roman Empire and what I imagine would be countless sieges, it definitely acted as a strong hold for the church.
Fun Fact! Castel Sant’Angelo even acted as a prison for the Papal State… I guess when your whole country is the size of an ant hill, there isn’t exactly room for a prison. haha The views from Castel Sant’Angelo were just beautiful, from the views of la citta di roma to the Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge that leads towards the Castel. It literally felt like something out of a fairytale book. The type of stories that start with C’era una volta….
From the artillery rooms, to the crazy italian cartoons from back in the day, there was so much to see in this Castel now turned museum. For €10.50 I definitely felt I got my monies worth!
There was even a restaurant within the Castel (I can’t remember the restaurant name unfortunately) which made a delicious pizza (but come on, where do you find a bad pizza in Italy). We arrived at Castel Sant’Angelo just before lunch around 11ish, maybe a bit later. And as I’m sure those of you who have been to Italy know and understand that the italian version of “lunch time” is around 2pm. So after a few hours walking around the Castel we fortunately stumbled across this restaurant in one of the upper floors of the building. I remember Matteo being in the il bagno so I remember asking if the table was free in my horrid italian. Pretty sure I even used the wrong word, I can’t remember what incorrect word I used but it wasn’t libero or gratis. oopsie! But the waitress seemed to work out what I was trying to say anyway so that worked out to my favour! And I remember the prices weren’t that bad for a restaurant within a tourist destination!
After a beautiful l’estate day in a castel from just out of paradiso, We finally decided to make our way back to the meeting point to get our ride back to la casa.
I really hope that during this next trip to Italia, even though funds will be incredibly abysmal because we are having to move to nuova zelanda with practically only the bond money from the flat, I really hope we might still get an opportunity to explore a bit more and see some more castles. Even if they’re just around roma… I’m pretty sure there are more castles than just Castel Sant’Angelo in the eternal city!
All roads lead to Rome right? haha
Ciao a tutti!
Until next time!
Ciao a tutti,
I was going through my list of 30 things before I’m 30 and realised that I actually achieved a few of them on my last trip to Italia.
Although the more I read through this list, the less likely some of them seem, especially now that things are changing, and we are going all the way to the other side of the world. But I guess that when we do finally get to make those trips back to Italia, once we are in Nuova Zelanda, it will be much more special, and we will want to see so much more of this bella paese that I now call my second home.
But anyway you didn’t come here for the above, you came here to learn all about my experience of Pompei…. turns out in italian it’s only one “i” not two, like we english like to write it, it’s NOT Pompeii! but Pompei! I had big arguments with Matteo about this spelling… turns out as a native English speaker, you shouldn’t really try to defend that italians are spelling their place names incorrectly! haha oops….
I remember the excitement I felt finally getting to go to an iconic place in history! Considering I did really want to go to Naples, I think that Pompei may be the closest that I am going to get because Matteo is a scaredy cat when it comes to Napoli! It didn’t take long for the line to move, and then suddenly we were in! On a beautiful late agosto di mattina, Anna was finally getting to visit the ruins of Pompei!
I remember just walking in that entrance and being fascinated straight away, because one thing that fascinates me a lot (which is rather strange really) are the pavements and roads. They are all so bumpy and old, and frustrate me a lot if I am a passenger in a car while driving on them. But then I guess that is part of Italia, and one thing I love so much. Keeping the old along side the new, and it makes Italy just beautiful, in the way it can embrace having both old and new side by side.
Seeing all the latin writings, things like sign posts, and random paintings, everything about Pompei just wanted to make me travel back 2000 years ago to that time, to see what it would be like in those days.
Everything about this city of ruins was amazing,beautiful, fascinating, unbelievable, just to name a few ways of saying practically the same thing. It was just such a truly inspiring place to be in! And what a cracker of a day we picked to go and explore! I remember by the end of the day (we were there for probably over 6 hours) I was completely worn out, my poor footsies were hurting from all the walking we had done! And we didn’t even manage to see everything! I’m pretty sure there was still so much more! Between seeing the ruins of little cities and houses, to the graveyards and the vineyards, and the garden of fugitives in their plaster cast forms. When I first saw the plaster forms of real people killed in the aftermath of mt vesuvius’s eruption I wanted to cry. To see the forms of children, pregnant woman and men alike it was just heartbreaking to imagine what they must of gone through all those years ago. To see some of them cradled in a ball, or some hugging each other. I had so much compassion just seeing those remains of all those destroyed in the volcanic eruption!
Now one thing I absolutely adored when it came to Pompei was the zebra crossings! The blocks in the road allowed pedestrians to cross the street without having to step onto the road itself which doubled up as Pompeii’s drainage and sewage disposal system. The spaces between the blocks allowed vehicles to pass along the road. To think that 2000 years ago, they had systems such as what we know now as a Zebra crossing is just fascinating!
Well I can’t think of much more to say but I will leave you with some more photos of my trip to Pompei!
I had such a lovely experience getting to view Pompei! And it wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for my amazing soon to be father-in-law Stefano! He is just the best! I am a very lucky girl!
And to finish of the day, I got myself a cute vase with artwork on it, which is currently in a box ready to be shipped to New Zealand. Along with getting to enjoy a granatina al limoni, which was like a fresh lemon slushy! It was delicious!
Well folks, that’s all for now!
Ciao a tutti,
I’m sure you can understand that this is definitely a busy time of year, which is why I’m only getting around to this post now. How was everyone’s natale, nuovo anno and my favourite holiday of all Befana!
Unfortunately the holidays snuck up on me, like I’m sure they did with everyone. I have been going to a bellissima Chiesa cattolica italiana (beautiful italian catholic church) every week. As a way to improve the language skills, in a format that I am already very familiar with in inglese. It has definitely helped a bunch with understanding at least the mass. And it’s always such a bonus when I can understand the readings of the day. But most of the time that is a hit and a miss. I have been singing in the coro at St. Peter’s Italian Church , I was a bit worried when joining for the first time, as I thought “Oh dear, how am I going to communicate if they all speak italian the whole time”, but luckily only half of the choir is italian, and the other half tend to have italian family members but are english. But I do try to practise my italian whenever I go. As the little old lady who is the housekeeper opens the door, and even though she see’s be twice a week, every week, she always asks me why I am there. So I always reply with a sono qui per coro, which is probably grammatically incorrect but she seems to pick up what I’m trying to say, or if she doesn’t she understands when I waltz into the choir room. We sang for messa di mezzanotte or midnight mass this year. It was really beautiful being able to sing the usual christmas carols in italian, and learning some new ones along the way. I grabbed a copy of the mass for the christmas season booklet that they had, so I can take it back to Nuova Zelanda with me, so I can so my old choir mistress back home to see if she would like to do any italian songs next year. I think it’s handy to be able to practise my singing in italian and latin, and I hope it will improve my language skills when we go to italian next month (o dio! Next month will creep up on us in no time)
La messa finished at around 1.30am, and managed to get home at around 2am, thanks to our wonderful choir director Ricardo, who gave me a ride instead of me having to catch a rather expensive taxi home! Once I arrived home, I gave Matteo all of his christmas presents, and we skyped my mum back in Nuova Zelanda. It was around 3pm over there, as they are 13 hours ahead. I guess that’s what we will soon be, or 12 hours when it comes to Italian time zones! Crazy! Time Zones are so weird! haha. After that it wasn’t long until we woke up again on Christmas morning. And could look properly at all of our toys. Matteo was definitely spoilt! But I wanted to make this a happy christmas because we were both far away from home, and every christmas without mamma is always going to be much harder now. So he deserved it. Plus I had conveniently started buying christmas presents around June, so by the time I found out I was going to lose my job at the beginning of December, I had already bought most of his gifts, including a DSLR Nikon camera (because he didn’t want my preference of a Canon) so that was a nice surprise for him. And will give him a chance to take some beautiful photos in London while we are still here, in Rome before we leave, and then also in New Zealand once we get there! It was a nice quiet day. I am very much looking forward to being with my family for natale next year though. And giving Matteo an opportunity to see what a Nuova Zelanda Natale is like!
Nuova Anno was a quiet one for me. Since not working, I have become a bit of a night owl, because I get to sleep in, and tend to have naps in the afternoon (ohhhh the life), I always stay up until 1 or 2am. So I was up at home by myself, as Matteo had to work, doing a Mossa Fight fitness workout on the xbox fitness. I didn’t even realise it was the new year until I heard the fireworks go off in the park across the road! haha
Now befana didn’t really amount to much for us this year, which is a shame. Next year I really want to give Matteo a little befana stocking filled with candy. He was looking on Facebook at some of his friends and family’s posts, wishing that he had a befana stocking filled with candy. But unfortunately as only he is working, and I have a very limited amount of money that seems to be disappearing rather quickly, even though I’m not doing anything, I didn’t get to do the befana tradition that I wanted to! But hey, befana comes every year! So while she didn’t stop at our house this year, she might find us next year in nuova zelanda! because that is one italian tradition I definitely want to bring with me! hahaha
I hope everyone is sticking to their resolutions this year so far! haha
Ciao a tutti,
I’m not very sure if I would saying lazy being pigra or pigro when referring to myself. so why not use both in the title.
I don’t really have an excuse anymore for 1) not practising il mio italiano and 2) not actually posting on here.
A lot has changed since I last wrote on the blog. I was taking italian classes, but had to finish those at the end of the Inverno term, as I’ve had immigration problems staying here, well maybe not, but maybe. In other words the home office gave me a letter back called a Certificate of Application which stated that I don’t have a right to work while my application is being processed. So after that, Matteo and I sat down and had a good chat, and came to the conclusion we will move back to Nuova Zelanda together. And mamma mia is that time coming up fast. I cancelled my in process application, we now have to put through a visa application for Matteo, while still planning a wedding. Unfortunately because I lost my job, we can no longer afford our italian wedding, so instead we are going to have a small (I say small but it is over 100 guests) wedding in Nuova Zelanda when we arrive home. We arrive on the 24th of March and the wedding is the 28th. But at least it will be a nice way to Benvenuto Matteo into la famiglia which my grandmother had 8 children, all married with 3-4 children so most of those guests are la famiglia! And lucky for us, both mio padre e matrigna and mia mamma e patrigna are paying for it. For that we are truly blessed. So we get to have the Cattolica service and can send the video of it to Matteo’s family in Italy with subtitles attached. And maybe in a couple of years when we can afford it, we can always come back to Italy to have a bella renewal of vows, and a nice reception for one of our anniversaries.
So while planning that from londra, as well as living on one minimum wage income, we still have to literally ship all our stuff to Nuova Zelanda. But we do have one silver lining (well going to New Zealand in itself is quite a silver lining because it is a beautiful country, and such an exciting adventure for Matteo) we get to spend just over a month in Italia. We are planning to fly out of here on febbraio 17th. To enjoy our last month on this side of the world with la famglia di italia. So that will definitely be lovely. So I probably should start cracking with the practising of italian again hey!
At least not working allows me to tidy (cough cough, i make a fairly hopeless casalinga but I am trying) and exercise. I want to try to loose at least 5-6kg before we leave this country, as I have a wedding dress back home, and don’t know if it will still fit! ahhhhh! So I have been going for runs (piano piano) and since we have the xbox, it has xbox fitness, and dance central on it, so have been doing that as well to boost up working off a few calories! And the xbox fitness workouts even have italian subtitles (although I don’t really read them while punching at the air) haha
But I should definitely ad doing some of my mango languages course, I never did quite finish it, so I can definitely add it to the routine of the giorno!
Well I promise (I really do this time) that I will write very soon!
I will leave you with a couple of bella photos from my l’estate trip which I will tell you more about over the coming days!
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.
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!
Ciao a tutto!
A presto! xxx