Posts about: Life in Rome

Life

Holiday tradition, looking back and forward

The Christmas lights have been going up all around Rome. I first spotted a lone tinsel-draped tree standing defiantly in a shop window in mid-November and thought, huh, that’s oddly early this year, and then the decorations started gaining momentum and spreading steadily through the city until one day it was undeniable. The holidays had arrived. So here we are: December. On the first day of the month, embracing one of the few holiday traditions that I actually look forward to, I headed to one of my favourite bakeries and bought a loaf of panettone – a sweet, cake-like bread that appears...

Food  |  Life

Lamenting and then savouring summer: A recipe

Yesterday afternoon, I did something that I haven’t done for months: I pulled a cake out of the oven and set it on top of the stove to cool. It was a simple cake, a fairly basic batter studded with halved plums and showered in brown sugar, but it felt oddly symbolic: plums are an end-of-summer fruit that make their appearance just before the season changes, and the cake itself – the first thing I’d baked in ages – was a celebration of the temperature finally starting to feel cool enough that turning on the oven wouldn’t make the kitchen...

Food  |  Life

Despair and frustration at the supermarket: A rant

I had intended to write about something reasonably interesting to break my months-long silence here, but as I’ve just come back from the supermarket, and, as usual, am feeling irritable after the experience, I’ve decided to write about that instead. Grocery shopping is decidedly un-glamerous, but as it’s also unavoidable – and unavoidably frustrating, especially recently – I will write about it. I’m fortunate enough to have a supermarket just around the corner from my house, although calling it a “supermarket” actually feels like a fairly significant stretch of the word, since the whole thing occupies about the same amount of floor space as my apartment...

Life

Winter… inside the house

Let’s be honest: Rome is not exactly a wintery city. It’s known for long stretches of sunny days and its fierce summer heat, and maybe also for its equally fierce rainstorms, but it is not known for excessively cold weather or snow or anything else that would make its winter months remarkable in any way. Except, despite this, between December and March I am constantly, uncomfortably cold. I can deal with it being cold outside. This seems natural, and it’s easy enough to block out most of the cold with appropriate clothing. It’s the part where I’m also cold indoors, everywhere, that starts to get to me after a...

Life

Photo Friday: After the rain

It’s been a rainy, grey week in Rome. Not exceptionally cold, but sufficiently damp and unpleasant to keep me mostly cooped up indoors, with an umbrella close at hand every time I step outside. A day or two of rain can qualify as cozy and justify some time spent lounging around with blankets and mugs of tea; any more than that starts to feel excessive. A string of rainy days has its upside though: When the rain lets up and the sky clears, the whole city emerges feeling refreshed – even the colours seem brighter....

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...

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

Inferno

When I arrived in Rome – almost a year ago, back in September – everyone told me the exact same thing: That I had arrived after the worst of the summer heat had subsided, and that I should be thankful for this fact. I found this simultaneously relieving and alarming; it was nice to know that I wouldn't be trying to get settled into my new life in the midst of a heatwave, but – given that September itself was still fairly hot – it was also disconcerting to consider just how much warmer the city was capable of getting....

Life

The Roman beach experience: Culture shock all over again

I'll let you in on a secret: I don't really like going to the beach. Or at least I didn't, until very recently. It doesn't make sense, of course – I really should have loved the beach. I grew up on an island; I lived within walking distance of not just one, but an entire selection of beaches, and family vacations at the beach were a regular occurrence all throughout childhood. The typical Victoria beach experience, though, involves swaths of pebbles streaked with dried seaweed and clumps of kelp in varying stages of decomposition, heaps of tangled driftwood occupying most of...

Life

Finestre aperte

This morning, like every other morning, I woke up to the sound of my phone's alarm trilling out its familiar tune. Except when I rolled over and groped groggily at my bedside table in an effort to silence it, I realized that my alarm was already silent – that, in fact, it wasn't actually set to go off for another hour, and the alarm that had jolted me out of my sleep actually belonged to a neighbour. The alarm continued to ring constantly for an indeterminable but seemingly infinite amount of time, guaranteeing that I, along with every other person whose bedroom...

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

Cashing in

A few mornings ago, while pulling out my wallet to pay for a cappuccino, I came to the dismaying realization that I had absolutely no money left. Of course, that's not entirely true. In reality, there was a little wad of several fifty-Euro bills tucked between my Visa card and my bank card, the Visa having laid nearly dormant since my arrival in Rome and the bank card useless except as a means to withdraw still more fifty-Euro bills from the ATM. The problem was that any attempt to use one of those bills to buy something costing less than, say,...

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