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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Rome wasn't built in a day...

It is true that in my life, all roads lead to Rome. I have lived here on and off for 12 years. And of course, when I live in Rome, I do like the Romans do. I wouldn't want to add insult to injury when living in a city that is not my own at that in every respect is a 3-ring circus. I mean if anyone knows what organization is like in Rome, they would know that is indeed like herding cats. With all the people roaming the streets who are one sandwich short of a picnic or just generally not the sharpest tool in the shed, trying to get anything done can be like being on a wild good chase. I often find myself barking up the wrong tree entirely or running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

And whenever I set a goal, I often get close but no cigar. I have to stop and remind myself not to get my knickers in a twist. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Punto. Basta. Photo credit: I wish I knew who to give credit for this.

As a language nerd, I am a sucker for expressions and idioms. In every language, I collect them like coins. I never really know what to do with all of them, but I like to stash them away for a rainy day. Today, is indeed a rainy day and I thought I would bring out my collection of idioms for the silly, but not untrue, story above.

Some of my other favorite expressions:


Arête de me casser les pieds - literally: stop breaking my feet, i.e. stop annoying me. English equivalent: stop breaking my balls or rompere le mie palle in Italian

Boire comme un trou- literally: to drink like a hole, i.e. to drink heavily/get drunk. English equivalent: to drink like a fish.


porca miseria!- literally: the misery of pigs. English equivalent: darn it (or stronger)

Avere le mani in pasta- literally: to have your hands in the pasta, i.e. to be powerful (over someone).

Conosco come le mie tasche - literally: to know (it) like my own pockets. English equivalent: to know like the back of your hand.

A ogni morte di Papa - literally: at every death of the Pope, i.e. something that happens rarely. English equivalent: once in a blue moon.

Conosco i miei polli- literally: I know my chickens, i.e. I know who I am dealing with.

What are your favorite idioms or expressions? Share them with me!

Some interesting idiom sites


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