Learn Italian words (and grammar): la colazione in Italia!

As every grandma uses to say, “breakfast is the most important meal of all”. And that is indeed true, especially if you consider that generally it helps your body recovering from a night of fasting! So what’s the deal with Italian breakfast?

From a country whose diet is renowned worldwide, with an outstanding variety of ingredients and a cookbook stuffed with delicious recipes, you would expect excellence even when it comes to the first meal of the day. Yet, breakfast in Italy is very different from what many expats and Italian language students would expect, as it is usually a very fast and light meal, the mainstay being a cappuccino or an espresso accompanied by some pastries (cornetti) and, occasionally, corn flakes and cereals (fiocchi d’avena e cereali). In a regular Italian breakfast there is no room for cheese, eggs, beans or bacon, and actually most Italians tend to consider the idea of having a “salty breakfast” (or eating anything salted before midday) quite disgusting.

Even in Italy, of course, you will be able to find bars, pubs and hotels which regularly serve English or American breakfast, but if you really want to get the full Italian experience, you should really try to melt in and have a quick and light Italian breakfast in a local bar, peeking at a quotidiano and catching the occasion to have a chat with Italian natives on the latest news

For all of you who want to be prepared when having your first breakfast in Italy, here’s a new infographic… with a quick grammar overview about si passivante included!

 

Learn Italian words and grammar: breakfast in Italy, Infographic

Advertisements

(Italian) boys, boys, boys

When I moved to Rome as an expat, everyone I knew was daydreaming about “the Italian boys”. Italian boys are more a category of spirit than an actual group of people: you know, those guys that know how to love and teach you how to be loved, that take their special one on romantic dates at least twice a week and are still frozen in time with all their gentlemen manners. Their black hair and clear brown eyes and their accents, if anything, can only make you fall in love even more. In my 4th month of living in Rome, I will give you my experiences with Italian boys in the city center of this wonderful city!

First of all, when in Rome you should get used to the Italian words bella or bellissima, since it is very common to get this kind of compliments, even from strangers. In Rome even on the worst hairday ever you will get compliments on your looks! And that, indeed, is one proof of the fact that #ITALIANSDOBETTER.

ruth-orkin-italian-men-stare

The acts of Italian boys are funny and sweet: they are always trying to get a smile on your face. I can give you more than hundred examples of this, but here are just the ones that I remember the most. Let’s start with some funny “icebreaking” sentences I heard like: “Do you have a passport to heaven, because you are an angel for sure” or “Your eyes are like the most beautiful Italian rivers, I used to be a sailor so let me sail you” or “I know you like Vespas and I have one, how about a ride right now”. Also, there are boys who show you acts instead of words like street musicians who serenade you on the street, waiters in restaurants that give you extra sweets and cakes by your coffee or taxi drivers who don’t let you pay the taxi ride.

nordstrom_mens_shop_daily_blog_anniversary_sale_expert_picks_andy_comer_marcello_mastroianni2Of course, these guys are just strangers, who mostly like to flirt with you. But since I happened to have an Italian boy as a flatmate, I can also tell you about how it is to have one as a friend and… well, Italian boys as friends are very friendly and aren’t different from the rest of the world (surprise!). The little difference for me was in the fact that they will make sure that you discover all wonderful experiences from their city/country and don’t make you miss Italian culture knowledge. Ask them about great restaurants, bars or activities etc. and they will be happy to advise you… and even if they speak English, their incredibly thick Italian accent turns every word they say in pure cuteness. When it comes to the famous “Italian hospitality“, I guess this is part of the package.

And what about you guys? If you want to share your experiences with Italy and Italian boys, feel free to comment (and share)!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Musings in a roman church

I step through the worn wooden doorway and am greeted by a rush of air that caresses my cheek. The candles that hang in lanterns cast a soft illumination, and I breathe the warm scent of old incense. I can hear the laughter of my friends drift down to hushed whispers as I lead the way in, bowing my head to the statue of Jesus that watches over those who have entered. As I raise my eyes, the calm atmosphere brings my aching heart a bit of comfort. In these last intense weeks of college finals, saying goodbye to the study-abroads, and packing up for the summer, this tranquil place gives me a sense of peace.

This church is too small to have very many pews, so they are set together in a long line down the center. People of all different kinds sit on the sturdy chestnut planks; and though their numbers are few, their love overflows the church so that even I, someone who doesn’t know this god’s kindness, can feel it.

As I move past, I try not to look at the people, trying to respect their privacy. I slide in to an empty pew, and my friend Feride joins me. This will be her last night here and I will miss her terribly over the summer. We have known each other for only a semester but she has become so dear to me. I put my arm through hers and we sit together, quietly enjoying each other’s company. Franny joins me on my other side and the boys take a seat in the row in front of us.

I glance around. The only thing that makes me absolutely sure that I haven’t been transported back to an ancient time are the audio speakers, which play lovely hymns, and the priest who sits off to the side on his computer controlling the music.

Paintings decorate the walls, and their colors and beauty amaze me. It always leaves me with a sense of happiness to be in a church like this one. So often I hear awful news of people murdering and raping, and it breaks my heart. Coming back to a church helps, not because I feel this god’s love, but because I see what the love his people have for him inspire. I look around and think, humanity may have many sins, but we redeem ourselves in our ability to love, and you have to look no further then a church, mosque, or temple to see this. These places are where you can see what love can create. The heavy scent of incense is making me sleepy, and I lean my head on Feride’s shoulder.

The boys silently rise in front of us and I can feel Franny stand up as well. Feride whispers, “Are you ready?” I sigh. Of course I’m not ready I think. But I raise my head and nod. Feride and I move out of the pew and back towards the door. Chris bows his head and makes the sign of the cross, and through the doorway I can see the hustle and bustle of everyday life waiting outside for me in the evening darkness.

Chris and Feride walk out, and I take one last look at the altar. I bow my head and then follow my friends into the night.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

A meal in a Roman square

474411420Sitting down at an outside table, I set my cappuccino on the table and dig into my beat up purse to find my notebook. The sun is relentless today and sitting under the large crimson umbrella that blooms over the middle of my table is the only reason my skin isn’t lobster red. I put my purse under my seat and open my notebook, then turn my head to look out into the square. In the middle rests a large fountain, with steps leading up to see into its waters. Art students are perched all over it and look around the square as I do, reminding me of a flock of pigeons, their heads bobbing up and down as they draw. Speaking of pigeons, they of course are all over the place. I remind myself not to drop any of my sandwich when they bring it to me, because otherwise death-by-pigeon will be on my coroner’s report.

Around Rome (8 of 49)-LSipping my cappuccino, an elderly couple walks by with a fat dachshund, who is merrily waddling along in front of them. A lady passes them going the opposite way and honestly I’m impressed at how well she is walking on the old cobblestones, which are riddled with cracks and holes. I can barely manage to walk on them in flat shoes. Brava, lady, brava. An elderly woman stands in front of the church across the street begs for money from anyone who walks in or out; and I have to look away, because its painful to watch. I try to give money when I can, but I can barely afford to feed myself as it is.

The birds’ chirping is a sweet melody that twines together with the smell of the lavender plants that blanket many of the buildings in the square, and its calming qualities make me lean my head back and just listen. With my eyes closed I can hear the clicks of someone’s shoes pass my table to go into the bar, and a deep voice bellows out a cheerful greeting that is reciprocated wholeheartedly from the female bartender. I imagine they are old friends, who see each other everyday and yet never run out of things to talk about. And as they begin to chat loudly among the tinks of the china and the bubbling of steamed milk, my mind wanders to a different sound. I assume one of the street musicians has set up shop somewhere near the fountain because now there is some lovely violin music drifting steadily to my ears. Oh, he is playing Ave Maria I realize, and find a newfound love for whoever this street performer is, because that is one of my favorites.

2929081691_1a89901780_bI hear footsteps approaching and slowly open my eyes to the crimson umbrella above me. I can see little dots of sunshine peaking through, which dance and sparkle when I move my head. Wow people probably think I’m high right now I think to myself and crack a smile.

Signorina, il tuo panino.” Says a handsome bartender who is hold a plate with my sandwich. I smile and take it from him with a Grazie. Setting it down, I take the last sip of my cappuccino and once again have to remind myself not to feed the birds, even if a little brown one just happened to land near me and chirp with an otherworldly cuteness. As I breathe in the hot Italian air filled with lavender (and now salami from my sandwich), and I hear the birds and violin sing in a natural harmony, I set my cup down and sigh with content. I am the luckiest girl in the world if I can call this beautiful place my home, even if only for a short while.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

An Expat’s Thoughts On Italy

I have lived in Rome for almost nine months now, and this is a beautiful place with quite a different culture. One of my friends recently asked me what I think of Italy as an expat living in Italy and I couldn’t answer him right away. I decided to write it out considering that this is the best way to express what I am thinking. So I am sharing it here so that everyone can see. What I think is not representative of what all expats think, these are just my observances and opinions. I hope you enjoy!

Attitude

italian2So anyone who knows Italians knows that they have a very unique outlook on life. Living among them for almost nine months, I have to admit that when I first arrived here, this attitude surprised me, but now I almost seem to be adopting it. Their cultural attitude seems to be a juxtaposition between easy going and extremely passionate. They get passionate about the most random things, and you have to be careful not to step on those landmines. I think that I’m scared to because what looks like anger is often just passion. For example, as a student, I have a limited amount of time to come in to work, and so in the first few weeks I would always tell my boss when my work was done, and schedule when I was coming in next week. When I first started working there he told me that I was always welcome. And so after a few times of me trying to schedule when to come in next he abruptly cut me off and said “Andrea, you are ALWAYS welcome. To keep trying to schedule is insulting in my culture because I have already told you the door is already open whenever, to keep checking that its still open is an insult to my hospitality.” I had no idea that I was insulting him, and maybe this was just an example of me not knowing certain cultural differences, but I have never seen anyone that passionate about being hospitable.

1455024216This is a culture of very warm and friendly people, and they are the first to jump into a car and rescue you if you are stranded somewhere. Honestly the friends I have made in Rome are some of the sweetest and most caring people. And for some reason they are always trying to get me to eat something, or checking to see if I’ve eaten a meal recently. Its endearing. But that is only after they know you. Now, these people are quite easy to get to know, but before they do, they are quite similar to cats, and all the expats I’ve met seem to agree with me. If you walk past them on the street, they wont move for you, and will bump into you without a second thought, which is kind of irritating when you aren’t a very big person. Also, they don’t hesitate to get right into your personal space, which may be just be a cultural thing. Americans like a bigger bubble of personal space then Italians I guess. My mother told me once when she was shopping in the super market, she was in the freezer section looking down at some frozen peas or something, when all of a sudden a lady got right up next to her. Like shoulder to shoulder close. Maybe because my mom is American, but she got extremely uncomfortable.  (And some of you might be thinking, oh she needs to be more careful, that woman might have been a pickpocket, but be calm my birdies, she had her hand on her purse through out this strange encounter.) Honestly if I had the time, I’d be here talking about this part of their culture till next Tuesday, but since you probably don’t have that kind of time to kill, lets just move on to the next category.

Dress

xkadriaroma859Ok this one is a stranger one. So I’m going to start off by saying that I am by noooo means into fashion, or even very good at putting together cute outfits. I grew up dressing in whatever t-shirt and jeans I grabbed first, and I lived in a place where fashion wasn’t the biggest thing that I had to worry about. So moving here and realizing that everyone takes what he or she wears extremely seriously definitely made me feel like a fish out of water. I do have to thank them for making me a bit more aware of the clothes I wear, however, I don’t know if I will ever make it as high of a priority. Also, they rarely wear shorts. The picture to the right is very unusual to see. It will be at least 90 degrees out and there is still a crap ton of people wearing pants.
Another thing is that they seem to try and copy American street fashion, and yet Americans try to copy Italian fashion? I will forever be confused by this exchange. I can’t really talk about fashion for a lengthy period because its just not something I pay much attention to. However, I will tell you that I have met very few Italians who will go outside without making sure they look absolutely perfect. Their hat has to match their shirt or shoes, yada yada yada.

Culture

8396842_origThis is a bit different than an actual attitude toward life in general, the things I’m going to talk about are just general differences I noticed from both cultures. One nice thing about Italian culture is that they don’t shut away their older population. I like seeing a meet-up of a bunch of elderly people who are just chatting away, gossiping- about someone’s grandchild or making witty remarks about another’s spouse. I don’t eavesdrop for very long because my mama taught me better, however its always nice to see a big group of them sitting in some piazza, drinking coffee and chuckling together. You don’t see that in America, or at least where I am from. In America there are retirement homes, and retirement communities, where the elderly live and rarely leave. Of course there are many who do not conform to this general stereotype of the American elderly, such as those who stay in the north for the summer and go to the south for winter. I believe they call them “snowbirds”. However, growing up, if you asked a peer “oh where do your grandparents live?” at least ninety percent of them would respond with “so and so retirement homes/communities.” In America, the elderly are more shut away and thought of as a thing to protect and care for.

IMG_3456Another great thing that I love about the Italian culture is that they make fresh food a priority. There is always a place to buy fresh vegetables and fruit on every street, and they are soo cheap! The food you can make here tastes so much better because the ingredients are so fresh. They pick them in the morning and you get them a few hours later. On my way to class I can stop by this little shop that is so filled with vegetables and fruits that there is only a very narrow pathway down the middle and you have to flatten yourself against the wall of fragrant apples if anyone needs to get past you. I stop there and buy a few apples to snack on during the day and they cost me no more then fifty cents all together. While this isn’t to say that they don’t have frozen food, they definitely don’t use it as much as Americans do.
Ok but I have to say that I really miss dryers. If America is doing anything right it’s having dryers. And I know that America and Italy are very different in terms of culture and that Italian are very conscious of the amount of energy they use, but oh my god, what I wouldn’t give to not have to think about how long its going to take my jeans to dry and play out what day to do laundry according to that. All of my Italian friends laugh and say that I’m spoiled, but whatever. I really miss having a dryer.

Food

AA2027Okay, I mentioned food a littler earlier, but here I am going to dedicate an entire section. Let me start off by saying “Oh LORDIE yes. Italian food is just a yes, all around.” They have perfected pasta and pizza and while I don’t exactly like fish, I am told by many people that they really know how to prepare it. Italians are some of the best cooks in the world, and through all of the downsides of moving to Rome, I have to say that the food makes all of those cons sting just a little less. Of course I occasionally miss Chipotle or Americanized-Chinese food, but you know I can’t exactly complain. My favorite dish is definitely pasta with arrabbiata (means angry, because it’s spicy!) sauce. My only warning to everyone out there is don’t eat pasta all the time. No one told me this when I first got here and I’ve been trying to loose the extra pounds ever since. While pasta and pizza are what Italy is mainly known for, they actually have very healthy choices and their style of cooking with olive oil instead of butter may seem small, but a great change to one’s diet.

Well folks, if you agree or disagree with what I wrote please feel free to comment below, but remember to be kind! I hope all of you have a lovely day, ciao!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

For all those traveling Expats

This is an article for all those expats who live in Italy. For if you have moved to another country, then I’m sure you all can understand the itch to keep traveling; because it doesn’t matter, young or old we all want to see the world. I’ve recently had an itch to go to Spain, and so I’ve started researching cheap ways to get around Europe, because I am a poor college student. All the companies that I researched are going to be compared on the cost of just transportation to Spain. So without further ado, here is what I have found, all the cheaper ways to get around Europe, at your convenience so you don’t have to spend hours researching like I did.

We are going to start with planes first because unlike boats or trains, they are the fastest way to get somewhere far away. Bear in mind that I have the freedom to go and come back when I choose so those of you with a lot of appointments or responsibilities might find that having to schedule specific dates might find these prices to be a bit higher than my research.

airlines_2512977bUp first, Ryanair. This flight company is actually pretty famous so you may have already heard of it, but it usually offers cheap flights just about anywhere in Europe and recently has improved their service. I choose a flight that would take me to Madrid, Spain on a Wednesday with a return to Rome on a Saturday and it cost €53.18. That, however, was just the flight. If you want to add bags, you add extra onto that. This site is nice because it is easy to use and you can not only get cars and hotels, but also transportation to a hotel and such.

Vueling is our next contender. I was able to plan a trip from Rome to Madrid and back again with three days there. This cost me a total of 87.53 but I believe this includes bags and such. It’s a fairly easy website to use, and while the cost might be a bit more, it’s definitely still cheap.

Air Berlin. This one is actually quite a lot more than the first two, and I was debating with myself if I should mention it at all. However, for those of you that might be here and actually have money to spend, this might be a nice alternative for a high priced plane ticket. The same trip that I planned for Vueling was 306.65 euros on Air Berlin for one adult to travel to Madrid for three days. Maybe the price difference is justified by a more comfortable ride over? I’m not sure because I haven’t taken this particular airline before.

cheap-flights-south-africa


While there are others, such as
EasyJet, Pegasus (this one only goes to Turkey and Greece apparently) German Wings (This one found me Ryanair flights), and Blue Express, and Air One. I had some trouble with Air One, but maybe my computer just doesn’t like that website. 😦

So there you have it folks, those are most of the cheaper airlines. If you know of any more, or want to comment about better prices, then please feel free! We would love to hear from you!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.