And how is everybody? I know I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while now but it still feels rude to launch into a monologue about me! Anyway, launching into a monologue about me… I’ve been out and about a fair bit in the last week with the housemates again and also sailing. So this week’s excursions have been:
- Offagna: I really like Offagna – it’s a hill top town half an hour or so away with a big castle at the top. We (the housemates and I) went for a pizza at “Sotta la Rocca” – we had a lovely pizza and then wandered around the town a bit. Lovely, lovely, lovely. And the countryside around there is spectacular too. I could live there.
- Portonovo – I’ve been here a few times now and really like it. I’ve not been to the beach there before for a sunbathing/swimming session but we (still the housemates…) parked up and walked a bit around the corner where it was pretty much empty and spent the afternoon there. Portonovo is FABULOUS for snorkelling… the water was crystal clear and the rocks, though a bit perilous to try and get out for a swim, meant there was a lot of fish, crabs and other things to see.
- Croatia – Sailing was great! We had a little flotilla thing going on – 3 boats. There were 5 of us on ours – my friend Catherine and three really nice guys. We left Ancona on Thursday night and did a night sail to Croatia which took 12 hours. We got there mid morning and headed to a Drogana (place where you take your passports – I hadn’t really appreciated before that you need to sort of check in when you sail places) in a place called Sali (I think) and then off in between some islands for lunch, a swim and some sleep.
- Then we moored up in a lovely little bay somewhere else for the night – I’ve only ever been in marinas overnight so it was interesting! And there’s this well known wind (the Bora) in Croatia which is known for blowing boats off their moorings so we all anchored up next to each other and had ropes tied from the boats to some rocks and trees on the shore and then we tied ourselves to each other as well so all in all, it felt like quite a secure mooring! Or at least if it wasn’t, the plus side was we’d have all been blown away together (and would have taken half the Croatian countryside with us as a souvenir).
- Next day we headed to another bay (I wish I’d paid more attention to where we’d gone!) with a Caribbean style white sandy beach and crystal clear water. The people around there have a lot of money – we were amidst some very fancy power boats. I’m somewhat envious. Apparently they don’t have pirates in Croatia. I think there’s a clear niche in the market. I’m definitely going to consider becoming a pirate.
- So in summary, I had a great time and I think I’m more tanned than I’ve ever been, though also more bruised than I’ve ever been. I haven’t nailed walking in a straight line on a rocking boat. There’s not a bit of my thighs that I didn’t bang into something with. I look like a domestic abuse victim.
I’ve been doing a lot of drawing lately – I drew a lot of portraits on the boat but I need to practice more. I’m not good with my shading yet – everyone looks like they have beards. Apart from the people that actually have a beard and then it just looks like they haven’t washed. I’ve decided I’m going to set up a portrait drawing business in Marcelli (seaside resort where all the Italians go during summer) in the next few weeks so I need to get better (Piracy and Portraits R US Ltd?)! Portrait drawing doesn’t seem to be done much in Italy. And the Italian’s seem relatively easy to please on the portrait front so far (fortunately!) so hopefully if I can improve a bit, I’ll be onto a winner. I love doing portraits anyway so even if it doesn’t work out, it’ll keep me amused a bit whilst the piracy business takes off 🙂
I’m still frustrated as ever with the language but after a couple of pep talks from friends I’m slightly less depressed about it – apparently it takes a while! Anyway, the plus side of being inept at Italian is that some of my errors have had me giggling for ages, and still make me laugh. I asked one of the guys on the boat if he wanted his portrait taken… Only I asked him if he’d like to be blackmailed instead. “Portrait” and “Blackmail” are very similar sounding words in Italian! The best thing was his reply “nah, not today, maybe tomorrow eh?”!
I’ve had two housemates leave and another one move in this weekend. I think I might have yet another soon too. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Who knows! Marco is not forthcoming when it comes to providing housemate information.
I failed dismally at my bureaucracy quest last week – I went back to the Comune armed with every document I could think of but I still require more. I’m less and less sure about this residency malarkey anyway – the reason I’m questioning it again is that apparently I now have to buy private healthcare insurance because I’d be “resident” as a student. So this is my understanding: if I was working and therefore paying taxes then that would be fine, I don’t need to pay for healthcare insurance. But as I’m not at the moment, then I’d have to pay for my healthcare. But I let out a property in the UK so I’m already paying taxes which go towards healthcare and I shouldn’t have to pay for healthcare twice eh? And by becoming resident in Italy, maybe it means that rather than paying tax to the UK even though my house is there, I pay it to Italy but then I don’t want to pay tax here – the tax is a lot higher (who’d have thought!). So, to sum up – I’m thoroughly confused. The internet only adds to the confusion. So, next stop will be to email the tax folk in the UK and see if they’ll advise. Meanwhile, I’m very seriously thinking about flying back to the UK, buying a car and driving it back here.
This week’s ‘What’s a bit weird’: Look at this graffiti on the wall of my local school (below) – look past the “porn”… “Helicopter”! Isn’t it sweet? Some little ruffian has been practicing their English! Unless of course it means something entirely different in Italian…