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Homelands: The Case for Open Immigration

10 Aug


In June, I wrote about the launch of Deca, a cooperative of award-winning journalists, and their extraordinary online success with a Kickstarter campaign that, in less than one month, raised more than double their original funding goal (a grand total of $32,627 against the original $15,000 goal).

I highlighted Deca not only because it’s an innovative model to showcase world-class writers at the top of their game, writing long form journalism that delves into the heart of important stories, but also because one of their members, Stephan Faris, is a local friend of mine. I can’t say enough about his writing talents, but I try here.

Deca’s second story and Stephen’s first piece with the cooperative came out on July 25 and is titled Homelands: The Case for Open Immigration.

Reading this piece did what I think really great journalism should do: it opened my mind, expanded my horizons, and inspired me to learn more, think more, and want to do more.

Honestly, have you ever considered the radical-sounding idea of a world where borders didn’t exist? A world without restrictions on immigration, where people wouldn’t be deported simply for trying to change countries, where people could freely choose the country that they wanted to be a citizen of, rather than it being a chance “fluke” of birth or happenstance?

These are questions and issues that are more than timely right now, and Stephan brings forth well-constructed arguments for the case, by skillfully weaving together his sources, which range from diplomats to families, politicians to philosophers, and of course, the immigrants themselves, including children.

In June, UK’s The Guardian reported on the refugee crisis in Italy in their piece Europe faces ‘colossal humanitarian crisis’ of refugees dying at sea.

Also in June, President Obama declared the surge of immigrants arriving at US borders a “humanitarian crisis.” More than 57,000 children have fled Central American countries and arrived at the US southern border since last October, according to this article in The Guardian.

The interest that was sparked by reading Stephan’s article led to me picking up a copy of the book The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging the Narcos on the Migrant Trail, which details the treacherous trip north through Mexico that Central American immigrants go through, including riding on top of a freight train known as the “train of death,” The Beast, La Bestia.

This is the power of journalism, especially when it is given free reign to delve deep into timely topics. It opens minds, educates, builds a case for revolutionary new ideas. I can’t speak highly enough about Stephan and the contribution that his reporting makes to this very relevant world issue.

To order Homelands: The Case for Open Immigration, click here (Kindle Single, $2.99).

From the Amazon page:

“As a child, Stephan Faris nearly failed to qualify for any country’s passport. Now, in a story that moves from South Africa to Italy to the United States, he looks at the arbitrariness of nationality. Framed by Faris’s meeting with a young orphan as a reporter in Liberia and their reencounter years later in Minnesota, Homelands makes the case for a complete rethinking of immigration policy. In a world where we’ve globalized capital, culture, and communications, are restrictions on the movement of people still morally tenable?

At a time when the immigration debate dominates the headlines, Homelands follows in the tradition of George Orwell’s “Marrakech” and, more recently, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s case for reparations in The Atlantic. Drawing on more than a decade of international reporting for magazines such as Time, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Atlantic, Faris takes readers on a ten-year journey along the borders separating war from peace in Liberia, opportunity from deprivation in Kenya, and safety from disaster today in the deadly waters off Lampedusa, an Italian holiday island that has become the scene of a refugee crisis. On the way, he uncovers a series of unsettling but ultimately redeeming parallels between modern immigration practices and the policies of South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Could we really have a world without borders? What would that look like? Based on dozens of interviews with philosophers and diplomats, aid workers and small-town mayors, and a cabinet member of South Africa’s last apartheid government, Faris’s work of fearless frontline journalism also functions as a kind of futurism. Confronting questions inflaming borders in California and Texas, France and Greece, Morocco and Spain, he takes us into the depths of one of the modern world’s most complex moral dilemmas—and returns with an answer.”


Italian Postal Logic

10 Apr

Poor Poste Italiane. No one likes them.

Every time I write anything about the good ol’ PT, I inevitably get a random Italian commenter who hasn’t ever read my blog before (and thus has no idea how adoring I truly am of my adopted country), but somehow landed on that one post where I get all complainy, and tries to defend the PT in the comments by suggesting in some creative and colorful form that if I don’t like it I can go back to my own damn country.

Ok, maybe not every time. But lots of times, anyways.

Maybe it was calling this post “Italian Postal Service I Hate You With All My Heart” that made some readers think I’m bitter and cynical. A bit over the top? I dunno. Perhaps.

Maybe it was the one called No stamps, this is the post office.

Maybe people just don’t appreciate quality sarcasm anymore. We’ve become so jaded, haven’t we? It’s too bad all our days can’t be filled with delightful post office banter like this.

Well, as you might already know, the Italian postal service (and here I use the term “service” very loosely) is a never-ending font of things to both ridicule and belittle.

And yet, today I don’t have any complaints to add, but rather a quiz (or as they say here in Italy, “queets”) question for you.

I need your help, as a matter of fact, because no matter how I try to wrap my brain around this one, it just keeps getting tied up in knots.

Please observe Exhibit A:


Besides the fact that this is an exceedingly rare moment in that there seems to be NO ONE in the post office (I promise you there were 10 people just a couple minutes later), have a look at “What’s Wrong in This Picture?”

Well, frankly, I hadn’t noticed it. But as I was waiting in line, the one line that was formed because the number machine was broken, I overheard a woman loudly say to an elderly lady approaching the counter: “You see?! There was a reason why they turned the chairs around!”

At which point, obviously, I look at the row of chairs and discover, in fact, that they are all facing with their backs to the “service” windows, when usually they are facing the windows. The usual chair configuration does actually make sense, really, when you take into consideration that if you have your back to the NUMERICAL DISPLAY you won’t be very likely to see YOUR NUMBER when it’s called. So, you know, number machine broken, maybe chairs must be turned around? Unless, well, ok, perhaps it could stay that way even when the number machine works, maybe if you were to hold up a compact mirror over your shoulder, and/or you are a single mom of three children under age ten like I am, at which point you would certainly have at least two, if not more, eyes in the back of your head like I do.

Anyways, herefore cometh O Wise Explanation to aforementioned conundrum, according to postal patron number one. However, before the big reveal, I’d like you to take a moment and try to guess why, using your own common sense and logic, according to postal patron number one (who I assumed received this pearl of wisdom directly from the postal clerk), the postal people decided it was a good idea to turn all those chairs around.

You got it? You got your guess ready? OK. So here’s what the woman said:

“You see, since there aren’t any numbers because the number machine is broken, and since we all have to form one line starting over there, well, the chairs are turned around so that way, if the line gets long, people can sit down in these chairs, like so.”

The old woman nodded, as if that somehow made perfect sense to her.

Perfect sense.

In my mind, a comment like that deserves only one thing, and that one thing is known in my world as the hashtag #WTF.

But, this is not my world, you see. Oh no, make no mistake about it: this is the Italian postal “service’s” world. I only live in it, occasionally stand in it for long periods of time, and most certainly never sit in it with my back to the service windows, even if they do make the effort to helpfully position the chairs in a way in which I could comfortably do so.

But why stop there, I ask myself. No, dear reader, bonus: I’d also like to let you know, that if you so desire, you can get dental insurance through the post office. Will you just look at how happy that toothpaste smiley-face man is about this proposition?


Dental Postalprotection: Smiling has never been so simple. (I want to kiss the copywriter who came up with that one, really, I do.)

But wait! There’s more!

There’s an entire CATALOG of randomness that you can buy through your post office. It’s even seasonal. This one is Spring 2014. That means there are four a year, people! YAY! Look how happy the family is, sitting as they are in front of a soccer match! You can even buy a flag! Weee!


Stamps? Pshaw, you silly! But a “Dual Motor Relax Recliner”? Oh now hellll yes. Now that we have, at the low, low price of just €449,90. (Postal geniuses, you’re not fooling anyone by taking 10 cents off. We’re totally onto you and your reclining chair scheming.)


That is, unless you prefer the collar massager for 10 cents short of €55.

We’ll even make it super easy for you with a loan on one of our pre-paid debit cards: “The loan that recharges your desire for shopping.” Yes. Because we’re the post office. That’s what we do, you see.


You know what though? Shit. I’m usually not one of those “Americans Do It Better” kind of girls, but in this particular instance, I just have to get on out there and say it loud, say it proud: when it comes to useless products, AIN’T NOBODY like us here Americans.

Don’t believe it? Just try me:

(If I had been drinking milk I am fairly certain it would have come out of my nostrils from laughter at 2:15. Nice perm, BTW.)

Ok, fine. I hear you though. You’re saying, “Oh Shelley, PT is such an easy target. Move on already.” Which makes me think of an Italian phrase that I simply adore. It goes like this: “E’ come sparare sulla Croce Rossa.” We Americans say something like, “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel,” (naturally, of course, because all Americans carry at least one gun on their person at ALL TIMES), but the Italians say, “It’s like shooting at the Red Cross.” God I love that phrase. [And, by the way and just so you know, Mythbusters confirmed that shooting fish in a barrel is, in fact, easy to do.]

And before you dismiss my humble blog as pulp fodder for the ignorant masses, I’ll have you know that this dude at Yahoo questions wanted to know “Why do they say it’s like shooting at the Red Cross?” and some benevolent soul took the time to respond that the GENEVA CONVENTION prevents shooting at health workers in war zones, so it’s like attacking someone who’s defenseless and can’t fight back. Another helpful know-it-all says that it was common to bomb Red Cross encampments in war zones in all the wars post-1864 (when the Red Cross was founded). In any case, if you need a real-life, in-context textual/visual demonstration of this expression, I direct you here. I will not, can not, put a picture of Britney Spears’s buttocks on my blog. Not gan do it, not at this juncture, wun’t be prudent…

Today I had to go to the post office to pay a bill (naturally) so I decided it would also be a good occasion to mail a letter I needed to mail. A real, honest-to-God, thank you card, from a box of US stationery I had sent over from Papyrus via my ex-husband’s luggage with a real, honest-to-God stamp on it. I kid you not when I tell you that I went to the tobacconist before the post office, so I could purchase a real stamp. As I hand over the card, I am careful to bring to the clerk’s attention: “It already has a stamp on it.”

The guy behind the counter takes my letter, stares at it, turns it over a few times in his hands, marveling. (He was marveling, I swear to you, it was unmistakable.)

I was like: “What? It’s a letter.”

And he goes: “That’s a beautiful thing.”

Indeed, my friend, it is. Indeed it is.

Pre-Fabricated Italian Diet

19 Jul

There are plenty of great Rome food blogs, many of which are run by people I am very proud and humbled to call friends and acquaintances.

Alas, this is not one of them.

And so it is, without a shred of indignity, that I give you my latest supermarket discoveries and thus evidence to prove that Italians love convenience just as much as the next guy. No shame in my game. Call me on it, I’ll admit it. I’m your big-box Walmart with endless parking in a sea of Nordstrom blogs about Rome. It’s all good. Hell, I nearly killed myself last night carrying my daughter to bed by tripping over a round pillow strategically left by my son in front of his door when I was carrying her out. I hardly have time to shower, for the love of God! I’m a mess! And yet—yet. I care about my readers enough to be the asshat that takes a picture of this package in the dairy section of my corner supermarket:


Proudly proclaiming “New,” it’s the folks at Buitoni giving us another reason to abandon the joys of homemade pasta, kneaded on Sunday from scratch. You know the type, where you put the big pile of flour on your counter and crack a few eggs in a welled-out space in the middle and presto-change-o, freshly made pasta! (I do, because my Roman ex-husband used to actually do this for fun, and we loved it. I bought him a little hand-cranked Imperia to make pasta and it was good times, let me tell you. Try it, honestly it’s not that hard.)

You know, you Americans across the pond might have your “Boboli Italian Breadshell,” but hey! Over here we’ve got Buitoni’s ready-to-make ravioli. Hell yeah, people! 16 pre-cut discs just waiting for you to stuff them into delicious oblivion. [Post-script: I get that these aren’t pre-made discs of pasta all’uovo to make in water. An astute reader pointed this out to me. I call them ravioli by mistake, referring to the fact that they’re mini. They are DOUGH to STUFF for cooking in the oven, a pan, or frying in oil. Aka CALZONI or PANZAROTTI. That being said, please put all your food corrections, observations, or upturned noses in the comments, as again, this is not a food blog therefore I am not qualified to debate the merits of different types of pasta).

Now, I’ll be honest with you. My kids wouldn’t touch the things. Preschoolers with a palate, Dio mio. Which means I ate like 10 of them. Threw my diet into a tailspin, yes indeedy! I don’t think Weight Watchers has this in their points system. Let it be said that I don’t recommend you try any of this at home. That’s why I’m here.

I do so love the package. It’s very DIY.


Here it tells us that we can either make them into mini fried ravioli (like mini calzoni, really) and fry ’em up in a hot pan of oil for 2 minutes, or, perhaps more sensibly, bake them in the oven for 10 minutes. I made mine into those little gift bag-looking shapes. Really, all that was missing was a tomato-red ribbon tied around the top. Maybe that’s why my kids didn’t eat them.

And, who said we don’t have bacon over here? Move over bacon, here’s something leaner more Italian called fette di pancetta affumicata!


This for me is rather epic. Since when do Italians sizzle some sliced bacon and serve it up on a plate next to a pair of fried eggs? Since, um, never, as far as I know. I found this randomly placed on top of a package of gnocchi. Like, someone had it in their cart and then had a last minute change of heart and just slyly threw it back in the dairy case on top of a random bag of gnocchi. *no one saw that!*

Now, here’s a kind of a weird yet fun thing that Coca-Cola has going on right now. Don’t ask me to explain it. They just think they’re cute by printing something like “Share your Coca-Cola with…” and then a name, or some cutesy phrase like “il tuo tesoro” – your sweetheart, etc.


Personally, if they think that’s going to make me buy more Coca-Cola (they don’t say “Coke” around here), well then, they’re sorely mistaken. Because I’ll tell you what: I turned around every damn bottle in that there fridge and none—and by that I mean NOT A ONE—had the name “Shelley” on it. Humph! (Does anyone ever really use that word/phrase in real life, or is it just written to show haughty dismay? This is clearly a completely irrelevant side question. Discuss amongst yourselves.)

But folks, let’s be honest here. When it comes to pre-packaged “Mediterranean” foods, no one does convenience—or Italian stereotyping, for that matter—like the U.S. advertising industry.

Witness “hot sexy Italian man-chef” stereotype:

Witness “grown boy-man totally dominated by overbearing Italian mamma” stereotype:

Witness “Italian before the dawn of the P.C. era” advertising strategy: (and might I add here, oh dear God)

So, you know. We Americans love our Italian imports. Then again, let’s be fair. Bet y’all Americans out there didn’t know there’s this overblown Southern good ol’ boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee who became famous in ads over here in the 80s by hawking Lipton iced tea with an unbearably thick American accent in Italian? No, seriously. Italians asking me if I know all about the mythic Dan Peterson and I’m like, WHO THE FUCK is this Dan Peterson guy, and they look at me like I’ve been living under a rock my whole entire LIFE.

Ah, yes. Just stick with me, kids. I’ll teach you everything you need to know.


Taste the rainbow

10 May

Inspired by “panthropologist” Moscerina, I continue my documentation of subjects in the wild.

It’s pretty easy to be stealthy in the urban jungle when you take a picture with your crappy cell phone camera like I do. I just pretend to be checking my messages while holding the phone steady like a camera. Do you think they’re catching on? I don’t. Not yet, anyways.

So check out dude in the yellow corduroys on my bus yesterday. Aw. I almost wanted to give him a big, bright, sunshine-y hug for his audacity in putting these pants on. Gotta love it. In fact I actually ended up sitting next to him on the bus, so I got to admire his heavy blue-ish tweed jacket too, in 70+ temps. God bless the man!

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Then we have Mr. Blue Shoes. Kind of makes me want to start tap dancing and doing jazz hands or something.

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Actually I think these would more accurately qualify for a red velvet “smoking jacket” ala Hugh Hefner. Even though they kind of look like fancy-shmancy Tods driving mocassins with all those lil’ cleats on the bottom. Posh.

Hey–tangent–do you know the real meaning of posh? I do. One of my British supervisors at an English-language school taught me. It means, supposedly:

‘Posh’ derives from the ‘port out, starboard home’ legend supposedly printed on tickets of passengers on P&O (Peninsula and Orient) passenger vessels that travelled between UK and India in the days of the Raj. Another version has it that PO and SH were scrawled on the steamer trunks used on the voyages, by seamen when allocating cabins. Britain and India are both in the northern hemisphere so the port (left-hand side) berths were mostly in the shade when travelling out (easterly) and the starboard ones when coming back. So the best and most expensive berths were POSH, hence the term.

But then this site goes on to say how that’s not true. So, whatever. Just another useless piece of trivia for you. Yeah, don’t mention it. I’m good for tons of crap like that. We writers are full of useless, trivial information, aren’t we?

But back to our pretty rainbow. Let’s round it out with the grand finale, the stealthily-captured red pants moment. Girl in red pants! Usually it’s men but this time we find a female specimen!

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My poor, unsuspecting victims.

Go out and work your red pants magic! ‘Tis the season!

The Story of Leggerezza

8 May

The story of leggerezza begins … well, I don’t really know where it begins, exactly. All I know is that it ends in a tattoo on my upper arm, about t-shirt sleeve length and width, inked on my the weekend of my 35th birthday in Amsterdam by easily the world’s best tattoo artist EVER (Marco Serio I heart you, yes I do!) and designed by the world’s best friend and best artist EVER (Ele my dear you are the one for me!).

Folks, what can I say? In June I will mark eleven years since I first came to Rome. That’s a lot of time in my world.

Ten years with the man I met on the first day in the city, a fairly smooth divorce—if that’s not too much of an oxymoron—and a now on-really-good-terms parenting relationship, as we are in fact parents to three, yep count ’em!, three, kids. A four year old and TWIN two year olds. Many of you who know me already know all that.

But wait!!

As in all compelling informercials, as well as in life: there’s more!

An almost-completed MSW back in the States, a string of really interesting jobs including youngest director ever of one my former organization’s study abroad centers (the one here in Rome), stints in kundalini yoga, Buddhist zen meditation, and courses in astrology, Spanish, and “natural” childbirth.


A love for Yogi Tea, not enough time to continue zazen (but to be continued…), a fairly good grasp of what it means to have Sun in Taurus conjunct Mercury in the 11th house forming a T-square with Saturn and Uranus (in short, it’s not easy), the ability to politely say “oiga!” in Spain to get someone’s attention, and two C-sections resulting in three children. So, as with all great expectations, some turn out, some don’t. I figure I’m par for the course.

Successfully starting, managing, and then closing my own business due to a move back to the States, and having to start all over again, for the nth time, at just 30 years old.

Enjoying a rooftop garden house for years in the heart of old Trastevere, living in a shoebox shared student apartment without enough water pressure to even rinse my hair, a hellish hospital stay post-birth here in Rome, getting a second driver’s license at 26 and learning how to drive in a way that purposely ignores most of the rules of the road.

Learning to loosen up, accept life as it comes, and above all, realizing that very little of that which makes up this life is actually under my direct control. And that being, all things considered, not such a bad thing. And that life, all things considered, shouldn’t be taken quite as seriously as I often take it.

Someone who played a very pivotal role in my life here in Rome was once telling me about all of his woes. Since I tend to be silly and sarcastic with the people I enjoy, I started making light of it. He looked kind of upset. I said, “Hey, lighten up. I’m just trying to bring a bit of leggerezza into your life.”

He said that leggerezza is one of the most beautiful words in Italian, both for its meaning (“lightness” — it always makes me think about taking things lightly and less seriously, the epitome of our “lighten up” phrase in English) as for the fact that physically, when you pronounce it, since it has a double “Z” you are practically forced to smile when you say it.

I found all of that quite poetic, and even if it was contrived, I didn’t care. I knew that was going to be my new key word for the forseeable future. Leggerezza. Yes, I like that.

And so, there you have it. My word, my artists, and lest we forget, my beloved swallow:

In addition to indicating that a sailor had sailed 5000 miles, swallows are also associated with the idea of return. This “return” symbolism is rooted in two ideas. The first was the swallow’s famous migration pattern, always returning home to San Juan Capistrano. Second, it was believed that if a sailor dies at sea, birds carry his soul home to heaven.

(Thank you Sailor Jerry!)

So, to mark my return trip, my logging of 5000 miles and then some, and my overall journey in general, I got inked. In Italian, in Amsterdam, by a New Yorker, who also is Portuguese, and did a stint in a tattoo shop just around the bend from the illustrious correctional facilty at Rikers Island. It’s like six degrees of tattoo geography. And all without one shred of regret.

And no, it did not hurt. (You try raising three kids ages 4, 2, and 2, and then come back and tell me if you think a tattoo hurts. No? I didn’t think so.)

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Me before it all began. Don’t I look nervously happy? Yes, indeedy!

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That’s what a stencil looks like, folks. Just so you know. You can still run away screaming at this point, without any permanent markings.

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Yes, needles were involved. Three for the outline and eight simultaneously for the coloring-in. Delirious fun and laughter was had by all.

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Just cool smeared ink is all.

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No, that’s not blood, you silly! It’s red ink!

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Don’t let tattoo-haters try to talk you out of your first tattoo by being all “OHMYGAWD it’s going to be so painful and so red and irritated and blah blah frickin blah blah.” Um, hi. I have like the world’s most sensitive skin and this was about as gory as it got. This is literally like moments after it was finished. Yeah, there’s like a couple drops of blood. Deal.

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Just another satisfied customer. All in a day’s work! xoxo Marco!

Social media acronyms in Italian

1 Apr

Seeing as how I have too much free time on my hands, what with being a divorced mamma of three kids, working full time, and trying to achieve world peace while simultaneously recycling, I will now attempt to translate common texting and social media acryonyms from their olde English usage into modern-day Italian.

This curious phenomenon is also known in layman’s terms as insomnia.

Whew. What an introduction, folks!

So, let’s get down to business. Why is it that I can say LOL in English (actually I don’t say LOL because that would be weird, plus truly I despise the acronym LOL almost as much as I hate Hello Kitty, but that’s an entirely different story) but you can’t find a corresponding acronym in Italian? Yes, these are things that go on in my brain. This will not come as any surprise to Finny Knits, who knows me from our college days and will fondly recall membership in a club I created in the college newsroom called “PWBATTCCA” (pronounced “pwabattcca”) which roughly translates to “people who bitch about things they can’t change anyways.”

*Pauses for a moment while cartoon lightbulb magically appears over head.*

OMG. I do believe this was a sign from heaven that I was going to one day settle in Italy. Truly, this is the country of PWBATTCCA. I live in the PWBATTCCA homeland, people! Is this is what Jung meant when he talked about synchronicity?

And yet, I digress.

Where is the glossary providing me with the Italian equivalents of our precious acronyms? What’s that, you say? It doesn’t exist? Well then, let me get straight to work.

In no particular order, I give you:

Shelley’s List of Completely Non-Existent Acronyms in Italian for Usage in Text Communications, Social Media Applications, and Everyday Speech
(last application is for use at your own risk)

There’s a list in English that truly boggles the mind. BCBG? After show party? And yet, we also have Spanish ADM. See, I’m not the only one with too much free time on my hands. Allow me to choose a select few.

LOL = laughing out loud. RAV = ridendo ad alta voce (I see no reason for two A’s, do you?)
ROTFL = rolling on the floor laughing. RPTR = rotolando per terra ridendo

At which point someone might say STFU = shut the f$/% up. SZC = stai zitto/a, ca$(%

BTW = by the way. AP = a proposito

WTF = what the f$/%. CCE = che ca%$£ è

IMHO = in my humble opinion. SLMO = secondo la mia modesta opinione

TY = thank you. GZ = grazie

Truly, that’s about the extent of my acronym usage. Let’s not forget that one is only a tween once.

But, just in case you need this handy expression also listed on the enlightening English glossary I ran across online, here’s your moment of Zen:

IAGSMSOL I am getting some money sooner or later

QFQCDC = quando finisce questo ca£$/% di crisi?

Italiani, voi mi capite.

China Meets Rome

21 Mar

In a spectacular cross-cultural phenomenon, most—if not all—of the “5 and dime” stores in Rome called casalinghi that sell just about everything but the kitchen sink (and probably that as well), are owned by Chinese immigrants. That means there’s just a whole lot of “Made in China” goodness, which personally, I never seem to tire of.

That’s why I feel compelled to share the love with you today. I went to the shop by my house for a toilet seat. Get this: you see, I broke it while sitting on the top while my kids were having a bath, and then when my housemate and I were looking for one of the pieces to put it back together, I noticed that my son didn’t flush the toilet, so I flush it, and at that exact moment my housemate jumps up going “I found it!” and then somehow it flew out of her hand and swirled down the massively powerful Italian flush machine. (Seriously, if you’ve never experienced an Italian flush produced by one of those silver buttons that you have to slam your hand down on like 5 times hard to get it to go, you honestly have never seen a REAL toilet flush before.) So then we had our Dumb & Dumber moment: “Do I stick my hand into the flushing toilet to search for it? Or not?!” Well, being Dumb and Dumber, we both tried, laughing our heads off, and neither of us succeeded.

Which brings me to my toilet seat shopping story.

Anyhoo, I found my toilet seat. That’s not really the point of this post. The point is: if you ever need an eyelash curler in Rome, I know where you should go.

And I’m not talking eyelash curler like that silver torture-looking device that most women (myself included) use.


No, siree!

I’m talking about the sophisticated (and fuschia-colored) “Made in China” version known as the MICRO touch that apparently actually HEATS up with simple magic produced by one double-A battery.

Heat and my eyelashes? Oh honey, not gonna happen. You have no idea how clumsy I am. Unless you know the real story of how I got a black eye for two weeks and nine stitches around my right eye.

But you might want to try:

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And, nota bene, this little bugger now has “50% MORE POWER” and “Now with Built-In Light!”

You know, just in case you were wondering. You’re welcome.