Monday, February 28, 2011

Blessed be this house

Well the selection narrowed us down to three choices. Number one on the list didn't answer the phone to us (her loss, we decided) so the winner was contestant number two, Brazilian Paulo. I hope he turns out alright, he was heavily pushed by me as he gave off a strong aura of 'boy next door' niceness and had a whiff of geek about him. I do love me a good geek. My housemate Cristina was a little disappointed that we appear to have the only non-stunningly attractive Brazilian man in Brazil coming to live with us, but I think after the initial shock (ok I'll admit it, I was half-hoping for a bronzed god too) she came round to the idea.

I reckon Paulo will be happy here though seeing as our house was blessed this evening. Yes, for the bargain price of three euros (voluntary offering but I wouldn't suggest not giving, you wouldn't want to risk it) the priest came and said a prayer in our dingy hallway and waved a silver baton around at us. I'm not a catholic so am not familiar with these routines, but luckily Cristina was on hand to intervene when I answered the door to the local priest and just sort of stood there looking confused and gormless while he explained that he was here to do an 'easter blessing' on the house. Then my other housemate (the German one who's leaving) joined us, and there were two of us looking gormless while the priest and Cristina went about doing signs of the cross and waving batons. She then left me to practice my conversational skills and ran off to collect some change, placing it in the don's hand before thanking him profusely and gently ushering him out the door. She closed the door, rolled her eyes almost imperceptibly but otherwise didn't bat an eyelid, and went to return what she had been doing, only explaining after I physically stopped her and demanded to know just what exactly had just happened. All in a day's work for an Italian.

Monday, February 21, 2011

"The selection"

Well the weekend passed uneventfully and my cold passed of its own accord without the need for antibiotics I'm happy to say. I have a couple of days off before heading to England for 5 days and since the bf is in the middle of exams and is often physically and almost always mentally unavailable I have been left to my own devices. This is probably a good thing however as my diplomatic skills are needed at home where we are 'selecting' a new housemate (this is a rigorous and strictly observed process and you need to have gone through at least 2 Italian houseshares to fully comprehend how to do it).

As well as an advanced degree in housemate selection, diplomacy is needed because my housemates have inexplicably fallen out over the course of the last 6 months (while I've been at work they've been at home studying and getting themselves worked up over all sorts of imagined slights that I've then had to hear about on my return from work). Result is I'm acting as intermediary in the organisation and selection process. So far we've had one guy who made the comment "so, we can organise that I cook and you two clean seeing as you're girls". Err, no thanks buddy. We've had another guy who keeps phoning with random questions about the wardrobe dimensions or similar but won't confirm that he's interested or even that he wants a second look around. We've had three no-shows. And today we had a nice French girl who we hope beyond all hope will call back with a yes. We're sort of desperate; there are only 7 days until the room has to be occupied by a new housemate. And the UN representative (me) is leaving the day after tomorrow. Therefore tomorrow evening is decision time. Let's see if the selection has been effective or if we're left chasing the fish we rejected and threw back into the sea.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Buona vacanza, maestra"

So, another school holiday, another stonking great cold. All through term time no matter how many noses running with luminous green toxic-looking stuff I wipe, no matter how many times during lunch hour some kid sneezes directly into my plate of pasta, I resist. As soon as I wave the kids off for the hols I'm snuffling like a pig and losing my voice.

Yesterday was the last day of school and most of the children will now be setting off on their 'settimana bianca', a skiing week up in the North of Italy. The mums turned up to collect the children already dresssed for the holidays, with furs and buoncy blow-drys, trilling 'buona vacanza maestra' as they waltzed out the door. The nannies, on the other hand looked glum and didn't wish anyone a happy holiday, grimly anticipating the week of hard work ahead.

I told my boyfriend on the phone last night that I couldn't see him becasue I'd got a bad cold and didn't fancy going out. This morning on his way to meet a friend he turns up at my house with a worried expression clutching orange juice and chocolate. Ah, gotta love the Italian hypochondria. "It's only a cold, I'm not bedridden!" I told him (but obviously took the goodies anyway). Oh, and the other thing he brought round? Antibiotics. Prescribed to him. He made me promise I'd take them. Think I might do what my cheeky grandma used to do and chuck them down the toilet.