(Aka Betting on everything)
No, I didn’t go to Las Vegas this weekend, I just tried to find a song that could be the right blend of retro style and give the idea of today’s topic: sport. You may say that Viva Las Vegas is nothing about sport, but wait to see where this is going before judging. Today I want to talk to my friends that play sports other than soccer, but still outside and in company. Although I recognize darts as a noble sport and I admire the perseverance of chess players, I will focus on real sport, not bar stuff.
In my long quest for the sport I was talented into when I was I kid I practiced almost every kind of activity involved movement and some kind of athletic preparation. As I writing on a blog about this, you can recognize how this didn’t go in the predicted direction. I was talented in nothing. I could barely walk on a straight line and I was just too lazy. I hated my father for bringing me to soccer games, for throwing me in the water, for making me wear a ridiculous karate outfit. I share a wall of my house with a tennis field inItaly, and I basically grew up between red clay and bouncing yellow balls that every day invade my garden. Kids hit balls too hard and they fly into my garden, I think I would have something like one million balls if I didn’t bring them back every day by now.
Anyway I couldn’t play tennis either, and finally my father gave up, he allowed me to go down my way. I regretted so much this decision, sometimes I think how good I could have become if I had trained hard when I was a kid. Probably I would have been no better than how I am now, and I do suck, believe me. Maybe not very much at soccer, but still one of the lowest levels. During a discussion in a bar with a dear friend of mine, where I was showing all my misogyny and my unmotivated willingness to start an argument not really meaning it, I have been challenged by this girl to play tennis. I bragged about the fact that when I was eight I had thirteen classes of tennis and, since I am a man, I clearly had the victory in my hands.
Later that day I found out she was something like an NCAA champion and I had difficulties to even move my arms. Not a good sign for the challenge. The bet was not just about the glory that would have come after the victory, not about the infinite glory and respect that the winner would have earned by slapping the opponent, but something extremely tangible. If I lose the bet, I will have to dress up like Super Mario (stereotypes at go-go) and run acting like him (so jumping, breaking bricks, sliding into pipes where possible) from central park to 42nd street and Broadway,Times Square. That is actually full of weirdos, so I don’t care so much, but the stain of the lost bet will remain forever. If I win, which everyday seems a less likely scenario, she would have to prepare lunch, clean, dinner, clean again the whole house for twenty-four hours. My house is hyper clean but I will figure out something.
InNew Yorkto play outdoor sports you basically need a permit. You can obtain permits in three ways: by visiting the website of NYC Parks and Recreation, and submit you request through their forms (fifteen bucks for an hour); in this way you can sit on your ass as most of New Yorkers like to do and wait around twenty days to receive it. I totally don’t recommend you this solution, you will wait forever to get it and probably you won’t be in the right mood after waiting more than three weeks. The second way is to go to their offices in Upper West and take the permit right away and the last one is order them by mail which in 2012 is the equivalent of sending the request through smoke signals or leave your message attached to a pigeon.
I give you a tip they don’t give you in the site: inCentral Parkfield they have a stand that sells the permits, just go there with your stuff and ask for a permit, this will save you time and you will probably have the chance to play right away. And another tip, if you live next to Chelsea neighbourhood go next to Pier 40, the tennis fields next to that are free of charge and don’t require a permit to play, they work on a first come first served basis. There are just three fields and they are unbelievably crowdie during the weekends, but it’s worth a try, especially if you go after work.
The bet was on in April, and yesterday it was the day. The appointment was at noon at the fields, and she got there with a half an hour delay on the schedule, clearly trying to make me nervous, she got scared of me, I am sure. When she came there was a long line and doing our calculation we saw we would have needed to stay more than two hours there before the first field, and we decided, sadly as I was ready to smash some feminists, to move the bet another day, probably tomorrow after work.
Ah check out the article a friend of mine wrote about the (apparently) existing permits business. I have seen how this is happening, and i don’t appreciate it not even a bit. (click)
Anyway if you want to play tennis go here and you will find all the fields and the permits informations, same thing if you want to play soccer go here. I will keep you posted on my future and on the bet, which is disturbing my nights: what will I ask her to prepare me?
(Permits management it’s too complicated, I want to go back to the origins, the old fashioned and traditional grass field with no borders)
(Aka The reunion)
Sorry if it has been such a long time since the last time I wrote on this blog, but many, really many things happened these days. The problem is that many things will still happens in the next ones so I pretty don’t know when I could start again writing periodically and with a certain stability. But I mean, I am not the New York Times so I don’t see who would get mad for this. As I was telling you before I have no idea of what I will be doing next and beside the Harvard stuff I told you these days tons of possibilities came out. Not all of them will bring me to a shiny offer but who knows.
Anyway coming back to my absence these days, I spent my time basically working slightly harder than usual and most important thing my parents and some friends came. My family and the family of a friend of my family came last week and I had the chance to see them after a period of three months I spent here. Seems yesterday that I came, but I can’t remember not even what I ate yesterday for dinner. (Actually I had sausages).
I am a planner, I am extremely rational and I am one of those like to have control on things. Even on object on tables, I panic if I don’t see that they are straight parallel to the edge of the table or the food I buy is not aligned when it comes close to supermarkets cash registers. That kind of paranoid. And I made a plan, a detailed useful plan I used to take my family around New York and make them see and taste every single attraction and interesting place the city has to offer, obviously with my New Yorkers eyes (I beg you pardon New Yorkers, but my family has never been in the States nor they speak English, so I look like the Queen of England to them) (not that I speak English so good as you can see).
My family came here on the fifth of April and stayed for six days, I had to prepare a plan that could split the city into different areas that could be visited by walking or at least by cab, as my family doesn’t like particularly to walk around, and New York is extremely windy these days, making outdoor excursion less enjoyable. I tried to put everything could be interesting inside, but as I told you and as I repeat you, it’s almost impossible even think to see the whole city in six days. I did my best, they enjoyed my efforts and left the city with that little bit of sadness that hits everyone that has to leave a friend you make during summer, or a bar with a two dollars happy hours.
I am posting my precious program to this post, hoping that someone of you reading this post could use my program to greet your family when they come to visit you, when they offer you the last money you need to survive or propose to buy you groceries at Trader Joe’s. The friend of my father coming to NY is tall and big, and loves to eat even more than I do so I had to focus my attention on places that could attract him and make him try the American and foreign cuisine that stole my heart when I came here. I am aware that maybe the best way to try everything and taste the best food in NY is street food and food trucks, but my parents wanted to sit in a comfortable place at least to eat.
We went from east to west, fromHarlemto South Ferry and I tried to show them everything, from Gospel to the superclassic Statue of Liberty. Check it below and if you like it or you want a pdf copy of it let me know so I can send it to you. I started to write again finally, I promise I will keep up a regular job from next week!
(The first evening, how could you not like it?)
(Aka Philly Cheese Steak Lovers on tour)
It is actually the first time we all travel together, my and my friends, as we planned to go to Boston for Saint Patrick’s Day but in the end we just stayed in NY and had fun anyway. I like this trips, I hope we’ll have more occasions to travel more and visit some other cities around NY, like Boston for example which apparently will be my home for like two months. In the beginning we were not sure that our final destination was Philadelphia itself, as the schedule and the program of the visit was really unclear just days before the departure.
At first we decided to go to Pennsylvania in order to help a friend of our who was going to be busy in some kind of political task, and we offered our mental support to his cause by taking the free bus he was offering to us in order to reach Philadelphia and then leave him. A few days later we found out that the bus was free, but we agreed in an implicit way to campaign for Obama for like five or six hours on Saturday. Almost all of us didn’t want to campaign for Obama, and not because it was Obama, mainly because it was pointless to go to Pennsylvania, work all day and then don’t have the chance to see the town (other than campaigning for someone who is running as president in another country, and I just don’t care).
A couple of days before leaving we all met in order to take a decision about the trip, and we all agreed that it should be up to every single person to decide if campaigning or not, but all of us was going to take the Megabus instead of the Obamabus, paying like 24 dollars round trip to Philly. It is convenient, the bus is nice and there is (according to them as I didn’t have the chance to really connect) free wifi and the seats are comfortable. We are planning to take it again to go to Boston, and some of us is going to DC this weekend.
So we are on the bus, a quarter to ten on the clock, and in two hours we reach the rainy and windy Philly (I hate to see cities for the first time with rain as I always have a bad impression on them even if they are nice).We all meet in the biggest food court I have ever seen and I don’t remember its name and we eat something light (me and theidealintern had some kind of middle eastern food cooked by a guy that looked like greek, but it was good in the end) as we are planning to eat a tremendous size cheese steak for dinner. I think that we started travelling to eat; it’s definitely the end for us if it’s so.
After lunch we decided to go around Philly, even if the bad weather was really challenging. We went from the food court to the Museum of Art (for the non Phillies the Museum that has the statue of Rocky nearby) and took awesome pictures of us posing like a raging bull (not same movie, but related and awesome). Then we climbed the stairs to the top and went on the back of the museum to take the bus that would have taken us to the Independence Mall, right next to the river that crosses Philly.
Two dollars, affordable and convenient, we took twenty minutes to the Liberty Bell and we also took pictures with it. It’s free and fast so it’s worth seeing even if you shouldn’t expect so much entertainment by it. After the cultural day (which lasted no more than half an hour) we decided it was time to go to Mc Gillin’s Pub, the fifth oldest bar in the US; we visited in New York Mc Sorleys Bar that is the third, if I’ll ever go to New Orleans I will definitely go to the oldest ever in the US.
The pub is really big and nice; we found spots in a second and started enjoying our time with a six beers choice for nine bucks, in order to try local beers (then we took PBR, to enjoy the drunkness). We took also the cheese steak there (instead of going to the most famous Geno’s that is world famous for the cheese steak) because we were tired and we were enjoying our time there. At the end of the evening we were noisy, we sang the songs in the jukebox and came back to the bus a little bit overexcited. Nice day, I appreciated.
We came back home around midnight but we slept on the way home so we didn’t feel like going around more, we were already tired enough. Anyway let’s sum up the article today: take buses, are the easiest way to travel and the cheapest, like Megabus or Boltbus, avoid the Chinatown buses as they may even be cheaper but you are risking overbooked trips and no space to breath. Then visit as much as you can, the US are awesome and probably I will go again around, I hope to visit my new home in Boston too.
(Mother of steak…)
(Aka MTA Realm)
New York is without any doubt a big city, but there will be part of it that you will never see. No matter how much time you spend, no matter how deep you can go and reach in your journey, I just doubt you could see it all. And even if abroad New York is associated with Manhattan, everybody here knows that there is more than that. Much more, like four more boroughs much bigger than Manhattan. I personally think that Manhattan could fit into Rome inside of the traffic ring and if you have enough time you could walk it all in a day.
When I came here for the first time I used to walk a lot. A lot, I swear. I live next to the Lincoln Center and I an afternoon I walked down to South Ferry, acting like a tourist and taking pictures everywhere. When I came back home from very far places instead I just took the cab, and most of the time it was less than ten bucks if you travel from East Village to Upper West. Let’s say that to cross all Manhattan it’s difficult that you pay more than twenty dollars. I was taking the cab mainly for one reason: subway is damn expensive.
If you think that one Euro that you pay in Italy is too much think again. Here a single travel ticket could cost you even two and a half dollars, two twenty five if you buy two. The instrument is called the Metrocard, available everywhere and easy to refill at the booths and the automatic distributors. You can even buy a normal Metrocard and then refill it with the amount you prefer, they will take you two dollars twenty five everytime you swipe it in a subway station. That yes, it may be easy and comfortable but it really sucks your soul away.
It’s like ATM for me, with a debit card I go crazy and don’t realize how much money I spend before I go online to check it. Or phone with contracts. Basically I am not a guy that can behave properly with a credit or contract offer. So that’s why I always choose unlimited offers, in order to pay and not care anymore. There are also unlimited monthly and weekly Metrocards, but I only know that the price of the monthly is one hundred and four dollars. Not even if the card was made of gold it would be so pricy. But, but, but it still may be convenient for you.
See I take the subway or the bus if there is good weather twice a day for five days a week to go work. I also go out on the weekend, let’s say twice a day on Saturday and Sunday. And let’s add Friday unpredictable adventures (two trips). Usually we go out on Wednesday to Empire, so another trip. And I play soccer on Sunday, add two. This makes like twenty trips a week. Doing the math would be around fifty dollars a week; around two hundred a month. In this case, if you have a similar situation you should buy a Metrocard.
Let’s come back for a second to Manhattan subway map: I think that if you spend at least a week in Manhattan you could easily get used to the system, and learn what is enough for you to come back home from almost every zone. Manhattan is pretty damn easy, trust me I am not Columbus or Magellan. Almost all the lines in New York run in vertical on the peninsula, the one, two three (Red) and the four, five, six (Green). Then we have the diagonal ones, which are the A, C, E, on the west, the N, Q, R in the center and the M, F, B, D on the east side (Blue, Yellow and Orange). They run across Broadway or Seventh Avenue, exiting Manhattan on the right side to Brooklyn and Queens. Then in the end we have the horizontal lines, which are the L, the S and the Seven line. If you want to go to Brooklyn you can also use the J and the Z, and the legend says that these two lines were made to please king Jay-Z, but I don’t know much about this. And in the end the G to go around Brooklyn and Queens. Piece of cake.
Trust me, these are tons of words and letters, but you will learn them quickly, and use them even if you are drunk. Ah there is also a Trambus that flights in the sky above East River to Raccoon City and the ferries to the islands (I recommend to take the South Ferry to Staten Island just for the view, it’s beautiful and it last half an hour.
And I forgot to say that most of the trains run 24/7, a dream for who like me lives in Rome and has two lines, which most of the time are so awful you prefer to take a Roman chariot and use horses to go around the city. And safe, I got surprised that nobody killed me even coming back home drunk from Queens at four in the morning. Wonderful.
(Travelling like a boss)
(Aka I actually survived)
Sorry if I took so long to write you about my weekend but I just woke up now from the long, long and exciting two days adventure that me and my friends had during Saint Patrick’s Day holidays. It was greener than ever and I perfectly acted as an indigenous to uniform to the behaviour required in these situations: I got drunk.
I said two days of holiday for a reason: we didn’t just take a devastating Saturday but also a Friday, that we spent in a pub in Midtown called Mc Faddens. We chose the spot as it is close to DC1 building and to all the missions to the United Nations, so that all the intern could have the chance to relax and discuss about resolutions and point of order while getting wasted of cheap beer. Cheap beer indeed, almost free for someone but not for me. Let me explain; in New York it’s common for bars to held raffles, and who has been chosen can drink for free for a certain amount of time all what the bar has to offer (beer, mixed drinks, wine). It is practically an invite to die.
We went into Mc Faddens last week and we entered our names into the raffle and we won. Like four out of nine people. And, as all good unpaid interns, we shared our victory with our friends. See for the winners it was all free from nine to eleven and for their friends it would have been fifteen dollars for the same offer. Obviously as you can imagine nobody paid but we just shared our drinks with quickly and smart moves in order to hide from the bartenders.
So The night ended when we were drunk, Johntravolting around the pub screaming “Tangoooo!” to girls and flipping people around. A very interesting Friday, if you consider that we wanted just to chill in order to face Saturday with more power. We were drunk the night before; we were ready like Irish at midnight. The appointment was clear, noon at a girl’s place that was close to forty-second street, right next to the parade and to midtown alcoholics, all dressed in green and all ready to party hard.
I was wearing a green shirt with the body of a leprechaun on it, a wonderful green hat and a red long beard. At the end of the evening, I just looked like a drunk ZZ Top. It was an awesome day, before getting to the party I saw everybody dressing in green, kids and old people together running around the city, even green trash bins with green bags. And a beautiful twenty Celsius degrees Saturday. While coming I could barely walk down the streets because there were literally tons of people walking and drinking and making noise around, I don’t know where they were going but I can suppose they all were heading to bars in East Village and Greenwich. We left the house around three pm and we started running like idiots shouting on the streets, we even broke into the Cipriani restaurant to steal a flower that looked cool from outside.
We also went to East Village (I suppose) and we went into a big bar which I don’t remember to drink some green beer (which we couldn’t find apparently). Even that was cool, we even had pictures with a bunch of marines that were off duty and partying there. I actually wasn’t expecting to find all this people getting crazy for this holiday, which is not a holiday, and I am really positively impressed by the guys. I will probably tell you more next time as now I have to come back to a even harder work but trust me in the meantime, if you have the opportunity to come here for Saint Patrick just do it, it’s awesome. And don’t forget to dress up in green, I spent more to buy Saint Patrick stuff than all my clothes since I got here.
(Awesome view from the building on 42nd)
(Aka trip to Caribbean New York)
It’s really important to understand that New York is a patchwork of cultures, all melted together and affecting each other with the influences of their cultural background and creating a sort of continuum among them. That’s you can find many boroughs or districts or barrios close to each other and very different but still some kind of similar. The cuisine is worldwide recognized as one of the first evidence to state the place you come from, and you can trust me because, as an Italian, I can assure you that this is the truth.
See not all the stereotypes are bad and aim to make a culture appear weak abroad, and some of them are real and healthy as never. For example this week we have an Italian night in my shoebox, which I will describe later on, and we had “pasta alla carbonara”, a particular kind of pasta with pancetta, eggs and pecorino, all genuine Italian ingrediants. Pasta is just one of the stereotypes that reflect Italian culture, and I don’t mind when people say that we just eat pasta all year long because basically it’s true.
It’s even true that we talk waving hands and that we are late at appointments, and I don’t see why or how this could offend an Italian. It’s part of a culture, and I am proud of it as everyone should be proud of their culture. I mean I don’t play mandolino and I am not a mobster but I guess it’s clear that this is just some kind of movies leftover. Anyway as I was telling you the cuisine is one of the first things that comes into your mind when you think about a country and yesterday we went to a couple of traditional looking Caribbean places in New York.
Just next to the East Village and close to University place you can find a colourful community of Caribbean countries people that turned this particular couple of blocks in a vibrant community, just in the heart of Nolita (North of Little Italy). With the beginning of spring air became warmer and the flavour and tastes of this barrio enriched my experience there. Sunday for me it’s the traditional soccer day, and I planned to play until 3 pm and then reach my friends that went to visit Coney Island; the match ended at a quarter past four, and I also took a shower so it was too late to reach them there. Too bad because I saw the pictures and the place was really awesome, I want to come back there and also in Brighton Beach.
Anyway we met later at a quarter to eight in this place called Oficina Latina, in Prince Street next to Mulberry, a Cuban place specialized in traditional Cuban dishes (obviously) and most of all in drinks. The menu offered Capirinhas, Pina Coladas and Mojito among the others, and I have to say that they really tasted delicious. The traditional white tiles on the bar and the wooden details, together with the wide choice of wines gave the place a fancy look. The drinks were a little bit expensive but I think that may be a good place to bring a girl.
Since it was around nine thirty and I still hadn’t eaten anything from the morning I was a little bit hungry and convinced the group to move somewhere to eat. Nothing fancy or big because I still had a pastrami sandwich I ate the day before in my stomach. We chose a taco place next to the bar, its name is Fonda Nolita, in Elizabeth Street, and as soon as you walk in you realize why this place will steal your heart. The guy that prepares the tacos is inside of a Volkswagen van converted into a kitchen with the open rooftop. It’s wonderful, I want one of those inside of my living room.
You can order your tacos or tortas in Spanish at the cash and receive your order directly from the van chef. I had a short rib barbacoa taco with rice and beans aside, a pineapple drink and I felt really satisfied by my choice. I saw also pictures of this place on Street View and it shows four guys playing cards with eating a taco and the van guy cooking with all the big repair shop windows opened, check it as it’s very funny.
I will definitely come back here, maybe more in the taco place than in the Cuban drinks place, but in the meantime I will try everything else this city has to offer in terms of food, drinks and else. Someday I will also go to an Italian place, I am planning to visit Le Cirque on Easter, as yes I am hungry and I love to eat in many different places, but I am still an unpaid intern so I will wait my parents to come to pay for trying that.
(I fell in love with a Volkswagen van. Again)
(Aka You just got Rickroll’d)
The main variable here that influences a wide range of subjects such as the technological gadget world, the groceries and the work is basically the integration of the human being with the World Wide Web. As I explained before in my posts you can technically do everything on the internet, and I am one of those that except meeting girls and play soccer loves to use internet for anything. Sometimes people do even those two things on the internet, but let’s say it’s not my style.
See in Italy there is no chance to use such a wide range of services, basically because in some areas of Italy we still have the dial up connection, and in other areas we don’t have even that one. And that’s just one of the problems. Most of all we are not mentally used to think about the the internet when we need something, we don’t have big stores and big chains of shops that offer products delivery. Shipping is expensive, you can only buy things on eBay, that is the biggest source of products for the average Italian, that is really, really scared about the idea to insert his credit card number on the internet.
Like in case they clone the card you will be immediately poor and alone, instantly after inserting the verification code. People in Italy buy just one, simple prepaid card from the same selle, the Poste (which is basically the US Postal Service here) because the voice of a simple, free and easy credit card spread among all Italy. Think about a country all with the same card. Why? Because they are afraid of everything, you always wait for the scam in Italy and the internet is an evil machine made to such your money and your social life. In fact it takes your social life, but if you are wise you can keep the money.
Here the things are different, and I will suggest you some internet sites you should visit that may seem basic for an American, but may result in something interesting for a future intern in New York, if you are reading this to obtain some information (or maybe they’ll make a book out of this, or a movie. In that case I would like Timothy Olyphant to play my role, he’s funny and looks alike me in some situations).
First of all the masterpiece, King Amazon: you can find everything, and I really mean everything, from food to clothing to gardening to sex toys. Everything. It is a search engine on recommended website that affiliates to Amazon in order to let it take the orders for them and manage them taking a commission on the order money. I recommend it for clothing, gadgets and technology stuff, be sure that all the items you buy are included in the Super Saving shipment because otherwise it would be something like five dollars for seller (you buy three objects from three shops you will have to pay three shipping fees). And this is the worst part, they send you tons of shipments even if you want them to reduce them to as few as possible.
Another internet site that will ease you things is FreshDirect. There are advertisements everywhere in Manhattan trains, I tried it and it works, they are fast, friendly and they deliver exactly in a two hours spot you choose. The delivery boy was so kind not to complain for the four floors of stairs to my apartment and was so kind I gave him 5 bucks. They told me to try Peapot too for food, but I think that this is the best site I used and I will continue like this.
Then I suggest you to subscribe to Netflix if you have a good internet connection and a strong Wifi. The site will permit you to stream contents from the internet right on your pc, Playstation, Xbox and similar, the quality is very good and the programs are decent. A service like this for example for me is necessary after the fall of the God Megavideo, which by the way I paid 30 Euros to in order to subscribe to the site on January.
If you need business cards (they are basically useful to spread them around to girls) you can buy the at Vistaprint, they are fast, cheap and they have a wonderful customer support: the post offices couldn’t find my shipment after two days and the customer support offered me for free a new shipment and if the post offices could find my business cards I could have kept them.
Now I can’t remember any other internet site, if I will in a future I will rickroll you again and suggest something else to visit. And by the way I always end up into Youtube videos that rickrolls you and hope that you rage. Too bad I love that song.
(Check out Brian Griffin on Family Guy version of the song, it’s awesome)
(Aka Technically it’s Cambridge)
Ok today I will let you know some updates about the decisions I took for my future. You know that all interns are looking for something to do after this experience and although they know this life won’t last forever they will always try to continue having fun without really working (and forever interning). Anyway like most of them I was in the condition of looking forward for this summer and find something to do, in order not to “waste” (according to my parents) time lying on a beach in Italy.
Do you remember the post about the university I refused about one month ago (Should I Stay or Should I Go)? Well after that decision I didn’t come back again with another decision until a couple of days ago, while I was discussing with some friends here and with the big boss at home: see I still haven’t decided yet if I will be attending NYU master here in New York, and every day tons of new possibilities rise up from the work opportunities sea. Among all those, I decided to choose something that could satisfy me and my parents at the same time: a summer school.
I though this could have been a transition experience to definitely prepare me for the world of US universities, which is not too bad and I bet I will be fine, as in every place I have been in my life (I am even a funny and friendly person, ask anyone). I chose Harvard University. I know what you are thinking; this guy is a douchebag, another rich intern pretending to be poor, a “son of dad” and communist kind of stuff like that. Well I can ensure you that this was a decision I took thinking hard to it, not doing it just to spend a couple of months. I know the tuition is really expensive, even for one month, but I think that this is an investment that in a long term scope could bring you back awesome results. I mean, it’s just a summer school, obviously, I don’t pretend it would be considered such as a Phd or a Master, but in Italy I think it would have a pretty nice appearance on my desk, and would be considered by the people that would choose if hire me or not.
Because sometimes I forget but my ultimate goal is to be hired. And I am still undecided too if this would happen here in the US or in Italy, my loved land. You see I see New York as a little land of opportunities, not the whole United States because I am not naïf not to know that it’s not beautiful everywhere here such as everywhere in the world; I can see how you could be rewarded if you put efforts in what you do, I can see how this city and the people could give you a chance if you deserve one. I trust this city, and maybe I will regret all my trust but I still believe in this world.
I know that someday I will be back in Italy, but not know; there no chances to do something you love and slightly more chances to be employed in a dead end job you hate. I will come back in Italy to see my family and my friends when I’ll be a new man, shaped by this experiences my parents are permitting me to do (and I thank them). Coming back to the Harvard Summer School, I found it very organized, available and reliable (yes you pay even for that and the name most of all) and yes, it’s always Harvard. You have to know that it’s very, very difficult to attend these schools and participate to these programs in the US because of the GMAT, the GRE, the TOEFL, the essays and all the requirements they have. Not because you are not good enough, because in Italy we still are idiots that don’t think that teaching to kids in English would be a massive asset for them in a future. I had to learn English on my own; do you think it was easy? Do you think I have the same chances of somebody that studied his whole life in English to pass a GMAT or a GRE? I don’t think so.
Harvard Summer School would be a start, and then I’ll see what I will do next. I even applied for an internship (even if I would like to start working) at CERN in Geneva, who knows that they may need a scientist?
(Aka Things I love)
I never told you how I survived the impact with the paper cups where they pour the dirty water the US people call coffee. I didn’t. As most of the Italian I am pretty picky about the quality of my coffee, the mystical preparation you can see me doing in the morning is some kind of ritual, it helps me start in the right way the day. I brought my own moka machine with me in the US, with my own coffee and every morning I use it over and over again. I bought the moka machine when I started the college, in the far 2006, and because I was moving on my own in the big Rome to become somebody.
Every single day, every single exam I used the same coffee machine, one, two, five times a day, to prepare coffee for everyone came in my house. And that’s not all; I brought my moka with me during holiday, every summer from 2007. And if you think I am crazy enough I can tell you I brought my moka with me during my Erasmus, in the Netherlands. And now I am here, with my (not anymore) shiny moka and my jar of precious coffee trying to survive to the mocaccino and frappuccino and latte venti. Actually the moka has tons of burned parts, the handle is melted and the inside is full of mold and dark spots where some kind of extraterrestrial form of life lives. According to Italian legends this is what makes your coffee great, the personal taste you give your own moka. And never change any broken part, it will lose the magic.
Anyway I am currently running out of my coffee so I had to take a tough decision: I saved some of my coffee for me in order to keep it for special occasions. I imagine myself using the moka as the winners of Formula 1 use champagne bottle to exult after the grand prix. It is hidden in a closet, away from the dangerous eyes of everyone. My treasure…
I got used to the coffee, like the one you drink in the streets, and I am finding every day a new place to try it around the city. There is a place next to my office that has a good coffee, and even funny employees I like. It’s called Gregory’s Coffee, it’s pretty famous in New York and there are some of the around. Try the Macchiato, it’s very good and not as long as the American typical coffee. And if I am telling you this you should trust me.
The second thing I am discussing today (I just stuck in this by the name of the song I chose today) is TV. I don’t like very much Italian TV, and not because of all the girls we have that could never bore a man, but because of the average quality of the programs compared to what I like: Americans are most of all spectacular in whatever they do, from sports to talk shows, and comedy shows and sit-coms. I do love these four categories and I think that I am starting to appreciate the quality of the channels in American cable TV. It was inside of my apartment contract, so I am happy of this. Here they have also Netflix, a service that permits you to stream contents from the internet, and I mean movies, series and cartoons. My wifi sucks so I won’t subscribe to any service like this, but I will tell you more later on about this. Other than this, next time I will tell you about what you can find on the internet here, and believe me, this is the land of opportunities for delivery food and stuff like that.
(That’s a cappuccino, the most imitated roman coffee all around the world)
(Aka the Americans)
Aaah, tell me you were waiting for this post; the post where I would have described the wonderful people of the United States. I really don’t like the “American” term they use to describe themselves, I think it’s too much abused and refers to a much bigger population than just US; anyway as we all know American usually refer to themselves also as the best country of the world, the most proud population and etc etc… so the term I think reflects their ego.
You can immediately tell the different about people for New York and people from all over the world, but not from the habits or the colour of the skin, from the way they approach to the town. You see some of the people you meet let’s say they “ride” the town, living it in all its scope of moods and feelings, and appreciating it or not; New Yorkers are part of the rope, let’s say they are a string inside of the big common spirit that is the soul of the town. They behave differently, they don’t refer to the city as something mystical or a separate entity, they just don’t use the city as a comparison, they are the city.
You won’t hear them say that they hate or love the place because they are the place. Once I asked my landlord if he likes to live in New York and he told me that he was born and raised here, that sometimes this city is too big for him, that it’s loud, noisy and he didn’t like the rush that was everywhere in the town. I asked him why he didn’t leave and he told me, showing me a big happy smile with a dip of sadness: “I couldn’t leave; I will miss New York too much. I can’t imagine myself living somewhere else. This town is a patchwork of cultures and feeling, every cross is a town. Once you have been here for as long as I have been you don’t need to see anything else”.
He wasn’t under the effect of mushrooms, I can assure you. But maybe he is right. I have always been fascinated by the American culture, although most of the Italians have some kind of resentment to the US, hating the people and the capitalistic way of life, probably because of the anachronistic political parties that still influence our culture. I worked for the Americans too, now I moved here seeking a new life here. I don’t know what to expect, and I will always keep an eye on my emergency exit; even if I like the country, love the people and people (apparently) love me I just can’t take a look sometimes to my country, to my city and to my family, my friends, and my dog Valentino.
I mean all my life is there, and I will never lose the contact with my roots. I am not planning to stay here forever, I just want to take a shower into American life and come back, bringing some of their culture in Italy. I do believe in patriotism, and maybe this is one of the things I envy most of the US. I think everyone should be proud of what he is and of what he believes in. Any way this is getting to philosophical, let’s just come back to the stupid blog arguments, they are more suitable of this site and this writer.
Friday I got drunk and woke up in Queens sleeping with other 7 people, had a chicken with onions on rice for dinner and a double cheeseburger for breakfast. Interesting.
(Rockefeller Center guys)