Monday, October 31, 2011

Good Times & Cheap Wine

The beginning of an incredible night
Have you ever wondered what a bottle of wine tastes like when it only costs 4 Euros? Wonder no more, because I'm about to tell you! Last night Jeanny, Anna and I met downtown where we ate dinner at this amazing little place called "Auto Grill." It doesn't sound appetizing, but this place had delicious pizza and stands upon stands of pastries, gelato (with some interesting flavours I haven't tried yet like watermelon - yum!) and of course lines of alcohol. So we got some pizza while we bought a bottle of 4 Euro wine which tasted like a mix between poison and nail polish remover. After you drank a certain amount, though, you couldn't even taste the toxins anymore which was pleasant. After we split the bottle into thirds, Jeanny and Anna were just a bit tipsy while I was already totally drunk. This is a problem between European drinking vs. Western culture drinking. First of all, I'm not used to being legal. Of course I've drank at high school parties and such, but I'm already ahead of everyone back home since I can walk into anywhere without ID and still get booze. My friends like Jeanny and Anna have been drinking alcohol since their 5th birthdays (not really, more like 7th) and for them it isn't such a big deal. I'm also a 5"6 and 110 pound girl, and so it doesn't take much to get me drunk. I've noticed here that the cheaper the alcohol, the faster it'll get you drunk.
I was really excited once we got to Scholar's because a few other au pair girls were there. I met Ronja from Sweden, Jenna from Australia, and another girl from Holland who was really nice! I ran into my Irish friend Stephen again
and since it was karaoke night at Scholar's, we agreed to go up on stage together. At the end of the night he made me promise to 'be gentle' when writing my blog about it (he knows me too well). His mistake was that he told me I could sign us up for any song I wanted and that he'd see our names on the screen when it was our turn. Jeanny and another random girl joined us, and since he's a priest, I chose the most fitting song. I chose Madonna's 'Like A Virgin'. OH HO HO, I am oh so clever. "Like a virgin - hey! Touched for the very first time. Like a vir-r-r-r-gin, with your heart beat next to mine, feels so good inside..." Stephen actually has a really great singing voice, and I'm sad to admit that he out shined all of us on stage. I was losing my mind up there and for most of the time, no words were coming out of my mouth, just pure laughter. 
Photo courtesy of Jenna
When I got off stage I was congratulated on my 'beautiful singing voice' by a tall, blonde fan standing by the entrance. His name is Marcus and he's from Sweden - Sweden! I've met plenty of Swedish girls here, but no Swedish boys. He's living here for the year and I have him saved in my phone under 'Swedish Berry'. Swedish Berry had to leave early, which gave me the rest of the night to look for my English Prince (who I still haven't found, sadly). But I was hit on obnoxiously by two other guys who I must exploit here on this blog. The one was this seriously annoying American who kept calling me "Barbie", because apparently having blonde hair and wearing a pink top classifies me as a plastic doll... I think he was half crazy/half gay because he would walk around the bar and shoot me a look and a thumbs up every now and then. Who actually does the thumbs up anymore?! Actually, who did that ever
Barf.
But then I would see him grinding with one of his guy friends and hugging them which really threw me off. Anna and I were really drunk and agreed that Jeanny would be our 'hot cop'. Jeanny has a boyfriend back home in Germany, so of course she doesn't go after anyone. Jeanny also doesn't drink a lot (at least not as much as Anna and I) and so whenever we're talking to a guy, she gives us a sign to let us know if he's actually good looking or not. I could be blind and still know this American was not attractive. In general, I have absolutely no problem with American men, but this boy just did not make the list.
Ugh... I am dreading writing about the final guy of the night. He was Italian. Let me JUST SAY that there are plenty of karaoke bars in Rome, but the whole reason why people go to Scholar's is to meet other tourists - if we wanted to get it on with Italians, we would all be hanging out at Italian bars. Giving him a chance, I asked where he was from in Italy. I thought this would give him the benefit of the doubt in case he wasn't from Rome, but nope - he was. He asked me what my name was, and I told him something that I will not repeat on this blog due to graphic reasons. He didn't understand what I said though but assumed that my name was 'Claire', which is close to what I told him (think really hard...) so I just went along with it. He asked me if I wanted a drink and I told him no thanks. He asked, "why?" And I said I don't take drinks from strangers. Then he told me his name (which I forget) and that "now we aren't strangers anymore."
Clearly, this guy could not get a hint. I know it might seem unfair, but I am not interested in dating an Italian man. I do not like that they are pushy, aggressive, and it is rare to find the "Italian stallion" we think that exist over here. If you are an Italian man reading this, do not get offended if this is not what you're like, but this is my interpretation of most Italian men. Italian men drive around in tiny cars honking their horns and sticking their greasy heads out of the window if they see a pretty girl nearby. They are short with waxed eyebrows and say Ciaooo bella and make gross noises at you to get your attention. If a woman turns the corner and an Italian man is liking what he sees, he will creepily follow her and watch her until she is out of sight. They also do not have the word 'no' in their vocabulary. Again, this is not what ALL Italian men are like. But I'm going to assume that if you're a Roman in a tourist bar and insist on buying me a drink, that you are like the typical Italian man. And this guy did just that, and he even had waxed eye brows, so I knew he wasn't going to give up that easily. We argued forever about me not wanting anything from him, and I was just like, listen... I'm not 
Emily having fun at the Pantheon
asking you to f--- off, I'm telling you. No means no, damn it! He. Would. Not. Give. UP. As if to win me over, he went on stage and said very boldly into the microphone, "This is for Claire." He then proceeded to sing a depressing love song and the au pairs and I were going out of our minds. If he said my real name I would simply diiiiie. His brother was pretty hot though, but unfortunately, he was already tangled up with some other girl. Anyway...
Today I had the whole day off because the family is still in Tuscany, so I walked around the centre some pictures of my 
                                                         friend Emily at some Roman monuments.
Emily pigging out on gelato
Before I left, my best friend Emily gave ma a photo copy of her graduation picture and told me to take some pictures of her wherever I went. I thought this would be a good opportunity to give her a little taste of what life is like here. Personally, I think she really enjoyed it. There isn't a single picture of her where she isn't smiling...
I can admit that I'm one of the biggest loser's I know. I am constantly doing things to embarrass myself and those around me, but you know what? I have the most fun over anyone I know. While I'm here I've become so comfortable in my own skin. I don't care what anyone thinks about me, 
Emily wished for world peace at
the Trevi Fountain. So giving.
because I'm completely happy and have so much fun and have some of the most beautiful and kind friends in the entire world. I have a pretty good head on my shoulder's. I'll sing 'Like A Virgin' in public and refuse taking drinks from strangers. I'm one smart cookie, and I'm really proud of myself for becoming so head strong. Who would've thought that a little small-town girl like me could live in a 'survival of the fittest' city like Rome? I deserve a little pat on the back for that. Or maybe a slice of pizza instead... 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Benedictus XVI & I

If you read my last blog post, you'll have known that I was supposed to spend the weekend in Tuscany with my host family. I woke up yesterday morning with sore muscles and an even more sore throat than the previous day before, and so when I started asking the mom what she wanted me to do before we headed off to Capalbio, she said, "Would you feel better if you just stayed home for the weekend instead?" I was like, you know what, that's the best idea I've ever heard of. So everyone has gone away while I have three whole days to spend by myself in this huge Italian palace. I spent all day Saturday doing "me" things like giving
myself a mani/pedi, had a deep conditioning wash for my hair, and had a perfect bubble bath with soap roses and candles while listening to Opera music and drinking a generous glass of red wine. Ahhh... Was that all I needed to feel better? I guess so! I even hired a sexy towel boy for the night to massage my shoulders and wear my towel around his waist to keep it warm until I got out. Just kidding. But if I did, he would like a
Introducing Giovanni, my
masseuse/towel warmer
little like this guy...
This morning, I was feeling as good as new, so I decided to go to the Vatican and be blessed by the Pope himself. It was incredible to see and hear the reactions of the people around me when he stepped onto the balcony and appeared in front of thousands upon thousands of people in the crowd (including yours truly). I didn't understand anything he said, but that's ok. I really enjoyed being there, and now it's one more thing to cross off my "European Bucket List". Before I left for Italy, I made a list of all the things I want to accomplish while I'm here, but I'm always adding new things to the list. I'm going to post it at the bottom, and cross off the things I've already done. For example... Seeing the pope with the naked eye! That's one thing to cross off now!
If you have any suggestions for me, please feel free to comment or send me a private message to my facebook or e-mail (michelle_presse@hotmail.com) and if it sounds interesting, I'll add it to the list. 
After the Vatican, I had a nice lunch by myself, and ran into this huge group of older people who looked lost. Everyone on the streets knows I'm not Italian so they asked me if I spoke English. Why yes, I do, and so I gave them directions to where they needed to get to. These people were from ICELAND, which was exciting for me, sine I've never met anyone from Iceland before. I showed them exactly where to get and even suggested a pastries shop to try, and they were so grateful. It was especially rewarding because they said that people were right about Canadians, we're just so kind and helpful, and it's true! I'm being such a good little ambassador for my country over here. Afterwards, I walked to the centre so I could check out Rome's International Film Festival. It's the sixth annual festival and is held at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica, which is a world famous art complex. During the festival, the 1,300 sqm walkway is lead to the Cavea outside the Auditorium and transformed into one of the biggest red carpets in the entire world. Its used for international celebrities, but also for festival goers, such as myself. 
Sweaty Prince Harry = <3
It's getting late now and so I need to pick out an outfit to wear tonight, because I'm meeting up with some of my girlfriends so that we go to Scholar's for karaoke night. I don't know if I'll be singing tonight but it's always packed on Sunday's and perhaps my English prince will be there waiting. Sometimes, it can be really hard to choose what I'm going to wear because the weather is really unpredictable for me. I don't mean that it has surprise rain showers every day, I just mean that I kind of follow what the rest of the people in the house wear and then follow suit. For example, on Saturday, I saw the mom wearing a pair of jeans a a thick jacket. So, I put on a pair of jeans as well and wore a chunky knit sweater which was a BIG mistake. I wore a T-shirt under that and thank GOD I did, because I took my sweater off. I would've died on the sidewalk in my cream coloured H&M knittie, but at least I would've looked cute at my funeral. Anyway, this amazes me, that it's November on Tuesday and I can still get away with wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Every one's facebook status' at home are saying how cold it's getting and blah blah blah, I don't care, because I'm still soaking up the sun in summer-ish clothes and admiring the palm trees. 
They speak to me
One thing I've noticed lately is that in Rome, dogs are used as decorations. Everyone has one, which brings me to a great sadness when they are huge and need room to run. What the hell is a giant dog going to go in ROME? They always accompany their owners to restaurants and sit under the tables, panting from the heat. I've even seen a few huskies which really blows my mind, because these dogs belong in places like Alaska and Russia, not Italy. I thought I would demonstrate by googling a picture of a husky playing in the snow vs. a husky in Italy. Not surprisingly, thousands of pictures came up when I keyed in 'husky in the snow'. But when I typed 'husky in Italy' and even 'husky in the heat', nothing came up. You know why? Because nobody should legitimately buy a dog like that in Italy.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all been waiting for... My European Bucket List
1. Have a love affair (or 3 or 4)
2. Ride on a gondola in Venice
3. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
4. Go clubbing (this one is a no brainer)
5. See a live soccer game (write my will before I go)
6. Spend Christmas with Magda and travel though Germany, Austria and Czech Republic
7. Go to a museum (any museum!) in Rome
8. Tour the Vatican
9. Go topless at a beach
10. Celebrate 'Friendsgiving'
11. Sing at a karaoke bar
12. See the Pope
13. Spend the night at a convent
14. Sit on the Spanish Steps
15. See the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam
16. Go to a live concert
17. Be visited by family
18. Ride on the back of a vespa
19. Have a photo of me published in Glamour magazine
20. Take a trip to London, England
21. Drink beer in Munich, Germany
22. Tour the Colosseum
23. See Michelangelo's 'David' in Florence
24. Go hiking through mountains
25. Go to the Pantheon during a rain storm
26. Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
27. Learn Italian
28. Learn how to play the harmonica
29. Take a trip to Greece
30. Get into the best shape of my life
I want to do everything on this list before I leave in June, because...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Silly Little Mood Of Mine

My future husband.
Because I've had the chance to make so many friends of different nationalities over here, I'm going to share some of my thoughts on them since I am sick in bed and have nothing better to do. Yes, unfortunately, that means no art-bar-club thing for me tonight. But I did have a very progressive day of closet organization, laundry, and cleaning my bedroom. I had a nice phone conversation with mommy dearest and now I'm sitting here with my blankets, drinking a hot chocolate, and hoping to write something that will entertain you. 
First of all, I have a little fetish with German people. Nothing creepy, of course, but I love Germans, and the Germans love me too. I always find myself making friends with them over other nationalities for some strange reason, and I always feel the need to defend them when people call them 'cold' because this is a real scream to me (new expression). I took a German language course for three months while I was studying in France. I didn't choose to take German, but I was forbidden back into my Spanish class and I had to take a third language and so German it was. To me, the language is actually very interesting and beautiful. People at home from Canada were saying things like, "A beautiful German word is like saying a light bulb comes on, but dimly." That really hurt my feelings.
I find that I get along well with German's because they have a really particular sense of humour. Almost every German I've ever come across shares the same sense of humour as the next one. It's really hard to explain, but they seem so effortlessly witty without having to shout out to the world, "Look at me! I'm funny!" They just are. A lot of people assume I'm from Germany because of my blonde hair and blue eyes, but my heritage is actually French. Now, it's not like I search the internet scouting out German friends or even purposely hangout with them, but if there was a website called www.ilovegermanpeople.com, I would have it in the 'favourites' on my toolbar. In case you have me in your thoughts this coming holiday season, here are some potential gifts in case you don't know what to get me lined up on the left side of this post:
Don't seriously get me the "Dirty German" book though, because I actually already have it. So if you decide to get me the thong, I'm a size 'small'. I traveled to Frankfurt for a day on my way over to Rome, but I'm going to Munich for Christmas Eve and I cannot wait to be fascinated by them. I'm actually going with my Austrian friend Magda, but I don't know the distinct difference between Austrians and Germans. Personally, I think Magda's sense of humour is like the German people I know, but I'm not sure if Germans and Austrians really think of themselves as alike. What I really like about Germany people is that they tend to be very calm, which is usually the opposite of myself. They also are very organized, which I love and is a nice break from the Italian way of saying, "I'll meet you at the restaurant at 7," which really means, "I'll get there eventually, but it won't be anywhere close to 7." If a German tells you they're going to meet you at 7, they'll be there at 7 for real. Now that's German precision, baby! The other refreshing thing is that I have never met a dumb German. They're all very smart and cool and collected vhich ist vhy I love zem so much. Did you know that a lot of the Englisch language actually comes from Germanic speech? For example, "kindergarten" comes from the German word "kinder" meaning "child". So basically, it sounds like child garden, which I cannot decide is either adorable or weird...
Once upon a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in high school, I dated a guy from Germany. He was actually a really nice guy and only moved to Canada a few years before we met and so he still had a bit of an accent. Like I said, this guy was nice, but now that I look back on that relationship the only reason I stuck around for so long was because he was German. I especially loved his mom because she would talk to me in German just because she knew I was fascinated by it. I hope he isn't reading this.
Your bride has arrived!
On the contrary, I don't typically get along with Russians. My friend who once lived in Italy told me this: "Russian women drive me crazy. They wear fur and rhinestones and come to Italy to steal all the old rich men." She also told me about a time where she met a couple of Russian girls who she started talking to on the streets of Rome one day, and she told the girls she was from Canada. They gave her a confused look and said, "Canada? Cana-da? Is that
like in the. You know... Like in the  America's?" Enough said! I don't actually know their intentions on Italian men, although the whole mail order bride deal doesn't exactly make it unbelievable, but at the same time, I don't exactly blame them for wanting to flee the country. Russians confuse me. In all honesty, I really should not be writing about Russians since I haven't had a personal conversation with one, which makes it unfair for me to make these assumptions. But the fur and rhinestone thing is definitely true, and the mail ordered bride situation is as well. I imagine that everyone does gymnastics, ice skating, has blue eyes, and eats cold potatoes and vodka for dinner. Moving on now.
I have a bunch of friends from England who are always saying silly things like "cheeky" and "bugger", although "fuckery" is my favourite. "What kind of fuckery is this?" is a typical thing you will hear when I am with these lovely ladies. I've caught onto this phrase and always use an English accent when I say it. English also have a really good sense of humour, I find all the English girls to be really funny, but of course everything is more hilarious when someone has an accent., so that could be it. Even though in Italy I'm a foreigner, I love foreign people in general. Especially Germans, but I think I've mentioned that before... I admit that this is probably the weirdest blog piece I've ever posted, but I'm going to blame it on one to many Advil's. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mia Familia (Roman Style)

It’s been a few days since my last update, so I’m just going to ramble on without structure and hope you enjoy. On Tuesday, my cousin, her boyfriend, and her best friend Liz who is also currently living in Italy were waiting for me at the Bed and Breakfast on my street. They came all the way from Canada baring gifts! Well, kind of. My mom gave them a huge bag of things for me including my high school yearbook, candy, chocolate, a letter, heat taming spray so I can finally straighten my hair on a more regular basis without damaging my luscious locks, some bed t-shirts (I was an idiot and didn’t pack anything to wear to bed except pj bottoms), some magazines, and other cute little surprises. I didn’t have to start work until 5:30 that night so we had a few hours to go downtown which we weren’t expecting, since I thought I would only have a few hours to spare. I took them to all the usual places – the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon. Derrell  is obsessed with Ferrari so we spent some time in one of the stores. I know a lot of men in this world have to spend their time shopping with their girlfriends, sisters, and wives and the favour is generally not returned in the women accompanying men into ‘fun men’ shopping. ‘Fun men’ shopping consists of going into stores where they sell porn, food, or anything with cars (another theory of mine). So we let Derrell do his thing, while Liz and I pretended to not be shocked at the prices. “Do you want this 20 Euro pencil, Liz? I’ll buy it as an early Christmas present if you kind of like it…” 
Oh, happy day!
We of course ate at my favourite gelato shop, Fridgidarium. I share this place with everyone I can, and when I came the lady who works there recognized me right away. I didn’t even need to tell her what I wanted, when I walked into the shop she got out a large cup (not ashamed to share what size of gelato I get online) and filled it with armerena and dipped it in hot nutella. I have a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart just thinking about it. We also ate lunch at this incredible outdoor restaurant where I got spaghetti. Roman food is very simple, but in my opinion, is the best cuisine in the entire world. Let me give you a detailed account of what this lunch was actually like… I bought a bottle of red wine and drank the whole thing. If you think I'm an alcoholic, I'm not. But once you taste Italian red wine, mmmm… It was rich and velvety, and slid down my throat with no effort what so ever. It had notes of raspberry and paired perfectly with my spaghetti. I get so excited when I talk about food, but fortunately I haven’t put on much weight (maybe 5 pounds. Or 10. Who cares?) because I am constantly walking everywhere and have gotten better with my jogs. I also avoid the cookies, cakes and pies for breakfast and opt for some fruit, cereal, and tea. 
Really, it would be impossible for me to “cut out” carbs which I could never do even if I had an allergy to gluten. I love fresh bread pulled from the baker’s oven on my street and the ooey-gooey-doughy but somehow still floppy pizza that is handmade and blanketed with fresh mozzarella and rich tomato sauce that was probably jarred from the owner's nona's tomato garden. At least that’s what I like to imagine, but let’s get back to my spaghetti. I get so sidetracked when it comes to food, I can go on and on and on. My spaghetti was long, skinny, and even when I had to much on my fork, I shoved it in my mouth anyway because it’s just. That. Good. It was smothered in that delicious smooth tomato sauce from nona’s garden and had lettuce leaf sitting proudly in the centre of it, as if to contrast the red of the spaghetti and say, “I am in the middle of the best thing you are ever going to eat in your entire life.”
Throughout the day, Liz was giving me tips on places to go in Salzburg because I mentioned I’d be there over Christmas Break. She lived there for 3 months and gave me the names of a couple places I should check out. Before I get to ahead of myself, let me tell you that my cousin’s boyfriend, Derrell, is a chef. I think she’s very intelligent for dating him for this reason alone, although he is also very intelligent and looks identical to Chris Martin from Coldplay, one of my all time favourite bands. Throughout the lunch he kept making comments on what he thought about his meal, and about Italian food, and hearing him talk about it while eating it was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life. I remember back home in Canada when my sister and I were talking about how much we love food, a conversation we have had on numerous occasions. It sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, but whoever thought about making food taste DELICIOUS was a GENIUS. My sister and I send our sincere thanks to this person. I love food.
We had plenty of free time to roam around the city on Wednesday because I had the day off, and so we decided to go to the Vatican. The weather was surprisingly beautiful and when we got there, the line up was a disaster. I mean a COMPLETE zig zag of people from all over the world waiting to get their prayer on. This little American woman with the most adorable cream coloured jacket I have ever seen came up to us and invited us to join her tour, and so we paid the extra money to cut the line and get a little history lesson during our time inside. It was totally worth it because we didn’t wait long and we learned all the important details about the history of the Vatican, the art inside, dirty little secrets about previous Popes… It was interesting and I really enjoyed it. My favourite part was of course the Sistine Chapel, but there were so many sculptures, fresco's and tapestry’s to admire that the entire day was just wonderful. But more than the history and the appreciation of Catholic tradition (which I don’t follow but again, I can appreciate it) was being with people from home. 
I got to spend time with my family, people who are currently living over 4,000 miles away from me. They all kept flattering me by how well I know the city and how brave I am for doing this at 18 years old. I don’t realize myself how crazy this is because it would be even crazier for me to be sitting in University right now. Coming to Rome and living the Italian lifestyle is exactly what the doctor ordered. I love it, and I know that I would’ve deeply regretted not doing this if I hadn’t taken this risk. It’s also amazing to me to see how much I’ve changed since I first arrived 
The test results are in, and you
need to go to Italy.

six weeks ago. I was so scared, lost, and seemed hopelessly confused about the traffic and bus systems. Well, here I am, 6 weeks later, walking across the streets with bravery like a real Roman and dodging the annoying street vendors with ease. I could make my way around this city blind, drunk, sleeping and backwards. I understand the buses and basically, I know what I’m doing now. And let me tell you, it is the best feeling in the world to be in control of my own life and be independent. I’ve learned to be my own best friend here, and I’m not saying I haven’t made incredible new friends here or that I’ve forgotten about the ones back home. But I am learning so much about myself that I don’t think I would’ve discovered had I stayed home where I’m ‘comfortable.’
Here I go again, losing my train of thought. So today was my family’s last day in Rome before they moved on to tour other Italian cities, and so of course we went to the Colosseum. I’ve been waiting forever to do this and decided to wait until my family got here. I’m so happy I did because I got to enjoy it with people I know and love. We joined another tour, but really just because we wanted to skip the hour long line. Erica and I weren't too interested in our
tour guide, though. His facts weren't that interesting and he wasn't that exciting, so while he was talking,
we had a little photo shoot. After I
took a sad picture of Erica sitting on a rock with a sad expression, she says, "Awe... I look unappreciative." Well, what I was unappreciative of was how this unenthusiastic man answered his blackberry while we were sitting around him on rocks, looking like kids at a campfire who's counselor was in the middle of telling a not-so-scary 
ghost story and then stopped to answer his phone. Really,
though? He did give us some interesting facts on the history of toilet paper, though, I'll give him that. Also, we became quite amused by this domestic dispute between two Eastern Europeans. Only the one woman was actually crazy, which wasn't hard to tell from her over dramatic cries, her hopeless up do, and her bright purple fur coat. I guess it was a combination of them all that gave it away. She kept yelling at her sister/love/friend/enemy (who knows), and the other one kept walking away. 
The Colosseum itself was amazing and we had a really nice last day together. At the end of it, they walked me to Piazza Venezia so I could catch my bus, and that's when the waterworks started. Not a Niagara Falls amount of water pouring from my eyes, just a few tears. I had a really wonderful time seeing my family, familiar faces from Canada, and I loved being able to show them around my new 'home'. But it made me sad because I won't see them until June, and that's a whole seven months away. They're going back on the other side of the world to be with the rest of mia familia. Which means that I am left halfway across the world to be in solitude, and alone. Not exactly though, because my au pair friends and I are planning to go to this art-café-bar club thing tomorrow, so I am definitely not alone. But it was nice to have some people who understand the place I call home, and that hasn't happened since I was... Well, since the day I left, really. But once May hits, my sister and parents are coming as well, and a woman from the United States sent me a personal e-mail saying that she stumbled upon my blog accidentally and is now in the midst of planning a trip to Italy because I inspired her to. I am louring so many people into Italy, that I personally believe the government should hire me to increase the tourism business, which I have booming for the next year. I believe (as well as Italians, of course) that you should enjoy, enjoy, and enjoy. In my opinion, this word is never used enough in one's vocabulary. Basically, do something that makes you happy. Whether it be giving into that sugary piece of cake (hey, why not?) or spending 9 months traveling and living in the country that invented the meaning of 'pleasure', why not? Nobody has ever once told me that by spending this time away from home, I'm being selfish or irresponsible. In fact, responsible is exactly so. I needed to get out and experience new things and try new foods and meet new people that I could never meet while biking through my little town. I have to say... Life isn't too shabby for MichElle.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Times They Are A Changin'

Sadly for my loyal readers (aka you) I don't have anything interesting to write about right now, but consider this a snack hours away from a full course meal to tide you over for the next little while. I'm just going to spew out my current thoughts and hope you enjoy this little tidbit until something worthy happens and I actually have time to document it. Today at lunch, Cely, the maid and I, were talking about marriage. I find myself having many random conversations on topics that have nothing to do with anything relevant to my current life, but I always have deep conversations with Cely. I asked how old the typical Filipino is when they marry, and she looked me very seriously in the eyes and said, young. She gave me a piece of advice that I already know, but will cherish anyway.  
But... but... I DON'T WANT TO GET MARRIED!
No matter if you have an unplanned pregnancy, need love, or want a green card, don't marry young. Don't worry, I won't! Although the green card idea is kind of tempting...  
Nevertheless, I enjoy my independence. Going
to the bar on Friday night made me realize why, why would I want to be in a relationship at this point in my life? I can do absolutely anything (or anyone, wink wink) I want without feeling guilty or obligated to ask for opinion. Cely got married at 19 and I asked her why she agreed to it if she didn't feel ready. "I don't know what happened," she told me. "We met in November and were married the next April. He came over one day and him and my father had a conversation, and I don't know what happened after that. I got married."
Last night I met up for some drinks with my friend Jeanny who just returned from Amsterdam to visit a friend. I'm so happy I have my partner in crime back in Rome with me. She got on the wrong bus and kept me waiting for almost an hour before we were supposed to meet, but I didn't mind. I sat at the bar talking to two men who just might be reading this right now if they remember the name of my blog. One man, Brian, is 63 years old and from Scotland. He asked me not to mention him in my blog (probably because he doesn't want the fame - he has what it takes, after all). Brian is living in Rome as an accountant and when he told me he was 63, I thought I'd be clever and tell him he's almost at one of my favourite Beatles' songs (When I'm 64). This turned into a conversation of how Paul McCartney is at the top of his hate list. Being a fan of Sir Paul, we argued back and forth, and we wrote a list of other people he hates. So here is Brian's hate list:
"Don't hate me cause I'm beautiful, Brian..."

1. Paul McCartney
2. Sting
3. The Queen of England
4. Margaret (I don't know who this is... An ex girlfriend or wife, perhaps?)
5. George Bush
The other man who kept me company while waiting for Jeanny is named Steve, and he's a priest from Ireland. He's quite young for a priest - my guess is early 30's. But then again, I am notoriously bad at guessing people's ages. I will either seriously flatter or seriously insult you. This Tuesday, my cousin Erica and her boyfriend Derrell are finally arriving in Rome, which means that between Tuesday and Thursday I will have absolutely no time to update my blog as I'm their own personal tour guide of the city. 
I also have a lot of decisions to make right now... But I can't write about it here on the internet, no matter how badly I want to, no matter how badly I want people's input, because really, I have a decision to make myself. I messaged a few close friends explaining the situation I just found myself in and I don't know what to do. 
So far, everyone who's responded is pulling me in the same direction, but... I'm lost. I remember hearing a quote once that goes, "If you don't know what you want, flip a coin. For that moment it's tossing in the air, you'll know what your heart is really hoping for." I considered this saying back in early August when I was debating the whole Switzerland or Italy debacle. I chose Italy, because in my heart, I knew that this is what I wanted. And I'm so happy I did, because this was the right choice for me. I know that in the end, I always end up doing what's best for myself, but I'm worried hurting people while in the process of pleasing myself. This is not an easy thing I have to decide, but I have to do it soon. Hopefully my Monday visit to Campo Dei Fiori will help me. I hope I'm not tugging at your anxious strings and making you wonder what I could possibly be talking about, but I don't want someone to stumble upon my blog and figure out what it is. 
I very recently found a picture of myself back when I was 13 years old. It's hard to imagine I was really that young (I'm sure I'll be saying the same thing in another few years while looking back on my time here in Italy). When I saw the picture, I didn't recognize myself until I focused and realized, Hey! That's me! I was such a funny little girl. At this point in my life, my idea of a good weekend was taking stupid pictures of myself and talking on the phone for hours with my girlfriends and watching That 70's Show after school every day at 4. At this age I liked to copy what my sister did, and she introduced me to some of the best music of time. The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, etc. I pretended I knew all about them when really, I hadn't read books or understood the depths of the lyrics, but because my cool 16 year old sister liked it, I thought it must be cool too. 
Five years later I still listen to this music and am making it a personal goal of mine to learn the harmonica. I have the tabs of Bob Dylan saved on my computer and visit the park as much as I can and practice practice practice. So far I'm no Dylan, but I'm working on it. When I was 13 I was for some reason obsessed with... ugly shoes. I had a green and a black pair of converse sneakers and I would mismatch them to look ethnic, I guess. I also had a drawer full of black eyeliner because that was as much as I could do at the time. Looking back on this picture makes me feel so much older and realize that once upon a time, I was totally clueless. Was this really only five years ago? It's funny how much one picture can trigger so many things. Like, for example... Where did those awesome earrings I was wearing go? 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Country Girl, Shake It For Me

Every Tuesday, Scholar's hosts karaoke night, which makes Tuesday my new favourite day of the week. But before I go into the details, first I need to tell a little tale of my ride up there on the bus. I decided to wear my new short, ruched white dress with the one shoulder strap I bought from this cute little boutique. I love finding random little stores tucked into the crumbling alleys of Rome. Anyway, this old woman came on the bus and made it very clear
The power of Christ
compels you!
that she did not approve of my outfit. In my defense, I was going to a bar - and what the heck was this tiny old woman doing on the city bus at 11:30 pm? I also had on a pair of black leggings under the dress that I took off once I got to the bar and shoved it inside my purse. The bar is hot, and I wanted to dance. Plus I shaved my legs that morning. When she first started lecturing me, I told her I don't speak Italian, but she kept rambling on. Some people overheard her and explained to me that she always comes on the bus and talks to people about Jesus Christ, which would explain why she kept shoving her rosary in my face. I took a picture of her because I honestly could not believe this woman. I don't even think she noticed the flash in her face. She kept pointing to her rosary and chanting. It was so weird, but that's Rome for you.
Back to reality. A bunch of other au pairs and myself went into Scholar's and spent the entire night flirting with other tourists and singing embarrassing ourselves on stage. I probably made a complete fool of myself, but I'm OK with that. At the beginning of the night I had an awkward moment in the bathroom with a guy from California. Yes, in the bathroom, but let's not go there... He bumped into me 'accidentally' (so subtle...) We talked for a bit but I was definitely not interested in him. This boy looked more groomed than Tyra Banks. He had blonde hair and dark, tanned skinned that he probably got
Come on Barbie, let's go party
from laying in a tanning bed while listening to Britney Spears on his rhinestone covered iPod. If you're going to look fake, don't go for an orange tan and bleached hair. At least pick one if you insist on being unnatural. He also had eyes that were so ridiculously turquoise blue, and I have the right to be suspicious that these were coloured contact lenses. The whole time we were talking he had this creepy permanent on his face and was blinding me with his laser whitened teeth. Ahhhh! After making lame small talk he told me to meet me on the dance floor later, and unfortunately he spotted me with my au pair friends by the bar. I told him, "Oh great, you found me." I don't think he knew that I was being sarcastic. 
After I wasn't laughing at his lame jokes or giving into his Spencer-Pratt-meets-Ken-doll appearance, he finally got the hint and left. Now that I'm out of high school and living in the real world, I'm really picky about my men, as every woman should be. And this guy just did not cut it - he reminded me of this gay guy who went to my high school and I knew that if I even attempted to hook up with this guy, I would keep thinking of the gay guy from my school who I'll call Stan Flemmington. Stan Flemmington is a proud fan of Kylie Minogue and Cher who calls everyone he meets his 'angel' and if he had a twin, well, Mr. (or Miss?) would've been him (her?). After I finally shook this boy who was California Dreamin' on me, I got onstage with my friend Kara and sang Katy Perry, and I don't mean to brag, but... I. Was. Awesome. Speaking of California boys and Katy Perry, I'm sorry - but they definitely are forgettable. They are not fine, fresh, fierce, and that boy certainly could not melt my popsicle.
If you look at the montage of pictures on the left, you will see that Kara and I are almost famous. My highlight of the night was singing Beyoncé's 'Crazy in Love'. When Beyoncé comes on anywhere - while shopping in a store, in the car, or at a bar, LOOK OUT. Everyone went wild when I rapped the Jay-Z part of the song, and I think everyone was surprised that this 110 pound white girl could drop a beat like that. I also got to meet a group of Australian boys which was wonderful. I kept calling them my 'outback mates' and it was love at first sight. A lot of reader's probably haven't heard of the show
 calling them my 'outback mates' and it was
love at first sight. A lot of reader's probably haven't heard of the show 'Summer Heights High', but it's an Australian show that is almost as funny as The Office. I kept making the boys say quotes from the show and I was in heaven. We all left the bar around 3 am and the other au pairs and my outback mates went to find something to eat near Piazza Venezia. When we all said our goodbyes this is when the worst night of my life hit. I had to take the night bus alone because the girls I went out with don't live near me. I should've  just taken a taxi or called one of my Italian
friends to come get me, but for some reason I
like to learn all of my lessons the hard way. Before I got on the bus I told the bus driver my neighborhood and made my voice high at the end so he knew it was a question. I'm not going to name my neighborhood on here but he assured me that yes, yes, this is the right bus. Well... He stopped everywhere but my neighborhood. In fact, I saw everything in the entire city except where I needed to be, and lucky me got a nice tour of the sketchy outskirts of Rome. For the entire two hours, I was the only female on the bus, and creepy men came and went. One guy was even drinking straight from a wine bottle. I mean... Can you even do that on a bus? I sobered right up once I hit the outskirts. I panicked and called my Italian friend freaking out but his phone died. So then I called my friend all the way from Canada and in between tears explained to him my situation. I could only hear about half the things he was saying but it helped, and finally... finally, finally, FINALLY, I arrived home at 5:30 am. I took a nice hot shower, made myself a cup of tea, and went to bed. 
In front of Piazza Venezia with Zoe
before the whole bus fiasco.
Today it rained, and back in Canada, this would be considered a moderately rainy day. Nothing out of the ordinary. On and off periods of showers that left puddles and a bit of flooding, but nothing serious. Well, the Romans lost their minds. News crews were up and down my street filming the 'floods' and everyone on the streets was talking to me with fear in their eyes, and it really wasn't difficult to understand what subject they were talking. I would love to put a Roman on the Maid of the Mist just to see their reaction. It was a rainy day, yes, but va bene.
At dinner tonight while everyone was happily chatting about their day, Giulia asked me what kind of wine I liked best. I told her the red kind we always drink from Capalbio, and she went on explaining the different wines of Italy. This is a 9 year old girl, here... And nobody at the table said anything. I looked around to see if anyone heard what just happened, but if they heard, they didn't seem phased by it. Amazing. Is this normal?

Monday, October 17, 2011

O, Canada!

A lot of people in Europe have been curious about what the typical Canadian lifestyle is like, and so I'm here to break it down for you and tell you all what we're really 'aboot'. First and foremost, we do live in igloos. I hope you enjoy looking at a series of pictures because I feel that this way, I can better explain my home and native land to you. The first picture is my house. My bedroom is on the left and has a great view of the maple trees. While living in Italy, I've had a lot of cravings for my favourite foods like bacon, maple syrup and poutine,
My humble abode.
the true staples of our nation.
I think I've complained about the bus system before here in Rome which really makes me miss having my own personal form of transportation. Last year for Christmas my parents were kind enough to buy me my own team of huskies for my dogsled. It makes getting around so much easier. Speaking of my parents, they both have really good jobs. My mom works in the fur trade and my dad is a professional hockey player. I'm really close to them, as well as my older sister Nicole. The photo on the right is of her and I tanning on my birthday. Since my birthday is in July, we only had a foot of snow, which was quite disappointing.

Getting my tan on with Nicole.
Lately, I've been giving a lot about my future and what I want to do when I'm older. I think I want to become a lumberjack like most of my fellow friends, but there's this other part of me that's telling me to follow in my father's footsteps and become a hockey player like him. Of course, as every child learns how to walk, every Canadian learns how to play hockey. As soon as I could stand on my own two feet I was wearing skates and holding a stick in my hand and banging it on the ice. This is a photo of me after my first game and three teeth knocked out later:
My parents were so proud! A lot of Canadians have a few sets of false teeth laying around the house (or igloo's - same thing) because of the damage hockey has done. And if you're wondering if we freeze in there since it snows all the time in Canada (yes, this is a true fact! Snow all year round, because really, who needs summer?!), don't worry - we're born with an extra layer of fat underneath our skin to keep us warm during those cold Northern nights. 
One thing I really miss about home is my pets. I have a couple beavers, a cougar, a baby raccoon, and a polar bear. But my favourite is Canuck, my sweet, lovable moose who loves to watch South Park with me. I can't believe how much I miss him! At Christmas we 
Canuck in the backyard doing his thing.
decorate his antler's with snowballs and pine cones. On another note, all Canadians are completely bilingual. It's against the law not to speak both English and French, parce que really, who doesn't like reading the milk carton in two different languages? C'est vrai. In Canada, we also know how to spell colour, neighbour, flavour, and centre correctly, which is pleasant. Gee, I love my heritage.
Someone on the street the other day, after finding out I'm Canadian, actually asked me, "Can you buy milk all year round in Canada?" Excusez-moi? Why would someone ask me this? I told them, "Yeah, you can, but we have to get it from the Eskimo's since they run the milk show. You know how it is." They also asked me if it's true that we have giant horses with big ears. I think they meant moose, so I told them yes, and that we also have unicorns. This is kind of true, because we have narwhals, which are whales with horns. What's not to like?! 

My sister Nicole and I in Niagara Falls. I say she looks
like a tourist. She says she looks 'proud'.
The part of Canada I live in is Niagara Falls which is, in my opinion, the most naturally beautiful place in the world. We also produce something called 'ice wine', and if you don't know what this is, I feel sorry for you.
One of my friend's mom once worked at a tourist attraction in Niagara Falls and a man from Texas ask her what time they shut the Falls off. If you think I'm kidding, I'm not. I mean, really... How uneducated can a person possibly be? Everyone knows we turn the Falls off at 9 pm since we're all afraid of the dark! Silly Americans. It's safe to say we produce the finest comedians and hockey players, which is due to something in our water. Scientists still haven't quite figured it out yet. Also, have you ever had a timbit? If you haven't tried it, you need to book a flight to Canada immediately. We wear our pride politely with our flag on our backpack, right where it belongs. And let's face it, to all pf you reading from Europe - that's why you love us much! 

Some of our glories include ice skating on the Rideau Canal, drinking hot chocolate from Tim Hortons, and having a list of some talented musicians, politicians, authors and inventors (Trivial Pursuit, anyone?). Not only that, but Our Majesty the Queen is constantly swimming across the pond to visit her favourite 'home'. 
If you're ever planning a trip to Canada and have already done the skiing in Whistler, British Columbia, try white water rafting in our capital, Ottawa. If this doesn't suit you then you can always go to the Calgary stampede. And if that isn't your thing than go hiking and ride the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls. Or if you're more interested in fishing and whale watching, take a trip to the East Coast. If you feel like doing absolutely nothing, go to the Prairies to pick some wheat or whatever it is that people do out in Saskatoon. I'll be honest - I'm not even sure what they do out there. Or, if you're interested in experiencing Québec, then head
One feisty goose.
over to the Ice Hotel in Québec City. This is where there is a hotel made entirely out of ice and the best time to go is during the Winter Carnival, which is a 17 day celebration of all things cold.
Well, it's time for me to put on my toque and drink some beer now, so I'll end this, but I hope I cleared some stereotypes up for you! And if someone asks you how to spell Canada... It's C, eh, n, eh, d, eh.




Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heaven In Italian Is Spelled 'Nutella'

My 'winter gear' from today.
I added the hat to be dramatic.
Today I got a spontaneous phone call from a friend of mine here in Rome who asked me if I wanted to go out to the centre. I had the day off work until 5 and so I told him to meet me at the corner of Dior by the Spanish Steps. This is my go-to meeting place because it's not too crowded, but you can see everything from this spot. Not to mention that you look pretty cool when you're standing right outside of it. He told me that it was cold out and that I should wear jeans and a sweater, and since I hadn't gone outside that morning yet, took his advice. When Italians tell you to 'dress warmly because it's cold out', never, ever believe them. I put on a pair of skinny jeans, a long sleeve white top, my favourite pair of tall brown riding boots, and even my new multi-coloured knitted scarf in case I was really chilly. Big mistake - it was 24 degrees out, and I would've been comfortable in a summer dress and jeweled sandals. But since I was already on the bus and didn't want to be late to meet my sweet weather-lying friend, I decided to deal with it. This was my second mistake, because I spent the day sweating buckets. I think I lost like 5 pounds just from walking around.
We ventured into Campo de Fiori where my friend Shayna recommended I try gelato from a place called Frigidarium. When someone tells you to try gelato from a certain place, you don't ask questions. You just do it. She is going to heaven because of this. It makes you never want to eat Dairy Queen or Haug & Daus or any other wannabe brands again. Naturally, I went in and ordered my favourite flavour (armerena, which is dark sour cherries). But Frigidarium puts a twist on it. They will dip your entire cone or cup of gelato in... Wait for it... HOT NUTELLA! Or, if you want just old fashioned chocolate or even coffee. The way I talk about food in my blogs really make me think I should just write a food blog. This gelato was so amazing, that I am going back into the city again tomorrow, but of course this time, I will get it in a bigger size. I'm having withdrawals from this gelato after trying it only once, and I am seriously considering pooling all the money I have in my wallet, bank account and future retirement fund to buy this place. When it comes to gelato, these people really know what they're doing. Think about it. Cold, creamy, sour cherry gelato smothered in HOT NUTELLA! I also tried a flavour that is yellow and pink. It sounds totally weird, but it has this fancy alcohol in it which is always OK in my books. I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight knowing that I have to wait to try this marvelous treat again. I just might have to pop a gravel to fall asleep immediately and for my mind to focus on sleeping, but really, how is that possible? You readers might think that I am actually crazy, but I'm inviting you to come with me tomorrow to get your hands on this... this... gelato from heaven. But, anyway... 
Since we're on the subject of food (a subject I find myself on quite a bit these days), someone from the centre of the city came up to me asked me if I lived in a certain neighborhood. I'm not going to name my neighborhood on this blog due to stalkers, but the one he mentioned was the one I lived in. I told him I did, and he says, "Aha! I knew it. I see you in Da Agastino's all the time!" My face turned what I imagine was the colour of a bright red, Italian tomato. Da Agostino's is the pizza shop by my house. I mean, really, you know you go to the pizza shop way too much when people from the opposite side of town start recognizing you because you're always in there. My favourite man from the shop, Roberto, and I made an agreement. We will sit down together or talk while he's shoveling pizza in and out of the ovens while he speaks in English, and I speak in Italian. I'm nervous because I really don't speak any Italian, so I think this is going to be weak on my part. But hey, this man is a sweetheart, and if I'm surrounded by pizza, then I have nothing to worry about. But I'm proud to say that I actually ate quite healthy today, aside from the gelato, of course. My friend and I continued to wander through the city, and I can't decide if he's gay or in love with me. Either way, I enjoy his company and he enjoys my love of food, which makes us the perfect pair. I saw an incredible pair of snakeskin pants in the window of a store and besides the gelato (I wonder how many times I've said it in this post so far?) these pants are the next thing on my mind. They aren't actually made of snakeskin because they only cost 20 Euros but I would never wear anything made from an animal. Did I mention already that I'm also a vegetarian? No one in Italy seems to understand this, and when I tell people that I don't eat meat because I'm a vegetarian, they tell me they're sorry. The first few people to apologize, I asked them why, and the answer is always the same: It's like a disease, right? Yes, yes it is... This is much easier than explaining the truth.
I literally can no longer concentrate on my writing because I have gelato on the brain, so I am going to the kitchen to make something that will somewhat satisfy me until tomorrow. Remember... If you want to join me, it's called Fridigarium. If you hear gospel music, it isn't the Vatican. It's me with my gelato. (Also, if you lost count as to how many times I said this word in this post, the answer is 11).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hello, Limoncello

Oh, Rome... The longer I am here, the more I fall in love with you. Sometimes, I really do feel like I'm having a relationship with this city. Yesterday I went to the Vatican for the first time, and I'm pretty sure it changed my life. I walked from Piazza di Spagna to Vatican Square and I surprisingly did not even have to ask for directions. Now that I've been here for nearly a month, it's amazing to see how well I know my way around the city. I've even adjusted to the buses, which is a big step up from when I first arrived. I spent the entire morning in the Vatican, just appreciating how beautiful it was. I'm not a religious person, at least not in the Christian sense. I don't consider myself a Catholic or a Christian or anything else in between. I've celebrated Christian ceremonies up until my confirmation, and spent many years studying through Catholic schools, but I just don't believe in it. Even for a non-follower such as myself, it was truly amazing to be there. It was breathtaking; the angels and saints carved from marble, the art looking down on it's admirers proudly, the nuns chatting amongst one another about their love of religion (at least I'm assuming so, since I of course don't understand Italian). It was just pure heaven (no pun intended) to be there. Fortunately there was a mass beginning that afternoon in which I got to sit in on. It was difficult to understand because the priest spoke Italian, and from what I could tell, had strep throat. But just to be in this atmosphere was lovely. 
Me with my own tiny Swiss Guard. Fits right in my pocket.
On my way out, I saw the changing of the Swiss Guards, which was really a sight to see. These men protect the Pope with their life and stand outside with 8 foot poles while wearing a puffy pantsuit with stripes of red, yellow, blue and green. If you're currently unemployed and thinking, "Hey, this sounds like something I could do!" let me give you the down low. First of all, you must be a Swiss citizen who is a male and over 5"8. Secondly, you must go through a 3 hour interview process while talking only about your life goals and what kind of person you think you are. Saying this, you might want to just go ahead and hand your resume into somewhere a little more realistic like McDonald's or Walmart. After that, I went shopping and exploring the city. I visited the area called Campo di Fiori (field of flowers) where my friend Shayna lived last year. I was immediately jealous because of the location but also because it is the best market-area in the city. Every corner you turn you find yourself faced with tables of fresh fruits, meats, vegetables and breads. Maybe it's best that I don't live there, since all my money would be spent before 10 am. 
I met up with my good friend Jeanny, who is one of the most hilarious people in the entire world. The nice thing about Jeanny is that I can act like a complete fool and she will still put up with me. I was waiting for her on the corner of Dior on Via Condotti and I met a bunch of Americans from Rochester - just a few hours away from Niagara Falls! The men who always try to sell you roses approached us no less than a dozen times, and the one American really showed me how to get these guys off your back. A stern "no" really does it. When another came up after her demonstration, I said, "NO, no thank you," and she shook her head in disappointment. "No thank you is too polite. Just no," she said. So when another man came up and I said "no", he left immediately. Jeanny and I went out for dinner at this adorable little restaurant which also happened to be my Thanksgiving dinner. We order wine (red and white), brucetta, salad, pizza, and pasta. I cannot get over the pasta here, really, it is just too good to be true. Our waiter gave us free chutes of champagne (yummy!) and limoncello shots. Jeanny was disappointed he brought us limoncello because after a hard night of drinking one night in her native Germany, she threw up, and therefore, can never drink limoncello again. This turned out well for me because I had both of them, and they were delicious, even though they looked like highlighters. 
By the time we left the restaurant, we were so tipsy and satisfied with delicious food and rich wine. We walked a little further down the cobble stone street and I was telling Jeanny more about my feelings towards Italian men and how I hate that they think it's appropriate to chase a woman, touch her hair, and demand she goes out with you before even knowing her name. I thought it would be a wonderful idea for me to spend the rest of the night acting like an Italian man, slapping bums and saying "Ciao" creepily while drooling. My first (and only) victim walked by, and I knew it was my chance. A group of men coming mine and Jeanny's way, bums ready to be spanked. Once I passed them, I hit on of them so hard, I think his butt flew up all the way to his brain (but than again, this is a man, so his brain was probably replaced by an ass decades ago). I walked further, making Jeanny look like the culprit. The man looked her dead in the eye, but she was so embarrassed, all she could do was laugh. A couple waiters at another restaurant saw this and waved us over. They sat us down outside and gave us more free champagne. This is another reason why I love Italy... The country is expensive, but if you play your cards right - free alcohol! The one waiter asked us why we slapped their butts and I explained the situation about how Italian men think it's over to poke and taunt me. They laughed again, because as it turned out, this group of men were... Canadian. Jeanny and I could not control our laughter upon hearing this, and I told the waiter I was Canadian. He didn't believe this irony, and so I had to go as far as showing him my driver's license. Jeanny and I, being the comedians we are, decided to tell this group of waiters that our names are Bradolf Pittler and Chingy.
We spent the rest of the night interviewing passerbys as to where they were from. My favourite was a group of guys from Scotland who were so taken aback by my social skills. I kept asking questions to the one guy, and I really don't remember much except that I asked him if anyone ever told him he looked like Jesse Eisenburg from The Social Network. All he said in response was, "You mean Jewish?" Once these guys continued their venture through the streets, Jeanny and I knew it was time to go home. We live in different areas of the city and we took different buses. I remember sitting on the bus, looking outside at the history surrounding me, listening to my iPod and eating sour candies (I do not remember where or when I got these, but I woke up the next morning with a couple left in my little paper bag, so I knew that I hadn't dreamt of this). My other clue to these candies being real is that I woke up with some sticky sugar on the side of my face, and I was almost positive that I hadn't rubbed my cheeks in the sugar bowl. At least I hadn't done that since last week.