Archive for the ‘A Modern-Day Nomad’ Category

Spoilt for Choice


Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

A friend commented the other day on the number of male admirers I was attracting in the village. And do you know what? She has a point.

It therefore begs the question; why oh why am I still single?

So let us for a moment consider all my options, and then perhaps you can help me choose between them.

Admirer A gives me flowers from his garden and declares that I am the air that he breathes and his ‘fiore di Primavera’. He enjoys walks with his dog, digging for potatoes, and chain-smoking. Admirer A is married and very much the wrong side of sixty.

Admirer B is tall and rather handsome. Apparently he likes me very very very much, or so he tells me every time we meet on the street; in broken Italian, because Admirer B…

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None The Wiser


Tired Old Tales for Thursdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

SV: Good afternoon! How are you today?

Little Old Italian Lady:Well, you know how it is. Bad back, bad legs, bad eyes. Very tired. Can’t sleep. Weather’s a bit too hot and a bit too cold. Fell downstairs last year. Doctors say I’m too old to fix.

SV: Ummmmm. Oh dear.

Little Old Italian Lady: There was a woman here looking for you yesterday.

SV: Really?

Little Old Italian Lady: Yup. Asked me if I’d seen the lady who’s always walking her dog.

SV: Well, not always, I sometimes do other things as well…

Little Old Italian Lady: So I told her I hadn’t seen you.

SV: Are you sure she was looking for me?

Little Old Italian Lady: Definitely. Lady who’s always walking her dog, she said.

SV: Hmmmm. What was she like?

Little Old Italian…

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Doing the Piazza Rock


Weary Wanderings for Wednesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

The village festa season seems to be suffering from a few fits and starts this year, if reports of last year’s back to back parties in the piazza are to be believed.

A few weeks ago it kicked off with a night of somewhat eclectic musical tastes from the live band. Old style waltzes and paso dobles, so beloved of gentlefolk ‘d’un certain âge’ in villages the length and breadth of France, and apparently also Italy, joined forces with 80’s rock anthems and 60’s ballads, with the odd Latin American ditty thrown in for added piquancy.

Excessive amounts of beer and constant urging from my Argentine neighbour had me up on the dance floor for much of the night, but even my efforts could not compare with the star of the evening. He must have been ninety if…

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I’ll Show You Mine


Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I have finally got myself a language exchange partner.

Sadly not the 6ft, raven-haired, dark-eyed hunk of unruly Italian masculinity that I had been hoping for; more a 4ft10, brown-haired, dark-eyed slip of Italian womanhood, but very welcome nevertheless. Especially in light of the fact that I seem to get away with conversing in Italian far more than she gets to practise her English.

Being single girls, and of roughly the same age, most of our conversations in both languages so far have been about boys. She has been giving me the low-down on Italian men – confirming most of what I had originally suspected, and I have been making stuff up about British ones.

Not having been anywhere near one since I was eighteen, my fictional Brit seems to have taken the middle ground somewhere between…

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Down Wiv Skool


Weary Wanderings for Wednesdays!

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I loathed school, I mean really really loathed it. Even now – seventeen years after my torture schooling ended (bloody hell that makes me feel old :-() – when I find myself on the wrong side of the gates, my heart beats wildly and I struggle to catch my breath until freedom has been safely regained.

Knowing that I would have to spend several days traipsing the hallowed halls, filled me with not a little trepidation.

So as a panic-reducing displacement activity, I attempted to distract myself by studying the idiosyncrasies of Italian school life…

Most noticeable is that Italian children talk A LOT. The noise levels in the classroom, in the dining hall, in the playground, and indeed anywhere where there is more than one bimbo italiano are excruciating.

They also find sitting still for longer than…

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A Translator Very Good Am I


Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays!

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

For a few days I fielded some rather odd questions from Fiona;

Fiona: Would you say ‘a sea borough’ or ‘a sea district’?

SV: What the…? Let me have a look at that.

Fiona: No, no. It’s ok. I’ll get you to check it afterwards.

I struggled to concentrate as she redirected her strange questioning to an Italian colleague, X;

Fiona: X, would you say ‘the San Marco palace is made revived on the will of the Filippi’s family’ or ‘the Filippi’s family made will the San Marco palace to revived’?

X: Ummm… I think the second one.

SV: ?@!*!@*?!

Needless to say, the document ended up on my desk, and after tearing my hair out over it for less than a day, I was treated to the following haranguing;

Fiona: Why are you taking so long to…

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Job Disatisfaction Guaranteed (final part)


Memories for Mondays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

My frustrations were somewhat alleviated by the arrival of ten other English speakers to help prepare the summer camps.

All ex-tutors from previous years or actors from the school theatre tour, they brought a much-needed breath of fresh air and sanity. Even Shrek seemed to find it in him to generously overlook their exuberant English-Speakingness; copping sly squeezes of the pretty girls and jovially slapping the boys on the back.

So having spent a fortnight stapling sheets of paper and stuffing them into 250 plastic folders (in funereal silence, Fiona’s orders – she objected to the fact that I was conversing with a colleague in Spanish because she couldn’t understand what we were saying) I was allowed to escape the office and start training with them.

After a few days singing the camp song (a ditty so mind-bogglingly…

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Job Disatisfaction Guaranteed (part two)


Flashback Friday!

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

After the ‘business trip’, the director asked me if thought I would be capable of taking over that side of the job.

Ummm, how can I put this…

I think I would probably be as capable as the next man of zigzagging aimlessly round the Italian countryside, wasting hours and hours and hours due to sheer incompetence before talking rubbish to Italian parents for half an hour. However, despite being aware of the very great honour bestowed on me by the assumption that one day I might be a suitable candidate for filling the great man’s shoes, I had to decline. Leaving (and paying someone to look after) Pooch for five days out of every seven, for an itinerant life of tedium was not exactly what I had in mind.

That having been explained (in words not dissimilar…

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Job Disatisfaction Guaranteed (part one)


Tired Old Tales for Thursdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

A little over three months ago I saw an advertisement for some sort of office job in Italy. This was lucky, because any sort of office job in Italy was exactly what I was looking for. The company even had an interesting concept to sweeten the bitter pill of shackling myself to a desk once again – English theatre productions in Italian schools, and English summer camps in Italy.

I applied.

The first blow was the monthly salary. I had been prepared for the fact that Italian salaries were very low, but this was worse than peanuts. Even monkeys would have politely declined.

Then the director told me that if I took the job I had to stay with them for a reasonable amount of time.

“That’s ok,” thought I, “truthfully I had been considering nine months, but…

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An Eggz-Pat Rant


Tired Old Tales for Thursdays
(Recently I feel as if I might have turned into one of these…)

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

As my main motivation for travelling is to learn languages, it makes very little sense for me to spend too much time hobnobbing with other Anglophone ex-pats, so I have always avoided their company wherever possible.

And there is a certain sort of Anglophone ex-pat that I am more than happy to steer clear of. An example of which I was unlucky enough to encounter just the other day:


Ex-pat (with just the right amount of snooty condescension): So, you’re here on holiday?

SV: No, I live here.

Ex-pat (peeved): Really? Whereabouts?

SV: In an apartment near the mayor’s house.

Ex-pat (suspiciously): Really? Well I’ve never seen you here before.

SV: Ah. Well I can assure you that I have been here for a couple of months now.

Ex-pat (with dawning realisation): Oh!…

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