Romein’ around town

Ciao a tutti!

I refuse to apologise for the title of this post. I have way too many Rome puns to start apologising so early on.

This post is quite overdue because I’ve been so busy setting up my life in Roma! And by that I mean I’ve been finding my way around town, getting a metro card, singing up for my Italian course, negotiating getting my CAF and deposit back from accommodation in Montpellier (how are they managing to be a pain in the arse from so far away!?), sorting out more Erasmus paperwork and looking for a yoga mat. All that, plus I’ve managed to move my blog to a self-hosted site and now I have my own domain name, how fancy is that!? I’m so fancy, you already know.

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This week, I started my Italian course! Or, rather, last week. We started lessons on a Friday – not the natural choice, but whatever.* I have four hours every day from 9.00-13.00, which means leaving the flat at about 8.15 with Martina and getting on Metro Line A to Termini and then Metro Line B to Garbatella. The classes are a mix of speaking practice, grammar lessons and sometimes comprehension and listening exercises on a computer which is by far the most boring part. On Tuesday, we arrived at 9am for our 2 hour long computer session (called laboratorio which led me to believe it was going to be much more exciting than it actually is) and finished the exercise within half an hour.

This turned out to be a great stroke of luck; with our spare hour and a half, some of us went to get a coffee from the bar on the street below where we have our lessons, and I had my first Italian bar experience. Italian coffee bars are like neither English bars nor English coffee shops. So different in fact, that I’m going to write a whole post about bars, coffee and etiquette. For now, suffice to say it was a wonderful (if a little confusing) first experience.

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*(I’ve been told off for using ‘whatever’ too often in my posts because it doesn’t make good writing. However, I’m going to keep using it on the grounds that it is a cultural feature. It is one of the many possible translations of the Italian word vabbè, short for va bene, which can be used to express the sentiment, ‘Ok, well, I don’t necessarily agree with what you are doing/saying, but I really can’t be bothered to argue with you, so I will save my arguing energy for when you say something really stupid, especially if it’s about football’.)

Of course, it’s only right that I talk a little bit about food, but you’re not going to like what I have to say. I haven’t been out to dinner yet – instead, I’ve mostly been cooking for myself with all the new, fun ingredients that are on offer at the nearest Carrefour (about a 3 minute walk away). There will be recipes to prove it. Twice, Martina and I have ordered Chinese and sushi (like, both times we had Chinese noodles to start followed by sushi. I don’t know, I think it’s a thing here). I was skeptical at first because of Marco’s (our Italian teacher from UCL) theory about Chinese food in Rome. “Do you know,” he asked us casually one day, “why there are so many Chinese people in Rome, but no Chinese graveyards? It’s because they’re keeping the bodies and serving them up to customers in restaurants.” At the time, I burst out laughing at this clearly crazy conspiracy, but when I came face to face with the real thing, I couldn’t help but prod it suspiciously. I asked Martina what was in the dumplings and she said simply that it was ‘meat’ and couldn’t specify further. But vabbè, they were delicious. I know I’m letting down the tourist in me by not having eaten pizza or ice cream yet, but don’t worry; all in good time.

I finally got round to watching La Dolce Vita this week; you can find the whole thing here for free if you’re interested. It wasn’t what I expected, but I thought it was a sweet film. Even though her character is super annoying and vapid, I’m so jealous of the scene where Anita Ekberg dances in the Trevi Fountain because that’s basically my life goal (yeah I know, good luck with that). But to be honest, I spent most of that scene wondering exactly how much longer her boobs were going to remain inside her dress – spoiler alert, the whole scene. There must be some serious whalebone magic going on under that dress for there not to have even been so much as a nip slip.

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Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni in the Trevi Fountain, taken from the famous scene from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita

That’s all for this very quick update! I’ll leave you with a picture of the cute but incredibly loud kitty who visits our apartment block sometimes. He meows dolefully on their stairs until someone lets him in. You can hear him all over the building, including inside the apartment…

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I shall call him Giancarlo and he shall be mine and he shall be my Giancarlo

I’m off to do my Italian homework – out task is to write a letter to our lover telling them it’s over between us. How very Italian.

A presto, Annie xx

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