Thursday, April 11, 2013

If you were wondering what the new background photo is...

It's a photo I took in Bergamo, Italy.  My favorite city out of the 8 cities that I have visited in Italy so far.  I submitted this photo to a photo contest and won 3rd place and a trip to Turin, Italy.  I know I'm behind, but I got to tell you all about the cities I've been too so far, and my plans for this month.  Stay tuned!!!

Forever yours,
Ms. JasmineMaree

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Authentic Semi-Homemade Ragu Pasta Sauce

Here is the recipe to my favorite dish to cook in Italy. The recipe is from my Italian Cuisine and Culture class, I make it almost every week.  Enjoy:

Tempo di preparazione: 20-30 minuti
Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes
Tempo di Cottura: 2 hora
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Difficolta': Media/ Faccile
Difficulty: Medium/Easy
Ingredienti Per 4 Personas:
Ingredients for 4 people:
-200gr di Salsa di Pomodoro- Tomato Sauce
-200gr. di Verdure (Carrote, Sedano, Cibolla) - Vegetables (carrots, celery, onions)
-Olio Exra Vergine Olivo - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-200gr. Trita Carne di Manzo - Beef
-Vino Rosso (1 bicchiere) - Red Wine Vinergerette
-Sale - Salt
-Parmigano - Parmesan
-30gr di Burro - Butter
-15gr. di Farina - Flour
- Mozzerella (optional) ***

1. Pulire, lavare e tritare le verdure.
Pull, wash, and cut up the vegetables.
2. Soffriggere le verdure con un cucchaio d'olio.
Fry the vegetables in a spoonful of oil until lightly colored.
3. Rosolare la carne trita con un cucchiaio d'olio per 10 minuti.
Roast the meat with a spoonful of oil for 10 minutes.
4. Scolare il grasso della carne.
Drain the fatty oil from the meat.
5. Aggiungere la carne, le verdure e un bicchiere di vino rosso.
Add the vegetables, and a cup of red wine vinaigrette to the meat.
6. Quando il vino e' evaporato aggiungere il salsa di pomodoro, e sale.
When the wine evaporates, add the tomato sauce and salt.
7. Cuocere per un'ora e mezza a fuoco lento.
Cook for an hour and a half on low heat.
8. Impastare il burro e la farina.
Cover the butter in the flour.
9. Aggiungere il burro e la farina al ragu'.  Mescolare il tutto per 10 minuti.
Add the butter and flour to the ragu. Mix for 10 minutes.
***You do this to thicken the ragu.  I prefer to use mozerella cheese instead, it does the same thing.
10. Il ragu' e' pronto, condire la pasta e aggiungere il parmigiano reggiano.
The ragu is ready.  Place it on top of your pasta and add parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

You mean, I Actually Have to Study???

I absolutely love all of my classes in Italy.  If you didn't know, I am attending class at Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore. I am taking five classes for a total of 15 credits to transfer back home to Chapman.  My Italian professors are so smart and interesting.  And what's best, (just like Chapman) they're all currently employed in the fields that they are teaching.  The only down side with my professors is that they are all very soft spoken and English is their second/third language.  So you can understand, with Creative Writing as one of my majors, how annoying it is to hear simple English words CLASS.  Yet, because they are so cool and so freaking adorable, I don't hate them for it.  Besides, this blog is always full of some type of grammar or spelling mistake...probably shouldn't have written that...oh well, it's the I can't really talk.

Anywho! My classes include:

Reading Milan and Italian Cities: Place-Making and Cultural Resources 
This is a sociology class where we take a look at the relationship between culture and the city.  We examine the historical and present day issues that impact the post-industrial city such as Gentrification, Festivalization, and Artification.  This class is really interesting because it has helped me learn a lot about Milan and the history of the city.

Creative Italian Storytelling: from Literature to Cinema to other Forms of Fiction
This is a creative writing class where we discuss the structures of and how to write a short story and short screenplay.  I have taken classes on this subject before, so most of the material I know already (completely murdered the midterm with a 95/100 last week. But, as I said before, my professors are successful writers in the Italian industry.  It is so interesting to learn the same information again, but from the Italian perspective.  This class involves A LOT of writing  but it's creative writing  so it's not as bad as academic writing.  Plus, one of my many goals for this trip in Italy was to start writing again, so I love the fact that we have so many assignments, and I am really taking my time to make sure that my short story and my adaptation of that story into a short film are done well. This is my second favorite class. Also, it was through this class that I went to the Italian cinema for the first time to watch the brand new adaptation of ITALIAN.

Methods of Illusion: La Mise-en-Scene from Drama to Fiction and Visual Arts
This class focuses on theater and the art of Mise-en-scene.  Mise-en-scene is a theater within a theater (or film as well), or an actor pretending to be someone/thing else in a play (or film).  An example of this could be found in Beloved with the way the ghost of Beloved disguises itself as a real human being. This class is awesome because I have been introduced to so many great stories, actors, and traditions in Italian theater   I have read and seen so many different pieces and even got to act my own piece out with a group. It is my third favorite class because the professor is just so funny and passionate about what she is teaching us.  We also will have a few FREE trips to the theater this semester, starting with The Odyssey on April 3rd.

Italian Cuisine and language course LAB
It's all in the title. On Tuesdays I learn how to cook an authentic Italian dish from scratch. On Thursdays, we talk about Italy's food culture in Italian.  IT'S THE BEST CLASS IN THE WORLD.  So far we have made ragu pasta (look for the recipe to this to be posted soon. It's my favorite. I make it every week. So I have to share it with you all), marinara pasta, risotto, crepes, cutlets, pizza, baked zucchini, and tomatoes with an anchovie crust, flounder, spaghetti with clams, and an artichoke dish.  The best part is after we make the dish  we get to eat it.  I have had some of the best food in this class and also I have tried some of the nastiness food in this class.  For example, the spaghetti with clams, the artichoke dish, the flounder, and the anchovies are some dishes that I don't need to know how to cook. I will never eat them again. However, I am a very picky eater that is usually afraid to try new things, so I am proud of myself for stepping out of my box and at least tasting those dishes. For obvious reasons, this is my favorite class this semester.

and finally...

Publishing, Publicity, and Journalism
This class is another one of my favorites. It would probably be my second favorite if it weren't for the fact that this class is from 8:30 to 11:30 on Friday mornings.  This class discusses the history and current know how of the Publishing, Publicity, and Journalism industries in Italy.  So we are discussing things such as book reports, how a publishing company operates, constructing a book cover, press releases, how to conduct interviews and so on.  After we learn about them, we put our knowledge to the test by creating one of our own. So, I have created a whole new book cover for The Hunger Games.  My favorite part of this class is the field trips.  We have already visited the major publishing house that our professor is the publishing manager for, and in a couple weeks we will be visiting the offices of Vogue and Glamour magazine. Can you say INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY???? I can.

So that's the rundown of all my classes in Italy. I absolutely love them all because they have added so much culture to my Italian Semester Abroad Experience. So much so, that I don't feel like going to class is a chore. Rather, I like class and am excited to go everyday.  In Australia, I only took four classes but didn't like any of them, so that was kind of a bummer. So I'm glad, I get to experience an enjoyable set of classes abroad now.

Phrase for this post:
Mi piace andare a scuola in Italia.
I love going to school in Italy.

Thanks for sharing in this blessing with me.

Forever yours,
~Ms. JasmineMaree


Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Language Barrier

I was on the train this morning with one of my roommates. We were going to meet a group to go to Verona.  I had just found out that Verona was the city with the Romeo and Juliet balcony which had me super excited and in a good mood.  So, we were talking when I looked up and noticed this guy with the most beautiful eyes ever.   I turned to my roommate and said "Oh my God girl do you see his eyes? He has some BEAUTIFUL eyes?".  I continued to talk to my roommate about how beautiful this guy's eyes were for a good three minutes.  But when I turned back to get another look, I saw those gorgeous eyes staring right into mine.  I immediately turned back to my roommate, ducked my head behind my hand and said: "Please don't let him know English. I pray to God that he doesn't know English " I turned back around and those eyes were still staring at me but even wider.  If it was possible, I would have blushed because at that moment, I knew that he knew English   He understood every word I said.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. It probably won't be the last time either.  It turns out that many young Italians know English   It's their second language.  Many of them down play their English skills which gets annoying. For example, I could walk up to a counter and ask the guy there if he spoke English in Italian.  The guy would tilt his head and do the "so so" gesture with his hands.  But when he'd open his mouth he would speak brilliant and fluent English.  It happens all the time.

I haven't really found the language barrier to be too much of a problem. I can read and understand Italian just fine, but I am not so good with speaking and writing it. And yeah, there are sometimes when I get frustrated but I keep trying.  I keep trying because the Italians that don't speak English get really frustrated with me when I speak to them in English and don't at least try to speak Italian.  Also, I try because it is a personal goal of mine to have at least two conversations in Italian per day.  These conversations usually end up being half Italian half Spanish because I'm more comfortable with my Spanish speaking skills.

There are times where I just make up some random word. For example, before I knew that the Italian word for "WiFi" was WiFi, I called it WiFio; somehow people understood that.  Then, there are times where I am just completely lost and revert to hand motions to get my point across.  My favorite example of this is when my roommates and I were trying to buy a hairdryer our first week in Milan.  We didn't know the Italian way of saying "hair dryer". So, the first store we went into my roommate pointed at her head and said: "Hai un (do you have a) WRRR?" She was pointing at her head in a circular motion while she made a machine like noise with her mouth.  The woman who was working in the store looked at us as if we were lunatics, but after awhile she got it. This had us cracking up laughing for awhile.

Anywho, the moral of the story is, the language barrier is like a hologram that I can see through and pass through when need be. I can see through it when I speak to an Italian that knows English.  I can pass through it when I put my best effort forward to speak in Italian.  Still, it's barely there because, as I said, many Italians know English.  Just the same as the guy on the train this morning.  He knew.  Oh he knew!

Italian phrase for this post:
Parlati inglese? / Sono parlato un po italiano.
Do you speak English? / I only speak a little Italian.

Thank you for sharing in this blessing with me.

Forever yours,
~Ms. JasmineMaree

So, I'm eating a Bowl of Cereal...

"Frosties" aka Frosted Flakes to be exact,  and I'm like..."why does this milk taste funny?".  I go and look at the bottle, it's got a red cap just like the one I usually get except this bottle is bigger than the other one.  I drink a little of the milk by it'self thinking I may have gotten a bad box of Frosties.  Is that possible?  At first it's fine.  But then, there is a strong tang of NASTY to it. It is super thick and super sweet. Now I'm thinking that I made the same mistake as one of my friends who accidently bought coffee creamer instead of milk. So I look at the name of the milk again "Latte di Capra Intra", and I say to myself: "Okay what is going on here, "latte" means milk right? Or does it mean something else"? And that's when I see it,  over the name of the milk.  A picture that would normally warm my heart and soul, yet at this moment, it had me screaming as I ran to Google Translator.  It was already done I really didn't need google translator because I already knew, by the picture, what this strange substance, that I have never had before, was. there goes my bowl of Frosties this morning.

Phrase for this post:
Latte di Capra Intera
Whole Milk from a Goat

~Ms. Jasmine Maree