Friday, January 29, 2010

Sorting the wheat from the chaff

Most of the time I've lived here I've worked as an English teacher. At the beginning I taught privately (this chapter of my life deserves a post all of it's own; my inexperience and some rather odd pupils made for an entertaining if not sustainable first stab at teaching). Then I taught for two years on and off in two different private schools. Unfortunately work in the schools is more "off" than "on" due to the nature of the extremely long (unpaid) holidays. I decided to save up a bit of money and try to build up my own private student list, which is what I'm doing now. In theory.

I have had a lot requests but not too many genuine prospective students up until now.
Let's start with the yummy mummys. These are the mums who usually live in rich areas of Rome and want a young mothertongue girl (becuase they think that she will be inexperienced/naive=cheap) to come and play with their little Luca or Ilaria in their bedroom speaking in English in the hope that they will magically absorb the language. I was that naive mothertongue girl two years ago and I can tell you that darling Alessandro refused not only to speak a word of English but also most of the time to aknowledge my presence. After two hours kneeling on the carpet talking to myself (and what colour's this lego piece? Red! Yes, red! Say Red Alessandro. RED, GOD DAMN YOU!!!) I would creak to my feet take my centesimi and run, praying that before the next lesson I'd have found another job. A fair amount of these requests have come through. Even though I advertise myself as a teacher, the mums often ask me to "teach English while playing with him/her" thinking that if they make it sound more like babysitting you will ask them for less money. Needless to say my "teaching english whilst playing" days are over.

Then there was the request from a man who asked me if I would go to the park with him and have a lesson whilst strolling round the park....could have been totally innocent but I'd prefer not to find out!

And the women who email me for information, and there I am gearing up with all my information for business english lessons and they then reveal they are emailing on behalf of their grown-up sons. Really!

Oh, and let's not forget those who have left their manners at the front door and email me a message saying something like "Hello i am looking for a old are you,where are you from?how long do you stay in italy.let me know.giorgia.

Honestly with entertainment like this who needs a job?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hairdresser Heaven

Can I just confess something? I HATE going to the hairdresser. Really, I hate it. I hate the stupid chatter and the "relaxing" head massage (don't know about you but I never feel relaxed when a stranger is rubbing my scalp whilst my head is being forced back unceremoniuosly into a sink), and most of all I hate having to look at myself in the mirror for up to (and sometimes over) an hour and having to face up to the fact that I have an undeniably round face. Honestly, there is absolutely NO hint of cheekbone. (But I prefer not to dwell on it if not in hairdresser's chair if it's all the same to you).

So imagine my profound depression as people from all corners of my life began to comment on my hair...I hadn't been to the hairdresser's for almost a year and it was getting quite noticable. I have no regular hairdresser here in Rome which makes it worse- if there were a pushy receptionist making me my next appointment as I sloped out after a cut then it'd be out of my hands. But I'd found my experiences here so far uniformly terrible I hadn't made repeat appointments.

Until now! I was taking a walk in the Vittorio Emmanuele area trying to avoid looking at my hair in shop windows when I walked past a Chinese hairdresser and a rare bout of motivation inspired me to open the door.

"Er, hello, do you have an appointment for today?" I asked.

"No appointment. Appointment now. Go to shampoo!" Barked a chinese man at me.

Right! Decision taken out of my hands! I go to shampoo.

"Go to him" directs shampoo boy after brief shampoo.

Go to cool-looking guy with asymmetric-type cut that you see in gel adverts and leather jacket.

"Cut?" he asks

"Yes" I reply

"Layers?" he asks

"Okay!" I reply

And that is the end of our conversation. I sit in blissful silence for a half hour and trust him to give me a good cut (he has asymmetrical 'do so must know what he is doing, reasoned).

He gives me a good cut! And as if the experience couldn't get any better I was charged only 12 Euro!

I may still have a round face, but if I could make an appointment for next time I would!

You too can get a stress-free haircut from an achingly cool Chinese boy at: Via Carlo Alberto 39B. Vittorio Emanuele area.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Some of you may know me from a previous blog incarnation "Sour Grapes in Italy" in which I blogged (moaned) about having a broken leg. Then I ran out of steam, was put back on my feet and the blog trailed off into cyber-lonliness until I retrieved and destroyed it some time later. And I didn't even say goodbye! I apologise, but am now happy to put aside that miserable chapter of my life and commence with a new, more positive blog. I tried to think of a positive catchy grape expressions to continue the grape theme but nothing gave me grape inspiration (ha ha) so for now I have this rather "blah" title until I am struck by grape genius. Maybe a glass of wine will help.....