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At The Clothing Store in Italy

Posted on 10. Feb, 2016 by in Italian Language, Vocabulary

The setting: un negozio di abbigliamento in una città italiana (a clothing store in an Italian town)
The caracters: una coppia e la commessa (a couple and the shop assistant)

Moglie: “Guarda, ci sono i saldi, perché non ne approfitti per comprarti un bel giaccone per l’inverno”
Wife: “Look, the sales are on, why don’t you make the most of it and buy yourself a nice winter coat”

Marito: “Cosa c’è che non va col mio giaccone?”
Husband: “What’s wrong with my coat?”

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“Cosa c’è che non va col mio giaccone?”

Moglie, guardando disgustata il giaccone del marito: “Ce l’hai da 9 anni, è scolorito, ha i polsi lisi … vuoi che continui?”
Wife, giving her husband’s coat a disgusted look: “You’ve had it for 9 years, it’s faded, the cuffs are threadbare … do you want me to carry on?”

Marito, con un sospiro di rassegnazione: “Va bene, va bene, entriamo”
Husband, giving a sigh of resignation: “Ok, ok, let’s go in”

Commessa: “Buongiorno, desiderate?”
Shop assistant: “Good morning, can I help you?”

Moglie: “Vorremmo vedere un giaccone per mio marito”
Wife: “We’d like to see a winter coat for my husband”

Commessa: “Che taglia?”
Shop assistant: “What size?”

Moglie: “Elle”
Wife: “L”

Commessa: “Nella large abbiamo questo bel modello di cashmere molto caldo, con doppia abbottonatura, cerniera e alamari, come vanno di moda ora”
Shop assistant: “In large we have this beautiful style made of very warm cashmere, with double fastening, zip and toggles, which is fashionable at the moment”

Moglie: “Com’è morbido! Su, provalo”
Wife: “It’s so soft! Come on, try it on”

Marito, riluttante: “Hm, è troppo elegante per me, proprio non mi ci vedo. Preferisco qualcosa di più sportivo e meno impegnativo”
Husband, reluctantly: “Hmm, it’s too smart for me, I can’t see myself in at all. I’d prefer something more sporty and less demanding”

Commessa: “Vuole provare questo piumino? E’ molto in fashion quest’anno, specialmente in blu”
Shop assistant: “Would you like to try this padded jacket? It’s very fashionable this year, especially in blue”

Moglie: “Ah sì, questo è proprio il tuo stile”
Wife: “Oh yes, this is exactly your style”

Il marito lo prova. Moglie: “Come ti va?”
The husband tries it on. Wife: “How does it fit?”

Marito, non molto convinto: “E’ un po’ piccolo”
Husband, not very convinced: “It’s a bit small”

Commessa: “Quest’anno vanno di moda così, aderenti e appena sotto la vita”
Shop assistant: “That’s this year’s fashion, tight fitting and just below the waist”

Marito: “Ma io me lo sento che tira sulle spalle e le maniche sono troppo corte. Avete una ics-elle?”
Husband: “But I feel that it’s tight on my shoulders and the sleeves are too short. Do you have an XL?”

La commessa porta una XL. Il cliente lo prova ed esclama: “Ecco, sì, questo mi va proprio a pennello, mi piace!”
The shop assistant brings an XL. The customer tries it on and exclaims: “Yes, this fits me perfectly, I like it!”

Moglie: “Sono contenta! Quanto viene?”
Wife: “I’m pleased! How much is it?”

Commessa: “230 euro. E’ un’ottima occasione”
Shop assistant: “230 euros. It’s a real bargain”

Marito: “Duecentotrenta euro? Alla faccia dei saldi!”
Husband: “Two hundred and thirty euros? So much for the sales!”

Moglie: “Te lo regalo io, amore, per San Valentino, ti sta proprio bene!”
Wife: “I’ll but it for you for Saint Valentine’s my dear, it really suits you!”

The shop assistant dabs at her eyes with a hanky, moved by the romantic scene …

My Italian Carnival Costume

Posted on 05. Feb, 2016 by in Italian Language, Traditions

L’altro ieri, frugando fra le vecchie foto di famiglia di quando abitavamo a Bengasi, Libia, ne ho ritrovata una di me bambina, che ha fatto riaffiorare dei ricordi divertenti.
The day before yesterday, digging through the old family photos from when we lived in Benghazi, Libya, I found one of myself as a child that brought back some amusing memories.

Serena e Gippi carnenale-002

In questa foto, fatta per Carnevale, sono vestita da sposa e poso accanto a mio fratello Gippi vestito, secondo lui, da pirata. Mi ricordo che il vestito da sposa lo avevo preso in prestito da una mia vicina di casa e compagna d’asilo. Glielo aveva fatto sua mamma, che era anche la nostra maestra d’asilo, Mrs. Thompson. Il nostro piccolo asilo era stato messo su originariamente per i figli dei medici del vicino ospedale pediatrico, gestito da missionari avventisti americani.
In this photo, taken during Carnival, I’m dressed as a bride and I pose next to my brother Gippi dressed, according to him, as a pirate. I remember that I’d borrowed the wedding dress from my neighbour who was also a nursery school companion. It had been made for her by her mum, Mrs Thompson, who was also our nursery teacher. Our little nursery had originally been set up for the children of the doctors from the nearby paediatric hospital, which was run by American Adventist missionaries.

Lorna, così mi sembra che si chiamasse la mia amichetta, aveva convinto la madre a farle il vestito da sposa e poi, una volta avutolo, annunciò che avrebbe sposato il figlio del dentista, di cui era innamorata. Lui era più grande di noi, faceva già le elementari! In realtà io sapevo che lui non era innamorato di Lorna, ma di me, perché una volta mi aveva regalato una gomma da masticare!
Lorna, I believe this was my little friend’s name, had persuaded her mum to make her the wedding dress and then, once she had it, announced that she’d marry the dentist’s son, whom she was in love with. He was older than us, and was already attending primary school! I knew though, that he wasn’t in love with Lorna, but with me, because he once gave me some chewing gum!

Ma torniamo alla foto: un giorno mia madre mi chiese se mi sarebbe piaciuto mascherarmi in qualche modo. Io risposi di sì e dissi che mi sarebbe piaciuto indossare il vestito da sposa di Lorna, glielo invidiavo così tanto! E così fu che un giorno lo indossai, mi ammirai più volte nello specchio, tutta compiaciuta, e poi facemmo alcune foto in giardino. Io però non sapevo che lo scopo del mascheramento era che eravamo stati invitati ad una festicciola di carnevale.
But let’s get back to the photo: one day my mother asked me if if I’d like to dress up in some way. I replied yes and said that I’d like Lorna’s wedding dress, I was so envious of it! And so it was that one day I put it on, I admired myself in the mirror several times, very pleased with myself, and then we took some pictures in the garden. Little did I know, however, that the motive for dressing up was that we’d been invited to a children’s carnival party.

Quando mia mamma ci caricò così conciati sulla Titti (così chiamavamo la FIAT 600 giardinetta della mamma), cominciarono le mie preoccupazioni. Mi ricordo ancora il momento dell’arrivo alla festa, quando vidi quell’orda di bambini urlanti vestiti in modo ridicolo che correvano dappertutto: fui presa dal terrore e cominciai a strapparmi il vestito di dosso rifiutandomi di scendere dalla macchina. Mia mamma fu costretta a lasciare lì mio fratello Gippi e a riportarmi a casa a cambiarmi prima che distruggessi il vestito da sposa di Lorna.
When my mother loaded us all dressed up into Titti (that’s what we called my mum’s FIAT 600 station wagon), I began to get concerned. I still remember the moment that we arrived at the party, when I saw that horde of screaming children dressed up in a ridiculous way and running around everywhere: I was filled with terror and began to tear off my dress, refusing to get out of the car. My mum was forced to leave my brother Gippi there and take me home to get changed before I destroyed Lorna’s wedding dress.

Questa foto l’ho ritrovata mentre cercavo quella di me che dormivo dentro allo scatolone del latte nella veranda della nostra casa a Bengasi. Ebbene sì, cari lettori, sono io quella nella foto del blog precedente, non Geoff.
I found this photo whilst I was searching for the one of me sleeping in the milk box on the veranda of our house in Benghazi. So yes, dear readers, it’s me in the photo from the previous blog, not Geoff.

Serena pennichella-002

Note from Geoff: Here I am!

Me (Geoff) on the right, with my sister Viv, in our Suffolk (UK) garden, circa 1962.

Me on the right, with my sister Viv, in our Suffolk (UK) garden, circa 1962.

Proud To Be Italian? Part – 2

Posted on 28. Jan, 2016 by in Culture

In my last post Proud To Be Italian? Part – 1 mi sono sfogata abbastanza (I vented my frustration quite a bit), but I make no excuses, I’d be lying if I maintained the stereotypical fantasy of la bella Italia. There are, however, many aspects of Italian culture that I am proud of, and today I’d like to tell you about a few of them.

Serena’s list of things that make living in Italy worthwhile:

Campanilismo (Provincialism)

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Venezia, Regata Storica. Photo: Jon MountJoy, Flickr Photo Sharing

Really, campanilismo! This is a concept that has many negative connotations in Italian such as narrow mindedness, lack of cooperation and so on, but strangely it also has its positive side: variety. Travelling around Italy one is amazed by the sheer variety of everything, from local recipes to strange and wonderful festivals. Campanilismo nurtures traditions that have become amorphic or lost altogether in many other cultures. See for example A Huge Italian Bonfire – Part 1 and  Part 2

La Gente (The People)
In Italy, due to the terrible bureaucracy and lack of infrastructure it’s very important to know the right people if you want to get anything done. Fortunately there are many good people to be found. Many public employees are themselves incredibly frustrated by the inefficiency of, well, everything! This means that they are often well disposed to helping the normal citizen to aggirare le regole stracomplicate (find ways around the overcomplicated rules).

Il Cibo (The Food)

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Oh, che bei carciofi!

I’m not referring to Italy’s famous cuisine, but to the Italian passion for ingredienti nostrani (local ingredients). Most of the best known Italian dishes are simple, but require the best ingredients in order to live up to their name. I know, I’ve tried making Italian recipes in Northern European countries, but without my fresh sun kissed local pomodori, basilico or aglio (tomatoes, basil, or garlic) … it just isn’t the same. Fresh local produce is readily available in Italy, and is, in fact, what Italians search for in the shops, avoiding if they can imported ‘rubbish’!

Il Bar (The Bar)
In Italy you’ll always find a bar (or twenty) open! The ubiquitous unpretentious local bar caters for everyone, from infants to their great grandparents. And perhaps because there’s so much competition, and because we Italians are great connoisseurs, the quality is nearly always good, even in the motorways service areas! Which leads me onto …

Caffè (Coffee)
Oh, how I missed it when I lived in England. Well, what can I tell you about Italian coffee that you don’t already know? Not much, except that variety, once again, is the key. There’s a type of caffè to suit just about everyone, unless, of course, you don’t like it!

Musei e Gallerie (Museums and Galleries)

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Parma, Galleria Nazionale: Leonardo, La Scapigliata (Photo: CC)

In many countries the great works of art and important historical treasures are stored in big important national museums in the main cities. But due once again to the fragmented nature of our peninsula, important art and monuments can be found in many relatively small out of the way places. Here’s just one example: La Scapigliata.

Teatri (Theatres)
The same holds true for theatres as it does for works of art. Here in Italy we have a tradition of high quality travelling companies which include some very famous actors. It’s not necessary to travel to Rome or Milan to see a great show because superb theatre can also be found in tiny provincial theatres, such as Il Teatro Della Rosa here in Pontremoli.

Paesaggio e Clima (Landscape and Climate)

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La Costa Ligure. Photo by Geoff

If you enjoy the landscape we have just about everything to offer here in Italy: beautiful coastlines and the highest mountains in Europe, green plains and rocky hills, lakes nestled amongst amazing peaks, huge rivers, dramatic torrents and waterfalls, active volcanoes and myriads of large and small islands. All of this within a relatively small land mass. Plus, due to Italy’s long narrow profile, the climate varies dramatically from north to south, and from east to west. If you were feeling ambitious, you could even go skiing in the Alps in Trentino Alto Adige in the morning and snorkelling in the blue Sicilian sea in the afternoon … although it might be a bit of a rush!

There, I feel much better now, I think I’ll go and unpack my suitcase again …