An American in Rome - 5 Things I Miss About America

Before you get the wrong idea, I'd like to caveat this by saying I love living in Italy. Hands down, this has been the easiest move, and I'm already dreading the day, two years and eleven months from now, when we'll be forced to leave.

What do you think? We painted the faux marble finish two weekends ago.

What do you think? We painted the faux marble finish two weekends ago.

When my husband started his job, I attended a spouse's orientation, where a number of presenters gave advice on medical evacuation, financial planning, and even the logistics of divorce. Of the many topics covered, one had been the 4 stages of culture shock.

At week six, I'm well past my honeymoon stage, the end of which was marked by my choice to paint pillars at home instead of exploring the city. I should be experiencing the plunge to frustration and hostility right about now. But since this stint in Rome came after a year in Karachi and two in Abu Dhabi, I'd characterize my current mood as a slight slump, marked by mild lethargy and occasional crankiness. Before I start on the upward slope toward assimilation, it seemed appropriate to list the things an Americana (female American) might miss in Rome:

1. Seedless Grapes: The grapes here taste better than the ones in the States by several orders of magnitude (I am not exaggerating, I swear). Nonetheless, cracking open a bitter seed mid-chew has become an occasional source of irritation.  

2. Insinkerator/Disposal: To be fair, few places outside the US have in-sink disposal units. Old cities have it worse since the plumbing and sewage systems aren't equipped to handle chopped up organic refuse. I've gotten the hang of straining out tea leaves and dumping them in the trash, but I do miss being able to rinse out my pot and getting rid of the waste with the push of a button.

3. Weekend Store Hours: Last Saturday, my husband and I traipsed over to the ferramenta (hardware store) at around 4 in hopes of buying an extension cord. As we half-expected, it was closed. An Italian lady in a very chic skirt-suit (they dress nice around here) had gotten there before us. She stared at the locked door, threw up her hands, and stomped her 4-inch stiletto. "È Sabato, tutto è morto! "(It's Saturday, everyone/thing is dead!)–her words, not mine. Believe it or not, outside the touristy areas, weekends in Rome, especially during August, remind me of scenes from the The Walking Dead

4. Demineralized Water: Every tourist who's read about Rome knows how lovely the water is. We've been advised to carry around bottles, which we can refill at the various nasoni scattered all over the city. There's even an iPhone app to help you find these watering holes. Here's the thing–the water here might be delicious, but the calcium content is so high all the supermarkets sell additives to "decalcify" your lavastoviglie (dishwasher) and lavatrice (laundry machine). Unless all stainless steel surfaces are wiped dry, white streaks form, which requires yet another type of cleaner. You even need special water to spritz over your clothes while ironing!

5. 4G/LTE Networks: Theoretically, phone carriers here offer 4G, but I've yet to set foot in the mythical locations where such speeds exist. For the most part, I get 3G, which at times dwindles to Edge (even downtown). Internet speeds are also affected by the number of people using it. My data works fine at 7AM, but not so much at 7PM. 

Thus ends my list of little gripes, which I'm sure I'll get over within the next few weeks. If any other expat is reading this, drop me comment and let me know what you miss about home. 

An American in Rome - First Steps (or 100k steps, to be more precise)

I'm officially done moving into our new apartment in Rome. For those acquainted with the area, we're located to the northeast of all the touristy locations, between Villa Borghese and Villa Ada. I love this neighborhood (which, I believe, is called Parioli). It's out of the way enough to be quiet and relatively safe, but only a twenty minute walk to the city center (and my husband's workplace, which cuts both commuting cost and time).

The view from my apartment building's rooftop, which sums up what I've seen of Rome thus far. 

The view from my apartment building's rooftop, which sums up what I've seen of Rome thus far. 

To my complete surprise, both our Household Effects (HHE) and Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB) were already waiting for us in Europe, so I got to spend my first week here putting our new home to rights, (By the way, I'm described by the US government as an EFM or Eligible Family Member. Weird as the acronym may sound, it's definitely a step up from "trailing spouse".)

So while my husband got to snap awesome photos on his morning commute to work, I literally walked over 100,000 steps, all more or less inside the apartment itself or within the vicinity of our building.

My husband's 1st week in Rome. (This is his office's hallway ceiling.)

My husband's 1st week in Rome. (This is his office's hallway ceiling.)

My 1st week in Rome.

My 1st week in Rome.

Suffice it to say I've discovered very little of the city this week, but here are a few things I've observed about daily life in Rome. I probably would have found this out beforehand if I bothered to buy a travel guide, but oh well...

1. Fruits & veggies are cheap, delicious, and addictive. I've been here 9 days, and I've only gone out to eat once, mainly because I tend to go a bit nuts in the grocery store. And then I went to an open air market, which was a whole new level of awesome. Yes, the shelf-life is pretty short, the produce doesn't look nice and shiny like they do in the US, and the grapes have seeds, but everything is yummy!

2. I learned this in class and then promptly forgot, so it bears repeating. An etto = 100 grams, which is a tad shy of 1/4 pounds. This is the unit of measurement used when buying cheese, cold cuts, and olives, which I've been doing quite a bit of. A good phrase to know is "Vorrei un etto (or due etti) di  questo ("this," which gives you the opportunity to point), per favore."

3. Google & Google Maps can be an excellent resource, given that one's search is in Italian and that one is very specific. For example, searching both supermarket and supermercato (nm.) yielded niente (i.e. zip, zilch, nada). But searching "Carrefour," "Punto Simply," or "Tuodì" got me where I needed to go. Likewise, searching for "ferramenta" does me much more good than "hardware store." [Side Note: We discovered a huge gaping hole in our language training. While we can give our opinion on global warming if we absolutely must, neither of us knew how to say "light bulb" (nf .lampadina), "lighter" (nm. accendino), or "plug/plug adaptor" (nf. spina).]

4. Tabaccherie (lit. tobacco shops–but all the signs say Tabacchi), is the place where one (a) adds money to a pre-paid cell service, (b) buys bus tickets, (c) pays fines, and that's just what I've figured out thus far. This is perhaps why such establishments can be found everywhere (although Romans do seem to smoke a lot).

5. It pays to have a spare bus/tram ticket in one's wallet because most tabaccherie (along with other small shops) are closed on Sundays, between 1-3:30PM, whenever the person working there feels like taking a break, and the first two weeks of August (or so I've been told).

And that's all the blogging enthusiasm I can muster this week. Hopefully, resting at home tomorrow will get me energized enough to go exploring this weekend. I'll report back if I find anything cool!

The Art of Snacking

My snack bag for the DC-Rome trip. 

My snack bag for the DC-Rome trip. 

So our flight out of Reagan is delayed, which really didn't come as a huge surprise. Since I'm crossing my fingers this won't be the epic kind of wait (comparable to the one that resulted in me starting a novella), I've decided to channel my energy into a short blog post. 

I'm not a picky eater by any stretch of the imagination. After all, I have sampled brain curry off a roadside stall in Mumbai (not one of my better decisions). But the combination of flying and airplane food has the potential to turn sitting next to me into a live viewing of The Exorcist. For the sake of fellow travelers, I endeavor to knock myself out with a well-timed dose of Dramamine long before the smell of food assails my nostrils. 

Since our journey to Rome will likely total 14 hours (perhaps more if this delay continues), and sustenance is a necessity. Which brings me to a few travel tips for frequent fliers. 

  1. Pack dry snacks--the kind that do not require napkins for clean up and do not create an overly loud crunching sound (this might be my over-politeness coming into play, but still..). I'm a huge fan of toasted unsalted almonds, raisins, and apricots. Because my husband is a bit on the cheap side, we buy them in bulk and create our own "trail mix" bags. That said, I'll make a messy-exception for dark caramel-filled chocolate. 
  2. Pack an empty plastic water bottle (note: this doesn't work in all countries). While security will not let you bring liquids in, you can fill up your canteen once you're waiting at the gate. If you made the mistake of bringing a beverage, you can drink/dump its contents before getting to the X-ray machines and refill once you're inside. Remember, hydration is very important on flights since you sweat quite a bit without being conscious of it.
  3. Pack tissues, napkins and/or a small wash cloth, just incase you spill something. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer might also come in handy. Klutz that I am, I once coated the carpet beneath several seats with coffee. 
  4. If your flight is longer than 6 hours, consider bringing a toothbrush and toothpaste, or, at the very least, some mouth wash.  

The Art of Packing

Short time lapse video using a Go Pro Hero 3 Black Edition of movers packing up (and yes, they gave us permission to film). 

Welcome to the inaugural post for No Flip Flops, where I'll be taking a break from my usual romance author duties and writing about traveling. If you want to stay apprised of adventures in Italy and beyond, this is the place to visit. For updates about my books and those of my fellow writer friends, please continue to visit my regular author blog.

The Road So Far...

My husband joined the Foreign Service in February 2010. Since then we've lived in the Middle East, South Asia, and of course Washington, D.C. We'll be in Rome, Italy for the next three years. 

IMG_0049.jpg

My Top Packing Tip

Compartments make all the difference! Rather than throw things in your suitcase, try and place your clothes, chargers, toiletries etc. into smaller containers. While a bit on the pricey side, the Eagle Creek packing system is a nice perk for frequent travelers (and a must have for my obsessive compulsive husband). In the off chance someone ends up going through your stuff, there's a possibility this packing method will leave your suitcase organized. A more economic option, of course, are cloth shoe and bag covers that occasionally come with your purchase, toiletry pouches from airlines and hotels, and extra large Ziplock bags. 

Remember, unpacking is the hard part! Imagine arriving at your destination and being able to simply lift containers out of your suitcase for placement in drawers and closet.  

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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My Italian Word of the Week - Farfalla (n. Butterfly)

Smithsonian Live Butterfly Exhibit - Taken by Me - April 2014

Smithsonian Live Butterfly Exhibit - Taken by Me - April 2014

Farfalla (n.)

n. butterfly
adj. butterfly-shaped (ex. bow tie, butterfly valve)
n. fig. person who is easily changeable, fickle
n. butterfly stroke (swimming)
n. type of pasta
definitions Corriere.it ; WordReference.com

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW.

I'm a wee bit lazy today, so I picked something simple (and for which I have a picture). Farfalla is a butterfly. A farfalla can be used to indicate something is shaped like a butterfly. For example, una cravatta a farfalla  is a bow tie (i.e. a butterfly-shaped neck tie). Una valvola a farfalla is the throttle valve (i.e. a butterfly-shaped valve). A levered door handle/door lever is una maniglia a farfalla, and when car doors open by lifting upward (gull-wing), the feature is referred to as a farfalla

For most Americans, however, farfalla is a type of pasta, which brings us to this Barilla commercial from 1999. There's actually no talking in this spot (sì, sono pigra questa settimana), but it's cute and there's some text. It also is a really nice review of hypothetical sentences, also known to many an Italian student as "that darn imperfect subjunctive and conditional combination."

Uomo: Se fossi una farfalla volerei da te.

So, believe or not, "Fossi" is a derivative of the verb essere (to be). As you saw above, sono is the first person present tense conjugation of this verb (i.e. am). Fossi is the imperfect subjunctive mood. Before you launch into a rant about the subjunctive (which I have done upon occasion), remember it exists in English too. We don't notice it as native speakers, but it has boggled the mind of many an ESL student as well. Se (io) fossi, is equivalent to the English "If I were." I've tried explaining to a non-native speaker why one uses "were" instead of "was" or "am," and I've had no success. I usually end the discussion with "It's just the way English works."

Volerei is the present conditional conjugation of the verb volare (to fly) and NOT volere (to want). The present conditional is the equivalent of the English "would do something," so (io) volerei da te translates to "I would fly to your place." Put the two parts together, and we get "If I were a butterfly, I would fly to your place."

Donna: E io ti mangerei.

Since the two are still chatting in the hypothetical, the lady also responds in the conditional. Mangerei is the first person present conditional conjugation of mangiare (to eat). The entire sentence translates to, "And I would eat you [if you were a butterfly pasta...]."

Donna: È bello cenare con le nostre farfalle...

This sentence doesn't have any weird tenses. E bello translates to "It's good." Cenare is the verb to dine (i.e. to eat dinner). In plural, la farfalla turns into le farfalle. Put it all together, and we get "It's good to dine with our butterflies." (Yes, I know it's cheesy. 90s commercial for pasta--enough said). 

Uomo: È come guadare la stessa stella. 

Guardare is the verb "to watch/to look at." You probably already know stella means star and stesso/stessa means the same. Come means a lot of things, but in this case I think the whole sentence comes together to say "It's as though (we're) looking at the same star."

Donna: Che padre romantico avrà il nostro bambino.

Dulcis in fundo, padre means father and bambino mean's child. Avrà is the third person future tense of the verb avere (to have). The significance here is that she used avrà (simple future) as opposed to avrebbe (present conditional) to indicate a definite event in the far future (as in not tomorrow/next week/or even next month--which Italians tend to use the present tense for). This line translates to "What a romantic father our child will have." (i.e. I'm pregnant).

Since I've been avoiding carbs, I'm now quite hungry. Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.

2 Comments

Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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My Italian Word of the Week - Scusa (n.) and Scusare (v.)

Häagen-Dazs® - Gelato - Sea Salt Caramel

Häagen-Dazs® - Gelato - Sea Salt Caramel

Scusa (n.)

n. an apology
n. a pardon/forgiveness
n. an excuse
n. a defense, justification

Scusare (v.)

v. to excuse, to pardon
Conjugation: Italian Verbs

definitions Corriere.it ; WordReference.com

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW.

If you're like me and get most of your TV entertainment through Hulu, you've experienced the commercial-loop effect. By this I mean having the same exact commercial play over and over again, so much so that you've seen it 4 times over the course of a single episode. I also go on Grey's Anatomy binges, which is how I cope with post-submission nail-biting. Perhaps because of the viewer demographic, the looped advertisements I've had to watch were for Haagen-Dazs' relatively new Gelato line. Luckily for me, this commercial is entirely in Italian.

Before I break down the short clip below, let me quickly go over one of the most useful noun-verb sets in Italian: Scusa (n. an apology or excuse) and Scusare (v. to excuse or pardon).

What you will probably hear most often is the phrases Scusa, Scusami, Mi Scusi, or Scusate, all of which translate to "Pardon me," "Excuse me," or "Forgive me" in English. You would say this when you're bumping into people as you try to squeeze off a bus, or if you've just hangrily snapped at your husband and needed to say sorry.  (Hangry=hungry+angry. Yes, it's a made up word)

Now don't let the "a"s and "i"s fool you. At first glance, you would think that Scusa/Scusami is formal and Mi Scusi is informal because you've been taught to recognize the former as the Lei conjugation of scusare and the latter as the Tu conjugation. It's actually the other way around in this case because (wait for it...) we're in the imperative tense (i.e. you're "ordering" the person to forgive you). This tense has it's own conjugation scheme (that is very similar to the subjunctive), and thus Scusa/Scusami is actually informal and Mi Scusi is formal. You could, however, avoid this entire conundrum of you're speaking to more than one person and opt for Scusate, the Voi (second person plural) form.

I loathe the imperative because it has weird rules (such as using the infinitive for negative statements), so I prefer to avoid it when I can. As such, I prefer the longer but less confusing route: Devo chiederti scusa (informal) or Devo chiederLe scusa (formal), which translates to "I must ask your pardon." This checks two boxes: (a) I'm not technically giving an order, and (b) I get to use the present tense of dovere (must, to be required to), which I'm more comfortable with. 

Which brings us to the Haagan-Daz Gelato commercial. The English subtitles give you a gist of the conversation, but I'm going to break it down line by line and give you a more literal translation so you can see how the moving parts all come together. It's super short, so we'll go through the entire clip.

Husband: Ciao Amore. -- Hello Love.
Wife: Me ne vado! -- I'm leaving!
Husband: Di nuovo?-- Again?

Okay, the first and third lines are obvious, but the second probably isn't. The wife is using the compound verb andarsene. These verbi pronominali are the bane of many an Italian student's existence because they just don't translate well to English. Basically, while andare means to go (and is a very irregularly conjugated verb already), andarsene (andare + se + ne) means to leave. Se and ne are pronouns, and the se part changes depending on the subject. Me ne vado is the first person present tense conjugation of this verb.

Wife: Si di nuovo.-- Yes, again.
Wife: Vado a cercare qualcun in grado di amare qualcun altro oltre se stesso -- I'm going to search for someone (who is) able to love someone else in addition to himself.

As you can see, vado is simply to go (and do something), as opposed to me ne vado, which means to leave. By the way, in grado di is a really useful chunk of language. Adesso, non sono in grado di palare Italiano bene means "Right now, I'm not able to speak Italian well." I find it much easier to use essere (to be) + in grado di (able) than potere (can, to be able to). Amare means to love, qualcun(o) means someone, altro means else, oltre means in addition to, and se stesso means oneself/himself. 

Husband: Vai a ta mama! -- Go to your mother!
Husband: E l'unica pazza che ti supporta -- (She) is the only insane woman that puts up with you.

Vai is the second person imperative (and present tense) conjugation of andare, so vai a ta mama obviously means "Go to your mother." L'unico/l'unica means "the only." Pazza is being used as a noun in this case to mean insane woman (although it can also be used as an adjective). The verb supportare literally means to prop up or to sustain, but it's used figuratively to mean "to put up with."

Wife: E finita. -- It's finished!
Husband: E a ora -- It's at (that) time.
Wife: Addio -- Farewell
Husband: Finalmente -- Finally.

Okay, so you can probably tell the translators took a wee bit of artistic license. Finito/finita means to be finished or done. Ora means time, so e a ora means "it's at (that) time," but figuratively means "about time!" Addio you should already know, and finalmente means finally or at last (I think they went with "good riddance" to add drama). And now we get to the Word of the Week. 

Wife: Scusami. -- Forgive me. 
Husband: Amore mio -- My love. 
Wife: Perche non mi chiedi scusa? -- Why aren't you asking forgiveness? 
Husband: Ma perche non chiederti scusa? -- But why don't I ask your forgiveness?
Wife: .... -- (All I hear is gibberish, sorry)

Since I went over scusami and chiedere scusa earlier, this should be easy. Amore mio is "my love" and is used as a term of endearment. Perche means why. Non mi chiedi scusa breaks down to "you not ask forgiveness to me," which doesn't literally translate. Mi  is a (to) + me (me). While a literally means "to," it's used in a lot of instances where an English speaker might use "from," as is the case here. In English, we say "ask for something from someone," but in Italian, it's chiedere qualcosa a qualcuno. In the next sentence, the husband's being sarcastic--as in, "Why don't I ask your forgiveness?". Then the wife screams something I don't understand.

Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.

5 Comments

Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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My Italian Word of the Week - Trovare

DVD Cover - Lo Hobbit: Desolazione di Smaug - Amazon.it - Warner Brothers (C)

DVD Cover - Lo Hobbit: Desolazione di Smaug - Amazon.it - Warner Brothers (C)

Trovare (v.)

v. to find, locate, spot
v. to find, get, obtain (a desired object, goal, or outcome)
v. to find, uncover, retrieve (an object that was once yours)
v. to find, discover, observe, notice, come across, catch, stumble upon
v. to find, reckon, have an opinion
definitions Corriere.it ; WordReference.com
conjugations Italian Verbs

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW.

This week, we're touching upon what I consider to be one of the most useful first conjugation (-are) verbs, trovare (note: I'll treat the reflexive version trovarsi to it's own post). Trovare means "to find", and as I've tried to illustrate in the translations listed above, it's used literally and figuratively in much the same way as "to find" is used in English.

The simplest use refers to locating an object, person, or place. For example, (io) Ho trovato le chiavi translates to "I found the keys." Devo trovare mio marito means "I must find my husband." The verb can also be used when referring to surprising or chancing upon something or someone. Ho trovato i ladri in casa  means "I found the burglars in the house."

When used in conjunction with adjectives and adverbs, trovare can come in handy for expressing opinions. Trovo noioso il film translates to "I found the film boring," and the informal greetingTi trovo bene means "I find you well/You look well." One can also use it to pass judgement on other people--Trovo scortese da parte tua dire queste cose roughly translates to "I find it rude on your part that you said those things."

Which brings us to the Italian trailer for Lo Hobbit: La Desolazione Di Smaug (okay, that was a horrible segway, I admit). While I'm mainly motivated by the prospect of looking at Orlando Bloom in elf form, my attempt to translate the first minute or so will definitely touch upon the verb "to find" (un anello, meaning a ring, for those not in the know). I'll also confess to needing to go back and forth between the English and Italian versions since there are lots of low frequency words in the opening. Ready?

Davvero. I raconti e le canzoni non rendono giustizia, a la tua enormità, o Smaug...l'immenso. 

I will probably never ever say this in Italy, but hey, picking out the words is kind off fun. Davverro means really or truly. Un raconto is a tale or story. Una canzone is a song. Rendere means a lot of things, but in this case it's used as to give. Giustizia means justice, and immenso means limitless. Put it all together, and you get: Truly. The tales and songs don't give justice to your enormity, or Smaug...the Limitless.  

Siamo i nani di Erebor. Siamo venuti a reclamare la nostra terra natia.--Io vi offro mio aiuto.

So un nano is a dwarf (yes, I looked it up). Venire means to come, reclamare to reclaim, and offrire to offer. La terra natia is the homeland, and l'aiuto is helpAll combined, we get: We are the dwarves of Erebor. We have come to reclaim our homeland. -- I offer you (all) my help.

Pretty easy once you break it all down, isn't it?

Come sappiamo che non ci tradirà? Non lo sappiamo. 

Okay, this one gave me a hard time (I couldn't make out tradirà, so I had to Google it). Now that I know however, it's pretty easy since there are only two verbs. Sapere - to know, and tradire - to betray. With all the little words, the sentence comes together as: How do we know that he won't betray us? We don't know (it). 

Non c'è ancora un re sotto la montagna e mai ci sara. 

There's actually only one verb in this sentence--essere, the verb to be (in third person present and third person future). Un re is a king. Ancora means already, and mai means ever/never. Adding the cognate and the pesky little ci, we get: There isn't already (fig. has never been) a king under the mountain and there never will be. 

Non finirà qui. Con ogni vittoria questo male si rinforzarà. 

Today seems to be a verb day. Finire means to finish/end, and rinforzare to strengthen. Vittoria means victory and male means badness/evil. Summed up, we get: (It) will not end here. With each victory this evil strengthens (itself).

Now we can get to my favorite line. 

Legolas è molto affezionato a te. Non dargli speranza dove non c'è. 

Affezionato is an adjective meaning attached to or fond of. Dare means to give and speranza means hope. Together with all the annoying pronouns, the sentence means: Legolas is very attached to you. Don't give him hope where there isn't. 

Non ai alcun diritto di entrare in quella montagna. -- Sono l'unico ad averlo. -- Siamo stati ciechi. Nella nostra cecità, il nostro nemico e tornato. 

So here we get to witness the wonderful world of subject-verb-tense agreement. Sono (1st person singular present) and siamo stati (1st person plural simple past) both derive from essere, the verb to be. Diritto means right, cecità blindness, and cieco blind. You also get avere, the verb to havein infinitive form (combined with the direct pronoun "lo") and in second person present "ai". Dulcis in fundo, nemico means enemy, and tornare to return. Altogether, we arrive at: You don't have any right to enter that mountain. -- I'm the only (one) (who) has it. -- We were blind. In our blindness, our enemy has returned. 

And now the last sentence, which obviously contains this week's word: 

Ho trovato una cosa nella galleria degli Orchi. -- Cosa ai trovato? -- Umm.... Il mio corragio.

Cosa  means something, and galleria a tunnel or underground passage. The rest of the words are cognates, so the sentences are: I found something in the tunnel of the Orchi (a made-up word, meaning goblins only in the Lord of the Rings world). -- What did you find? -- Umm... My courage. 

Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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My Italian Word of the Week - Raffreddore

Photo Credit: Flikr Creative Commons  - SuperHua (C) - Attribution License

Photo Credit: Flikr Creative Commons  - SuperHua (C) - Attribution License

Raffreddore (n.m.)

n.m. cold (acute respiratory inflammation)

definitions Corriere.it ; WordReference.com

This week's installment of IWOW is going to be the shortest yet because (io) ho il raffreddore, meaning "I have a cold." It's nothing serious, just one of those change of season things, but I tend to be an absolute baby when I'm under the weather. On top of that, writing while blowing one's nose lends itself to typos, so I beg your forgiveness in advance. 

According to the CDC, over 200 viruses can cause il commune raffredore (n.m. the common cold), although the rhinovirus is the most common type. By the way, a virus in Italian is il virus (thank goodness for life's small blessings). Symptoms include stanutire (v. to sneeze), il naso che cola (n.m. runny nose), il mal di gola (n.m. sorethroat), gli occhi lacrimosi (n.m.pl. watery eyes), and il mal di testa (n.m. headache). 

Il raffredore non si cura (one doesn't cure the cold), but there are multiple methods of symptom relief, including riposare (v. to rest), bere molta acqua (v. to drink a lot of water), and popping multiple caramelle per la tosse (n.f.pl. cough drops).

On that note, devo fare una buona tazza di tè (I must go make a nice cup of tea), so I'll bid you all a hasty adieu.  

Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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My Italian Word of the Week - Giusto

DVD - La Ragazza di Fuoco - Amazon.it - Universal (C)

DVD - La Ragazza di Fuoco - Amazon.it - Universal (C)

Giusto (adj., adv., n.m.)

adj. just, fair, impartial
adj. legitimate, righteous
adj. correct, true
adv. exactly, precisely, on point
adv. just (recently)
n.m. the "right"

definitions Corriere.it ; WordReference.com

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW.

 

So you probably noticed the new theme in my Italian Word of the Week posts. Ever since my classes ended, it's been a struggle to maintain the language, especially when it comes to listening comprehension. So I decided to link these posts to a movie trailer, allowing me to get a few minutes of deciphering spoken Italian in every week. 

This week's word is giusto, which you can see has a plethora of uses. For explanations of the adverb and noun forms, you can mosey on to the above-linked WordReference post. Today, I'm going focus on its use as an adjective.

Giusto is a cognate to the English adjective "just" and is used similarly to indicate a sense of fairness. For example, Il giudice e severo ma giusto means "the judge/prosecutor is severe but just/fair." By the way, judges and prosecutors in Italy are interchangeable, and they are both called giudiceGiusto can also mean "morally good/right", as in Credo che sia giusto andare da loro, which means I think it would be good/right to go to their place. 

I most commonly heard this word as part of the sentence (tu) Sei giusto  (you are right/correct) or E giusto (it's right/correct), and in my mind there's a connotation of precision or exactness to the word. Vorrei trovare la parola giusta per spiegare i miei pensieri (I would like to find the right word to explain my thoughts) is a stalling tactic I may have used once or twice in class.

On that note, let's check out the trailer for Hunger Games: La Ragazza di Fuoco (there is a tie-in to this word, I promise). 

Okay, I'll admit to needing to watch the English trailer before I was able to decipher the first 10 seconds. I'll tell you why it was so difficult in just a sec. 

Katniss: Qualsiasi cosa farò si ritorcera su di te and su di mama, e io non voglio.

So the reason I couldn't understand it (aside from the speed), was because I had never come across the reflexive verb ritorcersi before today. I looked it up, and it means "to backfire." Qualsiasi cosa is equivalent to the English "Whatever." Farò is the first person future tense of fare, the verb "to do." Su means "on". Te is the direct object pronoun for tu (you). Mama means "Mom" (thank goodness for cognates!), and voglio is the first person present tense form of the irregular volere, the verb "to want." Put that all together, and we get: Whatever I will do will backfire on you and on mom, and I don't want (it).  

Ready for the next sentences?  

Prim: Dagli ultimi Hunger Games, qualcosa e cambiato. Lo vedo. 
Katniss: Che cosa vedi?
Prim: Speranza

If you've been following these posts, you'd know that vedere is the verb "to see." Vedo is the first person present tense conjugation, and vedi is the second person informal present tense conjugation. Ultimo (adj.) means "last/most recent". Qualcosa means "something" while che cosa means "what (thing)". Yes, if you're wondering, cosa is the Italian equivalent of "thing." From here, you just need cambiare, which is the verb "to change", and it's used in the past tense in this case. Last but not least, speranza is the noun "hope."

Put it all together, and you get: Since the last Hunger Games, something changed. I see it. What do you see? Hope. 

Still with me. I'm stopping at the 0.45 mark, don't worry. We're almost there.

Peeta: Ci hai salvati. Lo so. Ma sono stanco di recitare per le telecamere, per puoi ignorarci nella vita reale. 

This is a bit easier. Once you know Ci means "us," it's easy to guess Ci hai salvati means "You saved us." Lo so means "I know it." Lo is "it", and so is the first person present tense conjugation of sapere, the verb "to know." Ma means "but", recitare is the verb "to act," and you're just going to have to trust me when I say ignorarci (a combination of ignorare and the direct object ci) translates to "ignore each other."

Since the rest of the words are cognates, we can put it all together as: You saved us. I know. But I am tired of acting for the cameras, to then ignore each other in real life. 

All right. Last set of phrases (and now you'll know why I picked giusto). 

President Snow: Lei non e quello che credono. Deve essere eliminata. 
Plutarch Heavensbee: Certo ma nel modo giusto. Al momento giusto. 

Lei in this case means "she," though it can also be used as the formal form of "you." Quello che translates to "what." Credono is the third person plural present tense conjugation of credere, the verb "to think." Deve is the third person present tense conjugation of dovere, the verb "must." Essere is the verb "to be", which you've already seen in the first person (sono), second person informal (sei),  and third person (è). And, modo means "way," leaving us with cognates. 

Putting all those words together, we get: She isn't what they think (she is). She must be eliminated. Certainly, but in the right way. At the right moment.

And thus concludes my attempt this week to keep my Italian fresh. Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.

Comment

Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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My Italian Word of the Week - Ghiaccio

DVD - Frozen - Amazon.it - Walt Disney Pictures (C) 

DVD - Frozen - Amazon.it - Walt Disney Pictures (C) 

Ghiaccio (n.m.)

n. ice
adj. ice-cold, frigid
definitions Corriere.it ; WordReference.com

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW.

It seemed only fair after my post on fuoco (n.m. fire) to do a post on ghiaccio (n.m. ice), which is somewhat related to my post on freddo (adj. cold). I was inspired by the recent tempesta di ghiaccio (n.f. ice storm) that somehow arrived in Washington, D.C. even though it's the end of March and technically the official beginning of primavera (n.f. Spring). It doesn't feel like inverno (n.m. Winter) is over since it's freddo come il ghiaccio (adj. ice-cold, frigid) right now.

On that note, check out the Italian trailer of Disney's Frozen, aka Il Regno di Ghiaccio. Not only is it a good learning tool, it's funnier in Italian than in English. 

Since ghiaccio is a pretty straightforward masculine noun meaning "ice," I decided to do something different today and attempt to translate the first 20 seconds of the video above. It has quite a few useful weather-related words, and for an Italian student with only 6 months of formal lessons under her belt, understanding it is no simple task. See if you can follow along. 

L'estate nella citta di Arundel non potrebbe essere piu calda o piu soleggiata, ma tutto sta per cambiare per sempre.

So let's pick out a few useful words. I gave away primavera (Spring) and inverno (Winter), and now you can add estate (Summer) to your list of seasons. While we're at it, I might as well mention autunno (Fall/Autumn). On the topic of weather, caldo/calda means hot, and soleggiato/soleggiata means cold. Without getting into the verbs, I'll give you the literal translation: Summer in the city of Arundel can not be more hot or sunny, but everything is about to change for always.

Ready for the next line? It's really short.

Arundel ... e completamente ghiacciata

You can probably guess at this point that ghiacciato/a is the adjective derivative of ghiaccio, and it means frozen. is the third person present tense form of the irregular verb essere (to be), and completamente (adv.) is a cognate meaning completely. On a side note, "-mente" in Italian is used to form adverbs in very much the same way "-ly" is used in English.

Freddo, freddo,  freddo, freddo, freddo, freddo, freddo, freddo, freddo...

The above is my reaction whenever I step outside lately, and I'm not wearing a ball gown with no shoulder coverage. Freddo is the singular masculine form of the adjective "Cold"

Una bufera di neve a luglio, sì?

Dulcis in fundo (last but not least), una bufera (n.f.) means "storm, blizzard or squall" and can also be used figuratively to mean an "upheaval or distubance." Neve (n.f.) means "snow," luglio (n.m) means "July," and  means "yes." Put that all together, and you get: A snow storm in July, Yes?

And thus concludes my attempt this week to keep my Italian fresh. 

Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.

Comment

Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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