Thursday, 29 May 2008

Naples is a dirt sheet of paper...

As a song by Pino Daniele say, at that time, when Pino wrote this verse couldn't imagine that one day our city would have lived stark and difficult moments like the ones we are living now.
Every body knows about the dreadful emergency linked to the rubbish issue in Naples, a lasting problem which still lacks a definitive and reasonable solution.
At the moment our prime minister have forced the local administration (majors) to build up new dumps and landfills and given off punishment (up to one year in jail) for the protesters, but the people don't give up.
Surrounded by the rubbish and with the summer coming up it will be hard to get rid of this situation if we don't make a decision, we'll be up against the wall.
The city is currently cleaned up because we 're sending our rubbish to Germany, there has been an agreement signed up on the fly.
In the meanwhile some public officers are arguing whatever or not build new landfill in Chiaiano.
Chiano is a small neighbourhood of Naples in which it might be possible to create a landfill but the local people reject it arguing that the place where the landfill or dump should be built up is in front of one most important hospital of Naples.
The rumour says that besides this there is, as usual, the hand of "sistema" (names of Neapolitan mafia) who would use those areas to build new houses, in other words it prefers the black market of house building.
Since I was born, I've never seen a such upsetting situation and sometimes it seems no real; yesterday my father told me about his holiday in Tunisia two years ago, where he saw rubbish piles everywhere, he wasn't surprised about this, in somehow he expected that unhappy spectacular but he can't believe the same thing is happening in our city.
Where should we dump all this rubbish? Every time a new place is designated as feasible candidate but the local people and researchers struggle against the building of landfill.
It's no longer the time to protest, we can't keep on burning tonnes of refuse every day (do you know that dioxin in the fly ash is more dangerous than the rubbish from which it comes after burning?) we have to find a solution and vow for a clever waste management system.
I leave you with Napule' è by Pino Daniele, the famous song from whose verse I was inspired to write this post... I wish we would be better

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The pronunciation that you like

When I speak in English, ops it's better to say when I barely speak in English I always focus my attention on the "stress" and pronunciation of words (despite this I make some horrible mistakes but this is another story..)
Anyway I've noticed that many words in English has two way of pronouncing, for instance the words "either", "schedule", "tomato" and so on.
For a while I got frustrated from this because I needed to learn the same words but with more pronunciations, it was quite stressing, sometimes I hardly remember the word !!
I made my decision when I come across words that have more than one way of speaking I'll choose the easiest and who cares if it can be a reason for making fuss in my future like George and Ira Gershwin sung in their "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off""!!

Friday, 16 May 2008

For the Swdens we are not an european country !!

I've read this funny article and I want to share it with you, a question is rising:
Are the Swedish people so ignorant or the Italians are completely ignored by anyone?

Is Italy in the EU? - A Swedish ID card farce

Is Italy in the European Union or have I just imagined the last fifty years of my country's history? This unusual question has sprung to mind on several occasions recently when I have been in contact with Swedish customer service.

A few months ago I applied for an Ica card at my local supermarket. The girl at reception stared for ten long minutes at my Italian national ID card searching for the Swedish personal identification number, unwilling to understand that she was never going to find it on a non-Swedish document.

She was greatly surprised when she asked to see my passport and I answered that I did not have it with me.

"And how did you enter Sweden without a passport?" she wondered.

I did not know if it was better to explain to her that it is possible to travel from Italy to Sweden with just a national ID, or if I had to tell her that actually I did not come directly from Italy to Ica, but have in fact lived in Sweden for a year and had just come from home where there is no passport control at the door.

Recently I tried to buy a bed at Ikea in Uppsala. There was an offer for payment over 12 months without interest. This time I came prepared: I had with me both an official document stating my personal identification number and my Italian passport.

But the guy at the customer service desk refused to let me apply for the offer.

"You do not have a valid ID". Referring to my Italian passport, he stated: "This is not a valid passport, since it does not have the personal identification number".

Of course I tried to explain him that a foreign passport will never include a Swedish personnummer, to which he retorted: "If you do not have it in the passport, it means that you do not have it, thus you are not eligible".

So I showed him, again, my ID document from the tax office and his answer was: "Well, if you have a personnummer, just go and get a Swedish passport".

At this point I asked to speak to a supervisor. The guy phoned his supervisor and told him he had a problem with a customer (me) who had a passport "that he claims to be from Italy".

Finally I was able to talk to the supervisor. But he had some bad news for me.

"I am sorry, we cannot offer you the 12 month rate since you are not an EU citizen". Try as I might I could not convince him that Italy actually is a member of the EU.

I decided there and then that it was finally time to get a Swedish ID card.

Since I am a customer of Nordea bank I decided to call their customer service to find out how to get the card. A nice woman told me to take the following with me to my bank: an ID document from the tax office, a personal picture of specific size and features, my Italian passport and 350 kronor.

Along I went to my local branch and presented all the requested documents. The first answer I got was: "We do not provide this service anymore".

Not being in the least surprised at this stage, I informed them that the customer service had expressly told me, just a couple of days before, that they do provide this service.

The second answer was quite funny: "Do you have a Swedish ID? You'll need one to get a Swedish ID."

"Of course not, I am here to get one."

The third answer brought me right back to Ikea: "I am sorry, you have only an Italian passport and you are not an EU citizen. We cannot provide this service to non-EU citizens".

The front page of my passport bears the words: "Unione Europea, Repubblica Italiana". On the second page this is translated into all 27 languages of the Union.

Despite this, I had to explain once more that Italy was one of the founders in 1957 of what today is the European Union and that Sweden joined it only 38 years later (in 1995).

However it took another half hour, the advice of a supervisor, and the signature of my Swedish-citizen girlfriend (with her ID), to fill out all the forms necessary to obtain the elusive ID card.

They told me that I should receive it in a couple of weeks. I really hope so. Meanwhile I have now been waiting five months for my Ica card.

And I haven't bought that Ikea bed yet.

Friday, 9 May 2008

To use the translator or the dictionary: that is the question!

When you learn a new language, one of the problems to face is to understand the original meaning of the words.
In early times, when you're still a freshman, you take your translator and find out the meaning of the desired word, but I think it's a solution only for the meanwhile, because as well as the translator are, they can't make in our native language the original meaning of the word and sometimes they can't provide any valid translation.
To sort "this problem" out I have been adopting an easy and efficient solution.
First I look up in the dictionary and if the meaning isn't quite clear, I take a look at the translator too.
The point is you have to learn the meaning of the word and do not translate them.
what do you think about?

Surfing on Internet I found two useful tools: MSN DICTIONARY and WORD REFERENCE.
MSN Dictionary is an online dictionary with a good word search engine, which helps you when you spell the word badly, in addition it also provides the pronunciation of the searched word.

WORD REFERENCE has more features than MSN, indeed it can work as translator for different languages (e.g from Italian to English, French to English and so on), like MSN Dictionary it gives you the pronunciation but it has an unique characteristic: you can suggest an own your definition, which will be discussed in a properly forum.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Tales about bad luck

In the morning while I was studying I heard my mother say: be careful with this mirror !
Handle it with attention ! because if it falls down we have to expect seven years of bad luck!!
These words reminded me of the unusual platitudes and traditions that we have about bad luck.
For instance we are also afraid of walking under a ladder or a black cat which crosses the street while we are driving our car.
I think that all of them come from old and scary tales.
For example concern about the black cat's story I suppose I know its origin.

In the Middle Ages, people used coaches pulled by horses. At night the horses weren't able to see the black cats but could feel them pass near their feet so they got scared and started to make trouble as consequence the people seated in the coach got frightened.
I don't know if these stories are widely spread only in Naples or in the other Italian cities too, but I'm quite sure: the bad luck is everywhere :)
Do you know similar stories?

Thanks to Zsofia for correcting me

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Where is puntino ?

Hi folks

I haven't forgotten of you, but in this period I'm really busy with my studies.
I promise to write back soon, in the meanwhile enjoy this movie (with English subtitles) about my city.
See you soon :)

Thanks to Gigi for this video


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