Another ship sinks

During the night, around 400 migrants are believed to have drowned trying to reach Europe after their ship capsized. As it gets warmer, more migrants attempt to make the journey.

Survivors of a capsized migrant boat off Libya have told the aid group Save the Children that around 400 people are believed to have drowned. Even before the survivors were interviewed, Italy’s coast guard said it assumed that there were many dead given the size of the ship and that nine bodies had been found.

If anyone can cook and wants to do something worthwhile this summer, they might think of heading down to help out.

Forgetting and Remembering Languages

Olga Khazan recently published an interesting piece on learning and forgetting languages in The Atlantic,  you can read it here.

This is definitely something I have experienced:

“People who are in an extended process of forgetting a language avoid using it because they no longer feel sure about it and they do not want to make too many mistakes,” Grosjeanwrote recently. “If they do have to use it, they may cut short a conversation so as not to have to show openly how far the attrition has progressed.”

I feel this horrible embarrassment anytime I meet an old friend I used to converse in Spanish with. They all also speak either English, German, or both, so it’s not a problem. But the initial embarrassment of not being able to speak Spanish anymore is followed by the embarrassment of speaking a language we didn’t use to use with each other — when we first switch, it feels fake and not at all authentic. Fortunately, we have known each other for more than half our lives at this stage and love each other to bits, so we persist!

I’m also pleased to read that

If someone came up and told you your childhood address again, “you would have the feeling that that information was somewhere in the recesses of your memory, and in fact, you would be likely to relearn it very quickly,” writes the lab of the UCLA cognitive psychologist Robert Bjork.

And indeed, some researchers think that forgetting information and later relearning it can actually be useful—the knowledge comes back in stronger the second time around.

If the same thing really does hold true for languages, as well, there may yet be some hope of me re-learning French, which I spoke until I was about four.

Anyone else forgetting or re-learning languages?

Contributors and blogs

Hi all,

I have discovered there are some amazing bloggers out and about in the Bergamo area, and I’d really like to link to their blogs — they make for really interesting reading and could be sources of information for people planning on moving here. So if you are one of these amazing bloggers, please do get in touch so I can add a link to your blog here.

I also wanted to ask if anyone is interested in being added to this blog as an author — I think I can invite about 8 more people or thereabouts. I have already added Kari who has added lots of useful information, and Brigitte, who does a fab job of posting about upcoming events (she’s so much better informed than I am!). If you would like to occasionally edit, contribute, or add anything here, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to add you!

Immigration stories

The Guardian has put together a fascinating collection of stories about the experiences of immigrants in Britain. Some of them are very positive, others much less so … Wouldn’t it be interesting to do something like that here?

To the contrary of what people usually assume, my life standard back in Turkey was way better in material terms. However I was at this point in my life where I felt the urge to make a drastic change. I wasn’t particularly planning to move to the UK.

The leaning tower of pizza

Well, the most basic aim of terrorism is to terrorize, so it’s refreshing (and I actually think it’s really important) to see people laughing at it.

Italians have responded with ridicule after an ISIS supporter referred to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa landmark as the “learning tower of pizza”.

The ISIS supporting Twitter account belonging to someone identifying as Abu Abdullah Aritani tweeted: “#We_Are_Coming_O_Rome, we will conquer & establish the justice of #shariah. We will use your leaning tower of pizza to throw off homosexual”.

You can read a few responses that were tweeted by amused Romans here.

‘European classics’ in Roman schools

Recently on the Living in Bergamo Facebook page we discussed this initiative in Rome, which tried to introduce children to a variety of European ‘classics’. Sadly, it appears to be a great idea that was badly executed. I’m also really disappointed in the choice of some of the dishes. Traditional Irish chicken and chips? Not so much, really. What about Irish stew, or some Irish salmon? A dish with lots of lovely, floury potatoes? Soda bread? One can only assume the hot dogs were actually sausages, maybe representing Germany or Austria? Except that a properly made Wurst or Wuerstchen has precious little to do with the ‘wurstel’ the kids were in all likelihood served.

Job opportunity for chefs in Kilkee, Ireland

Lir at Kilkee Golf Club is looking for chefs (head chefs, chefs de partie, pastry chefs). If anyone is interested, or knows anyone (maybe working in a restaurant here in Bergamo or Milan) who may want to move to Ireland for a while, please contact Sandra Quinn through Living in Bergamo ( It is a fantastic restaurant and offers an excellent opportunity for an English-spearking professional in the industry to experience life in Ireland and work in a busy and professional kitchen. At least three years’ experience would be necessary.

A Primomodo update

Primomodo have been in touch to let us know that they are offering a couple of new things for native English speakers … The first you will probably already have heard of, it’s their English spazio gioco. These are English-speaking play groups for babies and toddlers ( 3 to 30 months) and parents (they call it spazio gioco in inglese; the teacher always speaks English with the kids and English or Italian with the parent), you can find more info on their site.

They will also be doing an English breakfast,  a new project they are thinking about — breakfst for mommies/parents/relatives on Thursday mornings; in their family bar they have tables, high chairs and a big play room – the ticket is 5,50 euros per child and there is no time limit.

And in other news, they are looking for new Helen Doron teachers. If you want to know more about Helen Doron a quick google will find you loads of info, but you can also contact Primomodo about it. I intereviewed with them years ago and it seeemd like a warm, friendly, professional environment to work in. The hours really didn’t suit me though (afternoons and evenings), and the teaching style is high energy — so I wasn’t suited to it personality-wise, and with young kids of my own I don’t have that much energy to spare!

The ideal candidate would ideally be a native English speaker, have experience with babies, toddlers and children, and love working with children. If you’re interested, contact them directly.