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. ūüôā

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

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

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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 ūüôā

Ciao miei amici ūüôā

Anna x

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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 caff√®, 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!

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

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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!

Anna

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

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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

Anna

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‚Ķ¬†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. ūüė¶

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

30 things to do before I’m 30 – Go inside an Italian Castle

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!¬†

The only view of the castle that I got to see in February 2014!

The only view of the castle that I got to see in February 2014!

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!

My first look at this magnificent Castel Sant'Angelo

My first look at this magnificent Castel Sant’Angelo

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.

Remains of what was clearly a strong fortress!

Remains of what was clearly a strong fortress!

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.

All those little doorways had windows, so they most likely acting as a good place to shoot from!

All those little doorways had windows, so they most likely acting as a good place to shoot from!

Fun Fact!¬†Castel Sant’Angelo¬†even acted as a prison for the Papal State‚Ķ ¬†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‚Ķ.¬†

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The view at the top of the castel! You can even see the tip of San Pietro in the distance!

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View of the Ponte Sant’Angelo‚Ķ I was a bit worried when taking this photo, there was a small hole on the ground, I thought I would drop my phone and it would be gone forever! ahhhh

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¬†‚ā¨10.50 I definitely felt I got my monies worth!

Strange artwork in one of the museo rooms!

Strange artwork in one of the museo rooms!

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!

Enjoying my italian coca cola at pranzo!

Enjoying my italian coca cola at pranzo!

My little friend I made while enjoying my lunch!

My little friend I made while enjoying my lunch! Must of been eyeing up my cibo!

My delicious pizza for the day!

My delicious pizza for the day!

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.

Enjoying the view from Castel Sant'Angelo

Enjoying the view from Castel Sant’Angelo

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‚Ķ¬†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!

Anna x

Real Neat Blog Award

Ciao a tutti,

Today I have to say a big thank you to Moving Around Mum for nominating me for this award!

Her blogging skills are fantastic, and a great joy to read!

Now the rules for this award are as follows:

1. Put the Award Logo in your post

real-neat-blog-award-from-horty-rexarch-4-dec-20142. Answer 7 questions by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you by linking to their blog

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc)

Now I’m going to answer the 7 questions that Moving Around Mum¬†wanted me to answer:

1. Which book genre is your favourite?

I love fantasy, like game of thrones and books like that, or anything with a supernatural element.

2. What’s your favourite city and why?

It would have to be Rome, as it’s my home away from home, with so much culture and historical influence, I could spend hours exploring every inch of that city if given the chance.

3. What’s your perfect Sunday morning?

My perfect Sunday morning, which I literally haven’t experienced for a very long time, would be to go to mass in the morning with the family, then go to my grandmother’s place afterwards and enjoy a beautiful family gathering for lunch.

4. Which do you prefer – a beach getaway or city tour?

I would choose the beach any day‚Ķ. Amalfi Coast beaches preferably ūüėõ

5. Which holiday is your favourite?

I love Christmas time and La Befana

6. Are you an owl or an early bird?

I used to be an early bird, but now that I’m not working I have become a Night Owl.

7. Any other hobbies besides blogging?

I like music, and singing, I play the guitar, and enjoy spending time with my friends and family.

Now I am going to Nominate:

Craving Mad

This Labyrinth I Roam

Timeless Italy

Hello World

Puglian Pleasures 

Vino Vita Viaggi

My 7 Questions for my nominees are:

1. What inspires you to create/write your blog?

2. Are you a realist or a dreamer?

3. Which country would you move to straight away if given the opportunity to live anywhere in the world?

4. What do you think is the greatest hurdle of blogging?

5. Who would you love to be for a day and why?

6. What is your favourite past time activity?

7. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

Happy Blogging miei amici (My friends!)!

Ciao

Anna

30 things before I’m 30 – Pompeii!

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‚Ķ. 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‚Ķ turns out as a native English speaker, you shouldn’t really try to defend that italians are spelling their place names incorrectly! haha oops‚Ķ.

Quick casual selfie in the carpark!

Quick casual selfie in the carpark!

The view of Pompei from the line to get in!

The view of Pompei from the line to get in!

 

The massive line!

The massive line!

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.

Street signs

Street signs

The original roofing structures - which are used in most houses all throughout Italy today

The original roofing structures – which are used in most houses all throughout Italy today

Latin Street Signs

Latin Street Signs

Eumachia - The public priestess of venus in Pompei during the middle of the 1st century AD. She funded the construction of a large building next to the public forum in Pompei.

Eumachia – The public priestess of venus in Pompei during the middle of the 1st century AD. She funded the construction of a large building next to the public forum in Pompei.

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!

victims in the garden of the fugitives

victims in the garden of the fugitives

Monte Vesuvio in the background

Monte Vesuvio in the background

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!

 

Me standing on the old school zebra crossing!

Me standing on the old school zebra crossing!

 

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'm was getting very good at the art of the selfie!

I’m was getting very good at the art of the selfie!

The many tourists enjoying the site as much as we were!

The many tourists enjoying the site as much as we were!

My little (or large) italian poster

My little (or large) italian poster

beautiful view of the ruins

beautiful view of the ruins

a version of an oven in 70AD

a version of an oven in 70AD

More Latin

More Latin

Relaxing against a pole from all the walking we were doing

Relaxing against a pole from all the walking we were doing

My handsome companions, Papà and Teo

My handsome companions, Papà and Teo

Another stunning view - and to think these were all taken with an iphone5!

Another stunning view – and to think these were all taken with an iphone5!

Panorama time!

Panorama time!

more views of the ruins

more views of the ruins

Cracker of a day

Cracker of a day

another temple or something

another temple or something

Artwork in Pompei

Artwork in Pompei

Casual selfie by the vineyard

Casual selfie by the vineyard

Wishing I could take home some of those grapes

Wishing I could take home some of those grapes

happy times for Anna, Teo and Papà

happy times for Anna, Teo and Papà

The site where the graveyard was

The site where the graveyard was

Being a bit creepy and taking a rest in  a memorial

Being a bit creepy and taking a rest in a memorial

The amphitheatre of pompeii

The amphitheatre of pompeii

Large view of the amphitheatre of pompei

Large view of the amphitheatre of pompei

Enjoying being such a small thing in a not very large, but still adorable amphitheatre… I guess it's not colosseo!

Enjoying being such a small thing in a not very large, but still adorable amphitheatre‚Ķ I guess it’s not colosseo!

Latin writings just before you walk into the amphitheatre!

Latin writings just before you walk into the amphitheatre!

Pompeii outside gymnasium! where the gladiators worked out!

Pompeii outside gymnasium! where the gladiators worked out!

The outside gymnasium again!

The outside gymnasium again!

What would have been a shop or a bar!

What would have been a shop or a bar!

Getting tired from all that walking!

Getting tired from all that walking!

More artwork!

More artwork!

More artwork!

More artwork!

Fun times with Teo!

Fun times with Teo!

 

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!

Me feeling spoilt with my granatina al limoni!

Me feeling spoilt with my granatina al limoni!

Well folks, that’s all for now!

A dopo!

 

Anna x