Archive for the ‘sky tv’ Category

expat countdown meme

Italian flag looking its best! by Eugenio Palisi on FlickrMy fellow American in Calabria, Cherrye of My Bella Vita, did this meme a looooong time ago, but I’m just getting around to it.

She got it from Expat Travels: From Switzerland to Canada (where I saw it as well) who got it from The CanadianSwiss Blog…and as I’ve been promising Diane of Martinis for Two that I’d talk a bit more about my expat feelings, I figured now was as good a time as any to do this one.

* Name 5 things you love in your new country:

  • Knowing that a neighbor always has something I need–parsley, lemons, tomatoes, gossip (yes, even things I don’t need!).
  • The sea, the sea, the beautiful Ionian Sea and the mountains, the mountains, the gorgeous mountains–all from my balcony!
  • Fresh, organic food that is readily available and relatively inexpensive.
  • Clean, fresh air.
  • Not having to worry about health insurance.

* Name 4 things that you miss from your native country:

* Name 3 things that annoy you a bit (or much) in your new country:

* Name 2 things that surprise you (or have surprised you in the beginning) in your new country:

  • How difficult it has been to get to know Italian women as friends.
  • The entire Italian education system, including how long it takes many to get through university.

* Name 1 thing that you would terribly miss in your new country, if you had to leave it.

  • Well, P of course, but also the Italian language. I’m not sure I could do without it anymore. I came here knowing nothing, but now I’m addicted.

Fellow expats, do play along!

But hey, even if you’ve moved from one place to another within the same country, I’d be interested to read your answers to this meme–sometimes moving within a country can feel just as foreign as hopping the pond.

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[tags]expats, italy, expats in italy, memes[/tags]


Pigskins Aren’t Just for Frittole* Anymore!

Indulge me, non-sports fans, but I’m having a moment.

Right now I am watching the Eagles-Giants game LIVE and IN ENGLISH on Sky Sport. No, we don’t even have any “extra” sport channels; this is just what’s already included in our package. I had no idea! They’ll have on all the playoff games, in fact, according to my handy dandy Sky Guide.

And, as a special treat, at halftime there was a recap of the NFL season narrated by (I’m tearing up here) Harry Kalas. God I missed that voice. If only he had managed to work in “Outta here…homerun…Michael Jack Schmidt!”

Yeah, I know that would’ve been a lot weird (wrong sport, wrong decade and all), but a girl can dream. After all, just a few hours ago, I never would’ve imagined that I’d be cheering on Jeff Garcia (huh?) and the Birds in the NFC Wild Card Game.

Have I mentioned that I love my Sky TV?

*It’s in Italian, but I found a link where you can see a picture of frittole–boiled pig parts that didn’t otherwise make the cut. Yeah, um, don’t expect this to appear on What’s Cooking Wednesday. Ever.

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[tags] sky tv, frittole[/tags]


And So Begins 2007…

I’m really trying to look at the positive here. But it’s getting difficult.

As I’m writing this, I’m not online and haven’t been for two days. Why? Because sometime on New Year’s Eve our phone service went out—which means no dial-up connection to the Internet either.

So, we’ve had no phone. For New Year’s Day. For all the calls and Happy New Years that we would’ve exchanged with family and friends (cell phone calls are expensive!). For connecting with the blogging world to which I’ve become so attached in this last month.

Incidentally, the first day of the new year ended up being the first day I didn’t post since I began my blog.

Is that a good start to 2007 or what?

On the positive side? It’s not just me without the phone; the entire village is without service. No, I’m not wishing misery on others. This is a sheer numbers game. The fact that the entire mountaintop can complain, means, theoretically, that Telecom should get to the problem sooner, right?

Humor me.

The other thing bringing me down as the new year rises is that I’m sick. Dreaded influenza sick. I thought it was just a little cold and then yesterday afternoon I got all achy and high feverish, which, according to page 93 of the issue of Family Circle my mom sent me, means real live flu and not just cold.

So, my friends, I’m achy and Internetless.

Happy 2007 y’all!

Of course since you’re reading this, we now have our phone back. Yes, the dial-up connection is so S to the LOW that I could handwrite this and mail it to everyone before it gets posted, but at least it’s something.

I also had plans of lightening the mood a bit with pics of our New Year’s Eve as we partied in ignorant bliss not knowing that we’d be cut off from the outside world for days, but dial-up says unh-uh. Not now.

And another thing–I’m not sure why I can’t see my cute little squares at the top of the page as everything on my template is exactly as I left it a few days ago when I *could* see the cute little squares, but I don’t have the energy to play right now.

I think it’s best if I just go watch The House of Carters or something. Those Crazy Carters are always good for a laugh (I learned yesterday).

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[tags]telecom italia[/tags]


Operation Sky TV: Completed!

This morning I watched Will & Grace.

In English.

For the first time in three years.

Then I watched The Gilmore Girls, or as they call it here, Una Mamma per Amica. And now I’m watching some Ben Affleck Christmas film.

I’m finding that the voices I used to find so familiar now sound a bit strange.

Must be…all that English! Woohoo!

Now, is it wrong that I’m rethinking our New Year’s Eve plans because I’d rather be home with my Sky TV?

I know this probably isn’t very exciting for non-expats, but for those who have been or are in my shoes, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t plan on abusing my Sky TV privileges (after at least a few days of gluttony), but it’s nice to have choices.

To put this in perspective, let me describe what my television experience was like only yesterday:

There are 6 main Italian channels, three owned by RAI and three owned by the Former Prime Arsehole Minister Silvio Berlusconi. To say that these channels are overrun with game shows featuring scantily clad “dancers” is just the sad, offensive truth. And to point out that both sets of channels have extremely political slants as to what is shown on the news and other journalistic programs is a gross understatement.

There are occasionally decent movies, but a good six times out of ten they are blacked out so we can’t see them anyway. And then there’s the fact that they showed Legends of the Fall on Christmas night. But we’ve been through that.

Other programming includes political and soccer/calcio debating shows–sometimes together in the same discussion, always loud and obnoxious. The art of letting one person speak at a time and then waiting for a response is not practiced on RAI, Canale 5, or Italia Uno. And then there’s all the soccer games, many of which are blacked out anyway.

On the other hand, I must be fair. I do give props to basic cable’s travel and nature programs. They aren’t National Geographic or Discovery, but they’re not bad. I’ve learned about many little-known Italian locations and a lot of Italian history because of these. And Canale 5 does a few “fiction” shows that I like, such as RIS, which I mentioned yesterday.

But the biggest benefit to having only 6 channels all in Italian was that it *really* helped improve my language skills. Without Italian personalities like Paolo Bonolis and Maria De Filippi (oh, I’ll still be watching C’è Posta Per Te and Amici even though Maria kinda scares me), I just might be speaking Italian like Paris Hilton.

And let’s not forget that by watching only Italian-language television, I was truly immersed in a major part of the culture; I wouldn’t even know who Paolo and Maria are if I wasn’t forced by RAI and Berlusconi to bring them into my world. That’d be like an American not knowing Rosie O’Donnell from Oprah. Unthinkable, I know.

Quite honestly, without this invaluable cultural knowledge, I don’t think I’d ever truly feel a part of what’s going on around here. For better or worse, television plays a big role in many cultures, and Italy is no exception. In fact, television is often one of the only things around which I can build a conversation–especially with those who would rather discuss how to clean my stove than whether gay marriages should be sanctioned by the government.

Ah, bridging the great cultural divide one satellite dish at a time.

So, in sum, I don’t regret that I’ve gone three years without hearing Larry King’s voice (which I did finally hear this morning as CNN reran his interview with the late President Gerald Ford) as it made me the expat I am today. No doubt about it–drowning in Italian television helped me grow. But now I’m ready for Animal Planet, The History Channel, all the Fox stations, and, oh, so much more.

Welcome to my world, Sky TV. Baby girl’s all grows up.

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[tags]sky tv[/tags]


Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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Homemade apple butter
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