Today marks the 100th day since we arrived in Italy. The weather still sucks (hey, that’s the best way I can put it, sorry). I’m starting to think the Italians have their own rain dance to help with the vineyards. We have been told by numerous people that this is not “typical” weather for Italy during this time, but it is hard to accept seeing the 10 day forecast back home as mid to upper 80’s and sunny when it is mid to low 60’s and rainy here. BLAH!
Since my last post I have a guilt weighing heavily on my shoulders… *sigh* About a week and a half ago we went out to dinner at San Giorgio’s and I was being really indecisive about what to eat, the menus here just have way too many options for a person like me. So the waiter Stefano suggested the daily “Special,” which happened to be Cavallo. If you put that in to google translate you are going to come out with HORSE. Yep, I did it..guilty as charged, I ordered the daily special of Horse meat. Instantly the guilt rose in my throat when Stefano walked away from the table, but I knew there was no turning back now! Horse meat in Italy is extremely popular and I had been told it was just as good (if not better) than steak… I am sorry for eating you Mr. Ed but you were too expensive to waste. As for the verdict on the taste… it was “good” but not great. I can now say in my lifetime I have tried horse meat, but never again will you hear me order it at a restaurant.
Take a look:
Aside from hurting the feelings of horse lovers…I have been making new friends (but defiantly not forgetting old ones). I’ve quickly learned you are the odd one out in the military if you don’t have children, which sometimes makes it hard to really get close with other couples when you don’t have “play dates” to schedule or school field trips to take. Luckily for Bobby he already knew a few guys here from previous bases so there was some sort of comfort in the friend zone for him..me, not so much. However, over the past few weeks I have met an awesome group of girls that do just about everything together..and lucky for me Bobby has basically became “best” friends with one of the husbands. Last Friday I even went to a “girls” night out where we had dinner as a group, got professional facials and massages and just enjoyed one another’s company chatting and painting our nails…I felt like a kid again at a sleep over. Tonight we are all getting together again for a dinner at one of the girls houses, and we’ve already got two other get-togethers planned for next week. Big difference from Shaw..while we had our friends in Sumter and we hosted cook outs etc…we were still so close to home we spent most of our time driving back and fourth, making plans with those we already knew…..guess ya can’t really do that all the way in Italy huh? The girls have all been so inviting..It’s nice to have others you can relate to when you are so far away from home.
On another note we are constantly learning about more inconveniences in Europe. All this girl wants to do is use her hand mixer in the kitchen…a simple task that seems to be too much to ask for. Heaven forbid I break out the heavy duty stand alone mixer! The voltage here is 220 so we either have to use convertors or transformers, or we have to replace our 110 electronics with European electronics… well of course I am trying to be thrifty and not replace every single appliance we own (do you know how much stuff I have just for the kitchen?), so I go out and buy a fuse for a small transformer we have in the kitchen. The wattage matches up, so you’d think I’d be good to go..Wrong. Every time I plug that dang on mixer up and turn it on the power turns off in the whole house!! It’s bad enough it takes me an entire day to do laundry because you can’t have the washer and dryer going at the same time here… and don’t even get me started about having the TV on with the A/C running and the dishwasher going…it ain’t gonna happen in Europe!! Your breaker trips and then you have to walk outside rain or shine and flip that sucker back on. (We’ve already done it too many times to count) So for those of you stateside, be thankful you have these simple little conveniences…Starting laundry early in the morning and not finishing until bedtime when there is only two of you to dirty up clothes (and not even that many!), is ridiculous! Oh and the dryers here don’t hook up to the walls, allowing the heat to run through them and flow back outside..instead the dryers suck up the water out of your clothes and after every load you have to dump this plastic container that has filled up with the water from your clothes. So don’t even complain about having to clean out the lint trap in yours!! Every thing in Italy is a process… want to turn on your tv? Well of course we weren’t going to buy a new TV coming here so we have to plug our transformer in to the wall, plug the tv in to the transformer, turn the transformer on, then turn the tv on!! And yes, we have to do this each time..electricity here is crazy expensive just like everything else, so you don’t keep things plugged in when not in use. I had a commander tell me at the last spouse luncheon that he knew a couple that left Italy with a $16,000 electricity bill hanging over their heads…No wonder Italians don’t believe in having central heating and air in their homes..they’d all be broke from the bill! They also do not bill you monthly like we are in the states…you may get a bill for 3 months worth of service or you may get a bill for an entire year of service! I know several people that have been here since last year and have not received one utility bill… work ethic in Italians is a lot different from Americans..they work to live, not live to work.
Want to get gas on Sunday? Forget about it. Gas stations aren’t open. A majority of the gas stations here are full service (so you don’t pump your own gas) If you need gas on a Sunday you better hope you can find a self service station that will take your credit card, and then be prepared to pay the equivalent of $8+ a gallon for it. Last Sunday we had intentions of going to Gardaland, which is a theme park much like Carowinds .. well what do you know, Bobby needed gas in the Scion. Long story short, we didn’t go to Garadland on Sunday because we couldn’t get gas. However, since Monday was a “holiday” for Americans, he had off work and we were able to get gas and take the trip to the “biggest” theme park in Italy… just to put it in to perspective of how expensive this place is… It was closer for us to drive from our house to Gardaland than it would be for us to drive from my parents house to Topsail Island (most of you reading this have made the trip).. Fairly short, easy drive, right?…yet it costs us $30 just in toll fees to get to Gardaland. Let’s not even talk about gas, paying for parking, entrance fees and the cost of food. Despite the expense, it was a beautiful day and a fun trip, we just won’t be doing it often.
On a more positive note now that I have probably convinced all of you that Italy is not an ideal place to live (those were not my intentions, inconveniences are just that..I still love it here, you learn to deal and work your way around those) After 8 years, Bobby has decided to go back to college! One afternoon he told me he was going to the Education center after work “just to get some information” and he comes home as a student enrolled in The University of Maryland University College (obviously distance education given he is active duty). He starts his first night class next week, so please keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for him. I could not be more proud. He would like to finish up his degree and eventually go to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. GO BOBBY!!!
Well wishes to everyone back home. Please keep the email updates, pictures and videos coming!!..I’ve added a few new random photos to my Italia Album.
We miss you all!