i finally went to pasta brava with clara today! the food was pretty good, and the restaurant’s tables were covered with huge sheets of paper with a little basket of chalk so you can draw whatever you like while you are eating! i thought that was the best part of the restaurant, i mean apart from the homemade pasta etc. i wrote “il carne è squisito. anche la panna cotta” and the dear chef? owner? came up to me and pointed to ‘carne’ and said “carne è femminile. c’è LA carne, non c’è il carne..” and i was molto imbarazzata! gosh. and then we spoke a bit in italian (which was about 50% the point of my going there for me).
“sì.. la carne è squisita. molto bene. parla italiano? dove studi italiano?”
“parla un po’.. ma molto male! ho studiato italiano all’università per un’anno.”
“yoo want tu know how to improoove yore eetahlian? youu muz get an eetahlian boyfriend.. speeek tu im everyday in eetahlian and yoo weel defeenitely improove.”
“sì, sì.. ma nell’università non c’è..”
“non c’è!? vai in italia!”
“sì.. l’estate prossima.. troverò un bel ragazzo italiano per me.. non preoccuparti~”
what a lovely man. i am so ashamed of myself though. peggy would be absolutely horrified at how much my italian has deteriorated. time to read alta fedeltà and to bring on the italian films.
she brought me to books actually, this lovely little bookshop tucked away in a little corner of ann siang hill and i found roger mcgough’s collected poems there! and bought it on a whim >< was reading it on the train back and it is really quite lovely. here's near to you
America’s the land of milk and honey
Australia’s healthy and continually sunny
The living in Sweden is clean and sleek
The food in France is gastronomique
Japan’s got geishas and the fastest train
China’s got oodles of chicken chow mein
If you want noodles you can’t beat Hong Kong’s
Brazilians samba on beaches in thongs
Africa looks to a future exciting
Spain’s got sherry, el sol and bullfighting
Eskimos are tough and used to roughing
Turkey is full of chestnut stuffing
The Belgians invented the Brussels sprout
Germans lieben Lederhosen und sauerkraut
Greece abounds in classical ruins
Russia’s violinists play the loveliest tuins
In Bermuda it’s swaying palm trees and foam
In Switzerland it’s gnome sweet gnome
Italian girls make a di fantastic lovers
Danes are mustard under the covers
From old Hawaii to New Nepal
Foreigners seem to have it all
So if everything abroad is as good as they say
Why do Britons in Britain stay?
The answer is (and I’m sure it’s true)
That all of us want to be near to you.
rayner’s recently written something quite epic about singapore that i think you all should read. quite in a different vein from mcgough’s rather patriotic piece but as truthful and heartfelt nonetheless. it’s probably the most thoughtful work i’ve seen emerging from my generation. (out of which many are neither equipped with the requisite feeling nor wit)
p.s. i need to spend more time in the hammock. last night was the first time i tried to lop myself into it to have a proper look at the stars. it would be just peachy lazing around in there and reading my latest book of poems!