That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mr. Anonymous May Have a Point

There are those who love love love Starbucks with a passion and those who hate hate hate it with every fiber in their being. I belong to the meh... group. This may be due to the fact that, one, I'm not a particularly die-hard coffee fan and two, I've only been inside a Starbucks once, in Honolulu. 

The other day, while out with some new friends from Pink Italy, one of them mentioned a Starbucks having opened in Milan. Then later, in the evening, I received a comment from someone calling himself "Mr. Starbucks from Milano." How cool is that? The comment by Mr. Starbucks from Milano was in response to an earlier comment left by Anonymous. Anonymous had read my blog and had come to the conclusion that I was unhappy here and suggested that I either leave it or choose to see the good in it. (For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to Anonymous in the masculine) His suggestion would be quite appropriate if I was, in fact, unhappy here or if I had, in fact, chosen to see only the bad. But this is not the case, at all. I'm happy here and consider myself blessed, as should be clear by the title of my blog. I still consider it a tad hypocritical since, in order to admonish me for sharing my opinions, he was required to use the same means to the same end to share his own opinions. The irony. And yet, Anonymous' critique may have some merit. Perhaps others, too, think I am unhappy here or have intentionally chosen to ignore the good things in this country. So, today's post is dedicated to some of the things that I like, love, enjoy or in some cases, actually prefer about Italy more than I do about the good ol' USA. 

(Warning: The following opinions expressed may cause agitation, frustration, irritation and a general sense of discombobulation to those prone to being touchy, sensitive or easily offended when confronted with differing tastes, impressions, conclusions or points of view from their own. Continue with caution.)

more after the jump 
Mrs. Boricua - that means click the link below ^.^

So, I had wanted to begin my list of "good things" in Italy by mentioning the arrival of Starbucks to Italy, but I can't for the life of me, find any current information. I've checked in Italy's yellow pages, Starbucks's website and various blogs which mention plans to open a shop in Milan, but without any follow-up news of its actual opening. Some blogs refer to a 2010 opening in Milan (so where is it?) and plans for another in Rome in 2011. Does anyone know anything about this?

° The Kitchen: I love Italian kitchens. I'm not referring to size or layout or anything else aesthetic. I mean, I love the very practical overhead cabinet above the sink where you can place just-washed wet dishes to nearly dry (usually in the time it takes to finish washing up) before placing them in their usual places. I also love the sloped sink attachment where more just-washed dishes or rinsed and wet fruit & vegetables can be placed without worry of disturbing perfectly clean and dry counter space. But I do miss having a garbage disposal and extending faucet sprayers, like I had back in California. Someone, somewhere in Italy has these, but generally speaking, it's not the norm. photo source

° Meds: I'm not talking about the state run free healthcare - in theory, the idea is great and it seems to work well enough in some countries. Here, in practice, there's much left to be desired, but that's another post. What I'm talking about is the very free or very low priced pharmaceuticals. 

° Acqua Frizzante: Gassy, frizzy, bubbly bottled water can be had at the very same price as natural water and sometimes it can even be found in public fountains. I admit, at first it tasted really weird. Gross, even. I couldn't help but think I was drinking from a bottle of instant Alka-Seltzer-To-Go. But now? It's like my dear beloved Coca Cola, only without the color... or sweetness... and it's less tasty. Still, I'll never go back to plain, flat, boring, regular water again ... never, I say, NEVER !!

° The Food: I know I complain and complain about the lack of variety, the absence of fast food and the scarce selection of convenient ready to heat meals, but deep down inside, I'm actually grateful for having had to learn to make many of our meals from scratch. I know myself too well to think I wouldn't have raised my family on burgers and t.v. dinners if given the chance. My kids are healthier for it and they have better eating habits than I ever did.

° Pasta: Speaking of food, I love the pasta. I love ragù. Most Saturdays I purchase 800 grams of mixed meats, ground fresh at my local butcher's and make enough sauce for 3 pasta meals that will serve during the following week. In the States, I used ground beef and onions, but I added Prego or Ragu or some other ready to heat & serve sauce, filling our poor defenseless bodies with all kinds of preservatives and unknown additives. Oh, how I'd mistreated my arteries and stomach lining! Shame on me.

° Low Crime: I come from a small town where very little happened in terms of crime compared to the bigger cities just a few miles away where there were (and still are) gang shootings and the occasional drive-by. Although the incidents of violent crime still remain low, I hear from friends and family that it has risen and venturing into neighboring towns can be a cause for concern. I'm aware that crime in Rome does exist and it can get as violent here as anywhere else, but it does tend to remain within certain groups of criminals and the people who purposely or innocently get involved with said groups. For the average Joe, violent and brutal crime is just not an every day constant threat. I don't know why it is, or even if it is really so, but there seems to be less fear of child predators, madmen, random shootings and rape. Like all large tourist cities, we have our share of pickpockets and con-artists, but that is hardly a reason for alarm. I apologize to anyone who's been violently attacked here. I'm not saying it never happens, only that, generally speaking, actual, threatened or fear of violence is much less frequent than what one would expect from a large metropolitan city.

° Specialty Shops & Markets: Of course, we have shops specializing in different merchandise, even in the States. I use this term for the lack of a better one. In my hometown, we had Asian markets and Mexican shops (and oh, how I miss them), but meat, vegetables and daily household items were more or less bought and sold in large chain supermarkets or superstores. Granted, they are convenient and I may, on occasion when it suits me, lament about their little-to-non existence here, but all in all, I love going to the greengrocers for fruits & veggies, the butchers for fresh cut meats, stationary stores for notebooks and pencils, housewares shops for household items, beauty supply stores for cosmetics and creams ... Each place has its own unique environment, clerks and assistants who, after a few visits, will greet you like a long lost cousin and the care and attention given can brighten up anyone's day. A very different experience from impersonal and sometimes traumatic happenings at Italian supermarkets. (I realize that markets and specialty shops can be found in the USA, too - I'm referring to differences between where I used to live and where I presently live.)

° History: I love the history that can be seen and felt around this ancient city as well as in nearby towns. I come from a place that was created and built in the 1960's. Everything is neat and tidy and symmetrical (I have a soft spot for symmetry) and while I miss these qualities, especially when trying to travel to unfamiliar locations here in Rome, I lovelovelove the cobblestone streets, the marble buildings, the green and tomato red shutters, the cast iron balconies, the huge front doors that once allowed horses and carriages into lovely building courtyards, the monuments, the aqueducts... so many things to see and marvel at in awe and wonder.

° The Weather: This is misleading because I actually hatehatehate Roman summers - not for the heat, but for the torturous icky sticky humidity. Seriously, I live through an entire season never feeling quite clean, even after 3 showers a day. But I absolutely adore fall and winter. Back in my hometown the weather was quite constant all year round and I can see the merits of this, I can. I can understand why people from all over the continental US pick up and move to the towns which make up my home sweet home in the Monterey Peninsula. But I love the annual change from bare legs and short sleeves to coats and scarves and gloves. Most people I know, hate it. They prefer warmer weather. Bah!

° Umbrella Vendors: (Mrs. Rinaz gets credit for the reminder) Whenever it rains here, there are men who seem to pop up from nowhere walking the streets, waiting at metro stops or standing on corners selling all sorts of umbrellas. It's a very convenient thing to have if, like me, you don't pay much attention to weather forecasts and often end up, caught in the rain without an umbrella.

° The People: I love the people. Sure, there are exceptions ... some people are mean and rude, some are stinky, some are ignorant ... but at the end of the day, I have met some really wonderful, fantastic, lovely people here in Rome. Some are family, some are friends, some are students, colleagues, acquaintances, visitors ... Italian people are awesome and I'm thankful for their hospitality and kindness.

But really, now, what fun would it be if I just wrote about all the lovey dovey I encounter here? So, after this, I'm back to my regular habit of singling out the quirks and qualities of various Italian people and customs that drive me bonkers and poking fun at them. 

Mrs. Moglie and Ms. LongIsland going bonkers


Jim and Margie said...

well good for you :) Writing all those nice things about the place you live :) Hopefully Mr. A. will get a better understanding of what you mean now :)

Mrs. Moglie said...

I hope so too ^.^ Thanks guys - I do love Italy tantotantotanto !!