Friday, 2 November 2007


I'm currently not on the internet as much as I would like to be (or rather, I am on the internet about twenty times a day... on a mobile phone with a screen 1"x1.5", so I can read, heedless of the damage I'm probably doing to my eyesight just to get my blogroll/livejournal fix, but not do much else) so any good-blogger intentions I may have had are rapidly vanishing.

Coupled with that, my life has been rather dull for the last couple of weeks. I've got in a bit of a rut - already! - and the great things about living in Italy are becoming just things about living in Italy as I become accustomed. It hasn't helped that my work situation has been weird. Next week I should hopefully finish my training period and get into teaching and meeting my students (and doing work I'm getting paid for), and then I'll feel like I'm actually getting somewhere, I think. My days at the moment are pretty empty. There's only so many afternoons one can spend looking lustfully into the windows of Armani before the realities of being broke and underfed in a foreign country become slightly depressing!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


I am sitting in the lovely, charming, free-wireless-providing Cafe Au Livre, wading through a cup of hot chocolate. Hot chocolate in Italy is far superior to hot chocolate in the UK, being more like actual melted sludgy chocolate than an actual drink. I'll probably be tasting this one for the next week.

The weather has well and truly turned. Not quite heavy coat weather, but jacket certainly, and I have to remember to stick some gloves and a scarf in my bag if I'm going out on the bike. For hot country dwellers, Italians seem curiously inured to the cooling weather. They still sit outside in the piazza until all hours, while my English friends and I gripe and complain and insist on bars where we can sit inside.

Last Sunday I went to my first Ombra Longa (day celebrating wine), in Treviso. It was an amusing diversion, with a great, warm atmosphere and plenty of wine, but not particularly different from any evening wandering through Padova. I think I'd expected some sort of very civilised wine tasting evening, from the description I was originally enticed by, perhaps with individual small growers offering their wares for sample. Unfortunately my mellow good mood as we left was spoiled by the horrendousness that was trying to catch a connecting train, being shoved and squashed at the doors as people already on the train stood two feet apart from each other ion the carriages and watched us try to embark. En masse, Italians are nowhere near as courteous and polite as English people; not to say they're not sweet and well-mannered individually, but in the street and on public transport they're much ruder and more thoughtless than the public behaviour I'm used to. (Although to be fair I've been told that this is the Veneto, and not necessarily typical of the whole country.)

Friday, 12 October 2007

Moving to Italy

Bit stressed at the moment, as I have just left the job I had teaching for a couple of hours a week - it didn't pay the rent but it was the impetus for coming out here in the first place, so now I feel a little like I need to reassess my reasons for being here, although I'm still happy I am. There's a couple of things coming up for me so I'm not too worried.

Finding work is actually pretty easy in Italy for a mothertongue (madrelingua) English speaker (assuming a willingness to teach!). Padova isn't that big - not even one of the largest cities in the Veneto, but it still has several dedicated English schools that take on teachers (even the nearly-qualified like me). A couple of my friends work in an international school, for parents who want their kids to grow up here speaking English fluently. They're forbidden to speak Italian at work; not great for their language acquisition, but okay for their bank balances.

I'm lucky in being able to be so casual about my work prospects and decision to move. EU citizens have the right to live and work have the right to live and work in any member state, so I can move between the UK and Italy. There's not even a need for a permesso di soggirono since the beginning of this year. After three months I have to register with the Anagrafe and prove financial means, but that's the only hoop to jump through in the actaul being-allowed-to-stay process (... she says, confidently).

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Getting about

My new bici! Having a bike occasionally makes (night) life a lot easier in Italy. I'm in a good flat for public transport at the moment - serviced by no fewer than four bus routes and a tram - but it's nice to be able to hop on the bike and go where I like, when I like. For all that Italian drivers are... perhaps not the safest, at least they don't drive like it's twenty points for a cyclist, like at home; they're more used to sharing the road. And the city centre of Padova is pedestrianised, with plenty of bike racks everywhere, and the suburbs are pretty good for separate cycle tracks.

My new bike is an upright, so I feel very stately cycling along. This is good for me, as I'm a bit of a nervous cyclist and going by preliminary information, fast speeds on this bike (which is pretty but heavy) are not physically possible. Even downhill.

I bought it second-hand near the train station and got ten euros off by the simple expedient of being rubbish at Italian - he said settanta euro (seventy), I accidentally repeated back sessanta (sixty) and he accepted that as the offer it wasn't. If I only I'd realised, perhaps I could've chipped him down to fifty! But sixty's a decent price, so I'm pleased.

Monday, 8 October 2007


Hence, the standard all-about-me spiel:

My name is Lisa, I'm 22 years old and I first came to live in Italy for the Leonardo da Vinci work experience programme in May 2007, nearly a year after finishing my degree in English and Philosophy at home in Merrie Englande. Came, loved it, planned how to get back as soon as possible - and now I live in Padova, a small-ish city about thirty minutes from Venice, where I teach English, try to learn how to speak Italian, and eat pasta.

If I were speed-dating, I would now reveal that I enjoy reading, shopping and long walks on the beach. But I'm not. So I won't.

I plan to use this space to talk about me (memememe! What else is blogging for?), Italy, life.