Posts Tagged With: liquor

Terrible weather, Fake Bank Cards and How to Make Rocket Fuel…

Ciao!

Buon anno nuovo a tutti 🙂  I hope everyone has had fabulous breaks over the Christmas period. This week, I bring you a moving account of the horrible winter weather here in Italy, a three step guide to banking in Italy and how to make Rocket Fuel in 60 days.

Ghastly Weather

I came back to Italy on Monday and apart from Italy being inextricably linked to teaching, it’s nice to be back 🙂 Those in my home country will know that it’s been horrible weather with storms galore and countless floods and well, it’s been horrid here too…

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Just look at that looming grey, threatening and stormy looking sky…

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And those rough, treacherous seas… Just awful. (Hmm, I bet I’ve just cursed Italy with hurricanes now).

The highs and lows of banking in Italia

I have prepared this three step guide for banking in Italy.

1. Get an Italian Bank Account

I have managed to get an Italian Bank Account! You have to PAY for the honour of having a bank account here in Italy. I pay 6 Euros a month. It galls me. I hadn’t bothered with one here before out of principle (instead very wisely deciding to pay 6 Euros and then some every time I used my English bank card).  With the teaching job, I needed to bite the bullet and get an account set up here.  I’m pleased, and quite frankly astounded to report that it’s very easy to do – you need your codice fiscale (like a National Insurance number if you’re in the UK) and some ID and that’s it. In return, you get so much bank related documentation that it could give the book of Lord of the Rings a run for its money. No wonder they charge so much for the account. It’ll take them years to recuperate the costs.

2. Acquire money

My teaching job has PAID me! I am IMMENSELY relieved. With all the money I’ve got from the ENDLESS hours I’ve been teaching and associated planning activities, I’ll be able to buy almost two cinema tickets! I’m being sarcastic of course.

I could probably buy three.

3. Manage your expectations

In summary, I now have a bank account with money in it. “GREAT! I can buy things” I thought! But I reckon they’ve given me a fake bank card. It isn’t Visa or Mastercard or any of the other weird ones that I have at least heard of before. So whereas I can get money out at ATMs (only those dealing with these Fake Cards mind – otherwise I’m charged), and pay for stuff at the local supermarket (they must have some sort of personal agreement with my bank), I cannot do online shopping because at the point where you select “Visa”, “Mastercard” etc., there is no “My card appears to be fake” option.  Some companies, for example, Trenitalia, seem to recognise the Fake Card but dress it up attractively as “book now, pay later”. EXCELLENT! “Perhaps there are advantages to Fake Cards after all” I thought. Aha! No. What they mean is “book now and spend 3 hours faffing around the next day” as it emerges you have to confirm it at a train station almost immediately. What a handy bank card.

Rocket Fuel

I know that you’re all dying to hear how the corbezzoli liquor worked out…… and let me tell you! It is a delicate little number with hints of alcohol hand gel and petrol. However, I’m sure it’ll serve a purpose <considers putting it in a hip flask to help maintain a cheery disposition at school. If there’s enough left, I might have some myself>.

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I should probably put some sort of warning label on it.

OK, over and out for this week. I’m devising a plan cosi astuto che posso attaccarci una coda e chiamarlo ermellino for the blog (a plan so cunning that I could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel. I’m relieved I know how to say that Blackadder phrase in Italian now). I shall keep you posted.

xxx

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Liquor, Ice Pool of Death & Planning

Ciaooooooo,

Come stai everyone? Not much to update on this week and nothing particularly Italy related either but here’s what’s been going on:

Liquor progress

The liquor is going well I think. Alcohol is an amazing preservative. I thought the corbezzoli would be all mushy and horrid by now but they’re pretty much exactly the same as when they went in (I wonder if I spent my life immersed in alcohol whether it would prevent me aging/becoming mushy and horrid). The colour from the corbezzoli has gone into the alcohol now though. They’ve got another 15 days or so to be soaked and then I need to make some syrup thing and mix it together. EXCITING.

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Next up: steep myself in alcohol to test its anti-aging properties…

Teaching “progress”

Well Monday went marginally better than it did last week – the one nightmare class was only a bad dream compared to normal nightmare levels. I’ve learnt to use “colouring in” and threatening them with not playing “Simon Says” if they don’t stop being horrible. It partially works.  They like Simon Says and Colouring in.

When I was at school, the adults around me would say “kids don’t have common sense these days”. Well, I’ve discovered something. Kids THESE days don’t have any either. And, what’s more is that I think my common sense levels are ok so, I’ve come to the conclusion that it probably comes with age in fact. As an example of their common sense deficiency levels:  one of the activities I get them doing is to produce a table which has their friends names in and a column for various food stuffs. They have to ask if their friends like the various food stuffs and put yes/no in the boxes. I draw the table on the board for them so they can see what it should look like but if I don’t stipulate exactly how many little squares in their exercise books they should use, they allow about 2mm to write their friends names in. When they start writing the names down, they don’t seem to think “hmm. I have totally underestimated how much space I’ll need” and instead write microscopically. Excellent for paper saving but I will need to buy a magnifying glass if this continues. Honestly, you should see the “wordsearches” that I have them doing – it puts a new perspective on it. Before you even get to the words you have to search for the thing in the first place! I might try and take a photo next time (hmm that should probably be something for the anonymous teaching blog).

Today I got a bracelet with a flower on from one of the kids though. That was cute. I actually got a kiss on the cheek from one girl today.

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My bracelet…

We’ve started singing my revised We Wish You a Merry Christmas song. I really do need to start using a capo (for non guitar players – it’s a sort of gadget thing you put on the guitar to raise the tone) – as it is, the song is either insanely high or insanely low. I have a perpetually husky voice at the moment due to a never-ending cold so though I can do somewhere approaching insanely high, I’m much better at doing insanely low but the kids can’t sing at insanely low levels (I think basically it’s just me with my cold and Barry White that can sing that low) and well, can I get them singing insanely high whilst I sing insanely low? No, no…it makes for a very painful lesson and it’s probably why my voice remains husky. I need to rest my voice – I always thought pop stars were being wimpy when they said that but no, it turns out it’s true! I am EXACTLY like a pop star.

Car

My car is acting suspiciously. When it rains and if I’m on a hill and I want to turn a corner, it judders and seems to try and go in a different direction or just goes back down the hill. It has a mind of its own. It’s either the tires (it doesn’t look like it’s the tires), or the clutch (I’ve just had a new one – how could that be?), or it’s haunted. I hope it’s haunted – it would be cheaper and less daunting. I’m going to ask the friendly but slightly pervy man (he has naked women calendars up in his office) at the local garage if he could put new “four season” tires on for me.

Apartment

The apartment is FREEZING. FREEEEEEEEEEEZING. This could be another factor in my cold never going. I was hoping to conduct an experiment into money saving by not turning the heating on. I was scared off by an old student telling me that it cost her something like 80 Euros a week for heating this flat. Others have also confirmed heating is extortionate here. So I did what any other miser would do – I decided that I’d live like we did in the old days and not use heating. However, on further reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t think of any “old days” that didn’t involve some form of heat. Even cave men had fires surely? I’ve decided I don’t want to provoke the “natural selection” process and kill myself off by freezing to death so I’ll probably turn the heating on and live with the consequences.

Meanwhile there’s supposed to be hot water. However, the hot water isn’t even tepid and takes approximately 45 minutes to rise to not-even-tepid and I swear it’s getting worse. The bath is massive, metal and seems to have liquid nitrogen properties; freezing anything that comes into contact with it be it water or skin. I used to look forward to having a bath (particularly given the shower has one of those flesh clinging shower curtains) but it’s just unbearable now – I’m going to start calling it The Ice Pool of Death instead.

So this week’s task will be to work out how to put the heating on and to raise the matter of The Ice Pool of Death with the Landlord.

Planning

I’ve been doing some planning for next year – I will NOT be teaching at state schools again. No-sir-ee. Instead, I’ve worked out I can have a reasonable frivolity fund if I do 4 private lessons a week. I want to sell some paintings, and I want to sell some articles to magazines, and I want to do some portrait drawing. I’ve set myself what I think are reasonable targets and hopefully I’ll supersede them e.g. become author of a bestselling series of novels which are subsequently turned into blockbusting movies. However, I am keeping expectations and budget setting in check (i.e. one bestselling novel and blockbusting movie in the first year).

In other planning news, I shall be doing snowboarding locally in January/February. I shall be doing some travelling in June. I will be driving the Haunted Car back in August for it’s MOT. I shall be buying a house of some sort here in Autumn. I shall be making money doing something that does not make me want to jump off the balcony and that concludes my planning…

Ok. Onwards and upwards. The Ice Pool of Death awaits <sigh>.

Have good weeks!

X

Ps. News in Slow Italian – it’s great! www.newsinslowitalian.com. It disappointingly costs money. You can get some free stuff. I might have a go at that and if I keep it up, then I’ll pay for a subscription ($44.90 for 6 months for a basic membership which I think would do for me)

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