A Travellerspoint blog

I tried eating bore meat today.

sunny 37 °C

School was good, boring. Nothing exciting, better then yesterday but I'm a little sad that tomorrow is my last day, but I can't believe how helpful it has been and how much I have learned so quickly!
Irene was done school at 1 today so I came home and hung out with her for a couple hours until Silvia came home. Silvia took us to the bus station and Irene and I took the bus to the sea side. I was so nervous to take the bus with her because it was during rush hour when the buses get super super busy but at the stop I met this great older lady who was fluent in English and coached us all the way to the resort. BUT it was 35 degrees outside today and the bus was so packed and not air conditioned it was disgustingly hot, I thought I was going to faint. As soon as we got to the resort I changed and went right into the water! We were in the water for about an hour and a half then Silvia's mum (Nonna) and Irene's cousin (Davide) invited me and Irene for some Gelato in the cafe at the resort and obviously we went. Davide is 11 and doesn't really seem to understand that I don't speak a lot of Italian and he likes to talk so while we were sitting and everyone was eating he would try to talk to me and I had no idea what he was talking about and it actually ended up being so annoying. But after we ate he went and played with his friends and I just laid out and tanned a bit. Then at about 800 when we were leaving the beach in the car it was me Davide and Irene in the back seat and I tickled Irene and Davide and then Davide asked me in Italian if I were ticklish and I responded yes and this might have been the worst decision ever. I was tickled all the way back home I actually feel bruised along my sides because he was quite aggressive! When we stopped to drop them off at home I got out of the car to get in the front seat and Davide ran up behind me and attempted to tickle me and I tried to move and hit the corner of my eye on the car door so tomorrow I could potentially show up for my last day of school with a black eye, hopefully my teachers will believe my story and not think my au pair family believes in corporal punishment!
When we got home dinner was ready and it was amazing!! Fredericka the babysitter came over for dinner and Gelato so most of the time dinner conversation was in Italian which I actually kind of liked because I tried speaking a little bit more as well as listening and picking up on more words and phrases that I hear during their dialogue.
Also, the weirdest food I have tried in Italy yet happened today. Fabrizio came home at lunch basically to cook for me and Irene. He started cooking pasta and of course I was fine with that because that is quite a common thing, then Fabrizio said to me "I will make Irene a Pesto sauce and you and I can have a sauce made of Wild Bore meat". I haven't refused to eat anything here yet because 1) That is rude. 2) I'm trying so hard to push myself to try new things, step out of my comfort zone type thing. While the food was cooking I couldn't stop thinking about what I was about to eat and how much I didn't want to eat it. I wasn't really scared of the taste as much as the idea of eating a wild bore just bothered me, but when I tried it I actually really liked it. It doesn't really have a distinct flavor or anything so it wasn't anything too extreme but it was kind of cool.
I currently don't eat any type of animal that comes from any type of water, not because I have tried all type of sea food and just don't like it, I mainly don't eat it because I don't like the idea of eating something who swims in it's feces. While we were in Mexico in February I tried crab and discovered I do actually like it, and Fabrizio keeps saying that by the time I go home I will be a sea food lover. I'm not going to refuse any sea food they ask me to eat (except maybe anchovies or tuna) and Silvia bought me some shark to try while we are sailing and so I'm beginning to think that maybe Fabrizio will be right, especially after the fact I never expected to enjoy eating wild bore.
Thats all for now, buonanotte

ps - Mom, Dad, and Bacardi I miss you and love you all so much!!!

Posted by kendahlc 13:41 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

"come si dici.. ?"

How do you say.. ?

sunny 35 °C

This morning school was very hard because we were going over verb tenses and it's so complicated I was having such a hard time understanding and I think my teacher got frustrated with me because I made her repeat herself over and over again. At school they refuse to speak english to you they expect you to catch on to the directions in Italian which makes it very hard to ask questions because you don't really understand what the answer is about. I agree with this partially because it really does help you to learn but there are times when I just don't understand and all I want is for her to explain everything in English but she just wont. Today she explained a bit to me in English but her English isn't good enough for her to even fully explain it. Basically what I am getting at is that school has already taught me so much, but I think I would learn more if she would help me at least a little in English.
Once Irene was done school her babysitter Fredericka came over and we all went to the beach! On our way driving there we were driving on a street close to downtown Pisa and this guy stepped out and looked at the traffic that was coming on the right, but he didn't look left and he stepped out and we were so close to hitting him it was unbelievable. His hand touched the car and we were going about 60 so I'm sure if he stepped out about 6inches more we could have hurt him really badly. Fredericka had to pull over and take a breath because it was so scary. She wasn't even sure if she hit him, but he finished crossing the street and was fine. But apart from our scary almost killing someone incident the beach was fantastic! It was so hot out today it was almost unbearable so as soon as we got to the beach I went right into the water which was so refreshing! The beach was nice, we ate our gelato and worked on our tan and then we came home for dinner at about 8pm.
Irene spilled a bottle of bubbles on the couch and so we had to clean that up, Silvia was a little anooyed at what happened and a little conversation happened that went something like this
"You wanted me to play with you after dinner but now look I have to spend time cleaning up after you" - Silvia
"Well why don't you just clean it up quickly then, Mum" - Irene
I'm impressed that a 4 year old can be this witty, she is hard to get mad at. But Irene ended up wanting to help clean the mess because she is obsessed with princess' and she pretended she was cinderella. It was adorable she started singing a song and would stop and twirl around and then return to scrubbing the couch. She is so much fun. Then of course when I went to put her to bed she wanted me to read her Cinderella as a bed time story.
After we were done cleaning the mess up and before we went to bed we went outside and blew bubbles from another bottle that has yet to be spilled. I try and make everything a bit of a learning experience in some way so that it's not as obvious for her that I am trying to teach her another language. Tonight when she would blow bubbles we would say their size in english, so she learned small, medium, large and when they would pop she started saying "it popped". She has also caught onto the fact that I don't know Italian so if Fabrizio or Silvia are around she will say to them "come si dice ....In Inglais?" which means "how do you say ..... In English" then she will repeat what they have said to me.
Thats all for today, hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting!!
Ciao

Posted by kendahlc 13:18 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

"your accent is not nice"

sunny 30 °C

Today was my first day of private classes at school and it's so much more helpful. My teacher is adorable and she certainly likes to gossip, but she doesn't know english well enough to put everything in full sentences and with her accent some of the things she says are ridiculous. (We don't JUST gossip - I am learning Italian!)
After class I went to a bookstore and got some Italian language work books, an Italian-English dictionary, an Italian phrase book for foreigners and an english novel called "freakonomics". The book store was so small but they had so many books, a lot about art and politics so I'm really excited to learn Italian fluently so that I can read Italian literature that was written during the wars because Silvia and I yesterday had a talk about Italy's role in the world wars because it really didn't get a lot of attention at school (with exception to learning about Mussolini) so I think it would be cool to read about an Italian perspective during those years.
When I got Irene from school we really didn't do a lot, we played soccer in an alley type thing, spent about an hour blowing bubbles then we read a few english children's books. While we were reading this one book I would point to animals and name them in english, I do this with every book but today she really learned them, and after I was done reading the book to her she would say "encora encora" which means again so we would read it again, and eventually I didn't even read we would just open a page and she would accurately name all of the animals on the page in English. I'm so proud when these types of things happen because sometimes it seems like she has moments where she doesn't like me because I'm trying so hard to teach her at pretty much every moment of the day but this afternoon she was really into it so I did my best to take advantage. I was so excited when her parents came home to show them what she had learned today and Silvia was very happy with what she had learned and it made me feel so good! It's little things like this that are really going to make the negative things worth it here.
When we were outside one of the neighbours named Francesca who is 22 came over and talked to me and she said that she is having a party this friday and invited me to come - actually her exact words were "Friday I am having a party, with beer and friends" - it was so funny. But I think that we are leaving to go sailing on friday so I probably wont be able to go, but I'm perfectly fine with that because I know her english is very poor and I know that a couple of her friends speak english but not well, so if I went it could be a very awkward few hours.
But anyways thats pretty much all for today!
I need to get to bed!
buonanotte

Posted by kendahlc 13:56 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Is there a barf bag on this boat?

SAILING!!!!

sunny 28 °C

Today I got a pretty decent sleep in - 10am!! Which would have been early for me in Calgary but here I am usually up at about 630 - 7am.
We didn't really do much in the morning just hung out and did some chores, I played some games with Irene and she watched "l'occhio" (a cartoon movie about the eye in Italian) for the 30th time since I have been here then we had lunch. After lunch I showered and got ready and we headed out at about 1 to go sailing!!
Silvia and Fabrizio's friend name Roberto came with us, he is such a nice man, so calm and quiet, he has been to Canada and went on a 4 day hike with Fabrizio around Mt. Assiniboine near banff in 1990.
I learned a lot today about sailing, how to tie knots, fold a sail, some sailing lingo, but I also learned that being sea sick really sucks. We were sailing for about 30 minutes and I realized that I was starting to get sea sick so I went and laid on the front of boat and tanned and just closed my eyes and concentrated on feeling better. I didn't really feel like I was going to throw up so I figure that it would pass so I did that for about 30 minutes and I started to feel better. Then we stopped and took down the sails and put an anchor in the water and we went for a "bath" in the sea! At first I was really scared to get in the water because when I asked if there was sharks in the water they said there was no sharks but there might be jelly fish around that do sting so of course I immediately thought about the movie "seven pounds" with Will Smith where he gets stung by the jelly fish and dies and got scared. But we didn't see any around and none in the Mediteranean are strong enough to kill you, so I finally got in the water and I was still a bit scared but I got over it quickly because it's soooo nice in the water! The sea is already pretty warm but apparently during the summer when it gets to about 35Ëšoutside the water feels so cold and refreshing when you get in! We swam for about an hour and when we got out we sat and had a beer before we started heading back to the Marina. The beer I had was amazing. It's a local beer from a microbrewery and it's brewed using a flower that is native to the Mediteranean as a flavoring, it has a really distinct taste but it's so nice! I don't know if it was the combination of beer along with semi rough waters that made me sick but once we started sailing again but it was horrible, I told Silvia that I didn't feel like I was going to throw up but that was such a lie, I was concentrating so hard on not throwing up but I went and sat at the front (mostly so that if I threw up it would be easy for me to lean over the side) and I eventually started feeling better when I distracted myself by thinking of other things. I asked Silvia if because I was sea sick today if that means I will always get sea sick and she said no that you get used to it, it just takes some times, so hopefully I get over this quickly. While we were sailing we saw dolphins! Everyone said how rare that was because the dolphins usually don't come a few km from the shore but they were pretty close to a few other boats and about 5km from the mainland! There was three of them and I took a video so I'll have to post that on facebook soon!
On Friday we are leaving for a week sailing to some islands that are in the Mediteranean sea (sadly not Corsica or Sicily or anything too exciting) but I am so excited and cannot wait it's going to be sooo nice and I should get an amazing tan! I just really hope that I don't end up being sea sick the whole time that would completely ruin it for me. After that week were going to the alps for 2 weeks to the house where Fabrizio grew up! I am also really looking forward to that I just really hope I don't get forced into doing a lot of hiking!
I have to get to bed because I have school in the morning!
ciao!

Posted by kendahlc 13:45 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

June 26 2010

once again I fell asleep before I could write!

overcast 26 °C

School was good, it was my last day with Maudie which was kind of sad, but next week I will have private lessons only for 2 hours a day but because it is so focused I will probably learn more which is good! My teacher is great and I'm really happy that I get to keep her for next week.
The family that I'm living with went to the alps for the night last night (Friday) and they invited me to go with them but I decided to stay home because I was planning on going out for dinner with some people then today I was supposed to go downtown to the square where the tower is and see the museums, cemetery and climb the tower but I didn't end up feeling well so I kind of had to ditch all my plans. I'm not really happy that I had to drop out on my plans because I was going to meet a couple other girls last night and today but I have a while here so I'll do things when I will actually be able to appreciate them, and there will be other chances to meet those girls! It's not really a huge loss it's just really boring today and it made me feel really homesick because I wish my mum was here to take care of me! It's also good though that I didn't go camping in the mountains because I've been camping when I'm not feeling well before and it's pretty much unbearable!
So last night I watched a bunch of sex and the city, drank tea and caught up on some much needed sleep which was nice even though I should be taking advantage of every second I have in Tuscany. Yesterday the highlight of my day was having a nice little skype date with Megan! I miss her so much so it was so nice seeing her beautiful face and catching up on our lives!!

Since I really don't have much to write about from yesterday I might as well write about the family I am living with and answer some things that people have asked me about.
The family that I am living with is great! The father's name is Fabrizio, mother is Silvia and the daughter who is 4 is named Irene. Irene is pronounced e-rain-a because in Italian the pronounciation of the Letter "i" is how you pronounce "e" in English, and the pronounciation of "e" is how you would say "a" in the english alphabet. Also, the letters j, k, and w don't exist in the Italian alphabet. All of these little things have really thrown me off a lot at school because I pronounced words wrong constantly, but it's getting better! But anyways, I wasn't really sure about what to expect when I came to Italy in regards to living with a family that I don't really know, but so far everything has been going well. I heard a few horror stories about au pairs not being allowed to leave their room after a certain time or only being able to eat leftovers but this is not the case here at all! I have been treated so well, they have really accepted me as though I am one of their kids which is a big relief because I was a little worried about being treated like a slave. My duties are very reasonable, I pick up Irene from school and make sure she has a snack, I don't have to clean the house because there is a cleaning lady, I just have to pick up after myself and help them set and clear the table at meal times. They encourage me to go to other parts of Europe and see things and they have been making sure that I am emailling or calling my parents (not that they really have to do that though because I have such a good relationship with my parents I make sure I email or call). Silvia even emailled my mum herself one day to tell her that I am doing well but that she thought that I was a little bit culture shocked or homesick. I think though anyone who begins to live together who has never lived together before will have certain annoyances and things like that about each other, it's normal and I would be surprised if nothing came up but so far the only thing they have really pointed out to me is that I need to shut off lights and unplug things when I don't need them. Which is exactly what my parents tell me at home all the time so I wasn't offended or anything by them telling me this, in a way it made me feel slightly more at home. Hopefully this is the biggest issue we have!
One thing that I noticed in Italy which is so opposite from home is that when you enter a house you don't remove your shoes, you just wear them inside the house. I asked Silvia if this was an Italian thing and she didn't really have an answer she said it depends on the family and how their house operates but so far every house I've been in leaves their shoes on. If you know anything about me you probably know that I hate having anything on my feet (which is probably why they're always cold) and I don't usually wear socks, even in my hockey skates! So this has been a weird thing for me to get used to, like to wake up, and put a pair of shoes on as soon as I get out of bed isn't something I've ever done at home! Usually I don't wear shoes when I am upstairs in my room and when I'm home alone I don't leave my shoes on either. When I come home from anywhere I go up to my room and put my stuff away and then I usually just throw on my black old navy flip flops because they're the most comfortable for me and easy to slip off under the table!
Meal times are FULL meals!! There is always at least one main course, salad, different cheeses, different sliced meats, bread, wine, water, fruit, desert - at the house fruit usually is desert but if we eat out desert is usually gelato or a pastry. The family I'm living with eats very healthy, but the portions are huge. So since I got here I haven't had any junk food, except gelato which I'm addicted to! At meal times there is so much put on the table to eat and it has so far all been soooo good! I don't usually eat breakfast at home in Canada but here I usually have yogurt or an apple then at school there is usually pastries and stuff for us to eat at break time, then I sometimes have lunch at a cafe after school, then gelato before the bus sometimes, a snack with Irene after school like yogurt, fruit or vegetables and then a huge dinner!! I have had all the stereotypical Italian foods since I have been here like an incredible amount of pasta, pizza, and gelato and they all taste so much better in Italy! Also another strange thing is that Italians eat dinner quite a bit later then we generally do in Canada, dinner is usually served at about 830ish which I actually really like. Since being here I have also discovered my love for carbonated water! One day Maudie and I were having lunch at a cafe and I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and it was carbonated water and I have become addicted to it! I didn't think that I would ever like this but it's so good!! I wish it was a lot more popular in Canada because I'm definitely going to have to have it all the time when I get home.
Thats pretty much all I'm going to write right now because it's getting a little bit long!
ciaaaao

Posted by kendahlc 05:31 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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