Saturday, November 17, 2007

My man Roberto

(Image courtesy of Field to Feast)

There is one shop in Rome that I truly love, with a shopkeeper who is so incredibly nice, polite, friendly, helpful, cheerful, and efficient (I could go on and on, but I'll spare you). His name is Roberto Polica, the smiling face behind the counter at the one and only Antica Caciara Trasteverina. This place kicks ass, as does Roberto. I've been going there for years to stock up on Parmigiano for the family in USA (Yes, you can buy Parmigiano in USA but the kind sold here tastes MUCH better). Since D-day is nearing, I went to get my cheesy booty and he rocked my world with his niceness, as always.

Roberto's the kind of guy who always says hello, who thanks you just for stepping foot inside of the shop and then will continue to thank you every few minutes until you leave- even if you end up buying nothing.

I would suggest going there even if you hate cheese, just for the experience of meeting the nicest shopkeeper in Italy! I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of mom & pop shops here in Rome because they can be rather rude, the service can be iffy, they don't always have clearly-marked prices hence can jack you if you're not a regular, and their products sit on the shelves a lot longer (bugs in pasta boxes- ick!). Obviously there are a few exceptions and this place is one of them, it's a hardcore mom & pop shop without the sketchiness.

Roberto is the man!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


A woman is eating a panino, holding it with a napkin, she takes the last bite and just chucks the napkin on the ground even though there is a garbage pail 10 feet away (the incriminating object could be a gum wrapper, empty pack of cigarettes, dog crap, etc... you get the picture). Scenes like this still horrify me even after years of living here! It's soooooo hard for me not to say anything BUT I've had to learn to shut my trap because after a few unpleasant clashes with litterbugs, I've decided it's not worth risking my hide.

Living in the land of litterbugs, I can't help but wonder- who taught me not to litter? For the life of me I can't remember when I learned that littering was bad. Did my mom teach me? Did we learn it in school? (after all, they even taught us how to properly brush our teeth with a giant set of denture-like teeth) Did I see some sort of public service announcement on TV? (I loooooved those, especially the pill one! Back in the day, my sister and I even tried to re-create it with our own sock puppets)

So my question is, do any of you remember when or how you learned that littering was a no-no?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I spy

The GS supermarket in Trastevere (on Via Tavolacci #1) now sells Oreo cookies, or as they say in Italian: biscotti snack al cacao! They're even reasonably priced compared to Castroni. Now I know where to go when I get my Oreo cravings... yum!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What in the world...?

What is going on with Roman youth and their pegged jeans these days??? I mean, I admit I rocked the pegged chinos during my 80s preppie phase but it was not nearly as bad as these:

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me this morning when I saw a kid with baggy jeans (hence adding to the diaper-ass effect, as I call it) that were seriously pegged- safety pins and all! This image is courtesy of Bootsintheoven's flickr page.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another one bites the dust

What an appropriate title for today, All Souls' Day!
It's official, an exodus has begun in Rome. Yet another friend has decided to leave Rome for greener pastures (green=money). Now that I think about it, this exodus first started about 5 years ago. One by one, friends (mostly American expats but not only) started jumping ship for one main reason: work and consequentially, money. After trudging through the dismal job market of Rome for years, they gave up. Some of them were actually being paid well for Italian standards BUT not well enough considering the job they were doing, and considering that same job would be paid 10 times more in any other European country. So naturally, they left... One example, my friend R was being paid rather well (for Italian standards, let's not forget) and lived comfortably in Rome BUT she knew that her job and her skills were worth more. She applied for the same sort of job in USA, got the position and a hefty salary of $100,000+. No, money isn't everything but knowing you're being exploited in the workplace is never a good feeling. Pouring your heart and soul into a job that offers no security and no possibility for growth can be a tad frustrating, don't you think?
The decision wasn't easy for any of them but when you get to the point where you're feeling shafted on a daily basis, you have no choice left but to abandon la dolce vita and head towards more rewarding work environments.
So far, none of them regret the move. Of course they miss Rome at times, but they feel the overall quality of their life has improved. I've been picking their brains for years, asking about health insurance and whatnot, it's an invaluable resource for me as I consider my future in Italy (or not!).
This post is dedicated to all the dearly departed who've left Rome for greener pastures, 10 and counting... Thanks for setting an example!