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Posts tagged ‘culture’

159. My Adventures in Italy!

I was supposed to post this quite a while ago. It’s been almost two weeks since I returned and what a whirlwind it has been…but more about that later! 

I have to begin with saying that it was such an amazing trip and a fantastic experience to end with before I start adult working life (that still hasn’t sunk in and I start tomorrow!).

We were based in Florence and stayed in a rented apartment. I had no idea how nice it would be because there was a mix up with addresses and I wasn’t sure that the one we booked was the one we’d get. Sure it enough, it wasn’t…it was much better. We couldn’t believe our luck when we saw how good the location was (literally one road from the Duomo!), how clean it was, how BIG it was and how it was furnished with pretty much everything we could possibly need. It was great having a space to ourselves where we could be slobs together and do whatever the hell we wanted. The only downside about the flat was that it was on the third floor and there was no lift. My legs got a good workout climbing all those bloody steps.

The weather was hot, just as we expected it to be. When we stepped off the plane, the heat washed over us in waves. However it was dry heat so it was far more tolerable; humid heat is the worst. Eurgh! Despite the generous use of sun cream, I still came back tanned. This would normally be celebrated but brown people have this notion that fair is beautiful. Personally I think the tan looks pretty good but my mum was like ehhh. What do you expect when we’re out for 12 hours every day?!

The food was really really good. We had a few concerns about whether Meeti’s dietary requirements would be easily met (vegan plus no eggs, onions or garlic) but it turns out Italians use few ingredients and what they say is what you get. A margherita pizza is literally just dough, tomato sauce and mozzerella but my god it tastes good. One of the best places we ate at was called the ‘OK- bar’ which is quite a self-deprecating name. It ought to be called the ‘Mighty fine- bar’ or ‘A lot better than OK- bar’. I had pasta or pizza every single day. So good!

It’s always hard to describe an atmosphere but Florence had a really good one. Obviously there were lots of tourists but it still felt calm and all the people we met were super friendly. The evenings were particularly special because Florence simply lights up, both literally and metaphorically. The cool air is so inviting that it brings everyone out and you can easily chat the night away. In contrast to the intimate town feel of Florence, Rome strongly felt like a city in the sense that it was buzzing with people and was so big. However it also didn’t feel as safe. Case in point- Meeti felt someone tug on her bag as she walked off the metro. We were on high alert for the rest of the day as we simply couldn’t afford to lose our bags. Pisa also didn’t compare to Florence. Despite its beauty and being the home of the leaning tower, it didn’t charm me in the same way. Every road you walk down in Florence has something that catches your eye and steals your attention. It is so much more than just the sights.

But speaking of sights, Florence is of course famous for its art and culture and for being the setting of Dan Brown’s book which excited Meeti to no end. Being a Maths/Science orientated person I am really not the most cultured person. I don’t appreciate Art in the way other people do; I don’t know what makes one painting better than another; I can’t talk about brush strokes and historical background for more than five minutes. But even I knew that some of the stuff I saw was really special.

Every time I see this, it make me squee!

The level of detail of some of the paintings and sculptures was exemplary and subtle things like facial expressions and soft eyes captured emotion in a way that I had never seen before. But being us, we weren’t serious for long and very soon we started adding our own silly captions to the paintings and copying the some of the really bizarre stances of the sculptures to great comical effect.

Mad skillz right there

Mad copying skillz right there

Medusa!

Medusa!

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I have to say, back in the day the artists were seriously obsessed with the human body is all its naked glory. Boobs and pee-pees everywhere. It was quite disconcerting initially. I found it curious that all the men seemed to have abs of steel whilst the women were curvy, fat rolls in abundance, cleavage hanging out. Given the realism of the paintings I thought it was strange how everyone was hairless, even the guys (except for the mandatory man bush). I know it’s effort to add shadow but if they had time to include cellulite and butt dimples I figure it would have been a walk in the park.

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Is it just me or does this position look really uncomfortable?

Check out the level of detail- the veins in his hand!

Check out the level of detail- the veins in his hand!

I couldn’t possibly list all the things I saw so instead I will talk about the highlights. The best part of the holiday by far was our evening on the steps at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo. It was one of those moments you read about in books. The sun was going down; the air was cool; there was a man playing classic songs on an acoustic guitar to an enraptured crowd; the view was spectacular. It felt magical to be there with some of my favourite people in the whole world, munching on our cheese and tomato baguettes from home. It’s definitely up there in the top five best evenings of my life.

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo, simply magnificent!

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo, simply magnificent!

The awesome dude who kept us entertained all evening!

The awesome dude who kept us entertained all evening!

Climbing nearly five hundred mismatched awkward steps up narrow paths and in dark conditions doesn’t sound great but the view at the top of the Duomo more than made up for it. You could see for miles around, even mountains in the distance and it was so bright up there that it was hard not to squint in all the pictures. The Boboli gardens also provided picturesque views with its fountains and paths roofed by trees. The sheer scale of the gardens was impressive and its famous path lined with sculptures and plants definitely lived up to expectations.

One of my favourite pictures I took on the trip! Look at that sky!

One of my favourite pictures I took on the trip! Look at that sky!

Dat view though!

Dat view though!

Here are some more pics from our trip!

Over and Out!

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102. Crazy Week!

I only have a a few moments to write this post. This entire week has been unbelievably busy! I have started my internship with Towers Watson and I’m working in the retirement department . I’ve just finished my first week and it’s been quite interesting. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in training sessions, using Excel, calculating transfer values, learning lots of new lingo and sending A LOT of emails. It’s so different from university but everyone has been so supportive and helpful. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing half the time but I am getting there… slowly.

Tomorrow morning, I am catching the Eurostar to Paris for my cousin’s wedding. Half of my (very large) extended family is already there and the rest of them are travelling with us. There’s going to be two days of crazy parties and then I’m returning on Monday morning. I’m super excited about this. It’ll be great to see everyone in the same place and it’s an excuse to dress up and dance about like an idiot. I’m going to get my balle balle on. And it’s all happening in Paris- the city of lurveee.

Gosh isn’t this beautiful?! ❤ Please someone take me there one day…. *sigh*

Okay I have to dash and pack but I have loads more to say about the internship and I’m sure there’ll be a few stories from the wedding. Eeeee!

Over and Out!

 

62. This makes my blood boil.

So Aliya, you’re next! *wink*. Aliya, when are you getting hitched? Hey Aliya, have you thought about your wedding? You know what, I got asked all of these questions today and it’s not the first time. I keep getting asked these questions, particularly since I hit 21. It is just relentless.

Of course I want to get married, of course I want a family but I want to finish my degree first. Every time I say that, some of the aunties give me this look of disdain… oh you’re one of those ‘career minded’ women. They say it like it’s a dirty word. I’m sorry I actually want to use the education I worked so hard to get. I am sorry my ambition isn’t solely linked to finding a husband. Today an aunty said to me, haw you’re 21 and you can’t even make kheer (Indian dessert). Fine, it’s true. I can’t make kheer off the top of my head but I can prove S5 is an insoluble group and if I can do that, I sure as hell can follow a recipe and make some bloody kheer. Do you notice how the reverse argument doesn’t hold? Being able to make kheer doesn’t mean you can prove S5 is an insoluble group. But did I say that? No- because aunties get a free pass to be condescending but any retaliation from me makes me a ‘gustaak larki’ (ill mannered girl).

My mum is like the community agony aunt and being her daughter, I have heard all sorts of stuff about marriage problems and I have learnt a lot. I’mma speak some hard truths today because I am supremely pissed off. If you are a woman and you work, your marriage will be fairer. You know why? Because you put money on the table and guys might not respect you but they sure as hell respect money. There, I said it. If you don’t work, you can bet that when you go shopping, for every two things you put in the trolley, he will take one thing out and justify it with ‘but I pay the bills’. He won’t do that if you’re paying.

You know what aunties… I’mma get a real good job, buy a nice house and a nice car and if I want to buy new shoes, I’mma buy them because I can afford it.

Disclaimer: If this sounds like man hate, I apologise. If you are offended at my generalising, I apologise. I know there are exceptions to every rule but everything I’ve mentioned, I’ve observed firsthand. If you haven’t, then you’re very lucky.

Over and Out.