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Moving mountains

An Evening at Casalinga

Located within Clarkson, Casalinga Ristorante brings a touch of Florence to Mississauga with its authentic Italian cuisine.

It was my second time visiting this restaurant, last night, and once again the friendly staff there failed to disappoint, with their great service and delicious food.

The moment you walk into this establishment, you feel as if you’ve stepped into a classic, traditional restaurant in Italy. On one of the walls hang numerous sketches of some of the country’s landmarks, giving the ambiance that true Italian look. And, to make you feel more at home, they will actually welcome you inside with a warm smile, and (if you’re a guy) a “ciao bello!“.

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What made this evening more special,though, was the fact that I got to meet my dad’s partner, and a couple of her family members, for the first time. They were truly a delightful bunch.

Moving onto the food itself…

As a starter we ordered an antipasto to share, consisting of marinated olives, mixed veggies, arugula, fior di latte and grana padano cheese. This was also accompanied by a complimentary baguette, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping plate.

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For the main course, I ordered the mouth-watering spaghettini ai gamberoni.

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And my pal Ryan had mixed grilled seafood, consisting of trout, prawns, salmon, and calamari, with a side of potatoes.

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After having stuffed our faces with this heavenly food, we simply couldn’t help but get ourselves some coffee and dessert. We decided on tartufo, and pistachio cheesecakes.

It was an extremely pleasant evening, spent with great people, and we were all extremely satisfied with our meals. Absolutely perfect.

From here, once again, we’d like to thank everyone at Casalinga Ristorante for yet another superb service. We will surely come to visit again, soon, cari amici!

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– Preston Carbonaro

Note: All pictures in this blog post, except those of the food dishes, were taken from the restaurant’s website http://casalingaristorante.com/

 

 

 

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Don’t Let The Sun Fool You!

“Don’t let the sun fool you.”

That’s one thing I learned, the day before yesterday.

Despite the weather being very sunny in the morning, the temperature was three degrees below zero!

Taking advantage of the sunlight, we headed out for a walk through another one of the parks in the vicinity – Plowman’s Park.

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We continued along the winding route until we arrived at the Lake Wabukayne Trail, which encircles the lake.

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Since it’s winter, Lake Wabukayne is completely frozen over, and it looks absolutely wonderful!

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The vast expanse of snow and ice, that is Lake Wabukayne
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Someone even dared to step onto the frozen mass, and clear a section of the snow in order to make a skating spot!
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A plump of ducks taking shelter in the lake’s dam

 

We then made our way back and decided to stop for brunch at Symposium, a small but beautifully decorated restaurant, situated right behind the Meadowvale Town Centre.

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Scrambled eggs and farmer’s sausage, with toast and seasoned breakfast potatoes. Yum!

 

After our meal, we then decided to head to Downtown Mississauga to check out Square One. This monstrous labyrinth of a shopping centre is the second largest in Canada, as well as the largest in Ontario, with more than 360 stores and services!

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Outside entrance 7 to Square One
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The gorgeous lights display outside entrance 7. I call it the “fountain of light”.

 

– Preston Carbonaro

Not Such A Warm Welcome

So, ladies and gentlemen, today was my first full day in Canada, and I’m here to tell you all about it!

Since it’s been almost two years since my first visit to Canada, today was a bit of a refresher’s course.

At 8:00 a.m., I wake up to this simply magical view of the other houses in the neighbourhood – and beyond – from our apartment building.

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On the large white patch of snow, you can just make out a few “black dots” that are none other than little children wading their way through the snow to get to school.

 

The weather was cloudy, today, and the temperature ranged between 2°C and -2°C.

After having breakfast, my dad and I took the bus to the nearby Erin Mills Town Centre – the second largest mall in Mississauga – to take a look around at the shops there.

We later proceeded to the mall’s food court, and, since we decided that today would be our “cheat meal day” of the week, had lunch at KFC. After that, we headed down the escalator to a Starbucks where we had a vanilla latte and chai tea until it was time to leave and catch the next bus back home.

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Given that it was still quite early in the afternoon, I really wanted to have a look at some of the parks surrounding the area. So, we decided to take a long, scenic stroll through Aquitaine Park and Maplewood Park.

From this point onwards, I think it’d be best to just show you some of the pictures which I took during the walk, as words (apart from white, snowy, vast, and peaceful) are unable to express the true beauty of these places. I truly hope that, with the help of these images, you are able to immerse yourselves in the magnificent winter wonderland.

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Part of the Lake Aquitaine Trail

 

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If you grab a magnifying glass and look through it, you could just make out faint outlines of the fish swimming in Lake Aquitaine, here… You have to look really closely, though… Just kidding, of course! It’ll be a while before one can see anything beneath this blanket of snow and ice.

 

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Made some feathered friends, along the way…

 

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And met Frosty the Snowman, too!

 

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Maplewood Park

 

 

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Some more trees

 

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Who said that adults can’t have a go on the swings?

 

Well, I guess it’s safe to say that I can now tick the following two things off my bucket list:

  • see snow
  • experience sub-zero temperatures

 

What does day number two have in store, I wonder?

 

– Preston Carbonaro

Our Visit to Mater Dei’s Rainbow Ward

Ending 2017 on a positive note, and in a reflective mood.

Earlier today, we – a group of active referees, ex-referees, and Academy students – paid a visit to the Rainbow Ward, at Mater Dei Hospital. We were kindly greeted by the friendly staff, there, and shown around the patients’ rooms by Puttinu Cares founder himself, Rene Zerafa. Also, in the end, we presented them with a cheque donation, and a referee’s shirt signed by every one of us.

Hearing about some of the cancer cases was simply heartbreaking, and unpleasant. Such a horrid disease is ugly and unfair on anyone, but most especially on young, innocent kids.

On the other hand, it was a humbling experience which taught us how much we should appreciate our lives, good health, and loved ones who take care of us on a daily basis. How some of our “problems” are nowhere near as worrying as other people’s.

Hats off to the MFA Refereeing Department for coming up with such a great initiative! Thanks, once again, to Puttinu Cares for the hard work they do with all these people in need, and for welcoming us with open arms and a warm, pleasant smile 

– Preston Carbonaro

Refereeing Hiatus and January Plans

I knew it would be a difficult decision to make.

However, at the same time, I felt it was the right time.

After three seasons refereeing in Malta, I have decided to take a break, in order to pursue other dreams of mine, abroad.

Over the past year and a half, my interest and desire to play football has rekindled. What can I say? I miss having the ball at my feet and running with it on the turf. I miss being part of a team, bonding together, working together, and fighting together for that ultimate prize. And most of all, I miss the sheer thrill of scoring goals.

The older I get, however, the less likely I’ll get a chance to play at a professional or semi-professional level. So now, I believe, is the right time to give this one last, proper shot.

After a few months of contacting people and clubs, one particular team expressed their interest, and kindly invited me to attend a player trial session early next year. And from here, I thank them for giving me this great opportunity.

The team I’m referring to above are none other than the Oakville Blue Devils. Newly-crowned League1 Ontario champions.

It’s safe to say that the pressure is on. Joining a team who have just won the league title, and want to keep challenging to be the best, is no joke. But, without sounding too big-headed, I am confident that I can be a positive addition to the team; trying my best to make a good impression both on and off the pitch.

I am, of course, aiming for this to be a successful venture, but should I not get chosen, this will in no way affect my undying love for the beautiful game.

So, be sure to keep your eyes peeled, dear readers, as another travel blog is soon heading your way. In a couple of weeks’ time, I’ll be off to Canada! 🇨🇦❄️

– Preston Carbonaro

 

Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noël! Buon Natale!

To all of you, my dear friends, followers, and readers…

Have yourselves a very Merry Christmas! 😃 🎅🎄🎁

I truly hope that Santa’s been good to each and every one of you, this year.

While it’s important to enjoy these times of the year, may I remind you to enjoy them responsibly. If you’re planning to go out for a night of boozing, please do not risk driving. For your own safety, and the safety of those around you.

P.S. I’ve got some exciting news to share with you in the coming days, so be sure to stay tuned! 😉

– Preston

 

Book Review – “Cockroaches” by Jo Nesbø

HARRY IS ON A SPECIAL MISSION

Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok. The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy hotel room, and Harry has been sent to investigate. It’s clear that the Ambassador’s family are hiding some secrets of their own, but few people are willing to talk…

HE NEEDS TO SOLVE A CRIME AND AVOID A SCANDAL

When Harry lays his hands on some incriminating CCTV footage, things only get more complicated. The man who gave him the tape goes missing, and Harry realises that failing to solve a murder case is by no means the only danger that faces the unwary.

BUT IN AN UNFAMILIAR CITY, WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

———-

Book title…

I’ll start by saying that I was not really a fan of this novel’s name.

For those who don’t know, I am absolutely terrified of roaches. They are one of the most revolting, and hideous creatures to ever crawl (and fly) on the face of this planet.

Personal fears aside, though, Jo Nesbø couldn’t have found a more apropos title.

Towards the beginning of the book, Harry finds cockroaches in his sleazy motel room, and says that he had “read that they hide when they hear the vibrations of someone approaching and that for every cockroach you can see there are at least ten hiding. That meant they were everywhere.”

This excerpt can also be interpreted in several different metaphorical ways, as, I believe, was the author’s intention. One take on it could be that Jo is comparing the nasty pests to society’s “cockroaches” – these being the people in the corrupt underworld who also happen to roam around us everyday; they might not always be seen running around, but they’re still very much present, lurking in a dark corner somewhere.

Another take could be the vision of swarms of cockroaches, which could be associated with the traffic congestion, and Thai multitudes moving on the streets of Bangkok.

Kudos to Nesbø for coming up with yet another intriguing title.

General thoughts…

Right off the bat (no pun intended), this has to be my least favourite novel from the Harry Hole series, so far.

The book shows lots of local colour in the lively, seedy streets of Bangkok – the world of prostitutes, drug dealers, opium dens, and pornographers – but I certainly didn’t get the same feeling of “liveliness” whilst reading. The story was rather dull and slow-moving, most of the times, similar to the congested roads of bustling Bangkok.

I wasn’t particularly fond of Thailand as the location choice, and simply didn’t fall in love, or feel a “connection” with the place.

Also, Jo Nesbø himself describes in an interview that his publishing house wanted him to write a follow-up book soon after the success of The Bat. And it took him about a month and a half to write Cockroaches. Now, I’m no author, but I would assume that a good book usually takes longer than that to be properly planned out and written. So, perhaps it was a rushed project, and I think it reflected in the writing. This was the main reason behind my disappointment with the book.

To make up for the negative comments…

One thing I liked in Cockroaches was the way Harry’s character continued to develop. We see a Harry Hole who is clearly still reeling, and troubled, by the brutal events in Australia. This time, however, instead of drinking himself into a stupor, our intrepid hero sobers up and pursues the case to the ends of the earth, no matter where the chips may fall. And, once again, he exasperates the hell out of his superiors.

The novel balances Harry’s personal life, own demons, and the murder mystery well, whilst mixing in just enough twists and turns along the way to maintain the reader’s interest.

 

My rating:

3-out-of-5-stars-rating-system

 

The Toronto Star(s)

27th June 2017; Amway Canadian Championship winners.

30th September 2017; Supporters’ Shield winners.

Then, on a cold but clear 9th December night, on the shores of Lake Ontario, history was made…

2017 MLS Cup champions.

The first-ever team in Major League Soccer history to win the domestic treble.

The first-ever Canadian team to win the prestigious MLS trophy.

Which team, you ask? None other than Toronto Football Club, ladies and gentlemen. The club who’ve just etched their name in MLS history, after yet another stellar season.

Following last year’s heartbreaking MLS Cup Final penalty shoot-out defeat against Seattle Sounders, a strong and resilient Toronto F.C. side were determined to turn the tables on the same opponents, this time around. And boy did they do just that!

From the very beginning of last night’s final match, The Reds showed no mercy whatsoever towards The Rave Greens, with repeated waves of attack. None of Toronto’s shots on target were converted to goals, though, and it was thanks to some glorious goalkeeping heroics from Seattle Sounders’ Stefan Frei that the first half ended scoreless. The Reds, however, continued to dominate the second set of 45 minutes, and surely enough, it was Jozy Altidore’s opener in the 67th minute that put Toronto in the lead. At that point, the TFC faithful went absolutely wild. A cacophony of cheers, chants, and claps. Pure joy and jubilation. I honestly thought it would be the only goal of the night. But it was Toronto’s number 7, Victor Vazquez, who netted the second – and ultimately sealed The Reds’ glorious victory – in the dying seconds of the match.

A well-deserved win! And what an unforgettable evening!

All of you football fans out there, remember this day.

The day Toronto F.C. painted the town (and entire country) red.

I look forward to seeing that first star on the crest emblazoned on the team’s shirts, next year.

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The True North strong and free! Go Toronto! 🇨🇦 💓

– Preston Carbonaro

We’ve Taken Our Bows, and Our Curtain Calls

To my panto colleagues,

As the saying goes: all good things must come to an end.

Yesterday was our last performance of Is-Sirena ż–Żgħira Taħt it-Tieqa tad-Dwejra.

Throughout this time, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside great, multi-talented actors of different ages; we shared jokes, laughs, and countless number of bloopers, along the way. As with most things in life, though, it wasn’t all roses. There were some frustrating times for us, but we still managed to get through them together, as one strong team, in order to give our audience one hell of a show.

These past few months have been crazy for me, I admit, juggling pantomime rehearsals whilst continuing my refereeing career, trying to balance the two. It wasn’t easy, but they’ve been truly unforgettable.

Once again, it’s been a fantastic experience to have worked with you all. I’m sure that our paths will cross again in the near future.

À la prochaine. Thank you, and well done!

With love and best wishes,

Preston, your Prince Eric

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Ariel and her evil sister Ursula, with Prince Eric photobombing the picture
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Some of the characters: Scuttle, Flounder, King Triton, Ursula, Marlene, Sabrina (the dame), Pirate Lily, Anne, The Dancers, and myself as Prince Eric
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The entire cast and crew

 

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