Saturday, 8 November 2008



It's been a long time since I blogged properly, I know. Obviously that's had a lot to do with the fact that we haven't had a computer to hand, but then it's just the weight of unreported events and the fact that it's harder these days to get a sufficiently long period of uninterrupted time to blog.


Let's start by saying that, as some of you may not yet know, we managed to get all of our data back, including photos. I thought of commenting on James' post about data backups, but I thought it might undercut the very sensible advice if I said it all turned out fine.

Also, now we have a computer of our own again – install Skype! Skype will let you talk to me for free through the internet, with futuristic-type webcam support, and I understand it's a relatively economical way of making international calls too, though that's a little more effort. Add monica_zagaglia as a contact.

Monday to Friday I have Italian lessons in the afternoons. It's not really the right level for me, but I tried the next one up, and that seemed too much. Still, it's all good practise, and learning Italian in Italian is mor of a challenge in itself. I'm getting closer to finishing the basic vocabulary in Mastering Italian Vocabulary, but it's definitely a bit of a slog. Monica's helping me now, by putting the words in Memorylifter for me. I'm not used to having a limited vocabulary.

Monica and I have been registering with Italian temping agencies. Quite a lot of them are international, so they all have the same names...

(Speaking of things that are the same here – they have Ready Steady Cook! It's a little bit odd. It was definitely ours first though. I checked on the credits and they got the rights from the BBC)

...Monica's had a few interviews, I haven't had any yet. Good old international financial crisis. The thing is, I suspect it wouldn't be particularly better if we headed back to England, job-wise. On the other hand, in England, Monica would be more employable. In Italy, employers are given tax breaks, or something like that, for employing the young, which is a lovely sentiment except that it results in discrimination against those over a certain age. Also, though Italian does have equal opportunity legislation, legislation doesn't count for much round here. Nothing is the way it should be, and there's a general attitude of discontented resignation. At quite a number of the job agencies we went to, they ask about your marital status and number of children. Monica, as a newlywed with no children, is a liability. Certain things really suck here.

I say that there's a general attitude of resignation here, but on the other hand, I've seen about as many strikes here since July as I remember seeing in England for my whole life. Italians love striking and demonstrating, it would appear, but I'm very sceptical about it here, whereas I do see the point in England. I imagine it's because the political system here is very messy – no wonder the mafia can p*ss about with it. Compared with the UK, there a more political parties than you can shake a stick at, and they all disagree with each other. It seems they're incapable of working together towards any kind of general consensus. I tried to ask the other day about pressure groups and lobbies, but I gather they don't really have them here. They have victims groups though. Practically every day there are stories of young people being run over by drunk and drugged drivers, but it's not enough to make a difference.

I think that's probably enough for now.