Friday, May 5, 2017

Two Months in Italy



Today (yesterday) marks 2 full months that I have been in Italy.
What do I think? How do I feel? What am I doing? What do I miss?

Before I left, a friend asked, "What do you think will be the hardest thing for you to adjust to?" I really had no idea and I guessed, probably the language barrier...

My original language course gave me the run around and ultimately I canceled it. I have completely failed at keeping up with my language app and podcasts; I get bored listening, I need hands on. And while it is painfully frustrating at times, it's not so hard. Luca is my translator and teaches me a number of words and phrases along the way. And even though I feel like a 3 year old pointing and mispronouncing words, I've learned enough to get everything I need and mostly I'm understood. I am also improving at understanding Italian so I can usually follow along a conversation. And I can read enough to make out complete sentences. No matter, I want to learn and understand so my goal is to attain a one-on-one instructor in Tuscany.

What do I miss? My family and friends of course is number one. In fact I'm supposed to be in St. Croix for a 70.3 right now with my mom and David. But I'm not. This is a long story but basically my flights got really messed up, fees were adding up, my mom is sick, and ultimately we decided to cancel our trip. I wish happy and healthy racing to my friend David though! *hearts*
Meanwhile, my brother is back in Ohio fighting cancer again. He probably didn't want me to tell anyone that but I need mass prayers to go up so please send them. It's the worst of the worst, in the deodenum and likely will spread to his pancreas. He starts chemo tomorrow (today). He's scared. We're all scared. I want him here with me; I want to be there with him... I feel helpless. And selfish.

I wish I would have spent more time with the people that mean the most to me. I miss you guys!

I also miss the ease of the U.S. I know how to get things done, who to call, where to look, where to go, how to approach things, people, situations. In Italy? Not so much. Things aren't easy here, not for me; not even for Italians! A simple task like going to the post office is an... adventure. We are either battling traffic, time, or lack of customer service. Obviously this is something you're either used to or get used to. We really have it made in the states. Anything we want or need is at our fingertips pretty much anytime of the day. Maybe we're all a little selfish ??

There are a lot of little superficial things I miss... I would kill for Koi sushi right now. We don't have a microwave or laundry dryer. We will have a microwave eventually but dryers are rare. We hang our clothes on a line and wait. Yes, I'm getting used to it now but what I wouldn't give for a warm towel out of the dryer! And lined dried clothes are crunchy. It's just different. Luca promises that someday we can get a dryer. I miss my keurig too, Netflix, and reading materials. So silly right?

Not so silly is customer service and store hours. Most businesses/shops are locally owned; there aren't big name companies here. So it's a very business focused market rather than customer focused. If a shop owner wants to take a nap or run an errand, he just locks the doors and goes to take a nap or run an errand. Most shops close from 2-4pm and you never know what time they'll close for the day. In the states we can run to Walmart, Target, or even a gas station and get ANYthing you want at ANYtime you want it. That goes for services too. My college course for example was supposed to start March 1st. That changed to March 15th to 30th to well, maybe sometime the first week of April. The unset and unknown hours are... challenging.
Additionally, there's no tipping. That really produces poor customer service.

We currently live in the city; like, downtown, center of the city. There's SO much traffic, little green, crowded streets, trash, and business (as in busy'ness) all around us. I grew up in the country and have always lived in smaller cities so this is SO much for me. Add the language barrier, random fears, and standing out like a sore thumb and you can imagine my discomfort. Everywhere I've lived (with Jake) I've been able to open my front door and let him out. I worry about the leash later. Here, my door opens to one of the busiest streets in Catania. In fact, the "Fun Train" and buses roll by hourly. Our apartment is GREAT and I love it! And the city is fantastic! I love being a block from bakeries, markets, and happy hour. It's just different; a totally new environment. And I'm excited for a garden area or yard in our next locale. We love getting away from the city on the weekends, especially to Marzamemi where the quiet beach warms our heart (and Jake gets to Play Play Play!).

While I'm missing some of these important and not so important aspects of my American life, I'm truly enjoying my adventure in Italy. We are moving north in a few more days and we are both SO excited for the opportunities before us. I'm hoping for a more relaxed environment, calmer traffic, more green, and safer, more convenient training conditions.

Our doors are always open to guests and I'm personally inviting you to come over for a visit!! I'll feed you the freshest foods, pour you the most flavorful wines, and show you all the beauty that Tuscany has to offer us!! La nostra casa รจ la tua case!


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