27 February 2009

I Fly for You

Should have posted this one waaaaay earlier, no time though.  Then, considering the outcome of yesterday's talking and phonecalling, i deem it appropriate to do it now. :L 
  
I got this last valentine, actually. On the back, there's a zipper, and inside there are 2 little boxes of Baci chocolates, the one with cherries inside. Exactly my favorite! :p  Oh, by the way, baci itself means kisses.

Volo per te.  I fly for you.  Simple but meaningful gift. That's what is important.  And boooy! Can hardly wait til he'll literally fly for me!  \:D/

New-found ability

Finally, a post about my new-found ability: cooking.

Ever since I was still in high school age (you see, I attended all-girls school run by nuns, so obviously they taught us also some women survival skill ;-)... ), I have always been interested in cooking. But of course, back then in Jakarta I never did explore more of this certain interest. Let's say that the only thing I ever made -- successfully -- was Brownies.  Nothing else. Once I tried making Panna Cotta, but it failed miserably. (I think I put the wrong kind of vanilla thing there, so it turned out to be bitter. Perhaps too much of vanilla essence, vanillin, or whatever, can't remember anymore.)  I did like to collect recipes from magazines though, in fact i have several bundles of folders on recipes only.

Living on my own in Italy brought out the hidden ability, so it seems. What was only some theoritical knowledge of cooking now has become a personal explorative hands-on experience. So i believe i am entitled to be a bit proud of this achievement.  :D

I made this for a little gift to my boyf's sister on her birthday. She is on diet, so this is a good one for her, so she said.  Here is my Ricotta Apple Pie.

  




18 February 2009

Not meant to have the Stay Permit

Yesterday I went to the Questura of Perugia to get that Stay Permit. Ever since the beginning something always came up to hinder.

Even though I woke up early to catch the train, no I still didn’t. Because of a huge garbage-collecting truck blocking us in an ultra narrow street, on the way to the station. And there I saw, the train is coming, stopping for a while, then going away. Which made me having to take the next train, which then caused me arriving late at Perugia.

For your info, it’s about 5 and half hours by train, including transits, from my place to Perugia. Anyway, arriving late problem solved.

Waiting 1 hour in front of the building, queing in a loooong line of unrecognized human beings speaking various languages of the world, with cold air of winter breezing, pushed back n forth by throngs of people in order to pass thru the gate, waiting for another hour inside the complex (NOT YET inside the building, so, yes, still with the chilly late afternoon breeze) until my name is shouted, more waiting for at least half an hour in front of the sportello… ALL just to be made totally disappointed, because:

Eventho the Signora at the questura (see previous respective note) already told me that my PdS is ready, it is definitely NOT. Why? Because the magnetic chip is broken so they cannot activate my card! And there began my turmoil, followed by ranting at them.

From the first failed attempt of card recognition, to the second male-n-young-but-sulky officer who tried to swipe the card but again failing and later just said, “no, it doesn’t work… the chip is broken. We have to return it to Rome. It’s been ready since 15 December, you know. Sei sfortunata.”

What?!?! Exclaimed I silently. Is that all you can say, that I am unlucky?!?!?!?! And the fact that it’s been ready since some time, does it give the privilege of the chip being broken?!?! They should have taken care of it well, am I right? Of course I am.

Allora, cosa faccio adesso?” So, what do I do now? I asked a normal question, I believe.

Eh… cosa fai?” What do you do? A stupid needless repetition of my question. You moron or what, give me a solution! But he just shrugged his shoulders and later pingpong-ed me to another officer. Again, trying to activate the card. But what is this with this people?!?! If the chip is broken, then it won’t work anywhere! No use of trying it at different outlets! I want a solution, pronto! My time here is NOT unlimited. In fact, I have to catch the train, which is coming in less than 1 hour (that will be the LAST one, by the way. As previously mentioned, it’s about 5 hour by train.)

Yet another officer trying to see whether this time he could work miracle. Failed, of course. At least, this time, this one came up with some accetable solution. Guided by me, of course, after confirming that I won’t have any need of it at the time I'm leaving this country. At least, he fully concentrated on my case. Unfortunately for him, I kinda vented some my anger on him, but fortunately he was patient enough, and I might say, supportive instead of scorning and taking the “it’s not our fault, it’s your own fault, why didn’t you do this, that…” defense attitude, like they always do.

More or less, this is what I told him in my complain:

“How is it possible that the chip is broken?” I think I could hear my own voice starting to shrill.

Tranquilla, Signora. We …”

I cut him mid-sentence, “How can I calm down?! I have been here THREE times, since May 2007. That was the date written on my lettera di convocazione.” (it’s the ‘calling letter’ for us to take our supposedly Stay Permit, ready to use.) “Three times, can you imagine that? Always I got the same answer: It’s not ready.”

“Well, we don’t do that letter any longer now.”

“Yeah! But it’s not useful to tell me that now. All my friends in Trieste got theirs maximum 6 months”.

“I’m sorry, it’s just that you get caught in the middle of our changing procedure. Now we always do it only in 3 months.”

Hah! Hrrrmmmfffftt! Tell me what’s the use of saying this to me. Oil to fire! And anyway, isn’t this supposed to be a system that works allover the country?!?!

“We’ll send it back to Rome to fix it, and in the meantime, we can give you a temporary Carta di Soggiorno if you need to go abroad.”

“I do not live in Perugia, I live in Trieste. If I lived here, no problem, I could come to this office anytime. And because of this problem, I cannot go abroad to attend some convegno.”

“I see. Well, like I said, we can give you a temporary Carta di Soggiorno if you need to go abroad. When do you leave Perugia?” (Nope, this so-called Carta di Soggiorno is NOT a card, it's just a statement printed on a thick paper.)

“My train is in half an hour from now.”

“oooh…”

Anyway… to cut what-is-already-too-long conversation short: No, no Stay Permit in my keeping. Just a stupid photocopy of what should be mine, and a stupid handwritten letter to be submitted to Questura di Trieste, in case I need to get outside Italy within these 20 days prior to my depart back to Indonesia.

The so-called Permesso di Soggiorno & handwritten certification. Some info has been blurred for privacy purposes.

And just as I have expected! I got there at Lucca station at about 21.55. Obviously the train I’m supposed to take next has already departed, like, 15 minutes ago! Just when I need it to be late, it isn’t. Thank goodness I did ask il Gufino to pick me up at Lucca! :) (Another 1-hour-car-trip-made-45-minutes by driving as fast as he could, on a curvaceous upsloping mountain street.)

Such a long, tiring, unproductive and wasted journey which isn’t equal to the result at the end of the day.


-----
This note can be read as well in my Facebook profile.

16 February 2009

A Valentine Contemplation

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres."  

Last saturday, to celebrate the most-oft over-rated St. Valentine’s Day, I did do some musing on the meaning of Love. Not (just) about the eros type of love, but perhaps more importantly, about the philia and agape ones. The one written up there, and if you want to know from where I got that quote, it is actually the core teaching in Christianity, taken from the New Testament. 

My oh my… I have to say that I’m not innocent in the crime of love! I’ve done the contrary of the quality of love mentioned there! Ok, so I try to be patient and kind, I try to  not delight in evil, and I try to be truthful.  It’s not easy, but I do try, really.  As for being envious, boastful and proud, no self-seeking, for me they are even more difficult. Then, many times I have found my self getting angry to people I love because of what is actually a small thing, making a big deal of it.  And though I easily cool off ( :S after some rantings), I still cannot rid myself of what’s bugging me, hence keeping record of wrongs.  No, don’t get me wrong.  I am not vengeful. Unfortunately, unless the so-called ‘guilty’ people apologize (which is obviously not often), it just stays inside.  

Luckily though, as time passes by this record recedes, replaced with understanding.  Back then when I was still in high-school, one of my dear brothers once told me: try to understand others instead of always want to be understood.  Well, it made a big impression on me and since then I’ve kept it alive.   

Back to the crime list. I haven't mentioned the other one: not being rude. Now in my opinion THAT is the hardest thing of all. Long time ago, I received a forwarded email from some mailing list.  The email recounted a story about a mother who realized that she had been rude to the person who matters a lot to her: her son.  You know, children and their curiosity ask and do lotsa thing, just like this lil boy. His mother, instead of understanding and answering, she most often ignored or snapped at him.  Until one time, after many snappings, the child with hurting eyes and trembling lips asked why she always does those things only to him; never to strangers on the street, never to other children, never to her friends, never to his teachers.  Then the child turned, shoulders shaking, and walked slowly away.  At that point, the mother then realized how badly she treated her beloved son, and this time, her little angel has reminded her on what love really means.  

Wonder what it is to do with me?  Allora, like that woman, I many times treat rudely people that matters to me (particularly my own parents and other family members, even my partner), from the mild rudeness of ignoring – like a considerably small thing of not replying ASAP messages, letters, phone-calls whatever, putting it off while hiding behind excuses of work, study etc – until the blatant one of snapping at them.  Rude in all kind of sense whether deliberately or unintentionally.    

And so… Instead of saying the obvious “I love you”, I’m putting things in black n white for my beloveds to read: Sorry for having been rude…

12 February 2009

Foreign Food Banned in Lucca

The following article is taken from Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera (online):

Lucca Bans Kebabs

Regional councillor denounces “gastronomic racism”

 

LUCCA - Goodbye to North African couscous, Indian chicken curries and papaya salads from Togo. It’s Italian food only from now on. Or rather, strictly Luccan fare, such as spelt soup, chestnut flour cake, torta co’ becchi cake and other Tuscan delights. Should any restaurateurs be so adventurous as to present a menu based on non-Italian cuisine, they are warmly invited to include “at least one typical Luccan dish, prepared exclusively from products generally acknowledged as being typical of the province”. Challenging globalisation, and perhaps also the freedom of the kitchen, Lucca’s executive council, led by the People of Freedom with the backing of a civic list, approved a new by-law for clubs, bars and restaurants that is unlikely to go unobserved. The new regulations, from which the Democratic Party (PD) and Communist Refoundation (PRC) opposition parties distanced themselves, draws a very firm line to stop ethnic restaurants from opening in the Lucca’s historic centre.

 

The area concerned lies within the city’s splendid, four-kilometre long walls, which are still intact today. The regulation is hard to misinterpret: “It is not permitted to open commercial premises serving food and drink whose business is related to other ethnic groups”. PD councillor Alessandro Tambellini immediately denounced the ban as “discriminatory”, accusing the executive council of “opting to slam the door on other cultures, replacing the logic of dialogue with that of refusal”. He went on: “The reference to ethnic groups is ill-chosen, to say the least. What does it mean? Are French and German cooking OK, because they have the same roots as ours, but not Indian, Chinese or Arab food? The regional authority agrees: Councillor Paolo Cocchi said: “We are against veiled forms of gastronomic racism”. “What racism? Our sole aim is to safeguard the historic heritage of the city centre”, countered Lucca’s astonished executive councillors angrily.

 

Councillor Filippo Candelise explained: “The by-law dates from a resolution passed in 2000, which we have updated”. He added: “The ban also includes shops selling pizzas by the slice, McDonald’s, other fast food outlets and sex shops. It will not affect existing commercial premises”. But there’s still that reference to ethnic groups. “I realise it might give rise to misunderstanding but you have to bear in mind that 8,000 people live within the city walls and there are already five kebab shops”. Benedetto Stefani, president of restaurateurs belonging to the ASCOM retailers’ association, takes the council’s side: “It’s not a crusade, just a desire to safeguard the specific nature of our cuisine, which is threatened by recent liberalisations in the sector”. Regulations also lay down that waiters “should have a knowledge of the English language”. What’s the English for “bruschetta”?

 

Francesco Alberti

27 gennaio 2009

English translation by Giles Watson


Hmmm... a xenophobia case, or what? You tell me.

11 February 2009

Italy, oh Italy!

A (shortened and censored) conversation between me and the Questura di Perugia (QdP, Italian equivalent of police office), on 11 February 2009, (15:03):


Me: Pronto, buona sera. Posso parlare con la signora XYZ?
Hello, good evening. May I speak with Mrs. XYZ?

QdP: Buona sera. Si, sono io.
Good evening. Yes, that's me.

Me: Aaah, signora, mi chiamo ABC. Chiamo per un'informazione.
My name is ABC. I'm calling for an information.

QdP: Vuoi sapere se il Suo permesso di soggiorno รจ pronto? Sei venuta qua ottobre, no?
You want to know if your Stay Permit is ready? You came here in October, didn't you?

Me: Eh, si, esatto.
That's right.

QdP: Allora, mi dica il numero dell'assicurata.
Tell me the number of your (insured) receipt.

Me: 06071795 xxxx

QdP: un momento... (click click and some shuffling at the background)
one moment...

Allora, signora ABC, il Suo รจ pronto da 15 dicembre. (alter-ego speaking to me: whaaaaat?!?! how is it possible?!?!?! When u most expect it, it never comes through. When you least expect it, they do it earlier...)
sooo, Mrs. ABC, yours is ready since 15 December.

Me: Ah si? (with some note of happiness mixed with i-can't-believe-it)
oh yes?

QdP: Si. Quando ho rivevuto il tuo documento, l'ho mandato subito a Roma. Ma mi raccomando, deve essere qua prestissimo perche ci sono 200 persone nella fila. Puo prenderlo solo martedi o mercoledi. (hmmm... means gotta go there next week... another train travel... *sigh*...)
Yes. When i received your document, i sent it to Rome right away. But I'm telling you, you must be here very early because there are 200 people in the line. You can take it only on tuesday or thursday.

Me: Benissimo.
Alright.

QdP: Poi, mi raccomando, si scada 20 aprile, quindi deve organizzare in modo giusto. (Hhrrrmmmfff... like i nevah!?!?! It's obviously not of my organization that it took you [r office] more than 1 year and half to get this thing done... *grumble grumble silently*)
Then don't forget, it expires on 20 April so you have to organize it properly.

Me: OK. (After all, by that time, i'll be already back in Indonesia, you inefficient worker! And look what you've done, i've been stuck here in with no chance of going abroad because of this stupid stay permit thing... able only to drool over my friends' trip all over Europe!)
Allora, grazie mille, Signora.
Ok, thanks a lot, Maam.

QdP: Di niente. Arrivederc... Arrivederla, buona sera!
It's nothing. See You again --polite form--, good evening!


There goes!

Finally, got my Stay Permit. After such a looooooooooong wait. After such a looooooooooooot of sacrifices (need i say them aloud?).

Italy (well, to be honest, not all of Italy, just a big part of it): u do things, blood and sweat work on it... but things don't come your way. Then out of the blue, when u least expect it (mostly when it's already too late), there it goes!

And all I can say is: manaccia la miseria!


This entry has been originally posted in my Facebook account earlier today.

07 February 2009

30 January 2009: La discussione della tesi

Yippeeee!  Finally I've done my thesis defense.  Was sooo darn nervous that I couldn't do it in italian.  Ho perso tutto le parole italiane!!!  Anyway, am glad i've got 110 con lode (cum laude).  That's the highest here btw.  No summa cum laude, no magna cum laude, unlike in Indonesia.

Can't stop my big grin all thru that day.  

(Plus... some Trieste street shopping with Dora added more excitement :p ... After all, it would be our last meeting before I return to Indo this coming March.)

Vabbe... vado via adesso.