29.6.11

And I am constantly amused :)

You simply have to love the Italians!


So! What really are the chances that you write to a language school asking them details about their classes so you may learn the language and the response you get is in the very language you need to learn. Not in English. Not even in half English. But in Italian! Seriously! I could not stop laughing when I read the email. I simply couldn’t till my hurting tummy made me stop. Post the laugh my first reaction was “am I over reacting because I am feeling that lost and displaced?” but then my own head told me “No! this really is that funny…”

But like I always say, when it’s me and things around me, the most improbable will most likely happen. Like in this case getting a response in Italian about a query that said, “Hi! I am new to Florence and to Italy and I am very keen on learning Italian. I saw your advertisement in The Florentine and I am now writing to find out when and where are the classes? How many times a week? And when should I come to register? Cheers, Urvashi.” Lost in translation I guess.

And well that brings me to the next thing I noticed today. Now I know a lot of you will say “you dirty mind” when I tell you this but a sign fixed near one of the smaller printers in office made me snort with amusement too. I did not laugh out loud. I swear. And there is a very good reason for that. And I will come around to that and another very amusing this that happened in just a little bit. So I am walking past the printer and suddenly I see something that doesn’t seem to fit. So I read the sign again. It reads in effect like the “small printer” is requesting people not to overuse it and for bigger jobs they should use the bigger printers where they have the “front and back facility available”. Funny! No?

Anyway! So the reason I held myself back is because most likely I would have been lost in translation if I had tried to explain what was so funny for me. To give you an example: the guy I have spoken to twice about the air conditioning in my room not being cool enough. The first time he came to check he simply said, “You door. Its open. No cooling if door open.” Well agreed. But all attempts to tell him that the door is open because the room was oppressively hot failed. So I sat at work, sweating on my second day wondering how to approach the problem. Today, unable to take it any more, I spoke to him again and this time he came and said “lower temperature” and pushed the knob to 15 degrees! Wow! When I tired telling him optimum cooling is between 20-23 degree and I had pushed the knob from 17 to 20 to see if that would make a difference given that his last setting (17 degrees) had had no effect, I got lost in translation again. He simply told me, “more cool then push this down. Up is no cool”, shrugged his shoulders and left. He must think I am very very stupid. I am sure he does. I’ll figure it out. I will just go shrug my shoulders tomorrow and say, “still no cool.” I think that will work.

Its amazing how hot Florence can be. I am still amazed and I have been told that July and August are worse and also humid! Yikes!! And most home don’t have air conditioning. Oh! Or even fans! I still have not seen a single ceiling fan here. Only table fans or those taller ones on wheels. Thank god they are the silent ones. We should have some of those back home too. I have never seen such silent table / mobile fans. But guess what a mini cooler is called? Penguini! So cute! I found this out when I asked the agent showing me apartments if the flat she was hard selling to me had air conditioning, given it was on the top floor and it is only getting hotter, and she said “no no, but I can get you a penguini. You know penguini? That little thing with cool air.”

I love this place. Constantly amusing. And by the way, so is Italian tv. The adverts are so bad! If I though the British ad industry could learn from their Indian counterpart, the Italian ad industry definitely should. Jeez! At least the visuals should have been a saviour even if I do not understand a word (barring some very generic ones!). But so far I am still waiting to be surprised on that front. What has been more predictable but awesome regardless has been the food. This by no means is to say that you cannot get bad food here. You can. But more on that later. Chances are by then I will discover a few more food related facts and it will simply be more fun to write about then. And frankly now its time to get to bed. Yes! The Urvster is going to bed early these days. Lets see how long this lasts…

Ciao my lovelies…

26.6.11

The difficulty of keeping up with my own virtual life... Toscana should change that, hopefully :)


So much for all my well meaning intentions. This blog has been inactive for far too long and I have to admit that I have contemplated the possibility of erasing it off the virtual world forever more than just a few times. I salute those who manage to consistently stay consistent online and run blogs that not only are engaging but updated. Saying that I have been caught up will be an understatement and also an affront to those who always make time for a life online; so at the risk of both I now would like to say that I have been caught up. I really have. What are the chances that I would get this busy in a city where I arrived thinking that it was just a stop gap for a few months. Six months tops! Wow! I lived in Mumbai for over 18 months. Moved houses. Made friends I miss terribly and crave the walk to Coffee Bean every afternoon to get a gigantic portion of Americanised, very very sweet, flavoured coffee… If I say out loud that I love that version of coffee I might just give the coffee snobs that surround me now a chance to band against me!
Yes! I did leave the Mumbai chapter behind. It’s been five days and frankly Florence feels like home. Almost! I don’t feel like an alien despite the language and I don’t feel like I am lost. I know I will figure it out and I know I will manage.
So now you know. I relocated to Florence. Maybe the months of intense work was a buildup to this. Maybe the months of “no time to die” were a sign that I need to finish up projects and do things that I will not be doing for a long long time. I am here now and I have promised myself I will write every weekend. Like clockwork. I have to. Not for anything else but for myself. My sanity. My stretched connections with what I have left over 7000 kilometers behind and also for sharing. Sharing everything. Good. Bad. Nothing much. Simply sharing.
I am living a dream. And I want to share.
I know living a dream is not a dream. Its not easy and its not going to be without moments and hours where all I want to do is punch a wall or scream out loud. But I wanted this and I am willing to embrace it all. It is like starting all over again, yet again. But isn’t that what life is? Experiencing all you can. When you can. And in the best possible manner you can.
I have been surprising myself these past few days. I am proud of myself. Sometimes I wonder if I would reach that moment like I did three years ago when I simply called dad and cried on the phone for over half and hour. No reason. I just needed a good cry. I was overwhelmed. Rootless. Tired. Stretched. And, hug deprived. I needed to cry and I did. And it was a very expensive cry! Ask me! GBP before the recession was a nightmare. Quite like the Euro is now. I’m amazed at my capacity of finding myself in the most expensive corners of already expensive countries. First St Andrews in Scotland. And now Florence in Italy. Trust me I am laughing out loud as I write this, with Italian TV (which I clearly don’t understand!) playing in the background. Noisy Americans exchange students and tourists being noisy on the street below (just one of the pleasures of living in the historical centre of Florence! At least for now! I now do not intend to find a ‘charming little studio’ in the ‘Florentine heart’ anymore. I am thinking like a local and I don’t want to be surrounded by tourist all the time.) and wondering why the hell is it not getting dark. It is past 8:30 pm already afterall. I can’t wait to shower and dress up to hit the streets for the Nottarno. That time when the entire city is out on the streets celebrating. Live music in every piazza and everything open. Shops. Restaurants. Everything. Till the wee hours of the morning. This follows the day where the city steps out after 9 pm to gather around the river and other vantage points close by to see the fireworks to commemorate the day of the patron saint of the city.
Needless to say my first four days here have not been boring. I don’t even know if I am jet lagged. I think I might be slightly given I have consistently been waking up by 6 am or 6:30 am which is my IST wake up time if I didn’t have drag myself out of bed for work. And I know Vik always said I was always late but I tired. 5 minutes here or there is acceptable right?! No? Yes? Well, in Italy it seems it is ok. Or so it seemed on my second day here. But then it was also a holiday for the whole city and ours was one of the few offices that were open. So I shall reserve judgment till Monday. Thank god the corporate jackets and ties and heels are out of the picture here. I was crap at maintaining that exterior in Bombay (anyone who has seen me at a conference will tell you about the state of my hair and the fact that I would invariably change from hot heels to basic black flats within 4 hours. Fa├žade over. Reality of achey feet kicks in!)
I am wondering what eat tonight. Everything is so good and so so so yummy. I am wondering if I should even bother with getting blackberry services activated on my phone. They aren’t cheap. I am wondering when will that damn language school respond to my email about learning Italian. I am wondering when will I find a house. I am wondering what to wear tonight. I am wondering when to hop across and check out the Capoeira school here. I am wondering if eating cheese the way the locals do will take me back to my super plump Scottish days. I am wondering if it is ok to say thank you in the Spanish way rather than the Italian way. It just comes more naturally for now. Maybe because of the Capoeira influence. I am wondering if I should bother with seeing the doctor for a strange bite I seem to have received on my eyelid from a random insect in the park yesterday. I am wondering if it’s ok to silently swear, in a happy way of course, when I see all this eye candy around me. I am wondering how can I be missing my family and friends and craving to talk to them and not be sad. I am wondering what made me go from being paranoid about things to saying “it’ll figure” and simply go with the flow. I am wondering when will that day come when I cry. I am wondering when will I drive to the Tuscan hills. I am wondering if I will ever be able to do everything I should be doing. Everything I want to be doing. This is a good follow through to the start I made in 2007. To the risk I took and that jump based on sheer faith in myself and in the fact that “it will figure out” and all I had to do was try my very best. Well here I am. Trying to do my best. And loving it. Living a dream is not easy. But then if it was it would stop being something I want. It will be boring. And I am not boring. I don’t want to be even close to that word. Shakira is singing “come closer.. come pull me closer” and I cant help thinking that that is exactly what I do with life. Pull it closer. Hummm… now what are the chances that I will find myself my own dishy Italian hottie who I could pull closer… hahahaha…
Oh well! Or as they ay here… Ellora! (I don’t even know if I spelt it right!).. what are the chances that my spellings will always suck? Really really high if you ask me… So much for claiming to be a writer… even if on the side!
More of my Florentine adventure soon. 
Ciao my lovelies...