Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunny Saturday Morning

Well, here it is, my second Saturday in Italy and my first blog post in over a week! I have had a lot less time to post than I thought. If you want more regular updates, I suggest you also read Patrick's blog, he's been doing a great job of updating!

What I like so far...

- Patrick and Brandon and Stevie are here! It is fun to have the whole family here together for the adventure.

- Cheese... Mmmmmm... I discovered fresh asiago is amazing, by far my favorite. And grana padano is similar to parmigiano only milder.

- Mornings free - it is nice to get up a bit later, have some personal time in the morning and then walk Brandon to school. They've still be pretty busy with appointments for getting things set up, etc. and will be for the next week, but I look forward to when that settles out. I'll also have Italian two mornings a week.

- Internet! I can't imagine being this far away and not having a good way to keep in touch. The internet is amazing - we were so happy to finally get it on Wednesday!

- Beautiful place to live. Our apartment is very nice, it will be very comfortable for us and it is in a beautiful place. Right next to a small public park and then one block from the giant Parco di Monza. On Wednesday, it was really warm and sunny so we went for gelato after dinner and then for a walk in the park. Amazing.

- Great people. Everyone we have met is very nice and helpful! The owner of our apartment's father, who has been handling everything with the apartment, lives right nearby and he has been super helpful. Even took us to a couple stores to show us where they were! The relocation people have been very helpful in getting everything set up. I really like all of the people I work with too!

What has been different...

- Time. Somehow I thought I would have more time! Work has been crazy, probably just some of it being pent up demand - "We'll work on that when we get there" - but some is just that work is really busy and there is a lot going on. So updates here will be less frequent than I thought, at least for the time being.

- Convenience. Mike, the other engineer who transferred here with me, said "Americans are all about convenience." It is so true! We are used to 24 hour stores open 7 days a week, an easy process to follow to get something done, automatic garage door openers, anything to make our lives more convenient and save us a little effort. Italy is NOT that way. They are more about quality than quantity or convenience. Some things are just done the way they have always been done. I'm sure there will be more on this later...

- Traffic/Parking. I live 7km (~4.5 miles) from work. It takes me at least 30 minutes door to door from the apartment front door to my office door. That includes handling the garage, driving through all of the roundabouts (which are fun by the way), parking at work and then walking in to the office. In the evening it is at least 40 minutes, up to one hour this week. That is just something to get used to! There are a lot of cars and people here, it's just the way it is going to be. We chose where we are living based on Brandon's school and convenience for Patrick and having a nice place to live, not the perfect commute for me. My commute is not bad, relatively speaking, but it is not Corvallis. :) That is something to get used to!

So far, we are all doing well. Brandon is enjoying his new school and adjusting well. He's a smart, happy kid and seems to adjust to whatever comes his way. Patrick is doing well, learning how to take care of our lives. He has some fantastic Italian meal he's been searching out the ingredients for that I can't wait to try! Stevie spends most of his time under the comforter sleeping, same as at home, and comes out at night to make noise and annoy us, same as at home.

Sometimes I can't believe I'm living in Italy... so much is the same even though so much is different. I've been so glad that I had the 3 months of language lessons. I can communicate on a basic level in restaurants and shops. Beyond that I still have lots of work to get more fluent - I listen to the radio and understanding seems so tantalizingly close... I recognize one word in three. All of the connecting words are there it's just the key nouns and verbs that are missing. But it will come.

If you get a chance, drop us a note! We love hearing from everyone, it makes us feel like we are close by. We are doing well and enjoying ourselves so far.

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