Posts Tagged With: Loreto

How to: Prepare for an Art Exhibition, make a voodoo doll out of driftwood and avoid cheek stroking

Ciao a tutti,

This week I bring to you the nail-biting tale of an artist with no art, how to make a voodoo doll out of driftwood and where to stock up on products for all your bimbo needs…

The Artless Dodger

I have done something stupid(er than usual). I have ALMOST signed up to showing my work in an “exhibition” just off Piazza Roma in Camerano’s centre. My work. What am I talking about?! I have no work! Not here at least. Scattered around Portsmouth and London, yes.  My next door neighbour is organising the exhibition – for 6 months it’ll cost 1200 Euros to hire the place. He wants to split the cost. Ha! I have only ever sold one thing! Why oh why didn’t I do some artwork last year?! This week’s blog feedback request is face-saving methods of backing out of exhibitions… A free driftwood voodoo doll to the person with the best suggestion (see below).

Anyway, Operation Produce Some Art is in full swing and is commencing with a beach scene. If it’s any good, I’ll post a picture next week. I have also become quite enamored with driftwood of late during my walks on the beach. I have quite a collection now.

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Pretty….

I just haven’t quite got around to working out what to do with it yet! The good news is that I found some wood carving tools in my collection of art stuff today so I thought I’d give that a go. The bad news is, it’s coincided with me being in a bit of a negative mood all week…

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I’ve called him “Bob” (he floats).  I’m going to take him into school and tell the children that he’ll put a curse on them if they’re annoying 🙂

Teaching

I have a new private student starting next week and potentially some more lined up. I got in touch with the poor girl that used to teach English last year at my schools today. She managed two years. Two years! She should get a medal. She MISSES them she says! Having said that, I have now received two Frrero Rocher’s from cutie students and several pictures (I should probably have stored them somewhere other than the recycle bin to be kept as evidence that I’m an adorable and caring teacher).

English Language Consultancy

I’m actually doing some paid work for my language school (the one I went to for Italian lessons) – working on their new website. It’s quite fun! All being well, there should be a lot more students at the school this year so hopefully it’ll be a bit livelier! One of the students (“The Cheek Stroker”) from last year is returning for a few weeks soon. I will have to keep all my cheeks under close guard. Perhaps I can use Bob the Voodoo Doll again.

Swimming Attempt 2

Swimming Attempt 1 took place back in November last year. I went to a local pool that was deserted apart from creepy staring men so I didn’t even make it near the pool. Besides, it looked nasty. People were changing in the reception area.

Swimming Attempt 2 took place on Wednesday with a different pool in mind. However, I forgot where I was! I had planned to check the website, get the address and put it into my Sat Nav. You can’t do that in Italy!!!  The website is nice – it has nice pictures, a nice logo, it’s colourful – someone went to a lot of effort to put it together but alas, there is no information about where it can be found besides “Loreto”. The office address on there doesn’t actually exist on the Sat Nav or Google Maps. TYPICAL!!!! So, after turning up to a large house in the middle of nowhere and driving around for half an hour, I gave up and went home! I’m going to have to get my swimming fix in the summer!

University Popolare!

For a couple of months I’ve been hearing about a university that you can go to for evening courses etc. I like a good evening course. However, it’s been nigh impossible to find any information about it. The most I could get out of anyone was “yes, I’ve heard about that too”. However, I mentioned it my mother, the Queen of Research, and a mere couple of days later, voila, a website! With INFORMATION no less! The courses seem to start in September so I think I’ve missed the boat but to be honest, Operation Produce Some Art should probably take precedence for a while anyway.

What’s a bit odd?

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For all your bimbo needs…

It’s right next to Ancona’s “sexy shop” as well. The shop is not sexy (I’m sure it breaches some kind of trade descriptions act).

Next week I shall be attempting to do some bureaucracy! I know, I know… you’ve missed my stories about italian bureaucracy. I aim to please. Tune in next week for what I predict will be “The Unsuccessful Quest for a Tessera Sanitaria! (health insurance card)”

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Sue’s Favourite Places Tour, Teaching and living rooms…

Ciao a tutti!

Well this week has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs!

Parents

Mum and Dad came out last Friday for a week to see where I live 🙂 It was lovely to show them around all the things I’ve been talking about for so long. Hopefully they liked it (more than France which they keep going on about ;-)) – we pretty much did the “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” as well as some new stuff I hadn’t had a chance to do before.

The “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” took us to (Please Note: If you’re coming to visit me – perhaps skip past this section to maintain an air of mystery):

  • San Michele beach
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Lots of fisherman there at this time of year…

  • Sirollo (pretty village by the sea)
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Pretty street overlooking the countryside in Sirollo

  • Numana (another pretty village by the sea)
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View towards Monte Conero from Numana

  • Marcelli (another village by the sea…. there was a theme that day. Anyway, Marcelli only featured because one of the schools is there)
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View from Marcelli towards Monte Conero. One can never have too many pictures of views towards Monte Conero eh?

  • Camerano’s Cemetery (I know this is an odd thing to have on a favourite places list but I think it’s great! And we timed it brilliantly – we went there on their day of the dead which is an excellent time to go – it’s full of people and it’s got a bit of atmosphere about it!)
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Pretty graves. When you die, you’re put into a wall here… no rotting away being eaten by bugs… Well, I didn’t see any evidence of that anyway. Hmm – this photo isn’t in focus.

  • Portonovo (lovely little coastal beach area)
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Pretty bay. Towards Monte Conero don’t you know…

  • Loreto (the hill top town which hosts Jesus’ mother’s house which was carried there by angels from Palestein. Read about it here)
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Rather poor to average shot of Loreto. Mary’s house is inside the basilica straight ahead. People go around the house on their knees. They’ve worn two large grooves into the marble. They should probably put some sort of cushioning around the house if people insist on doing that – I don’t think it can be healthy for their joints!

  • Frasassi Caves (I’d not actually been there before but it’s been on my list for months – the caves are absolutely huge and incredibly impressive. Definitely a good thing to see. Here’s the website)
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You can’t actually take pictures in the caves – so here’s a picture of the parking lot where you go to get to the caves

  • Monte Murano (mountain just up from Serra San Quirico – all my photo’s have parents in so here’s a picture of a nice sunrise instead)

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    Sunrise from the balcony

  • Offagna (hill top town with a castle)
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Offagna’s lovely castle

  • Castelfidardo (to look at the Accordion Museum which, you’ll never guess, was shut. We did meet a very happy singing man that escorted us there though so that was er, interesting).
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The museum was shut but there was a shop with a lot of accordions… (if you’re coming to visit and you’re worried I’ll try and take you to an accordion museum, don’t worry – this was a one off)

So all very nice. I think I could be a happy tour guide when I grow up. However, all that coincided with…

The Scary Week of Teaching Terror

Which involved teaching… let me see… about 260 children English. It has been stressful. And I’ve started the classes in such a random fashion that I don’t really know who I’ve done what with now. However, I’m now famous (or infamous) in the schools. One of these teaching type websites recommends you start the lesson with a hello song and finish with a goodbye song. I’d found some stuff on youtube.com but there wasn’t internet access in the classes so… I did what any nervous, inexperienced teacher would do and took my guitar in and sang to them. All children in the Marcelli and Numana areas can now sing along to “Hello, how are you?” and “Bye bye, see you again” songs. They are incessantly catchy. I can’t imagine ever having a night’s sleep again without them going round and round my head. Anyway, my reputation proceeded me on the last day and I got a song request even before I introduced myself. It’s a good job my embarrassment threshold is relatively high these days.

My language school that contracted me to the state schools suggested I have lunch with the staff on Wednesday as I’ve got a two hour gap between lessons. “Lunch with the staff” was misleading. It was lunch with children. I was at least 20 meters away from the nearest member of staff. I think I was supposed to be keeping them (the children, not the staff) in order. However, by the time pudding came round, there was a little crowd of children around me and the other teacher had to come to tell them to sit down. I suspect I should have done that.

There was only a couple of er, “difficult” classes so I suppose that’s ok. One teacher said I need to be harder on the kids. I’m not entirely sure how without actually using physical violence. I’ll have to look at the regulations in Italy but I’m pretty sure I can’t do that.

The plus side is that the latest teaching stresses have almost removed my driving stresses! On Monday I actually looked forward to getting in the car.

Living room

I HAVE ONE! Marco changed my old bedroom into a living room a week or so back and now I even have a nice flatscreen tv. WOOHOO 🙂

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Living room plus legs…

Right, I’m supposed to be lesson planning, not blogging. <Sigh>.

I hope you all have wonderful weekends.

Buonanotte!

xxx

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Wine consumption, Grease Spreaders and More Lizards…

Hi all,

Well I’ve had a friend here this week so there’s been a lot of sight seeing which has been great. I’m pleased to say that I’ve now seen the villages that I’ve been looking at from a distance in my apartment every day. I’ll write up a page on each area when I get time but meanwhile:

  • Osimo: It’s a bit bigger than Camerano (where I am). It’s still on a hill with a great view like pretty much all the hill top towns do. It’s got a fab little park which would be lovely to sit in and people watch. There are a few shops as well and in general, it seems like it could be a good place to live in or around.
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Park bit in Osimo overlooking a beautiful panorama of the sea and countryside. This photo doesn’t do it justice, it was rainy and horrid!

  • Castelfidardo: Is another little hill top town. Not much to say about this one – there didn’t seem to be much in the way of shops or anything that made it stand out from anything else apart from it has an Accordion Museum. I wouldn’t want to live there…
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The Accordian Shop / Museum. Possibly just a shop. Or a museum. It was closed (I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Closed? What in Italy? At like, 4pm on a weekday? That never happens” but let me tell you, on this one occasion, this shop/museum was shut.

  • Loreto: Loreto is another hill top town. I recognise that there’s a theme in my choice of places to visit – I think my criteria for the next apartment/house is fast becoming “must be on a hill” though I do wonder sometimes if it means something about my personality that I like to look down on things ;-). Anyway, Loreto is apparently known for being the home of the Black Madonna who works miracles. Excellent to know. It’s got a big square with a fountain in the middle and it’s surrounded by very majestic looking buildings and a rather magnificent cathedral (Basilica della Santa Casa) at one end. If you’re catholic, it’s THE place to go. Particularly if you want to stock up on crucifixes from the surrounding tourist shops. There’s a street of shops that leads from the square to a church at the end other and that’s about it in terms of the main “town”. There doesn’t appear to be much general living accommodation apart from at the base of the hill in the valley, there’s a bunch of apartment blocks. My hill requirement rules that out for living but I really like Loreto. Well worth a visit.
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Loreto and the piazza

  • Sirolo: For avid readers, you’ll know I’ve been here already but last week was the first time I’ve been to San Michele beach which is a long (and narrowish) stretch of shingle/sand beach to the side of Mount Conero. It’s a bit frustrating to get to. You have to walk down the mountain a bit to get there but hopefully that means it’ll be less packed in the summer. I’ll do my duty and test this beach out for you, dear readers. We went to a restaurant – Da Silvio which was really lovely – overlooking the beach and would be fabulous on a hot summers day. Don’t be put off by the emptiness and the threatening looking waiters/chefs outside. They have only fish dishes I think, but they made me a veggie pasta which was delicious.
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Spiaggia San Michele. It was rammed.

  • Jesi: Jesi is NOT a hill top town 🙂 And I like it! I haven’t seen much of it – the weather has been very temperamental this last couple of weeks and the first time I went with a friend from the Language School, it was absolutely bucketing down. The second time it was for dinner with some other friends and we didn’t do so much looking around then. Jesi seems like it would be good to live near. Not on a hill though 😉 However, having said that, yesterday was “Cantine Aperto” (more on that below) which was in the Jesi area and the scenery around that area was just breathtaking. I could most definitely live around there.
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Taken from one of the Cantina’s around Jesi.

  • Macerata: This was a 50 minute drive away. I’d heard good things about the area around Macerata and it was indeed lovely (hilly wouldn’t you know ;-)) and it was quite a nice little town – much bigger than the smaller hill top towns I think – akin to Jesi. It had a cinema. So – I would live around Macerata as well – it would definitely be I think a nice place to go for meals and drinks.
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This photo’s a bit misleading – and in fact, I don’t know what it is. It looked good. But to go over and take a proper look required darting through traffic so I admired from afar…

  • Porto Recanati. This place should be a thriving seaside resort but because we’re still a full 5 days from summer, was completely empty. I actually left feeling as empty as it was. It was like when Will Smith wanders around the vacant city in ‘I Am Legend’. If there was tumbleweed, it would have been blowing. There were lots of vacant apartments, all a bit unkempt apart from maybe one or two (where Will Smith lived?) and a revolting skyscraper tower block at one end (why WHY do that to the seaside?!).

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    Porto Recanati – those doors are probably hiding zombies…

So, let me tell you about “Cantine Aperto”. I think in England, a place where you make wine is called a winery (that’s right eh?). The Italian’s call them Cantina’s. It seems to be anything from an actual legitimate business to someone’s cellar. But in this instance, I’m talking about the former. “Aperto” means open. I think the event is best described as a “Wine Tasting Tour / Drive Driving Expedition”. You pay 5 Euros which gives you a wine glass and a very becoming yellow wine glass holding bag that you put around your neck.  And then with your wine glass and your bag in hand/around neck, you drive around to, let me see, up to 71 (yes SEVENTY ONE) winery’s and have as many glasses of their wine as you want. And sometimes grappa (which I imagine is what petrol tastes like). And lots of lovely snacks. And then you drive to the next one. And then drive to the next one…. you get the idea. We went with the school and I think they knew the best cantina’s to go to so despite the weather starting off a bit grim, we had a great day marveling at the scenery and trying out the wines (and then came back and had some of my 88 cent wine and agreed that we couldn’t tell the difference). It’s an annual event (last Sunday of May) and I thoroughly recommend it. But I must say, I really can’t imagine that there is a more dangerous place to be than on a road in Le Marche on Cantine Aperto day. I’ll definitely go to the next one (though I might wear a neck brace as precautionary measure).

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One of the cantina’s. I did, for blogging purposes, try and make a note of the Cantina’s we went to but confess, I soon lost track. No idea wine, I mean why…

This is my last week at the language school! 4 days left. I’m quite scared!  This will be the first time, apart from holidays, where my life has been completely unstructured! No dull job to go to, no school to go to… My life in London was busy – work every day and out every evening and weekend seeing people or going places. Doing “nothing” for me, is or rather was, always incredibly unsettling. I mean – there are things to do, places to go, people to see… WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING?! But my life here has been: school in the morning, homework, trips and pottering around a bit every day. It’s been a massive change and one I was a bit skeptical I could make without developing some sort of nervous tic but it’s been a relatively smooth transition. I’m surprised at myself. But next week and thereafter will be the greatest test so far of my ability to remain sane in the absence of a rigid agenda so watch this space. Next week’s post might be from some sort of asylum.

Having said that, I do have vague plans – I’ve decided to only apply timescales in the loosest possible sense to avoid inevitably missing them because I’ve not got some piece of “vital” paperwork but in general: I’m going to try and do some private teaching, I’m going to see if I can carry on with the Italian lessons but maybe just a couple of hours a week, I’m going to see if I can start progressing the paperwork that I need to get a car, and meanwhile I’m going to see if I can stay here in the apartment until the end of July to give me some time to a) get a car and b) find somewhere nice to live.

In other news, I have a confession to make. I haven’t taken the bins out since I’ve been here. There’s a detailed schedule of bin takings out (cardboard one day, glass the next, regular rubbish another, organic waste another, nappies another – thankfully not having to worry about that one at the moment. Not unless the bin situation becomes significantly more stressful) and I haven’t really grasped it. But now… well….there’s a backlog. And if I didn’t know how to get rid of the bins in the first place, I certainly don’t know how to get rid of a backlog. This week, I will be closely monitoring bin activities in the neighbourhood. And if I’ve still not cottoned on to it by next week, I’m going to go on evening walks to distribute the rubbish in bins in Piazza Roma. I mean, that wont look at all odd (“Crazy Lizard Photographying Near Naked Rubbish Distributing English Girl”).

That reminds me, here’s a picture of some lizards near school (one can never have too many lizard photos eh?):

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I call this one ‘Where’s Lizzy?’. I might do a lizard version of ‘Where’s Wally’.

I’ve decided I have enough material to have a regular “what’s a bit odd” section on my blog posts. So today’s feature: Grease Spreaders. Do you remember “skid paper” that they used to have instead of toilet paper in school (showing my age here perhaps)? It was basically a roll of tracing paper. I don’t want to dwell on the detail here but er, yes, not absorbent in the slightest… But in Italy, they have something similar: “skid napkins” if you will… If you go to a pizzeria, bar, anywhere I think that’s not a proper sit down restaurant, you are supplied with these “skid napkins” but they serve only to spread the grease further around your face. I’ve decided a more becoming term is “Grease Spreaders”.

And finally finally, I’ve found someone that wants crew in Croatia. I would have had to rule that out in the UK I think but Croatia is easy and cheap for me to get to – there are ferries there that run at least once a day from Ancona. Hopefully something might materialise of that.

And now, I need to prepare salad. Today has been a serious diet day to atone for the copious wine consumption yesterday…

Hope you’re all well.

X

Ps. Aww, WordPress have just wished me a happy anniversary – it’s been a year since starting the blog. How times flies…

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