A Travellerspoint blog

just another day in Tuscany =)

school and play.

sunny 31 °C

Today at school we learned about descriptive words and me and maudie had to put together a paragraph describing eachother, without using our books as references to what everything would translate to in english. I didn't think that this would be so bad because I knew what most of the words meant but I apparently didn't know how to properly form sentences with them. This is exactly what I wrote, right out of my book

Maudie è la ragazza molto gentile. Ha l'occhio grande verde ed un naso. Ha dei capelli biondi arricciati con marrone in esso, lei anche molto lungo e spesso. Maudie è più alto poi sono ma non è alto, è marrone chiaro dal sole dalla spiaggia. Siamo come perché siamo delle au pair e mangiamo il cibo simile.

which literally translates into;

Maudie is very kind girl. She has big green eye and a nose. She has blonde curled hair with brown in it, she also very long and thick. Maudie is taller then I am but isn't tall, She is tan from the sun by the beach. We are like because we are au pairs and eat similar food.

I think I had the right idea about some things but just wasn't really thinking about the grammar when I was writing down everything. The part that says "she also very long and thick" was supposed to still be talking about her hair, but it seemed like I was describing her body type and if I was that would be a pretty rude thing to say! I felt bad in an awkward way but she understood what I meant and we all had a good laugh about it.

After school I came home and did my homework and studied and waited for Irene to be done school. The babysitter Fredericka came again and we went to her town which is really close and we went rollerblading with Irene for a bit and she kind of showed me around her town a bit which was really nice. The other day at the beach Fredericka and I talked but we didn't really talk a lot but today we did a lot of talking, some in English and some in Italian which was good for the both of us, it was a bit of a language exchange. We talked about a lot of things, she told me about her boyfriend who lives in Rome and how hard it is for them to see eachother because she is so busy with school and he is so busy with work. She asked for my email and I just told her that I use facebook more but she doesn't have facebook because her and her boyfriend have different friends and there is jealousy issues in long distance relationships!! I found this really funny, things don't change from country to country!

After we were done at the park Irene and I read about 30 books in english and played so many little games. I gave her a high five, then did the up high, down low - too slow game with her for probably 30 minutes. Then all through dinner thats all she wanted to play, she thinks it's so funny. We ate dinner outside because it's gorgeous outside and while Fabrizio and I were sitting outside when dinner was over I saw something that I thought was a rat but it was a small porcupine! It was soo cute! I took a bunch of pictures but I thought one of the neighborhood cats was going to try to get it so I chased the cat away so it wouldn't get hurt and the porcupine got spooked and put all it's quills out and it actually looked kind of scary, the quills look VERY sharp at the end!

Fabrizio brought home their vespa today from the mechanic and so in the next few days I should get a chance to learn how to ride it so I'm sure that will end up being a good blog entry =)!! Hopefully no broken bones though, that wouldn't be a fun thing to deal with in Europe! I knew that it was a common thing in Europe to have a moped but they're actually EVERYWHERE, and the people who drive them are very risky! They weave in and out of traffic and go down pedestrian roads (which is so annoying), I know that I said it before but Italian drivers are crazy! I wish I could take a video and post it to facebook so everyone back in Canada can appreciate what good (or maybe careful is a better word) drivers we are!

thats all for now!

Posted by kendahlc 14:00 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

June 23rd 2010 (yesterday)

I got home way too late and had to get up way to early to spend an hour writing

sunny 33 °C

Yesterday I had my first cockroach experience and it wasn't really as bad as I expected.
I was going downstairs to have a shower and I turned on the light and one ran down behind the toilet and I screamed, which probably wasn't nice because Irene was still sleeping and I made Silvia go in and get it, and so she did with a broom and dustpan and she put it in the toilet and I flushed it about 20 times to make sure the thing was gone, then she came back about 20 seconds later with another cockroach and I freaked out again because this one was trying to run everywhere. She put it in the toilet and the stupid thing could swim and I kept on flushing the toilet but it wouldn't go down. After about 3 minutes of flushing and getting in trouble for wasting water the stupid thing was still floating at the top but it wasn't moving so I took the hose from the shower which is almost long enough to reach the toilet and I sprayed water into the toilet to try and drown it a little bit more but I'm not really sure it helped very much and I made a big mess I had to clean up. I had to shower and get ready quickly though so I went into the shower with my sandals on just in case the cockroach crawled out of the toilet and I put everything onto the counter so the stupid thing wouldn't have anything to hide under if it got out just in case I had to stomp on it. In retrospect I think I was being a little over dramatic but they're actually enormous and disgusting. But it died in the toilet I think.

School was good yesterday, it continually gets better, I'm very surprised at how much I've learned already, I really don't have a choice but to learn it though because hardly anyone speaks English here. After school I went shopping downtown and bought some stuff and walked literally all around Pisa for like 3 hours before I met up with SIlvia to go home. Then we went to the beach and played for a while, it was so nice outside and Irene's friend Alessandro came too and we had a "volcano" building contest in the sand, it was so much fun but it's so stressful not knowing the same language as the two kids because they don't really understand what I tell them to do and they just end up ignoring me. It's really frustrating when they start ignoring me because one of my main responsibilities here is to encourage Irene to learn English, but kids are "lazy" in the sense that if it is easier for her to communicate with her friend in Italian then she doesn't really have to do any more with me then she absolutely has to. Irene has learned quite a bit and day by day there is small things that happen that reassure me that she is learning English but one of the hardest things I have felt this far is just not knowing if I've begun accomplishing what my job basically is. A lot of times when her parents are around they will tell her in Italian what words to say to me in English so she says them, but I really hope that she has some understanding what these words mean she isn't just doing what she has been told to do. But I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens and hopefully I am successful in teaching her English.

Then there was an end of the year dinner for Irene's school at the restaurant that is at the beach, it was really good dinner but Italian's don't eat dinner until about 8:00 so that is late as it is but there was a problem in the restaurant so we didn't end up eating until 9 and I didn't get home until 12 but I went straight to bed, I didn't even do my homework or brush my teeth (sorry auntie Teenie). That is pretty much everything that happened yesterday, I wish I would have written about it yesterday though, but we were home way too late!

Posted by kendahlc 12:59 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

school and seaside

school, seaside, and a horrrrible mistake on the bus lol

sunny 25 °C

School was much better today, it went by very quickly and it was a lot easier, I'm really beginning to understand when people talk to me, except when they talk way tooooooo fast.
After school I took the bus back to Agnano, all by myself. I was really worried to take the bus alone for a few reasons, and I think I made a few mistakes but all in all I didn't get lost and I made it home with enough time to nap before I had to pick up Irene from school. There is only a few buses a day to Agnano because it's not really a big town so after school I had about an hour and a half before I had to go to the train staion. So I basically just went and ate and then had gelato and walked around a little bit more. When you get on the buses here obviously you have to have a ticket, but you don't have to give it to the driver, you just have it only in case transit officers stop the bus and check. I didn't know this, so I got on the bus and tried to hand the driver my ticket for about 20 seconds and then realized everyone else was just walking on the bus and sitting down. So I sat down, I was kind of embarrassed but whatever. There is only one way into Agnano and you go up this road and it's kind of up hill because Agnano is at the bottom of some small mountains. Once we started going up the hill I pressed the stop button because Silvia told me there was only one stop in Agnano and apparently thats not the case. The bus driver stopped at a stop thats about half way up the hill and there is legitimately NOTHING around it. No houses, no other roads NOTHING. So instead of telling the bus driver I accidently pushed the button and needed to get off at the next stop I just got off the bus, this is mostly because I was scared of having an awkward conversation because he doesn't know English and I don't know Italian well. This was a really bad decision because I really had to pee and it's actually ALL up hill and probably about a 3k walk, and it was about 25degrees outside. SOOOOOO bad. In the beginning of the walk I was like "okay it will be nice to walk home and get some excersize." Then my legs started hurting and I REALLY had to go to the washroom. I would make excuses to stop like taking a picture of something, but I couldn't stop for long because I just really had to get to the washroom, I was so conflicted between my legs and my bladder. Luckily I found a path that saved me about 3 minutes but then I could not get the door to open for another couple mnutes, when it finally opened I ran into the house and went to the bathroom, I left all my stuff in the front garden without really realizing it, and the door was wide open too. When I came out of the bathroom one of the neighborhood cats was about 5 feet inside the house and I had to chase it out and then I closed the door, then about 20 minutes later the cleaning lady came in the door with my school books and purse and I was so embarrassed.
After Irene was done school her regular babysitter who is 24 and named Fredericka came and we all went to the beach. The beach was so nice, it was chilly at first and I just wanted to go home but it ended up being really sunny. There are big chunks of rock and concrete piled up to make it so that there is a nice beach because the Mediterranean sea is usually really rough, it's very kid friendly there is a playground there, a store, change rooms, full showers, It's a private spot that you rent out during the summer, so it's a lot of wealthy people which means that the facility is just gorgeous. There are crabs on the rocks which is really cool and Irene caught one that was super tiny. Then her and I were playing tag and she was wearing a dress with her bathing suit underneath and she ran right into the water and got completely soaked and this was right when we were about to leave so she had to go home in her towel that has a hood, almost like a house coat. She was not pleased about this at all, she whined all the way home.
Then we came home at about 8pm and had dinner and studied a bit. Helped Irene learn some more english, right now I'm focusing on day to day things like numbers, getting her to repeat after me, she climbs on things a lot so I found out the Italian word for Monkey and refer to her as that, and get her to translate it to english. She is learning very quickly and has started replying in English if I ask her simple things like yes or no questions or understand when I say wash your hands or brush your teeth. It makes me so happy that she is learning all of this so quickly, I'm proud that she is catching on this quickly!
Tomorrow I am going shopping after school to waste my time between school and the bus and I'm so excited because today I discovered where the shopping district is! yay.

Posted by kendahlc 14:27 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)


about my school and the first day of my real duties.

sunny 23 °C

This morning I was up so early and ready to go to school, I was pretty excited about school because of the possibility of meeting other people and then learning Italian which would make my life in Italy so much easier.
My school is in the downtown of Pisa, near the River Arno, which is absolutely gorgeous. During the 2nd world war the German's occupied Pisa and the American's would come into the harbour and bomb the city from the harbor because they were too scared to actually fly over the city so this part of town where my school is is pretty much all "new". New means built in the 1960, but A lot of the architecture is still similar to the way it was built hundreds of years ago so it still looks very classic. This is my favorite area of the city because it's just so pretty. I took pictures so of course they'll end up on facebook sooner or later.
But anyways I went to class and my class is just me, another girl who is from London name Maudie (also an au pair), and our teacher. The class is so small because it's really intensive so it makes sense to have something this small because then you have a better relationship with the teacher which makes learning Italian easier. Maudie has been in Pisa for 3 weeks already but she only started language lessons last week so she had 2 before I joined her, which made it very hard because the teacher was just moving very quickly which was really hard for me. Also they avoid speaking English to you if possible, they just expect you to catch on to what they are saying, which is obciously SOOOOOOOOO hard in the beginning. I actually ended up in tears and my favorite phrase today was "non capisco" which in English means I don't understand. But after I had my little emotional moment and class went on I actually started picking things up very quickly.
After class I had an hour between when I was supposed to meet Silvia to take me home so me and Maudie went to a cafe and got lunch. We wanted to sit outside but we didn't because in Pisa if you sit outside in some cafe's you pay a service charge, it's so weird. I'm still not really sure what I had but it was a sandwich on some type of egg bun with artichokes and I think prosciutto in the middle, but it was really good! After we were done I walked down to silvia's office building and sat outside and waited because it was so nice out today. I sat on the bottom of a statue in the middle of this little square, there were pigeons everywhere and from where I was sitting I could see the River Arno, it was a beautiful situation and almost surreal, sometimes it's still hard to believe that I am in Italy.
When I got home I unpacked more of my things and had a nap. Then I went and got Irene from school and when I went to pick her up I spoke to one of the teachers in Italian, and she understood that I don't really know a lot so the conversation was kept pretty basic, just about me and how I am enjoying Pisa so far. Then one of Irene's friends came over with his dad and we all played in a little area where there are olive trees and a bit of a field. We "caught" a lot of snails from the olive trees and Irene kept putting their slime on my legs and it was so disgusting, as soon as we got back to the house I like scrubbed my legs. Irene and I also invented a little game where we sit accross from eachother with our legs outstetched and feet touching in V shapes like this
Kendahl < > Irene
and in between we hit a little glass ball back and forth with little metal rods, we call it diamond hockey. All through dinner she kept asking to play diamond hockey so when we sat down after dinner Silvia suggested that everytime we hit the ball we count, and we do this in English and Italiano. We count in English to 20 to teach Irene the english numbers, and then after count in Italiano to teach me how to say the numbers in Italiano, and I'm sure that we will modify this game to learn other things like body parts, days of the week, months, colors etc.
After we did my homework from school and Irene is very good at helping, and she wants for us to understand each other better so she is really trying to learn, and trying to teach me things. She can be such a little comedian, some of the things that she says and does at 4 actually really surprise me, she makes laugh a lot!
Thats pretty much all for today!

Posted by kendahlc 14:17 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

My first full day!

beyond busy, and still exhausted

semi-overcast 20 °C

Last night I actually got quite a good sleep, I woke up this morning about about 9am, which is 2am Calgary time I didn't realize how odd time change is until I started wondering what my friends at home were doing and came to the conclusion that as I was beginning my day most of my Calgary friends were probably leaving the bar for Chris and Chad Popp's birthday party.
Today was quite busy. First we got up and had breakfast then we left the house to go into downtown Pisa with Silvia and Irene. On the way to town Silvia decided this would be a good opportunity for me to learn how to drive a standard vehicle. I really regret not learning well before I came because it was so frustrating. At one point we were sitting at a light and when the light turned green I stalled the car about 10 times before I got it to go. People behind me were honking, they went around me and stared me down. It was one of the most frustrating mortifying moments of my life, Silvia made me feel a lot better though by telling me that Italian's are very impatient drivers. The roads here are incredibly scary, what Canadians would consider a one lane road Italians consider a 4 lane road - they're honestly worse then Mexican's. Not to mention the fact that the roadways here are extremely winding and there is trees everywhere so there is a lot of blind corners. When we got closer to downtown Silvia and I switched and she drove downtown because the streets are again very narrow and there are far too many cars.
On the way into downtown Pisa I was too distracted by trying to learn how to drive standard to even think about where exactly we might be going, and so when we got out of the car and began walking I saw the top of the leaning tower and got really excited because of course that was something I really wanted to see. The tower is in a square in the middle of high brick walls because hundreds of years ago that area used to be a forbidden city, in the square there is a cathedral, bapistry and cemetary. Today we just looked at the tower and walked around and went inside the cathedral but because there was mass going on at that time we couldn't walk through the whole thing, we just came in the back and looked and walked out. Outside of the cathedral there is a fountain that is running mountain water that is brought to Pisa from a close town called Lucca. It is always clean water that comes from the tap and you are allowed to drink it, at first I wasn't going to but there was a lot of people doing it so I decided to join and it was really fresh tasting, Silvia told me that locals bring large water bottles to the fountains to fill them because the water is so nice.
We then decided to leave and come back to the house for lunch. When we got home Silvia's mother was here and she doesn't speak any english which made it incredibly hard for us to communicate but Silvia and Fabrizio are really good about translating back and forth and teaching me words and phrases here and there. We ate lunch (pasta of course) and after lunch I watched the little mermaid with Irene and when it was over Silvia told me they had been invited to two parties and gave me the option of coming or staying home and of course I went!
The first party was one of their neighbours children's birthdays. Everyone here assumes I speak Italian but when they find out that my Italian is REALLY bad most of the time they know some English and we can have a broken conversation. The Italy New Zealand football game was on during this party and about 75% of the people there were crowded around the TV watching, and when Italy scored everyone in the house went crazy!! Other then that most of the party I walked around with Irene and she showed me different things and introduced me to her friends as her sister, she is already very attached to me and I love it!! When I meet people and they find out that I am from Canada the conversation usually turns to our weather compared to Italy's weather which is so hard to talk about because I don't think they understand that we do actually get summer in Canada, and that right now the weather in Pisa and the weather in Calgary is the exact same because it is raining in both, I'm just waiting for the stereotypical question about wether or not we live in Igloo's. At the party one of the local mums talked to Silvia and wants me to meet her older son, who is either 18 or 19, I'm not really sure how I feel about this because as much as I would like some friends if he can't speak english, and I can't speak Italian it's going to be incredibly awkward.
The second party was an older mans birthday. It was in one of the most gorgeous houses I have ever seen, there was sooooo much food and it was all so good! I had this cheese that was made from Sheep's milk and it was amazing, there is also this pie type thing that is made with pieces of meat, sometimes ham sometimes salami or peperoni and then it is baked in the oven with either brie cheese or Ricotta cheese and then on top is egg, it sounds really strange and I was weary to try it but it's probably one of my favorite's now!
Tomorrow I start school and I'm not nervous at all I just really hope that it helps me learn Italian very quick because I hate not knowing what people are talking about, it's awkward and I feel rude if someone says something to me and I can't respond with words so I just smile and then they probably think I'm an idiot. I know quite a few worlds already so I have been able to pick them up when people are talking and usually just guess what the conversation is about, but it's so hard! I have a whole new level of understanding for immigrants!
But anyways I am in the process of posting pictures to my facebook so that everyone can see where I am and I have to get to bed so I am nice and rested for school tomorrow ! goodnightt

Ps- a couple random other things about today - my hair straightener works (thank god it didn't blow from the voltage difference or blow a fuse in the house) but it almost doesn't really matter because it's so humid here that my hair doesn't stay really straight for long. I also found out today that there aren't a lot of spiders in Italy, but there are cockroaches who get in the house as well as geckos. Cockroaches usually come out in the night time so hopefully I just don't see them and am able to pretend they aren't even there.

Posted by kendahlc 13:52 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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