Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baking again...

I was out for a drink on Saturday night when a friend of the cousin of Lorenzo asked me to make a cake for his birthday on the following Monday...
Sure I said, what sort of cake and how big?
Well I work at a summer camp in Chiantishire, so something that kids will like, something fluffy and chocolaty... There are around 80 kids, so fairly big...
This Monday?
Yeah, this Monday.
Errrrr... ok....

So Sunday was spent in Lorenzo's mothers kitchen (because I don't have an oven!), with 70 Euro worth of cake making ingredients (including 3.5kg of chocolate) baking my little heart out. Monday morning I was back in the kitchen finishing everything off and at 11am we were off to Chianti Country Club to face the kids. Apart from the fact one of these 6 year old children pointed out that the cookie on top looked like a nipple (only in Italy!!), the cakes were a success and we got to spend the rest of the day beside the pool at the country club.

After the pool we made our way back to Florence just in time to go (back into Chiantishire) for a wine tasting dinner... Followed by dancing into the wee hours with a view over the whole of Florence. I know, hard life! (Paid for it the next day though, when I had to start school at 8.30am!)

I have to admit it felt good to be back in the kitchen creating some sugary goodness! The oven is being fixed at home as I type, so maybe I will be doing it again soon!

Water Polo

So I was walking through Piazza della Signoria the other day when those trumpets started playing again... after the usual procession of traditionally clad, trumpet playing, flag waving men walking through the streets I was surprised to see a group of young blond men, in Australia's traditional green, gold and Havianas, scuffing their feet and chatting amongst themselves while following the trumpets into the Piazza. They were followed by Canada, China, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia and USA, the other countries to be competing in the FINA World League Water Polo Championships.

More by luck than any planning, I went to see the match between Serbia and Italia and. never having had anything to do with the game before, I actually found it really interesting. It was a really close game but unfortunately Italy lost by 1 point...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back to School

So I started school last week. Tuesday was the exam to see what level my Italian is at (medio for your information... which is the 2nd group of 4. Still a fair way to go!) and after was my first history lesson- Italian art history (entirely in Italian, in the most uncomfortable chairs possible for an hour and a half!)
The next days have been spent working through an exercise book and speaking average Italian with the other students there for about 2 and a half hours, then an hour and a half of history- varying between Italian art, literature and theatre. I'm finding the history really interesting, and it's even better when you ride home a different way and stumble upon one of the monuments or statues or piazzas that you have just learnt at school (albeit you didn't understand completely what that statue is about, but you know it's important and that it was created by Cellini and had something to do with Medici). Having said that, the seats certainly haven't gotten any more comfortable, and working the odd night during the week (finishing at 2am) hasn't helped my concentration span.

Mexican (Lourdes), American (Amelia), Australian, Russian (Nastia), Russian (Alexandria), Colombian (Maria Cruz)

My class consists of a German girl (who studies history in Dusseldorf and is writing a paper on Italian history- therefore needs to learn Italian), 2 Russian girls (studying linguistics in Russia), an American guy (who bought a bar with his wife and 2 kids here), an American girl (working for 12 months at one of the American universities here, organising their activities and outings etc), a Colombian girl (studying foreign affairs and needs a minimum of 3 languages) and a Mexican girl (whose mother is Italian and is here with a group of friends for 2 months to learn Italian, before she goes back to Mexico to finish her medical degree). A very interesting mix!

This is completely irrelevant other than the fact it was at school… who puts a sign up saying, “Please don’t touch this tap” that is really just asking for trouble!! No… I haven’t touched it… yet…. But it is so dang tempting!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life, sweet life...

Don't you just hate it when the directions are so easy when someone else is driving, and then that first time you have to do it on your own you get more lost than you have ever been in your life, but you can't call anyone because you left your phone at home, turned off, and after an hour of riding around the suburbs you follow the road signs back to your starting point to start again, and end up being half an hour late to work?? Yeah, me too. Of course this happened to a friend of a friend of mine... I have a wonderful sense of direction..........

I have been working a couple of days a week at a bar- the first shift was at an Irish pub, and since then I've been in a more Italian style bar owned by the same guy. This bar has more regular customers who are all thrilled to have a female bartender and don/t mind so much that I can't understand them (honestly not sure I want to understand them) but when they want a drink they tend to talk slower and more deliberate. Works quite well!

Even though I have been living here for around a month and a half now, I realised that I haven't introduced you to my housemates... So these are my housemates! (sorry about the photos... I am still in the process of getting a new camera...)

Lorenzo, Ema, Romina and Rebecca

Up the hill

Last week saw an old school friend and her boyfriend come to visit for a few days here in Florence. Unfortunately last week also saw rain, a lot of rain. We did manage to get one day where the sun poked its face through the clouds and made for quite a pleasant day, so Lorenzo was nice enough to take us on a road trip through the Chiantishire to San Gimignano.


San Gimignano is a small, walled, medieval town perched on top of a hill in the province of Siena, which is known for it's medieval buildings and towers which you can see from kilometres away. You are able to climb one of the towers from the main square which gives you stunning 360 degree views over the town and the valley below. The town and the views are amazing but the number of tourist there is somewhat shocking, and we only spent an hour or so there before we started out trip back through the stunning countryside to Florence (and an amazing dinner of Florentine steak).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The damned trumpets.

There is one downside I have found to living in the centre of Florence... I keep getting woken up to the sound of festive trumpets and drums. Coooool I hear you say? Yes, the first, second and third times, then I just start feeling guilty that at 10.30am I am still in bed and I can't find the energy to get up and see what all the fuss is about. On the 2nd of June, however I did get up. June 2nd is the National Day of Italian Republic so I made my way to Piazza della Signoria to see some of the festivities... Viva l'Italia!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A day at the pool.

Spent the afternoon in the pool of a hotel behind Florence yesterday. It was like a set from a 70's film; the diving board, the tanned, oiled men in DTs, the recliner chairs amongst the trees... how very Italian.

It was a really relaxing afternoon with a great view until we were forced back to Florence by a massive storm. Though I wasn't complaining, storms are something I miss from Australia.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A week of firsts

My week of firsts...
First time driving in Florence (not doing it again unless in emergencies)
First day of work
First Italian garden dinner party
First time in Copenhagen
First coat of paint on Bianca

SO, as you can see, it's been a busy week, and so this post doesn't turn into a novel, I've simplified it somewhat...

Driving: Driving in Europe is nerve racking, driving in Florence is near suicide for someone used to driving between the lines, to the speed limit and all that... It was a scary experience for everyone involved.

Working: I did my first shift at an Irish pub here in Florence. I can understand when people want beer and I can happily pour them a beer and take their money, apart from that, there are alot of one sided conversations going on where I stand there nodding and smiling. Give me time, I'll get to the rum and coke one day.

Partying: While house sitting for Lorenzo’s parents, a party was organised in the including 13 people, around 7kg of meat, a kilo or two of cheese, plenty of prosecco and a wood fired oven. Apart from the fact it now looks like I have chicken pox because of the number of mosquitoes there, it was a great night!

Travelling: I flew to Copenhagen to spend an impromptu weekend with my sister, her fiancĂ© and a couple of their friends. Copenhagen is a cold, wet, expensive city yet somehow, despite the miserable weather, all of the Danish people I came in contact with were friendly, happy people. We put this down to the fact that their power points (or are they sockets?) look like smiley faces… that has to be it… Look at this picture (albeit a little blury) and tell me it doesn't make you all shiny and happy on the inside!

Painting: Yes, you read correctly, Bianca is getting a makeover!! I'm in the process of decorating her with the traditional colours of Florence- Red and White... She is pretty excited, so I will keep you posted on how she is going...