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Can you tell me what this is?

It was a running day in Vancouver when, walking on Chinatown we ran into this stand.

We got one, and it was soooo good!

Since that day I am craving for it…. even if I don’t even know what it is.

Egg ball, this is everything I know about it!

Have you ever tried?

Can anybody give me some more info and tell me if I can find it in Toronto?

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Italian lady in Canadian winter

This is the fifth winter I spend in Canada, and I can’t believe I am still alive.

Let me explain. For those of you who don’t know me, I am from Sardinia, a lovely Italian island in the Mediterranean sea.
I spent all my life, going to the beach pretty much from the Easter weekend to the end of September, and often longer.

That is why for me winter = +5ºC

No surprise then when I say Canadian winter is really a big deal for me. To be honest even Canadian people sometimes complain about their own winter, so please don’t blame me.

However, I have noticed that in the past couple of years my approach to winter has changed. Maybe because I have realized that complaining does not make anything better, but even more because of an algebraic equation that took me a while to get:

Canada + Winter = REALLY COLD

I do not complain anymore, I actually decided to make the most of it.

First I do not care if I look ridiculous when I walk on the street because I am covered: I will wear anything it’s going to make me feel warm. In fact, if I would ever soil myself with a fashion crime, I hope it’s going to happen during a snow storm, where you cannot see anything beside white, and especially you are just thinking about getting home and drink some warm eggnog instead of thinking I do not have a sense of style.

I have also realized that getting ready for winter can be fun, and it gives me one more reason to go shopping.

Picking a winter jacket can be tricky, that’s why you have to look for:

  • quality
  • hood
  • pockets

Some times this means you have to sacrifice your taste for something warm that is going to keep you alive while you are waiting for the bus at -20ºC, but it also means you are allowed to buy yourself a nice and elegant coat for all those times when:

  • you will see yourself in the mirror and will refuse to leave home looking like a sausage or a huge pickle (never buy a pink or green  winter jacket)
  • you are going to look out the windows and decide to call a cab

Then there is the BASIC TOP FIVE MUST HAVE:

  • boots
  • gloves
  • hat
  • scarf
  • lip balm

The SURVIVAL KIT is my favourite:

Finally, there are the best winter reliefs:

They don’t make winter go away – I have learned nothing does -  but they make you feel better!

It doesn’t matter if every time I get outside the wind in my face feels like that day, when the airport door opened and the Canadian winter punched me right in the face for the very first time.
I know I will survive again.

P.S. If you see a snowman, please make sure it’s not me!

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10 things I don’t understand about Canada (and Usa???)

Hello everybody, and welcome to the first part of my The world through Italian eyes project.

WARNING – A small but still remarkable percentage of readers found this post offensive, and somebody commented “You’ve been very insulting to a country that has welcomed you with open arms”. Replying that I have been talking about cinnamon and air-conditioned, and of course my post was ironic – like thousands for readers understood and wrote me about – I have to warn you. This post may contain humor that may not be suitable for an audience with unexpressed anger, lack of a sense of humor, lack of self-criticism, and serious disposition for conspiracy.

For all the people who missed my presentation (you can read here) everything came to my mind with the realization that every one of us wear a pair of glasses that filter the world around us. From here, with my “Italian glasses“, the top 10 things I do not understand about Canada.

First of all, I’d like to say that I’m talking about Canada because it’s been 5 years now that I have been living here. However, I won’t exclude that some of these things happen in the United States as well, which will make my post even more interesting!

Canada is a very great country, but there are things I really have a hard time to understand:

1. First of all, taxes. The reason is simple: if you have $5 in your wallet, and you want to buy something that costs $5, think twice. You can’t! In fact, due to Canadian taxes, the price of an item is NEVER what you read on the tag. This makes everything very….. frustrating!

2. Air conditioning. Ok, this is not only something that I don’t understand, but also a big issue. What is wrong with you people???  Why do I have to take with me a jacket in the summer  just to go to the grocery store? And keep a sweater at work because it’s so cold that I have goosebumps? This is much more than a fresh breeze in the hot muggy summer (which it’s not the reason why Canada is famous since probably there is a summer every 4 years) but we are talking about a strong polar storm that gets you as soon as the sliding doors open!!!! I don’t get it!

3. Last minute plans. “You know how Canadians are”! This is a typical sentence that comes up when we are talking about booking an appointment, meeting or even a dinner with friends with weeks in advance! “What about a brunch next mont?” Next month????? I suppose I will be still around, and I also suppose we will still be friends in a months time. However I have a hard time deciding what to have for dinner later, so I’m not really sure how we can do this. How about you call me whenever you are ready?!

4. Seal hunt. In Canada you can hunt pretty much everything. This is very disappointing. I have always considered this country one of the best in regards of green living. There are beautiful landscapes,  one-tenth of the world’s forests, and most of the people seem to care about the environment. They have wonderful people like David Suzuki who certainly said pretty important things about the country and the Planet. However sometimes I wonder if it’s all just in my head, if Canada is just as bad as any other country. For example, did you know that the federal government wants to put a price tag on polar bears???

5. Hockey vs. Soccer/football. I know you are already smiling, so let me get to the point: Canadians  don’t think soccer is a real sport! They make fun of soccer players because they fall down and complain like little girls while they play hockey and are tough! So tough that when they don’t play hockey they get busy pushing freaking teapots on ice with a big broom thinking that’s fun to play and to see.  They call it curling and play it on TV for hours! Well, let me tell you something: that is not a sport either, and for sure it’s not tough, it’s just insane!

6. Monarchy. Italy has really nothing to teach anybody about politics and democracy. In any case the presence of a monarchy in a country like Canada seems today something with not too much sense.

7. Everybody’s sorry. Coming from a country where it’s easier to get naked than to apologize about something, one of the first things you notice about Canadian people is that they say “I’m sorry” in any occasion, no matter what! Sometimes makes you think how kind these people are, other times….what are you guys so sorry about??!!

8. Cinnamon. This is another Canadian obsession: in cookies, soups, coffees, cakes, meat, pretty much everywhere! There is so much cinnamon in Canada that you can smell it when you walk on the street! I have never been a fan of this spice, but it never bother me at all because I have never lived completely surrounded by it!!!

9. Style. I’m sorry to say this, but Canadians have no sense of style! While it’s very nice to live in a country where nobody judges you for the way you dress – should I say “for your fashion crimes”??? – it can really be disturbing sometimes to watch! It really took me lots of work and energies, but it made me a better and more tolerant person. Still, not style! It really would take not much to understand that just because you have a designer bag it DOES NOT mean you have style!

10. Complains about weather. You have not excuses! I am Italian, born and grew up on an island where you can go to the beach pretty much 6 month per year. I have the right to complain about Canadian winter, and I don’t really do it. Why? Because it’s winter, and you are in Canada for God shake…. what do you aspect? Try not to wear t-shirt and flip-flop while it’s snowing, that could help you! Yes, I understand you are tough and you like hockey and not soccer…. So how come, after 6 month of winter (read snow, snow storm, -30ºC) if we pass +20ºC you tough guys melt like ice-cream on a bbq grill and lose your mind complaining about the heat??? Let me ask you: did you go to Florida in February only to make your co-workers upset and actually spent the whole week in your hotel room with AC watching curling on We-are-tough channel???

Ok, come on, where is your sense of humor???

Well, let me say that Canada it’s a great county, and that my “Italian glasses” don’t always make me see things in the right way. I’m learning. However, there are things I will never understand.

For all the people who now want a revenge, it’s coming! So don’t miss the things you need to know about Italy + the things I learned in Canada about Italian people (coming up on my blog).

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The world through Italian eyes

How leaving your country changes you but not your “glasses”

It has been almost 5 years now, 5 years that changed my life but more than anything else changed me.

Leaving your country it’s never easy (here why I left Italy) but now I know that traveling and finding out anything that is new it’s my way to experience life.

Living in a country on the other side of the world changes your prospective, life’s goals, and even the way you see your own country. I have always known that the place where you were born, your family and everything around you shapes you, but I realized pretty soon after moving to Canada, that I actually see the whole world through “Italian eyes”.

Everything is filtered from my past experiences, the way I grew up, and everything I thought it was normal – but it’s not.
I have so much to learn knowing that there is never only one truth, one point of view, one side of the story. However it’s not easy sometimes get rid of these “Italian glasses” because – for the good and the bad – they are part of who I am.

From here,  I’ve decided to write about:

- things I don’t understand about Canada
Things you probably don’t know about Italy – Not the usual listy
- things I learned in Canada about Italian people (coming up)

This will be pretty much a mirror of my daily life of Italian immigrant in the XXI century. I’m sure a lots of people wear these glasses, with different flags on it.
I hope you’ll enjoy and share your own experiences and point of view.

Stay connected!

My meeting with the Dalia Lama

Last February I watched Larry King interviewing the Dalai Lama, and I have never thought I was going to meet him in just few months.

The 14th Dalai Lama, a renowned Tibetan Buddhi...

Image via Wikipedia

But it happened! Two day ago!

I was lucky enough to cover his public event in Toronto, be at 2 metres from him and being blessed from his presence.

The Dalai Lama define himself as a buddhist  monk, but he’s much more! I really don’t need to quote him, or remember how great he is, I just would like to say he really delivers hope and happiness.

His words are powerful like ancient prayers, but at the same time they are so simple like a grandfather who speaks with his grandchildren.

His message doesn’t have religious borders, and this is what life is about. I was really impressed!

To understand his personality a little more. please watch this video: The Dalain Lama guest editor of the Toronto Star for today’s issue!!!!

To read my event coverage click here

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