December 18, 2009

Belgium, here we come....

The Italian and I will be going to Belgium for the holidays and we both couldn't be happier about it. First of all because we haven't seen my family in a long time and second of all because we both need a break from Italy and Rome.
Belgium is currently covered in snow and we have a pretty big chance of having that White Christmas after all. Apart from one big suitcase filled with clothes, we are also dragging another big suitcase with us filled with cakes, torrone and other Italian holiday goodies. Today when buying the torrone, the Italian candidly pointed out that I always said that there was only 1 kind of chocolate in the world. Well his exact words were more like : " You always made me two ***** like this about how chocolate had to be Belgian." Yes, Belgian chocolate is still the best chocolate in the world, but I'm still also buying the torrone. (You can never have too much chocolate imo)
I will surely return to Italy with an extra five kilos on my body, but I'm not holding back this time. Homemade fries, belgian beer, cream tomato soup and endless christmas markets with glühwein, jenever and other bodywarming drinks.
Now if only the airport won't be closed for the snow....
Happy holidays to all! Have a lovely Christmas!

September 23, 2009

Bio Testaccio

Last weekend was the weekend of the 'altra economia' in 'la città dell' altra economia' in Testaccio.
In La città dell' altra economia there is a bio-shop for food, one for other items including fair trade products, a Bio Bar and a Bio restaurant. But last weekend there were all stands with bio food, clothing, books,etc. as well. Even the bio-guy from Biolà* was there.
I ate the best pannocchia ever from one of the stands. The shops are ofcourse always there and one Sunday per month the stands will return.

If you are in Rome definately worth checking out.

*Biolà is a biofarm in Fiumicino, but every week they travel to different places in Rome and set up there with their little van to sell milk straight from the cow, meat, mozzarella, ricotta, honey,... You can find the schedule, products and prices on the site.

September 15, 2009

The highs and the lows

It's been months since I last blogged. The past months were filled with highs and lows and for some reason I didn't feel like blogging about it at the time.
This is what's been going on :

The highs :
* In July the Italian and I went to Belgium. We stayed there a couple of days and then drove my car (full with stuff) back to Italy. We stopped at Lago di Garda and San Benedetto del Tronto and then drove to Rome.
* In August my mom and sister came to visit us in Rome, which was great.
* In September my cousin and her boyfriend came to Rome, we had a blast.

The lows :
* For some reason I'm still not getting used to Rome. I have pretty much always lived in a small village in a small country. I never thought this would be an issue, but the big city chaos is sometimes just too much. I then dream of a house with a big garden in which I grow my own vegetables. I guess there is a farmer inside of me somewhere that I didn't know about.
* The househunting is not going fast enough for me. We have seen it all by now. Houses with water in the walls, bad roofs, houses in the midst of about 20 electrical poles, near the river that floods, agency people who don't give you any information except for : 'this is the kitchen, this is the bathroom...' (why would I pay you thousands of euros for that?!)
* The jobhunting is -to say the least- horrible. Nobody cares apparently that I speak all these languages and have a degree. When I came here I was willing to earn less than what I earned back home, but some of the salaries I have seen here are just ridiculous.
* Making new friends has also proven itself to be harder than it is.

Solution :
* I need to step up my game. Easier said than done, but not impossible. And when I wonder if I want to step up my game, I need to slap myself in the face and realise that the only thing I can change is me. Not this country or its jobmarket or its obvious chaos. I need to stop comparing Belgium to Italy, cause in the end it just makes me unhappier.

Now I know what to do, but how do I do it?

May 25, 2009

The Weekend

This weekend I realised how out of shape I am. It being 30-something degrees in Rome has forced me to give up conceiling clothes and wear something more revealing. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, until I discovered the belly fat I collected around the waist last winter and the winters before that. Seeing pictures of the Italian and me in London in 2004 (that's only 5 years ago, you know!) didn't make me feel any better. Five years ago I had a flat belly! Well, ok, I never really had a flat belly, but you get the point. Being shocked that one can look very different in just 5 years has given me a brilliant idea to solve my problem : I need to work out. Yes, I know, it's shocking and of course I didn't come up with this just now, but the idea of having to get in a bikini really soon has made this realisation even more painful. If you didn't get this from my blog sooner, I should tell you I might not be the most dedicated person when it comes to exercise. I just love food, I can't help it. And more importantly it loves me.
Anyway, to celebrate my brilliantness, The Italian and I decided to have aperitivo in Trastevere. And yes, I do see the irony in that.

May 04, 2009

Il Bioparco

The past weekends have been quite full. A couple of weeks ago my family came to visit us. It was their first time in Rome which was kinda exciting, so we saw lots and lots of must-sees. Also the weekends after that were filled with museum visits, sightseeing etc. Blog posts to follow.
Last weekend however, we went to the Zoo. Being a good vegetarian and all*, I do feel for the animals. Caged and locked away, but the other side of me just loves to see the animals and walk through the park. It was a beautiful day yesterday, not too warm, so perfect for the first zoo visit of the year.

* Not that one necessarily has anything to do with the other, but you get the point.

April 07, 2009


The probably 'stole' this from the T-Mobile commercial, but this just made my day. I couldn't stop smiling watching it. If you are having a crappy day or just want to feel good check this out.

PS : Is it normal that this made me a little home sick?

April 06, 2009

Tragedy in Abruzzo

Last night around 3.30 I woke up shaking. I woke The Italianup saying : "We are moving, we are moving!". He replied : "Don't worry, it's just an earthquake." What? It's JUST an earthquake? I'm Belgian, we don't have earthquakes! (ok, not entirely true, there was a small one a long time ago and I slept through it)

Luckily for us, it seems Rome is fine, but my thoughts go out to those near the epicenter of the quake in Abruzzo. As I keep reading the newspapers they constantly report more and more people who died. 92 already and numerous people homeless.

April 03, 2009

La Montecarlo

Last weekend we had dinner at La Montecarlo. A friend of The Italian recommended it, so we decided to check it out. It's one of those typical places where there are too many people ( also waiting outside), very fast service, not enough space but good food. And -also important- it's cheap.
There were a couple of mistakes made, but they were quickly corrected. The pizza was good - according to the Italian and the Tonnarelli cacio e pepe were very tasty! Also the fritto misto was excellent. If you want to have a quick and good bite to eat without spending too much, this is the place for you. If you want a quiet romantic dinner, you might want to check out another restaurant.

Romantic economical crisis option : you could have dinner at La Montecarlo and then take a walk on Piazza Navona, which is nearby.

March 26, 2009

Kim Kong Clijsters is back!

After many rumours, it was finally confirmed a few minutes ago at a press conference : Our Kim is back. She will be playing Cincinatti, Toronto and the US Open. Well, we were kinda planning on going to New York... so this might be the perfect timing. The most important thing is that she is having fun again in playing the game of tennis. She said she doesn't have to win every game anymore and that's fine. It's understandable her family comes first. But after all our leading ladies in sports seemed to be quitting, it's good to have one back. Ever since Justine Henin stopped playing I just didn't watch women's tennis anymore. But for Kim I'll be setting my alarm clock again in the middle of the night to watch her play and I will be dusting off my Belgian flag. Welcome back Kim. Welcome back.

March 09, 2009

You know you are integrating in Italy when....

Except for feeling like a total foreigner when standing in the metro while towering over everyone including the men, I'm starting to feel more at home here in Italy.

Ten reasons you know you are integrating well in Italy - in no particular order :

1. When crossing the street and a crazy driver shows you the 'areyououtofyourmindwomansign' - you know the one with the hand in front of the face - and instead of yelling something at him, you gesture back saying it all.

2. When you become fussy about your pizza. Nonono I don't want the thick crusted 'Napoli' pizza, only the very thin one and make it ben cotta.

3. When you -while speaking Italian- throw in a lot of 'però's' for no apparent reason.

4. When you walk in the center and whine about the many tourists.

5. When you don't get offended while getting 'Ciao Bella' , ' Amore', ... yelled at you from across the street

6. When you want to cross the street and you are the only one who dares to go out there and raise your hand at the driver so you can actually cross the street and all the flocks of tourists follow you.

7. When you understand there is a lot of traffic, because two drops of rain fell out of the sky.

8. When you are in Panorama and people come to ask you where the salt is or when you are at the metro people ask you if it goes to ''Piramide''. (I must add I absolutely don't look Italian)

9. When you actually defend Italy and put down Belgium in a discussion about politics - I can't believe I actually did this, seems a bit stupid in retrospect.

10. When yesterday you spotted a tourist in a t-shirt and flip flops while you were wearing your winter jacket and thought they were the ones who were crazy.

February 04, 2009

More than a suitcase full of food...

Last weekend I made a little trip back to Belgium to see my family and to bring over some more stuff. My first weeks in Italy weren't always easy as you could read in my previous posts and I started to create a bit of an unrealistic image of what Belgium respresented. For example I began to worship Belgian food and could not believe my eyes when in Italy you can't even buy brown sugar. Which by the way is needed to make one of my grandfather's famous dishes and therefore Belgium rules over Italy. You know that kinda of thing. I am ashamed to say I got a bit carried away. Because - let's face it- although Belgium's very nice (uhum), Italy isn't so bad. And I realized this when I came back from my little trip back.
When I was in Belgium last weekend, I couldn't sleep from the cold. And although I loved seeing my family again and eat Belgium food again (sorry Italy but making fries is not something you are good at), I also realised that being with The Italian makes me happy. For years we only saw each other a couple of days a month, and now being apart for 4 days, I started to miss him.

I had a lot of fun though. I went to the hairdresser. (I still have to find one in Rome and I'm very picky about my hair and therefore my hairdresser) I went shopping with my sis and my mom, went out for drinks and food, etc.
I left Belgium to return to Italy with a suitcase full of items I cannot find here and more importantly with a more positive attitude. I am sure there will be more moments in which I will find myself whining about not being able to eat Belgian fries or chips or speculoospasta.
But for now I'll take that ride on the positive attitude-train because it does make life brighter after all.

January 26, 2009

A Beautiful Day

Yesterday Rome was covered in sun. It was about time, the last weeks it has rained more in Rome than it rains in Belgium I think. And it did start to get me. Having no job is harder than I thought.
I quit a job I was good at to find myself now with lots of free time and no pride. Cleaning and washing doesn't really make me feel like I actually contribute to anything at all. As I'm struggling to find my way, the rain didn't make things easier.
So to cheer me up the Italian took me to the center yesterday to have one of the best gelato I have ever had at Giolitti. We took a walk to Piazza di Spagna, the place where almost 10 years ago I met the Italian for the first time. He was having an icecream.

January 13, 2009

You've gotta learn to crawl before you learn to walk

Maybe I was too naive when the thought of moving to Rome came in my mind. The first week there was homesickness, getting irritated by Italian chaos and being frustrated to have no friends of my own here. Then feeling like an idiot because I felt that way and not doing anything about it. You can call it a vicious circle if you will.
The Italian has been working and I have been sitting at 'home'. He told me several times to get out of the house and go somewhere, but the rain was my perfect excuse. However, today I felt like I had whined enough, so I dragged myself of the comfortable chair and went to buy stamps at the post office in Piazza Bologna and afterwards I wanted to go for a run. So I took the metro, got off at Bologna and entered the huge post office. (You should know that I grew up in a tiny village in Belgium with like 10.000 inhabitants) I took a number and got a bit confused : 200 people before me? ''This surely must be a mistake!'' I thought. But no, it wasn't a mistake. In the moment I had entered the postal chaos, the big board had number 200-something on it and I had number 400-something. And when it finally was my turn I went to the desk, paid for the stamps and without the lady giving me the stamps she told me she had to go away for a moment and I had to wait. Where was she going? Was it too hard for her to just give me the stamps first and then go away? I waited for what seemed like eternity, then she finally returned and gave me those precious stamps. Maybe they still have to print them first?
At that point it was raining so hard that running might not have been such a great idea anymore. But since I got kinda frustrated by the post office experience, I had to do something. I had to work out some stress. So I took the metro to the Colosseo and went running in the rain while Italians looked at me thinking I was some crazy chick for running in the rain without an umbrella or a jacket. It was nice and I felt a lot better afterwards.
This made me realise that I should be enjoying the beauty of the city and the culture instead of sitting at home. I'm sure there will be more moments of homesickness or frustration. But until those kick back in, I'm going to do what I want to do. Enjoy the adventure.

January 07, 2009

From Snow to Rain

With a delay of more than 3 hours I arrived in Italy 2 days ago. I left the cold and the snow in Beautiful Belgium behind, to find less cold and rain in Beautiful Rome. Although I really love to be in Rome, the first signs of homesickness have kicked in. But it was time to make a change and I'm happy I did it. It's just that I have the most awesomest family in Belgium...

January 03, 2009

The Movies

In the last two weeks I went to the cinema 3 times. The first time we saw Transporter 3. Not my choice, but I seem to have a weakness for Jason Statham (nothing to do with his looks). It wasn't bad for an action film. Then - really not my choice - we saw The Day The Earth Stood Still. And although Jada Pinkett and Will Smith make cute babies, this might have been the worst movie I saw in 2008. I'm no fan of most alien movies, but this was just ridiculous. Anyway, so yesterday was my choice. My first choice was to watch Changeling, but they weren't playing it at the time we went. So I chose Pride And Glory. Which turned out to be a good choice! I was sold when I saw that Edward Norton was playing in it and he didn't disappoint.

January 01, 2009

Time is a tricky thing

Time is tricky. You think you still have lots of it and then the moment is there. The moment in which the time is up. Months ago I decided to move to Italy in January. And I had indeed lots of time. Now the time is pretty much up and I still need to do so much. I had planned to pack in the last two weeks and figured that it would be enough time to do everything. But I forgot to plan some time to meet friends. I forgot to plan some time to meet family. I forgot to take the holidays into account and the countless Christmas parties. I forgot to plan time to be emotional and femotional. The last two weeks were all about that... meeting friends, family, go to Christmas and New Years parties and be emotional. (and gain about 5 KG, another reason to be femotional) I have three days left to pack and get everything ready and basically detox from all the spumante, wine, beer, prosecco, amaretto jenever and other brain damaging liquids I had.

I'm not a big fan of New Year and esp. of New Year resolutions. But in the moment you don't have time to do the things you need to do, I usually find time to do the things that are useless to do. ( Example : In my student years, my student room was never so clean as during the exams.)

So my New Year resolutions for 2009 are :
  • Lose those 5 KG and maybe some extra (just to be safe) and get into shape!
  • Adapt to a new life in Italy and lose some of my much too pragmatical ways
  • Learn better Italian
  • Figure out what I want to do professionally
  • Find a job
  • Make new friends
  • ...
But my first resolution is to come up with a really good plan to accomplish all the resolutions.