Monday, April 5, 2010
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I'm on summer vacation in Italy right now, so not much time on the computer, but I have put together a short video on my other blog site here if you want to take a peek.
I'll be back online in a few weeks, but for the meantime, check in with my other blog as I update it more regularly.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Don't despair though, I have an awesome trip coming up this week, so I will be sure to share some travel stories very soon.
And I am also in planning mode for our upcoming summer trip to Albania and Italy, so stay tuned for that.
Come on, come over to the other side at Girl on Raw.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I am loving this new lifestyle and I’m trying desperately hard to stay in Italy as I don’t want to leave this ‘bella’ country!! I know some of you are aware that I arrived in Milan but I actually live on the coast of Italy at Santa Margherita (2hours by train to Milan) The coastline in Italy is amazing. Where I am staying is very close to France (Nice, the French Riviera), the mountains hit the sea and all the housing is built on the hills. From far away it looks like the buildings are going to roll off the mountain and into the sea. It’s a marvelous view surrounding you especially at night on a vespa.
Basicly my job role is to wake up, have breakfast with the two girls I tutor. Seeing they are nearly teenagers they sleep in till very late (until about 9:30am). That means I can have a sleep in too but my sleep in is until 8am as I get up to have a jog around the Italian beach or countryside. Once they have finished breakfast, we get ready for the beach (if the weather permits).Whilst we put on our sunscreen and wait 30mins for it to sink in, we read an English book. After we have done some English exercises it’s time to play in the water.
I’ve finally overcome my fear of swimming in the water, only because I’ve been assured there are no sharks in the ‘Mediterranean Sea’. I’ve forgotten how fun it can be a child and the games we play in the water are so simple. We are at the beach until 12:30pm because we need to be home in time to shower and have lunch at 1pm.
I am loving the Italian diet as lunch can be a simple rice dish with tomatoes, olives and of course olive oil. Once we have finished that the next course comes which is usually some meat and today brosscino. It is like proscitto but it is beef and it was served with shaved parmesan cheese on top. We always have fruit after each meal and a selection of stone fruits and cherries is what we’ve been used too. After lunch is my two hour break as I am not required to start again until 4pm.
At the moment I’ve been trying to find sufficient internet as Italy seems to be non existent when it comes to internet. I’ve finally found some wireless internet in the main park in Santa Margherita which is at the front of the beautiful coastline. Or I’ll sit in my room and keep practicing my Italian as I hope to have a real Italian conversation with a local in a couple of weeks.
Once I start back at 4pm the girls have just finished their school homework. Yes Italians get homework on their summer holidays because they get 3 months off for summer not like Australians with only 6 or 7 weeks off. So the girls are quite drained from that so we go outside for exercise. We usually just walk around town and they ask me about boys. I shouldn’t have said this but I mentioned that Robert Pattinson from ‘Twilight’ is attractive and now they keep telling me my heart is breaking for Robert or am I thinking about kissing Robert and so on. These girls are like the little sisters I’ve always wanted (as my family remembers, I wanted to swap my younger brother for a girl when I was 3 years old). The12 year old loves running so she forces me to jog with her which is really a good thing.
I finally made friends with the locals as there was a little hiccup to start with. I meet a boy called ‘M’ who asked me to go out with his friends. Being a little naive and with his broken English (Italian’s don’t speak very good English compared to other European countries) I thought we were going out with him and his friends. He thought it was a date as I was clearly not interested in him. I went out with him and he introduced me to basically everyone around our age in Santa Margerhita. It was a wonderful night though as he took me too my first discoteque which was overlooking the Italian coast. The sight was absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to go back!! After that evening he dropped me home and I texted him, ‘thanks for a great night’.
The next night I went out with a British Nanny I met and we get on really well. She had to leave at 12:30am and people don’t start going out in Italy until 11pm (so the night was very early). As she left I bumped into some people ‘M’ had introduced me to the night before. This time I met them they had a New Zealander with them who spoke fluent Italian and English. Perfecto!!! I hang out with them whilst A, (the New Zealander translated most of it). I found out that I had a lot I common with L as we were chatting about bands we like (with the help of A of course). He mentioned that ‘Mars Volta’ was his favourite band and I’m like ‘Oh My god they are mine too, I’ve seen them 3 times’. After we finished partying L asked if we could catch up tomorrow and I gave him my number.
The next day L called me and we arranged to meet at the Cinema. I thought he was going to take me ‘Transformers’ but we did was so much better. We went out for appertivi which is like drinks and antipasto before dinner. He had a notepad as he found it easier to understand some words and that if we wrote it down and my phrasebook was a lifesaver (the Italians find my phrasebook hilarious as there is a page about sex and the always try to say things in English when we’re out drinking). After appertivi we went to dinner at a restaurant and L bought me my first pizza. He was very happy about that. Although we couldn’t speak English it was surprising what we discussed. He asked about Australia and knew that we were all convicts (hehe) as he asked if that was true. He asked about the aboriginals and we discussed their suppression and he also knew about the hole in the ozone layer. The one thing I’ve noticed about Italians is education is very important and their schooling system is a lot harder than ours. L is studying psychology and communication at Milan but hopes to become a journalist as he loves writing.
After dinner we went for a walk along the coast still talking music and indie films as we big fans of films like ‘Donnie Darko’, ‘Lost in Translation’ etc. The funniest thing he said all night that ‘It was weird how he’s studying communication but he can’t communicate with me properly’. It was a good night and the most interesting time out I’ve ever had with someone. Who would have thought I’d be communicating with someone through a notepad.
The next night I met Lorenzo and his friends out for apperitivi and they had a friend there G who could speak fluent English and Italian. Due to my naivity once again and not realizing that Santa Margaherita was a small town. M had phoned up L angry that him and I had been out for dinner. They have known each other since they were 2 years old. They are not best friends but know each other. I didn’t realize I’d done anything wrong but they told me not to worry. The good thing is L has gone to Milan for the week so hopefully this all dies down. Everyone has told me to worry because M is strange.
I went out last night with L’s friends and have met more people and a lot of girls now. It’s great as everyone here is so welcoming so I’ve got a little crew I can hang out with. The best thing about it is it’s forcing me to learn Italian because most of the conversations I can’t participate in. I could have taken the easy way out and just found all the English people but I’m glad I’ve persevered and am hanging out with Italians. I don’t want to go to the UK and I’m really thinking of nannying in Milan. I could get a part-time nannying live in job and teach in English speaking schools as there is a need for them.
I miss you all and will let you know more interesting adventures as they occur!!
K (lil Girl on Tour)
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
They polished their plates clean before I even had a chance to finish munching on mine...perhaps it was because I was talking too much hehe.
Two of the guys still wanted Feta, but for mine and one other pilot's, we had 100% RAW & Vegan.
One pilot asked, "now when I want to order this for lunch again, what do I ask for?"
I told them to tell Becci (if she is their Flight Attendant next up) that Robyn makes the best salads. Knowing how competive Becci is with her food creations, it would guarantee them a wayyyy better lunch. Hee hee. Let the competition begin.
Oh and check out this Birthday Cake Becci slaved in my kitchen making yesterday and today. Her kitchen is still lacking a few Gourmet Raw tools and she fell in love with my (ahem, ok my man's) Vita Mix Blender. Seriously, this cake was the best thing to come home to after being away for work on my birthday night last night (boo hoo). Oh that and the animals oh and of course the man ;).
This cake was AMMAAAZZZING! Can you believe not one animal was hurt in the process and it is completely RAW. Becci and I have been giggling all night though after sharing just one slice. Hmmm Carob and Cacao must make you high!
Here you go! Try a slice?
What do you think some of the ingredients might be?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I have finally made it to Italy but there were a few hurdles before I got here. I left Brisbane, arrived in Hong Kong 9 hours later feeling clammy and had a sore throat. I got asked by customs if I had any symptoms of swine flu, I just mentioned that I had a sore throat. Thinking that it wasn’t going to be a big deal (as I didn’t have all the other symptoms), they took me away to where a group of people were sitting with numbers. They called mine out after about an hour as I had no idea if they were going to let me walk (like many I had seen) or put me in quarantine.
I was told I had a high temperature and that they were going to take me in an ambulance to the hospital to check if I have swine flu. They put a big sign on my room saying ‘waiting for ambulance’. As I waited I got onto my laptop, luckily there was free internet and got through to (my sister) who got mum online and I let them know what was going on. I was surrounded by people covered head to toe in protective gear thinking that I had swine flu and could infect them.
By the time the doctor saw me at the hospital he told me that I’d have to stay in Hong Kong for two days to receive my results. I told him that I was leaving for Italy the next day and he said that’s unfortunate but he couldn’t help me. I frantically rang my travel insurance to see if I was covered by this and they told me I would only be covered if I have swine flu (as after two days of staying there I might not have it). To change my flight was going to cost me another $1200 and this was beginning to turn into a nightmare. Eventually they did the testing and then let me go. It was another doctor who had released me from hospital and she told me that I should have information tomorrow if I have swine flu. I asked her what time she would call me and she said that they’ll only call me if I have swine flu. That was really strange so I decided then and there that I was going to the airport no matter what and if customs stopped me I must have had swine flu.
My idea worked and I got through customs with no problem but customs asked if I had two passports as they saw both and the only thing he mentioned is that I like to change my hair colour. I was still nervous as I waited for my flight. I thought that some people from customs would come and grab me and say come with us. But in the back of my mind I also thought they’d be happy to get rid of me if I did have swine flu. The only time I felt secure was when the plane was leaving for take off. I made my flight to Zurich, Switzerland virtually no turbulence, fantastic!!
I arrived in Switzerland and then had 50mins to get to my connecting flight to Milan, Italy. I didn’t realize but the flight from Zurich to Milan went directly over the Swiss Alpes. I was very much a tourist during my 40mins flight to Milan as everyone seemed quite bored with the scenery (having seen this numerous times) whilst I took lots of pictures out the window. I was also very tired but knowing that his marvel was underneath me was enough to keep me awake.
I arrived in Milan and changed clothing as the weather was quite hot. When I stepped off the plane I knew I was in Italy as the people are fashionable and beautiful. The people are very hospitable and some helped me when I had trouble with my luggage. As I bought my ticket the good looking ticket sales men noticed that my passport was from Australia. He started asking me about Australia, telling me he has family over there and would like to go. I had to stop chatting and quickly board my train as it was about to leave. I had another good looking man help me with my luggage as I boarded the train. We started talking and he also just flew from China. He is a fashion consultant (I don’t know what that means) and also lectures at a Milano University teaching fashion business. We had a great conversation and he gave me his card to keep in touch.
Once I arrived in Milano, Luigi (a friend of mine) came to pick me up. He knew my schedule and walked me to my job interview and took all my luggage back to his house. I had the job interview for a school in Milano as I’ve been assured that’ll they be able to get me work at any school there, the only problem is it’s not as much pay is in the UK. I’ve got the next two months to decide whether I want to live in this beautiful country and learn such a romantic language or earn good money in the UK and come visit this place. It’s going to be a very hard decision as I’ve already fallen in love with this country’s culture and customs.
After my day in Milano with Luigi I boarded a train which he had arranged for me (very hospitable) to Santa Margherita. I arrived and met the new family I will be working for. They are very lovely people and I feel I’m spoilt as all I do is provide English lessons for the girls, take them to the beach and out to other activities from Monday to Friday. I have all day Saturday and Sunday off plus Wednesday and Friday nights off as well. All my meals are provided as they are cooked by Elena the girls mother. And the meals are absolutely beautiful, traditional Italian cooking!! The food here is so fresh, I’ve never been so excited to eat fruit before. Today is Sunday as I’ve just been to the beach, read some of my Heath Ledger biography and I’ve come back for lunch where I don’t do anything. I rock up, have lunch, then I can do what I want. It is hard to take in that this is my job as I do feel obliged to help but usually am told just to sit down.
Family is very important to the Italians and I can see that with the family I live with. Their mother stays at home and provides for the girls whilst their father works full time. Their father works in Milano and comes here on the weekends (which is my time off) to spend time with his family. The girls are very courteous and seem to have a great relationship with their parents. I have not experienced the typical Italian male that I’ve been warned of and I wonder if people over exaggerate. The typical Italian man I’ve noticed is very in love with his partner and seems to be quite generous. The men I have met have not been sleazy but very polite, generous and very attractive!! This place is full of beautiful men and women!! I really feel I’ve found where I belong hehe, it’s going to be a hard decision about where I want to live.
Miss you all and if I do decide to stay you should come and visit this magnificent place!!
K (lil Girl on Tour)
PPP and I are hoping to meet up with her on our upcoming holiday to Italy (remember I just came back from Rome and am planning a return for a holiday???) and hopefully get to enjoy some time in her new home of Santa Margherita.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I have a new (ish) blog. It has been months in the making but I can finally launch it and I am really excited.
As each day has become more Raw Food focused, I thought it best to make a new blog dedicated just to it! I have quite a bit in store and so much has been happening with regards to this, so if you are at all interested in your health, and want to find out what the hype is with this Raw business...pop on over here:
Look forward to seeing ya!!!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Time for another Travel Review!!! After my stop in Rome recently, I made it to Europe of the Middle East; Beirut. I loved it. Having been on the IT list for a while now, but never having either the guts (yes it still can be a turbulent country having died 1000 times and revived 1000 more, especially with upcoming elections, you can never be too careful) or the opportunity to visit in the past, it came up recently as quite a surprise.
Three days in Beirut, staying at a beach/city resort was perfect. As the summer starts to heat up back in my home, it was nice to escape to a moderately cooler climate, just before peak season kicks in.
The first evening was spent getting to know Beirut’s mid week nightlife (which at midnight is not that great mind you). Allowing our cab driver to take us to wherever he thought best, we ended up downtown at a lovely little club called Taboo, playing a combination of 90’s R&B hits that we recognized and Lebanese pop hits which of course we didn’t. Not sure if we were being ripped off by the bartenders (as we gave US dollars and were given change in Lebanese Liras) or the duty free tequila we'd had in the hotel room before hand had caught up with us, we decided to call it a night around 3am, to ensure we didn’t waste too much of our following day.
The weather didn’t disappoint, with a poolside salad lunch and couple of cocktails to help ease the slight headache from the night before. Ideas of traveling inland soon abated when we realized it was 6pm already and once again time to find a place to eat and drink.
Gemmayze strip in downtown Beirut was our first stop, with finding a place for dinner and wine my idea, but PPP happy to find a hip cocktail bar, whichever of the two we came across first. He won this time, and we settled on Gem, which the bar tender told us is short for the Gemmayze tree which is what the area was famed for, with the plant growing only in that region of Beirut. He spoilt us with a few different delicious cocktails, and realizing we had missed dinner, I settled on some bar bites.
Al Amin Mosque
The next day was a recovery in room day, with room service and in house videos til PPP had to take his flight home that afternoon. Did I mention that PPP arrived in Beirut to surprise me on my trip and I had no idea he was coming? Brilliant. He thinks he was being romantic, I think he couldn't let me get one up him on countries I have visited. Just for fun we are compiling a spreadsheet to keep a tally. B wants in as she reckons she will beat us both. That's what she gets for having worked for Emirates . Stay tuned for the competiton!
All in all Lebanon has a great history and beauty, especially if you travel further inland to places like Byblos, but the main advice I was given regarding what Beirut would have to offer, was mainly dining and partying, which I think we definitely touched on. A trip back is definitely on the cards.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Check out more here.
Friday, June 5, 2009
What kind of breed do you think Lucy might be?
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Princess Superstar is most reknown for this club beat (oh how I love it! Takes me back to Ibiza clubbing last year!) and I love her honesty in her journal (she broke a few times, but man, didn't she pay for it!). I also love her tips on how to stick by her 'rawness' although she travels so much; almost as much as me.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
What an amazing city! I knew it was going to be a no brainer, that I would fall even more in love with the entire Italian way of life, even though this was only my first trip to the country itself.
Right on the eve of the mayhem that is the Champions League festivities in Rome where Barcelona challenged Manchester United (and subsequently won!), in a competition that sees an estimated 10,000 Brit’s descend onto the boot shaped country ticket less, hoping to gain entrance to the game on arrival or in the very least a glimpse of what excitement is in store for both supporters. I was grateful we were scheduled to leave the day before the game. As much as I love the game, this recent violent murder in Ireland following a football match is a reminder how clueless the supporters can sometimes be and I am grateful I was able to witness half of this cities football fever without too much of the pain.
Ever since I used to beg to go over to my grandparents neighbour’s house to play with their daughter Giovanna and stay until lasagne dinner and attend my father’s soccer end of season wrap ups at the Italian patriarch coach’s spaghetti nights, I have long held a secret desire to be Italian. Coupled with my frequent visits to the Italian Club as a young adult on their family open days, watching a typical stage father pressure the then Origlasso Twins (now the Veronicas) to sing pre rehearsed cover songs to a back up tape, whilst pushing my sister’s punk band off stage (they were classmates), whilst Italian nonna’s danced with their grandchildren and young teenagers frolicked with their friends around Italian themed food stalls, I sometimes think I was born with the wrong ethnicity.
And Rome did not disappoint. All my wondrous pre-conceived notions of Italian life, people and architecture were correct. This city is truly beautiful. Of course I understand that Rome is NOT all of Italy and in 3 days I was bound to only pick up on so much of the city that it mainly has to offer it’s tourists, it still was amazing. The fashion, the language, the food, the buildings, the style….amazing!
Now whilst I cannot report to have done ANY of the must do attractions (I had promised PPP as we have planned an Italian holiday in August and I am not sure I want to do the Coliseum more than once), I can tell you what I did do which I still feel is typically Italian.
- Sat on the Limon Terraza of our city hotel every night with the crew, sipping on chilled Limoncello & local white wine, whilst watching the sun go down over the capital.
- Walked and walked and walked (including up the famed Spanish Steps more than once) where everyone just seems to sit and wait for nothing in particular
- Spent wayyy too much money in a ‘typical’ Italian grocery store aimed at tourists, but only because I felt I couldn’t return home without some authentic pasta, sundried tomatoes, pesto, balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Charmed by the local wait staff that make being rude seem acceptable and actually enjoyable (oh and we had some fabulous service too)
- Love love love the 2 course meal I became accustomed to for both lunch and dinner each day. Usually a spinach or ruccola (rocket) salad with a smaller serving than what you would expect pasta or pizza.
- The Italian Style, describing it just cannot do it justice. Even the women, as they age, still look amazing with their sun kissed skin and lean bodies and I don’t believe I saw them wearing anything but heels, even walking the cobblestone streets, oh and don’t even get me started on the young men, carrying their scooter helmets off to have an espresso in their well cut shirts.
- Oh and yes the scooters. Not very many Vespas as you would imagine, but has definitely left me with the urge to upgrade my little 2 stroke engine and get my Euro style helmet sooner than I had thought. And the miniature trucks I saw a plenty. How do they manage to fit anything (including the driver!) in there?
- Stayed in a very beautiful, but very old, original state city hotel. Very grand (inclusive of marble lion that greets you at the majestic staircase entrance) but also lacking is some modern necessities especially if there on business trip. I am told though this is very typical of accommodation in these parts of Europe.
This trip was made even more memorable by the fact that my current read is Eat Pray Love where the main character, author Elisabeth Gilbert resides for 3 months. I am now onto the India part…maybe I should head off to an Ashram next.
Basically the main tourist attractions of this country for me are still to come on my upcoming vacation in August, but 3 days in one of the world’s most beautiful cities was heaven enough to hook me. I look forward to getting to know you better in a few months Bella!
Hotel: Grand Plaza Rome