Thursday, October 06, 2011

Pasta, Protest's And Psycho's - OH MY!

In honor of my favourite season, I decided to give my blog a new fall skin. If I were home in Canada right now, my life would look like this... I'd be wearing jeans and a comfy sweater, studying, drinking hot chocolate and eating pumpkin muffins from Tim Hortons, and getting prepared for Thanksgiving. This is my favourite holiday because it's genuine, and one of the few that hasn't been ruined by commercialization. I get to spend time with my family as we're all sitting around my big dining room table (my mother always hosts Thanksgiving) with a huge feast set in front of us. Carrots, peas, corn, mashed potatoes, a big fat turkey (I'm a vegetarian, so I admire the bird from afar) and best of all - PUMPKIN PIE. I'd be going for walks and looking at how beautiful the trees are with it's multi coloured leaves of bright reds, oranges and golds. I'd be helping my mom put up the scarecrow, the fall decorations, carving pumpkins with my sister, and eating candy apples at Hallow's Pumpkin Farm. My sister, Nicole, and I are constantly coming up with ways to make each other laugh, and last year she bought this book called 'Cake Wrecks'. My favourite was a Thanksgiving cake with a giant turkey on it with what I can only assume is flaming wings. "Hi ho, gov'na! I'm not sure, but I think my wings are on fire!"
But... I am here in Rome. Where the weather, even in October, is still hot enough to wear shorts and a T-shirt. Instead of colourful trees I am surrounded by palm trees and pavement, without a pumpkin pie in sight. I know this because I checked out countless bakeries and asked in my broken Italian if they sold torta di zucca. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining about being in Italy. I just wish I could have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner while wearing a pair of jeans. However, I'm not too bummed out about missing out with the family because some of my family is actually coming to visit me in just short of three weeks. My cousin, Erica, and her boyfriend of a hundred years, Derrell, are staying at the bed and breakfast RIGHT ON MY STREET. I am beyond excited to see them, but also to act as their blood-related tour guide of The Eternal City.
Yesterday I met downtown with another au pair from France named Marine. I was really excited to meet her because a) she's from France and b) she's close friends with Shayna. We ate lunch together at this white mod restaurant that was filled with handsome waiters. We both ate incredible pasta with the best tomato sauce I've ever had, and were sharing stories about our families. She is so funny and easy to talk to. At one point, I think water almost came out of my nose from laughing so hard. I also tried a canoli, which was like a piece of heaven in my mouth. Unfortunately she had to go back to work at 5, which left me alone to wander the city.
I had a scary encounter with these two men who stopped me on the street because I was 'just so beautiful'. One was 22 and the other is 25, and there was an expensive black car with tinted windows parked beside them. According to the 25 year old, it was his 'uncle', which I don't believe. I ask them where they come from because they don't actually look Italian, although they claim to be real Romans. Look - I'm the least judgemental person you will ever meet, but in a foreign country like Italy, you have to watch your surroundings and be extremely careful who you trust. Their 'Italian accent' wasn't very strong and one of them mentioned he spoke French. So, I started a conversation with him in French, and it was a lie. He didn't speak French at all. He said it must be because Canadian French is different from the kind they learn in Europe. 
However, I studied in France, so my accent or ways of speaking is no different from European French. At this point, I should've ran. I kept having a shuffle of images from the movie Taken in my head, where illegal Albanian immigrants travel through Western Europe to prey on foreign women to sell for human trafficking. Scary, huh? They asked me what my number was and what I was doing later, so I lied and said I don't have a phone and that I was busy with friends. Once I finally left these charming but creepy men, I walked through Via Condotti, the main shopping street (it's like 5th Avenue for New York and Champs-Élysées for Paris). I found an English bookstore and could not resist going in, but about 15 minutes later on the street, I ran into them again. I just had the worst feeling in my stomach and I'm pretty sure they followed me. I also went shoe shopping, but Italians must have super tiny feet, because everything was mouse-sized. I found a beautiful pair of shoes that I would've poured my whole savings in if only, oh, if only they fit, but they didn't... If they're still in the shop the next time I walk by I'll just cut off my toes and deal with it to make things work.
"Me? A slimeball? Forgeeet about it!"
On the bright side, I got to see a protest against Silvio Burlusconi, the slime ball prime minister of the country. He is being accused yet again of having sex with an underage prostitute, and very stupidly trying to cover his playboy tracks. The citizens of Italy are hoping that the government falls, forcing Burlusconi to resign. He is constantly embarrassing his own country and saying the most ridiculous things, particularly about women. My favourite quote of his is, "Look for a wealthy boyfriend. This suggestion is not unrealistic." - 2010, offering advice to women seeking financial stability at a political rally. 

The protest took place right outside the Pantheon, and Burlusconi loves to use quotes from his favourite past politician... Mussolini. He has business with the mafia and basically, the Italian government is extremely corrupt. I was able to speak with many important Italian Journalists and I was just so intrigued. A news camera even came up to me and asked me something very quickly and shoved a microphone in my face, but all I could say was, "Inglese per favore?" I really need to start learning Italian before more chances of stardom strike. For more Burlusconi quotes (because seriously, they are worth reading!) check out this link and I promise you will not be disappointed with disgust, laughter, and gratefulness for your own country's government, even if you are reading this from the Middle East. He also monopolizes much of the country's business and owns most of the newspaper companies. Because of this, Journalists are forced to write only positive things about the government. However, the United Nations is investigating this as a violation against Human Rights freedom of speech. Hitler also did this during his reign of power... I made a joke to Marine that if the political world was a farm, Burlusconi would be both the pig and the ass. 

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