Posts about: Everyday Life

Food  |  Life

Sugar and light

A few weeks ago the Christmas lights went up around the neighbourhood. This was a complicated, dangerous-looking process that involved workmen in fluorescent coveralls zig-zagging across the streets, strings of lights draped over their shoulders and trailing along behind them and ladders haphazardly propped up against buildings. One guy, cigarette clamped firmly between his teeth while teetering precariously at the top of a ladder, attempted to hook the lights onto various protrusions (lamp post; a wooden shutter; someone’s washing line) while another guy halfheartedly steadied the ladder from below, periodically taking his hands off of it to yell directions while...

Food

I love cooking (sometimes): A confession from the kitchen

On Friday I ate one of the worst dinners in recent history, a dinner made terrible not by an incompetent restaurant or a disastrous recipe, but by the lack of food in my fridge and sheer laziness. I ate yogurt – plain yogurt, the thin, watery kind that's utterly unsatisfying at the best of times – and then, twenty minutes later, feeling ravenous all over again, I polished off a tiny bag of raw and therefore unpleasantly woody-tasting almonds originally destined for a cake and a small bowl of slightly stale breakfast cereal that I had shoved to the back...

Travel

Ponza and Palmarola in pictures

There's not much that I can tell you about the islands of Ponza and Palmarola. Or, rather, I could fill page after page with words about these islands, trying to describe the intense blues of the water; the way the cliffs, alternatively rust-coloured and chalky white, rise up straight out of that water and finish in dramatic points and swooping arches; the colourful little wooden boats buzzing around everywhere, full of tanned, relaxed vacationers – but really, pictures do a much better job of telling this story, of summing up the four wonderful days spent on a friend's yacht off...

Travel

Notes from a weekend on Ischia

Sometimes, a few days of seaside relaxation are more than just a nice way to spend a long weekend. Sometimes, they get to be a necessity, growing in importance with every summer day spent in the city, with every moment you look out the window and think about how nice it would be to be looking at water instead of cars and motorini and suited businessmen on their way to the office. And sometimes, it's nice to feel far away for a few days, even when you're hardly a few hours from home. Italy excels at meeting these needs. As a...

Life

It was not destined to be a very good morning

If you were to ask me if I tended to be more of a morning person or a night owl, I would tell you that I am undeniably a morning person. Late nights out are, in general, not my thing, even though I live in a city where dinner goes late, after-dinner drinks go even later, and the streets in many areas feel more lively after midnight than they do at ten in the morning. I'm convinced that the morning is actually the best part of the day and – aside from simply evading the barrage of guilty feelings that...

Life

A bit of quiet

After a long silence here, it feels like it might be time to give this blog another go. It seems fitting that this is where I'm picking up where I left off – this being summer, once again, nearly a year since I last wrote here about the experience of summer in Rome. And after a year of not writing anything, there are plenty of words to share. I've come to the conclusion that Sundays in Rome during the summer are strange. Not overtly, obviously strange, but subtly strange, sort of like the feeling that something is just a bit off. A bit empty. I...

Life

The cure

At the beginning of last week, hot on the heels of my weekend excursion to Germany, I finally got hit with the flu that seems to have been making its cruel rounds through Rome for the past several weeks. I blame this entirely on my seat mate during the Munich to Rome flight – it's common knowledge that flights are a breeding ground for germs, and this woman spent an entire hour and a half sneezing, snorting and sniffling in my general direction before complaining, via phone as soon as we disembarked, that she was burning up with a fever...

Life  |  Travel

Love is in the air…port

Late on Friday afternoon, I found myself at the airport, getting ready to leave Italy for the first time since September in order to head to Munich, Germany for a weekend full of business meetings. Rome's Aeroporto di Fiumicino is the kind of permanently dusty, tired-looking sprawl of florescent-lit passages and worn linoleum floors that doesn't do much to emphasize the romance of travel or, really, romance of any kind at all. The check-in counters are mobbed by a disorganized, tangled pack of passengers and suitcases, and the line snaking its way through the one or two open security lanes...

Travel

In viaggio

My taxi driver took to the early-morning roads like they were a cobblestoned racetrack, careening around fountains, hurtling over potholes and streaking past Rome's parade of monuments fast enough to blur them all together. We roared up to Termini with exactly ten Euro on the metre; the driver smiled smugly as he handed me my suitcase, no doubt thinking about all the speed records he had just broken. Termini at 6:45 on a Saturday morning felt like it was wrapped in a foggy, tired haze. As usual, I arrived with far too much time to spare, so I wandered into a...

Life

Linguistic blunders

It was this afternoon, while placing an order at the panificio, that I discovered I had been mispronouncing the Italian word for "onion" for the past five months. Cipolla. It's a simple enough word – short, no tricky "r" sounds to roll around on the tongue – but I had learned it wrong from day one, read it wrong straight out of the textbook and burned that incorrect pronunciation directly into my brain before putting it to almost daily use at markets all across the city. Five months' worth of onions. Five months' worth of awkward mispronunciation. Even now, as I type all...

Life

Misconceptions

During my first couple of months in Rome, I was convinced that there was a special courier service designed specifically to deliver coffee beans to the city's bars and restaurants. I arrived at this conclusion after spotting several bright red trucks with "Corriere Espresso" emblazoned on their sides in bold white letters – I knew that corriere meant "courier", and I assumed, foolishly, in the way that people do when they're just taking their first tentative steps into a new language, that espresso could only mean one thing: Coffee. It made sense, considering that it's impossible to walk more than a few metres...

Life

Mechanical difficulties

This morning, as I was zooming across Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II on my bike – en route to the market to stock up on groceries for the next few meals – the chain suddenly popped off the rear wheel, leaving my legs flailing helplessly in little circles as the bike quickly lost all momentum. This kind of thing, I suppose, is like a version of car trouble for the non-car-owner: There's nothing left to do but brake hard, pull over, and assess the problem. Only in this case, pulling over meant hauling a bike over to the railing of an ornate...

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