Learning Italian - Sign of the Week - Io non posso entrare

Villa Adriana | Tivoli (25-40 min drive from Rome) | September 20, 2014

Villa Adriana | Tivoli (25-40 min drive from Rome) | September 20, 2014

It's been a long while since I've done a Learning Italian post, and I'm trying to get back on the figurative blogging horse. Now that I live in Rome, I thought it best to shift the focus to day-to-day language as opposed to more esoteric stuff.

That said, I'm happy to take requests! My breakdown of the Gelato Commercial, had been surprisingly popular, which goes to show I'm horrible at predicting these things. If there's something you'd like me to attempt to explain, shoot it to me in a comment and I'll try my best. 

This sign is pretty self-explanatory (I'm trying to start small). I took this picture outside a gift shop and bookstore at Villa Adriana, which is also known as Hadrian's Villa (my Instagram feed has pictures). While this ancient Roman ruin is open to four-legged friends, the store is not. By the way, Italians va/vanno matto per (are crazy about) i cani (dogs), which is both a good and a bad thing. The upside if you have a dog is that they can more or less go with you anywhere. The downside comes from the significant percentage of dog owners who do not pick up after their pets, which means you may want to play a mental "poop patrol" game at all times (yes, even when you're at a several thousand year-old UNESCO world heritage site).

Here's a breakdown of what the sign says: 

io = I 
non = not
posso = can (1st person present tense conjugation of potere, v. to be able to)
entrare = enter (infinitive form, v. to enter)

Tie that all together, and you get "I can't enter."

Ciao, tutti! Ci vediamo presto. (Good-bye all! We'll see each other again soon.)

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.