Here we go.
I’ve been staying in Italy for 2 months and what I can say now. I’d like to open this post talking about…
Food in Italy
(please, note that not italian food)
Coming from Russia where I had never left my parents for long periods. So the first thing which I had to learn is cooking. Yes, I know, that a lot of people would tell me that cooking is so easy breezy. Buuuut…OK it’s absolutely easy when you have some experience (even just a little bit). As for me, I can stay in the kitchen for 10 minutes considering how I can add exactly 250 ml of water…After that I will google, searching different ways and watching some videos about how I should do that. Shortly, I wanted to say that I had such low cooking skill before…and I still have it. Here I am not going to discuss my skills, I wanna say few words about products in Italy for a Russian view.
In Russia one of the most typical food for the breakfast is porridge (hello to the UK). The most popular type of porridge are millet, oat, rice, semolina. So once I was looking for millet and had such dialogue
-Hello, do you know what porridge is?
-Mmm, not exactly
-Ok. I wanna find miglio (millet)
– Miglio? Seriously? You can find it in the farms, ’cause we give it to chicken
– OK, va bene…
But few days later I was able to find it and I should say that it was really good it. And after that I decided to explore one popular Russian dish here – Russian salad. Actually one of the most important ingredients is missed – a sausage. So it’s kind of vegetable salad with maionese. So I started searching sausages which we use in Russia a lot. Once I found one product and its picture was very similar to Russian sausage – insaccato cotto di pollo e tacchino. And before to buy that I had next conversation with the shop-assistant:
-Oooo, that looks like russian sausage
-really? Do you eat that in Russia? ’cause I’d give it to my dog
Even after that I bought it and tasted. That was not absolutely the same what we have in Russia, but come on, it’s eatable and it’s fine to have a sandwich (or just for me).
Since I’ve started food topic, I wanna also say few words about drinks. I always prefer tea to coffee (maybe my Russian origins or might be I just don’t understand the taste of coffee). Anyway since I’ve arrived to italy I had some difficulties in finding pot-made tea. I guess here it’s not such a popular drink as in Russia. But I managed to find it and it’s another story…
Team Spirit in Italy
So my goal was to get some pot-made tea and to get some info about that in my friend’s shop. It took time to explain what exactly I wanted (obviously when I said that I wanted some tea I was suggested a lot of different tea-bags). But when it was clear, my friend told me to visit a special shop – erboristeria. She tried to explain me the way but I didn’t have time. So at work I asked my coworker about where I could find this shop. Rather than telling the road, she decided to draw a special map for me with some special objects which could find me to orientate in the streets. I was so impressed by that and I was absolutely excited while I was walking in the city using a special map…But that was useless ’cause I had no idea how use maps properly. Well, I got lost in the small italian streets…but suddenly I saw one kid, who visited Ludoteca (the place where I work with children), so I realized that was my chance to practice my Italian and improving my communication with kids (thanks to 2 months of intensive italian life I am able to have some basic conversations). So I showed the map and asked about the shop. That kid looked so proud that I asked those questions but he told me that he didn’t know anything about that shop. He was with his father, who could speak English and who showed me the direction…
Sum up, how I found my tea
- Asked my friend and got the name of the shop;
- Got a handmade map from coworker
- met the kid
- whose father showed the final way.
Such adventures make me love Italy and Italians. And I wanna share one more story about italians and supermarkets
He doesn’t speak Italian we must help him
Ooooh Italian Sun, set me on fire and watch me burn
Yes. I suffer from the sun already. My pale russian skin (which was in cold for 20 years) is already burnt. So I decided to hurry up and find some protection to survive in these flames. I got all instructions about what I should ask for in the shop. Right in the shop I thought that I’d be able to find the cream by myself because I’m still very confused speaking Italian. I had been walking around a lot of shelves for 20 minutes and I didn’t find anything. I found one guy from the staff and I asked him about sun cream. But I think it was so bad because he didn’t understand me so I started speaking English and I feel it was even worse for him. After 3-4 repeating he got my idea and brought me to another department where he invited two his colleagues to help me. The situation now is that I am able to understand quite a lot in Italian but to say something is a big problem for me, ’cause nowadays I have a very small active vocabulary. So I was listening to their conversation and it was like
-ooo this guy doesn’t speak English
-yes he needs some sun cream
– we must help him
-but what sun cream does he want
-I don’t know
After that they started showing me some creams. After I made my choice, they game me one extra cream and I asked “Why?” and the answer was so good “It’s not cash“. (between themselves they were discussing how to say in English “Gratis” and they decided that was the best way and I really liked it). On my way back I visited my friend’s shop to ask her if it was the cream which I needed. And she said “Nooo, Alex, that’s exactly the opposite one” After that she wrote a note for me and sent me back to the shop. Right when I came into the shop, the workers seemed so happy to see me. I showed them my friend’s note and after that they gathered to discuss it. After few minutes they presented me other things and actually they were so kind to me and I appreciate it so much…Maybe that’s why supermarkets are still my favorite places to go here (even it sounds a little bit strange)
Italians and English language
Staying in a small city where there are no many people who are able to speak English, makes my life a little bit complicated. But during 2 months I could notice next interesting (in my opinion) facts:
- Italians don’t like English. They like Spanish, maybe French in the region where I stay – but not English. And the reason is reading rules in English language. I was told by so many italian people that they didn’t want to study this language just because that’s quite difficult to remember those rules. Maybe I can understand them, because in Italian languages usually letters have their sounds all the time. So that’s not a right place for English;
- Italians don’t care at all if you don’t speak Italian. I’ve had enough situations to make such conclusion. They just don’t care. Even I have a feeling that if I say that I don’t speak Italian, they start speaking much more…
- Absolutely I’ve met some Italians whose English is great. And absolutely all of them told me that for them it’s much easier to understand British accent than american one. Maybe that’s only me who surprised by that, because in Russia we have an opposite situation: we watch american TV-shows because it’s easier for us to understand them (but we admire British accent and we wanna speak like British)
Italiano and me
I’m still trying learning some Italian. Like every day. But I have a feeling that it doesn’t work well or maybe I’m quite stupid for this language. But sometimes I find Italian very difficult. The most complicated things for me are articles (the grammar part about family and articles is amazing) and vocabulary. Of course I’ve picked up some words for basic dialogues and some special situations but obviously it’s not enough. I can speak about bread in the shop but I can’t discuss weather (except “caldo” and “freddo” always thinking that “caldo” means cold). Or the newest thing which I didn’t understand at all here
- Per qualche motivo Paolo non voleva invitare Patrizia
- Per qualche motivo Paolo non ha voluto invitare Patrizia
Cool. I have no idea what the difference here but my book tell me that in the 2nd sentence we don’t need to give more explanations, that everything is clear…for me it’s also clear in the 1st sentence. Paolo doesn’t like Patrizia – no problems.
Learning through teaching
And my italian classes at school for immigrants are still something special, something that I would never experience in Russia. Now during lessons I’m kind of a teacher of italian language. Last time I had to explain conjugation in italian language. Ok, I think that it’s not the most difficult thing, but when you don’t speak the language and you explain it to people who have never studied at school and they know nothing about linguistics. Even in my mother tongue I barely can explain what conjugation is and how it can be used…But for me it’s an amazing experience.
So that was my April. Not much but still awesome.