Saturday, July 30, 2011


One great thing about being in Italy versus America for me was that everyone could pronounce my name correctly. Both my names: Ariana Crisafulli. For some reason, a lot of people in the states like to pronounce Ariana air-iana, turning my lovely Italian name into a southern drawl. Really it's supposed to be pronounced more like a pirate, arrrr-iana.
But my last name is worse. Americans trip and stumble all over my last name (and I suppose I can't blame them.) Their favorite thing to do is add a t after the s, making it cristafulli. Worse, many times my fellow Americans will think my last name is both my first and last as in Krista Fulli.
Example when interviewing for job:
Interviewer: Hi, what's your last name?
Me: Crisafulli.
Interviewer: Umm I said LAST name but okayyy (begins to look through list for last name Fulli.)
Me: That is my last name. *finishes sentence in head: you d-bag.*
But in Italy I did not have these problems. Italians would see my name and not only know how to pronounce and spell both my first and last, but they would get excited to see an Italian name. Not to mention the fact that they made both of my names sound beautiful and dignified. The syllables of my name were simply lyrics in the song that is the Italian language. Basically I was overjoyed.
Then one day I had a problem with a ticket I bought to Amsterdam. No confirmation showed up in my e-mail so I had to call customer service for the airline I bought it from. As it so happened, it was an Italian airline. No problem, I thought. They speak English.
The man had a thick Italian accent and with it he asked for my last name. Pff this is easy, I thought. He's Italian, he'll get it. Of course I forgot that I'm actually American so no matter how beautifully Italians say my name, I still say it with my native American accent.
He was confused.
"Say it again please," he asked politely. I said it again. He couldn't get it.
"Spell it please," he asked politely again. I tried to spell it but the Italian alphabet is different than the English one. is an i an e or an i? ahhh! this was turning into a nightmare of accents!
After a few minutes of this, I knew what had to be done.
I sucked in air, held it there, and exhaled it with the best imition of Italian accent I could do: CREEZAFOOOOOOLLEE!!! I bellowed (because Italians say everything loudly.) I even gestured with my hand as if conducting the orchestra of the Italian language itself. I knew he couldn't see but I was sure it would help with the accent.
"OHHH!" he shouted with the joy of recognition. "Okay I find you now."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To Eat or Not to Eat

The other day my mom's friend was over and we and my mom were discussing plans for lunch. I told them that I would have to be back at a certain time so I could go to the gym before work. My mom's friend looks at me and asks, "Oh, do you belong at the gym?"

I thought this was a very strange way to ask if I had a gym membership, so I thought about it. My mind travelled back to my four and a half months in Rome. Months spent eating chocolate croissants and capuccinos with mountains of sugar every morning. Months spent eating pizza and pasta every day. Months spent discovering new and tantalizing foods such as canollis (I know it's not new but I never liked them in the states. The ones in Italy were a whole other story.) There was also something called suppli which was my snack of choice most days. It consists of rice in ragu sauce with a chunk of mozzarella in the middle and then friend in bread crumbs. My mouth waters at the thought of it and my taste buds groan and reach toward Rome, toward Il Delfino where I used to buy them. The point is, I didn't exactly eat healthy while I was abroad. To compound it, I didn't do very much exercising unless you count the innumerous miles I walked going to and from school, pubs, clubs, and of course restaurants where I filled my gullet!

But I don't regret it. While in Rome I watched Eat, Pray, Love which partially takes place in Rome. The protoganist had much the same experience as I did with food and lack of exercise and her advice was to simply buy larger pants! Brilliant I say! This is some advice I actually took when it came time for it, and believe me, the time did come.

Part of the experience of being in Italy is the experience of the food. The food is as rich as their culture and they use it as a centerpiece around which family, business and social life take place. It is not something to be afraid of or picked at for there is absolutely no room for calorie counting in Italy as it clashes harshly with la dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing.) And to that I raised my glass (and my fork) a thousand times in Rome.

But of course it was not without consequence. And so to the question posed to me, I answered: "Yes, I definitely  belong at the gym."