Wednesday, July 27, 2011

About Italy.

Our house is so secure, I'm afraid I'll get locked out and never get back in again... I have eight keys and two remotes. All our windows have safety glass and all but two have shutters.

We have to sort our garbage FIVE ways:
food waste
plastic/tin cans
everything else

Italian drivers don't believe in blinkers, lanes markers or speed limits.

The majority of the young soldiers I meet in my job don't like Italy. In fact, they hate it and can hardly wait to go back to the states. I'm trying to figure that one out.

The food here is OUTSTANDING!

The city of Vicenza is surrounded on three sides by mountains althugh I didn't notice it until this week when a fresh breeze blew in and it was clear for a day... the mountains are gorgeous and remind me of home.

It takes a really really long time to get internet service here. This is why I haven't posted pictures in a few weeks. I'm sneaking this post in from work.

Gas is very expensive here. It is costing me about $150 to fill up the Odyssey gas tank. We are still waiting for our gas rations. I had to get a vehicle inspection and was spanked for having bald back tires. Now the tires are sitting in the back of the van and we are waiting for our appointment to have them put on THEN we can get gas rations and we will pay what you, dear stateside readers, pay in the states.

The weather here is divine. When we first arrived it was very hot and humid... low to mid 90s. This past week, however, has been pleasant - high 70s and 80s.

Barney made friends for us with all our Italian neighbors. They love Barney! We scored some lovely cherry tomatoes, basil and cucumber from one friendly neighbor's garden. The wife and I exchanged a pantomimed introduction and I promised her I would learn to speak Italian... today it's Rosetta Stone Italian during my breaks at work. Seriously, I would love to say I learned to speak at least ONE language besides English fluently in my life.

I am vowing to devote myself to this task.


Jessica said...

Glad you are settling in! We are in our first week of living in France and a lot of what you are saying sounds familiar in terms of little adjustments and observations.

You guys should definitely head over to Lago di Garda for a day or more if you haven't already. When we lived in Verona we would escape the heat in the summer and go there every weekend on our scooter. It's stunning and even after all my travels it is still my favorite place in the whole world. I love drinking Bardolino in the town of Bardolino, looking over the lake which actually looks like a sea! The town of Garda is amazing and Limone sul Garda looks like it belongs on the Amalfi coast! Could be because of all the lemons, but it's gorgeous.

As far as learning Italian, if you can't make it to a class or in addition to one, check out and I have used both and they helped me a lot. They are both online. ICON is more formal while cyberitalian is fine for reviewing. Also check out Michael Thomas, his Italian program is excellent. I listened to just 8 hours of it when I was living in Italy and it helped so much when I didn't know how to say anything-especially shopping. I didn't have much success with Rosetta Stone, but I think that has to do with my learning style versus the quality of the program.

Also, check out it's a forum of expats living in Italy and has a lot of knowledgable people on there (my screen name Gessica on the forum). Every question imaginable has been discussed or can be answered and there are a lot of people living in the Veneto area. I know you have a lot of support on base, but I think it could be useful to you especially about cultural things (neighbors, customs, ect).

Sorry that was really long but I'm really excited for you and wanted to share a few of the tips I gathered in my time there.

Jessica (Hey, Mons)

Anonymous said...

We are so looking forward to pics and hearing more about the area!
MA and PA

edith said...

Jessica, thanks for the super helpful omment!

I am in the midst of Rosetta Stone, got myself enrolled in the free Italian class on base and have checked out cyberitalian - did you pay for a subscription or just use free stuff? I also put in a request at the library for Michael Thomas language learning per your advice.

I can't thank you enough for the good tips!!!!

I know that my happiness here is definately linked to my effort so I'm throwing myself into it gangbusters.

I think a weekend at Lago di Garda and more travel would be divine and seal the deal for me... just need to get to the point where I have two days to rub together.

Thanks again Jessica!

Jessica said...

You're welcome! Glad to offer any advice! I did pay for the subscription on cyber italian-I did the self study course, if I remember right it wasn't very expensive, but you have access to a teacher in a chat room which is awesome for getting questions answered if you don't want to ask them in your face to face class or if you require further help. I used that feature a lot studying grammar!

I think you will like the michael thomas course, his style is very relaxed but you really do learn a lot in a short amount of time. I'm working my way through his French one as we speak!

What I miss the most about Italy is that Italians are extremely forgiving and nice when you are learning the language (unlike all french speakers I have encountered here-haha). They really appreciate any attempts you make to speak and are usually very patient. Looking back, I wished I hadn't been so shy or embarrassed when I was just a beginner speaker there, I actually had it good! Store keepers there (especially in Veneto) would literally stop what they were doing and encourage me to speak and try to listen and understand me haha. I really miss that aspect about Italy. It's so much more difficult in France and Belgium-If you don't have the right accent you basically don't exist here.

So get out there and enjoy it! I think you will end up in love with Italy like I am :)