Lost in translation or just don’t want to know

I recently have had the privilege of going to a few end-of-the year dance recitals in Rome. I teach English and some of my students are children.  The contrast between American kids and Italian kids is very visible and interesting. Kids in the states are made independent , people say “stop babying him” even though the kid is three years old. Here, children stay children for a very long time, in many cases into adulthood. Overall, Italian children are truly dependent on their teacher. In fact, Italian children will have the same teacher for the first five years of school, if they don’t move or change school.  The teacher becomes family, the second mother not only to the kids but to the adults. Everyone is dependent. Another contrast, parents invite the teacher out for drinks and Facebook it and the teacher still has her job the next day!! I am talking to you USA; the land that  doesn’t believe teachers are people too.

So, I have been to a few recitals and they are sweet and adorable as they always are. A friend that is an adult; has been taking dance lessons. He has been practicing for a few years now. In true Italian fashion he invited me a couple of hours before it started to the spettacolo.   I do like the word spettacolo, it means show but  it makes me think of some death-defying feat that I would see at the circus. I love this word!

As well, I really wanted to go home.  It was über hot day for June and I had been out all morning doing a photo shoot for a friend that is leaving Rome for good after three years here. I was spent but decided to support his show. So I went home,changed and again went out into the heat waiting on the bus , on a Saturday, which is so annoying, I have a better chance winning the lottery than one of the three buses by my house arriving on the weekend. I have a great dislike for the buses on the weekend. They are suppose to run…… key word SUPPOSE to yet somehow they become ghost on the weekends.

The show was at Teatro Brancaccio on via Merulana. This area is really trendy and nice. It has some great bars and is really close to Vittorio Emmanule metro stop and somewhat close to Termini (main metro /train stop in Rome). The teatro is really nice and beautiful.  You can get chips, soda, popcorn and espresso  at the concession stand. There are a lot of stage performances here, Louis Armstrong and the Beatles have played in this fairly intimate theater.

The show was misleading with time. It stared at 4 pm and finished at 8:30 and claimed to be two hours and a half.  The dance studio where my friend practices puts on a show displaying all ages. Beginning with the children’s performances  that took two and a half hours plus an intermission.  I want to say that children are very cute when they are learning choreographic dance moves. They are always looking to the right side curtain where there dance teacher is telling them the dance moves. Second , I was a bit lost on watching young girls from 5 to 16 perform at least 15 dance numbers doing the same two-step continuously. I saw people walk out.  I began to wonder how much the parents pay for their child to be at this dance school.

To make this show more eyebrow raising-picture it: pre-teen girls in the typical unitard bodysuit dancing the two-step to Don’t cry for me Argentina performed by Madonna, Miracles by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and wait for it Talk Dirty to Me with Jason Derulo and 2Chainz explicit version. They played 2Chainz part  three times!! If you don’t know it, which I didn’t, you will now:

Dos Cadenas, close to genius
Sold out arenas, you can suck my penis
Gilbert Arenas, guns on deck
Chest to chest, tongue on neck
International oral sex
Every picture I take, I pose a threat
Bought a jet, what do you expect?
Her pussy’s so good I bought her a pet
Anyway, every day I’m trying to get to it
Got her saved in my phone under “Big Booty”
Anyway, every day I’m trying to get to it
Got her saved in my phone under “Big Booty”

Yep! this happened.

I was falling asleep when  I heard “you can suck my penis”. I thought I was having a weird delusion but nope this was happening. To make in even more inappropriate. The instructor, who is a really beautiful, petite, blond lady with a six-pack abs; came on stage did a belly dance routine with a mature appeal while the girls tied the belly dancing hip wrap on and then proceeded to have the girls do a sexy dance , booty shake , sexy spin , with the pointed toe body dip. Not once but several times and then they turned their backs to the audience and did a booty dance , with a stripper pop-lock-drop. I was looking around to see if I was the only one seeing this.  I saw some people looking lost and uncertain on how they should responded and other on their phone checking Facebook.

When they finally finished this number a few people applauded. I want to believe they had no idea what the lyrics were to this song that their little angels just stripper danced to it. I want to believe the dance instructor thought the rhythm was great and bypass knowing what the song was saying. I want to believe I was the only one who saw and heard it. Yet, during intermission I heard a few  people at the concession stand questioning  what they just saw.

After this big  number the rest of the children’s show was quite mellow , they did another inappropriate dance for I’m a Good Girl from Burlesque, otherwise they stuck to normal kid stuff with a two-step. It was something I never expected.  Compared to the other kids shows I have seen in Rome and in the States, I expected cute and adorable without awkward dance numbers.

I was extremely happy the kids portion was over. I don’t think I could have stayed for another Burlesque-kid performance. Finally the adult show happened. When my friend finally performanced; I was on my second macchiato to stay awake in four hours. They did the tango, a lot. It was nice.  I realized I dislike choreographic dance. I will stick to nonsense dance moves. I have no patience to learn. My friend has been driving everyone crazy about his dance practice. He has been going twice a week for countless months.  I am not sure what he did but we watched, we cheered and we congratulated after the show.

On that note, I end with Paula


Feed ME, per favore!

I grew up watching Cheers. I have always like the idea of having a bar that was similiar to home. Although, if home is like a bar that is still very questionable, possible troubling yet …it could be nice….. maybe.  Back to the bar. I want a bar to call my own, the people know me, telepathically know my drink order and is a chill place. I am not a big drinker just have  my own bar, where everybody knows my name and their always glad I came…most of the time at least. When I think like this I always rememeber when Norm steps into the bar and they all say “NORM”!! , that to me is kudos yet again troubling  yet it rocks.  In the States I frequent some bars and I was getting the Cheers feel.  It was nice , just not frequent enough. 

Now, I live in Roma, Garbatella to be exact. I have a bar!  Bars here are not just for night life, but all times of the day life. In the morning, they have fresh cornettos , slightly warm and delicious. Here a cornetto is more than just a croissant looking pastry, but a variety of pastries filled with all kinds of surprise yummy goodness or without; sprinkled with cocoa, glazed or not. They have variety, I have big eyes so I have tried just about everything. Note: there is also Cornetto the ice cream, very popular on-the-go treat about a one euro and fifty. My bar  is lovely. I walk in they know my morning drink ; caffè macchiato. It is ready by the time I reach the counter. I am then greeted with a smile and chocolates by my lovely bald headed  bartender ,who wants to date me.  By midday the cornettos disappear and are replaced with cold and colorful gelati and little pastries.  They  also  serve simple and tasty lunchtime choices. Then to end the day its a free for all of choices including aperitivo.  I like my bar they know my name, they know my drinks, they are always happy to see me despite my horrible Italian. 

When people ask me about appetizers in the states , I say peanuts and hot wings on a good day, but a full on meal is reserved for all you can eat buffets. They find interesting that a bar in the States is not like here. The bar is  the foundation of every neighborhood here. practically every corner has a bar. The bar is natural. It took my family a bit to understand when I said I was at the bar , I wasn’t just drinking myself into a stupor. My mom was getting nerve, now  she has eased up on the idea of me always being in a bar.  ( Love you MOM) !!

I must say America is slacking when it comes to aperitivo; appertizers.  In many different bars, you pay maybe 9-12 euros ( 12-15 USA) depending on the zone( area) and it’s an amazing feast of food from 7-9pm, all you have to do is buy a drink. The food choices also depend on the type of bar. For instance, some bars only serve bruschetta ( bru-sKe- ta), Americans we say it wrong ( bru-She-ta)  with tomatoes, olives, and chips. While others give you mini sandwiches, olives, brushcetta with different topping, fresh meats, cheese and fruit. And the ultiimate places to do aperitivo serve you dinner. At Caffe Letteriario they cook you a full on meal, you name it , it is there and it’s all you can eat plus desert and all the others foods I listed. It ‘s a great way to eat on a budget or when you want to eat a massive mix of foods without going home to cook after a long day. They place nice music and the place has a mellow atmosphere to it. Caffe Letterario is located in Ostiense, which a trendy area with out-the-box street art, contemporary style and lively night life. 

Naurally, you will be in the center  where all the sites are.  There are a places that are good to have a meal on a budget  without forgoing the European feeling. Now people say that  places  in the center are  expensive. They are. When you walk in at random times that are not lunch or dinner , they charge you big.  The key to eating is to go in during the lunch time or dinner time so that you can get the affordable rate. Tourist forget that by being in the center everything cost more and is outrageous. Restaurants and bars charge crazy prices because they know tourist don’t know about the lunch , dinner buffet. So, if you go in before 1pm and order a cappuccino it  will cost you close to 5 euros, it’s business not personal. However, if you went during the lunch time special the same cappuccino comes with an endless meal.

  Bulldog Inn, it’s English friendly and pub style. A hot spot to watch sports. They have an amazing variety of choices for lunch and dinner. At  lunch you pay 9 euros  all you can eat and the drink is extra , evening time the drink is included in the price. 

Another place that is worth visiting is La. Vi Latteria & Vino off via del Corso , it  have a hip, posh atmosphere yet it is very laid back place in the heart of the city. They serve a very nice buffet style lunch that is affordable, otherwise it can be expensive.  Another place to eat in the center is near the Spanish Steps, is Il Pastificio on via del Croce. this place is far from fancy -it’s simple and clean. No chairs no fancy anything, in fact  it’s plastic plates and cups , eat on a shelf enjoying amazing pasta for 4 euros  including house vino (upon request ) and water. This place gives you a hearty helping of pasta that at a fancy restaurant would cost maybe 10-16 euros. Pastifico usually has a long line between 1-3 pm because this where many Romans go on their lunch break. I have been told they do this also around 5-7 but I haven’t tried in the evening, so I cannot verify.  To make life easier at Pastifico bring exact change. 


There you have it. Some tips on place to go when in Rome and you are hungry. If you want to do the Bella Notte moment from  Lady and the Tramp,  don’t act a fool when the conto(bill) arrives and you feel that’s it’s too much, pay it and take a stroll, look into your lovers eyes and if no lover eat a gelato.