Tuesday, February 15, 2011
So thinking that I had a new friend in the Apple world I decided that I would stop in to see if there was any progress and my new friend insisted that he told me a week and a half to two weeks. I'm sure he didn't but I didn't push the issue as he seemed a little stressed out. He assured me that they would call me the second they opened it up and saw what the problem is. So for right now, I have absolutely no idea when and if I will get my computer back. Of course this is Italian customer service for ya. (I really don't think my Canadian friend has any control over it, he just works there. Either that or you really can take to Canadian out of the boy) Well, maybe, but we're not really sure, um, why don't you check back in a couple of weeks. This is where patience truly becomes a virtue. This is just one example of the little cultural difference that we as expats deal with regularly. It can become rather frustrating at times especially since we are perfectly aware that it does not need to take this long to resolve a problem. We know that closing your store for 2-3hrs in the afternoon is not necessarily the most logical or effective business practice and that most others countries in the world would fire their employees for making their customers feel as if they were burdening them for asking for help. That is when you begin to practice your Yoga breathing and try to avoid confrontation. I really don't want to argue with you about the fact that I was told something different the first time I was here. I just want my computer back, or to know weather it can be fixed or not. Am I asking too much?
So word to the wise, if you are planning a visit to Italy, be prepared, customer service is not what you are used to. Obviously no one really cares if you ever come back or not. And just because the told you something was going to get done, doesn't mean that they are in any hurry to do it.
So, I sincerely apologize for my boring posts and lack of accompanying photos. I just seem to lack creativity without my own computer and I don't really know how to use this one so well.
Maybe I'll have an answer on my computer by next week. Maybe.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Here is the version with English subtitles. http://www.youtube.com/embed/-JtyvOeMSHY
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
......Yes, that's right, I have rekindled my relationship with the treadmill. (and the elliptical trainer) and I am also getting to know free weights and kettlebells a bit better, so far so good, but we still need a little more time to develop our relationship. But I have to say it feels pretty good. I guess its one of those things that I didn't really know I missed until I rediscovered it. I have been saying for months that I was going to join the gym right around the corner from my apartment but never actually got around to it. But when I was home in California during the holidays I was given the little push that I needed.
I was inspired really. By two amazing women; my mother and my sister, who have collectively lost over 100 pounds (about 45 kilos) in the past year. I noticed a difference in them not only physically, but more importantly mentally and emotionally. My mother at almost 65 years old has 10x's more energy then she did a year ago and my sister at 41 is in the best shape of her life. And while I am thankful for the new wardrobe my sister handed down to me, it is a constant reminder every time I put something of hers on, another little push in the right direction.
I began going to the gym while I was there and realized how silly it would be to loose what I had started, so the day after we returned I purchased a membership. It's no L.A Fitness, and some of the machines are about 20 years old, but it has everything I need. So now 4-5 days per week I set my alarm and my workout is the first thing I do.
I'm almost afraid to talk about it for fear that I will somehow loose my affection and go back to square one. It's been a lifetime pattern for me. I will be completely and totally determined to get myself back in shape, I find a workout plan and stick to it for several months and reach a goal, and then, I stop. Why? I don't know. Boredom possibly, unawareness of what it is I am really working towards. But this time I believe that it will be different. I am looking at it from a different perspective this time around. I am not necessarily working towards a said goal to be accomplished by a specific date, but rather to change the way I observe myself. To be more conscience of how I feel and how my body is effected by my actions, or lack there of.
Living in Florence, being healthy is really not that difficult. I realized many years ago that I am certainly healthier here with minimal effort than I was living in the U.S. For one I walk just about everywhere I go, or I ride my bike. I don't eat processed foods and I live 2 minutes away from Mercato Sant'Ambrogio with a pleathra of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meats etc. Of course it is easy to over do it on the mozzarella di bufala, fresh baked pastries, pizza and gelato, but I have no intention of cutting those out entirely, just not indulging as freely as I may have in the past. Reckless abandon some may have even called it. I have realized that I need to set limits for myself without deprivation. I do also LOVE my wine, but again, have made a conscience decision to take notice of how much I consume and how it makes me feel.
My reasons for doing this are not to look like a supermodel, (since I already do) Its really about feeling better and being healthy.
Now I know this doesn't have that much to do life in Florence other than to say that the food here is REALLY good. And that you will certainly not be served the enormous portions of pasta that you are at your typical Italian restaurant in the U.S. Here you can expect a single portion, not a enough for 6 people. Everything is fresh and natural. That certainly makes achieving a fitness goal easier.
So I will say this, if you are planing a visit to Florence and want to start or maintain your exercise routine, there are several ways you can do it and you don't necessarily have to have a gym membership either. One of the best places for a run or walk is up to Piazzale Michelangelo. As you can see from the photos (FYI, that's not me in the photo, do you think we should tell her that her booty is hanging out?) it overlooks the city so there are a few hills involved. From the city center you can walk or run up into the Tuscan hills and get yourself a good workout. (Be careful about going too early or too late though, especially if your a girl) or you can run along the Arno river with all of the Florentines or head down to Le Cascine park. If you prefer the gym like I do, there are several in the city. As long as you don't expect L.A Fitness or Gold's Gym you can find a gym with all of your basics. Here's a list. The prices are also bit more than they are in the U.S, but its your health and there is no price too high for that.
So one of the most important things that I have realized is this; time is going to go by weather you are doing it or not so you might as well just do it. There are no excuses. AND its time for ME. Just me. I turn up my ipod and block out the rest of the world for an hour and a half. Ahhhh che bello!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
...That was until I logged onto facebook this morning and saw that a friend had posted a New York Times Article about Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi! He's at it again. Grande Silvio! Sei veramente un esempio di alto livello! Of course this is not the first I am hearing of this, in fact there have been numerous facebook groups formed speaking out against him and his recent sexcapades and politics. It has been the topic of every late night Italian talk show and this past Saturday afternoon Florence held one of the largest protest in the country by Italian women. As you can see from the photo in the article the statement was that "Italy is not a brothel" Women are getting angry and rightfully so.
As it turns out this is actually a topic that I have had in mind for a while now, not necessarily about Berlusconi but about women in Italy in general. You can read all the slimy details about Berlusconi in the article. What I really am interested in is how it has gotten to this point? So out of control and why the Italians continue to vote him into power. But more than that why men believe that it is ok to objectify women. Of course it is an age old issue and many women have fought for their beliefs and yes there have been changes but certainly not enough. I can speak from my own experiences in that I myself have been personally effected by this and have had to defend myself more than once.
Now yes we've all hear about the "Ciao bella!" (In fact it has sold a hell of a lot of t-shirts around here) and some may even feel flattered if they hear it, or even quite possibly disappointed if they don't.
Silvio Berlusconi's wife divorced him in 2009 and wrote a letter to the public stating why, reasons which included adultery, most of it committed with minors . So here is the example for young Italian men. Now of course I am not foolish enough to place all the blame on him, but there is certainly nothing being done to stop him. First of all why do Italians continue to vote him into office? He has been prime minister for something like 17 years!!! Many may respond that they don't care about his personal life, but let's not forget about the tax evasion, accounting fraud, embezzlement, and accusations of mafia ties. Just in case the under age girls wasn't enough. And yes there are sexual harassment laws in this country, just like there are laws for everything else around here, the problem is not the laws themselves, it the law enforcement that is the issue.
I am not a puritan by any means, I am actually incredibly liberal, and believe that everyone should get to choose what they want to do with their life and their body, the issue is that in Italy, the choices are mainly two. What you see above, or to be a housewife. Maybe if women had more options to make money, this is NOT what they would choose. And, ok fine, you want do this for a living, fine, but is it really necessary on every show? At 8pm?
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
What that means is that I sometimes drop my c’s as is consistent with the Florentine dialect, for example saying things like vado alla hasa, instead of casa. Or 'io sono Amerihana' I’ve also been told that I speak Italian with a Calabrese accent and may even unintentionally slip in a word here and there form the Calabrese dialect which causes some interesting looks of perplexity from the Florentines. “Ma chi e questa ragazza Americana chi parla il dialetto Fiorintina/Calabrese?” One person even said to me jokingly that I was a very confused girl who had an Italian first name, a German last name,
and an American-Florentine-Calabrese accent. "Ma chi sei ho?"
The Florentines even have their own dictionary! Notice the spelling of Vocabolario (dictionary) is with an 'h' instead of a 'c' as well as vernacolo (vernacular)
Since most of my Italian was learnt from my southern Italian husband it seems quite natural that I would begin to pick up on his accent. Many times without thinking I will say things like 'niasci cha’ instead of vai via or get out of here (usually to my cat). Yes, a totally different language I know. Even though I have picked up on some the words from the southern Calabrese dialect, I still have difficulty following a conversation. When I am amongst my in-laws and they are speaking that dialect a mile a minute, bona ugo! As the Florentines would say! I am completely lost.
People will often ask me how long it took for me to learn to speak Italian and my response is always that I am still learning. Now yes there is an official textbook written, spoken and read Italian language and almost everyone will speak it, that is until you get out into some of the remote villages in the countryside or mountain villages. But most formally educated Italians will speak it. But the dialects are a language in and of themselves. And if one were to attempt to understand all of these dialects it would take a lifetime.
And I don’t mean different accents as we may think of it, English vs. American vs. Australian, or even the various American accents such as New Yourk (no not a spelling error) vs. L.A , like OMG! vs. Nashville, ya’ll know what I mean. No, not like that, although a Southern Italian will be able to pick out a Northerner from their accent in heartbeat and vice verse. What I really mean here is that when a Southerner speaks a true dialect a Northerner will not be able to understand what they are saying. For example, I remember watching the evening news and a Neapolitan man was being interviewed and it was subtitled in Italian. This is what I mean by another language entirely. I find myself struggling with the true Florentine dialect at times as well. And not even the pronunciation of the words but 'mode da dire' or Florentine slang so to speak, (excuse the pun). While Florence is known to have the purest dialect of the Italian language (yes, I know that is debatable as well) after all it was the Tuscans who essentially invented the language as it is spoken today.
It is known to date back to the 14th century and the writings of Dante Alighieri who is the author of the Divine Comedy, he was the first to write in what was considered to be the Tuscan language at the time, now referred to as Italian. Prior to that the known languages in the region were Latin and sometimes Greek. Anyhow, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a dialect here because there most definitely is. I sometimes have difficulty understanding the elderly Florentines who still speak only in a traditional pure Florentine dialect.
And if that weren't enough to confuse you, people will often ask what language do my husband I speak at home.........
........I would call it Itanglish, but that wouldn't even be accurate. It really is whatever comes out. My husband is infamous for making up words in English if he doesn't know how to say something, but somehow we have learned to understand each other. A dialect all to ourselves. We often catch each other saying things like 'Can you mettre quello in the oven, per favore?'
It certainly keeps things interesting.