on Saturday, September 17, 2005

My father passed away yesterday, Friday September 16, 2005 due to colon cancer and complications of Parkinson's Disease. Memorial services will be held Saturday September 24, 2005. He was a wonderful man, and he will be surely missed by all who knew him.

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Culture Shock

on Saturday, September 03, 2005

I arrived back in the States last week. I'm so glad to be back. I flew Aerlingus from Milan Italy, layover in Dublin, Ireland with final Destination Chicago. When I checked in for my flight, the gal at the ticket counter checked my bags through to Chicago, but would only check me through Dublin. Ok fine whatever. Then my flight was delayed due to London's radar being down, so we couldn't fly over London airspace. When I arrived in Dublin, I had 45 minutes to check in for my next flight and book it to the gate. I arrive at the Aerlingus ticket counter, only to find out that my flight was already closed, and according to the computer my bags weren't checked all the way through. I had to show the gal that YES my bags were checked to Chicago, was beyond my control that my flight arrived late and the lady in Milan wouldn't check me all the way through. Needless to say she was able to get me on the flight.

I made into Chicago ok, took a bus to Rockford, Illinois and spent the night at a friend's house. I arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota a week ago yesterday, and have already found a job and just bought a used car today.

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on Thursday, July 28, 2005

I've officially bought my airline ticket to the States. I'm leaving Wednesday August 24th and will be in the States until my dad's time comes. Has anyone flown Aerlingus before? What was your impression?

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My Dad.....

on Tuesday, July 19, 2005

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Colon Cancer

My dad had some tests done yesterday, confirming that he does have colon cancer. At this point in time the doctor is giving him 4-8 months to live. Could be more, could be less, especially due to the fact of his advanced stages of Parkinson's. At the moment he's not in any pain, which is a good thing. Don't know how long that will last though. So I will be heading to the States at the end of August. Since the majority of shops close for August in Italy, and everyone is on vacation, makes finding a flight out at a reasonable price impossible. Once I get back will have to find a job/car etc., since I'm going to be there awhile.

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Al Qaeda in Europe

on Thursday, July 07, 2005

The "Secret Organization Group Al Qaeda Organization in Europe" are claiming responsibility for the bombings in London earlier today that has taken the lives of at least 33 people and injured several people. The groups statement has not been authenticated at this time. In addition, in their statement, they warned Denmark and Italy, that if they did not withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and Iraq they would receive the same punishment. What is this world coming to?!?! What kind of enjoyment do this ravages get taking innocent lives?

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Explosions in London

This morning at least six simultaneous explosions in London's public transportation system, including the subway and double decker buses. The death toll at this time is unknown, and several people injured. I wouldn't doubt if this is an act of terrorism, a day after the announcement London will be the host of the 2012 Olympics and the first day of the G8 summit in Scotland. My heart goes out to those that are injured and to the families who have lost loved ones. I hope whoever is responsible is found and receives the most severe punishment.

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Making friends in Italy

on Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Making friends in Italy isn't like in the United States. Italians tend to be suspicious of people they do not know, especially if they are a foreigner. They have their "clicks", and tend not to move outside their social circle unless they have to. In the three years I've been here, I have one friend, not including my husband's friends. My friend has told me the same, that it is difficult to make friends. Some people have the attitude of "I don't know you, so you mean nothing to me."

In many, if not all, aspects of life here, whether it be social, business etc., it is all about who you know. Especially if you need to get things done. Connections and how you look are very important. I remember the first time I had to visit the neurologist, I had to dress up.

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Parkinson's Disease

on Monday, July 04, 2005

My dad has been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for over ten years. Now his health is starting to go downhill, fast. Just found out on Friday that he may have some internal bleeding, and the doctor also suspects colon cancer.

Parkinson's disease is a brain disorder. It occurs when certain nerve cells (neurons) in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra die or become impaired. Normally, these cells produce a vital chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine allows smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles and movement. When approximately 80% of the dopamine-producing cells are damaged, the symptoms of Parkinson disease appear. Sometimes, the patient may suffer from dementia, hallucinations, become agitated more easily.

Signs of Parkinson's:

  • Tremors
  • Slowness of movement
  • Difficulty of balance
  • Depression
  • Shuffling walk
  • Muffled speach
  • Rigidity
It's a disease that is hard to see a loved one suffer from, except cancer or Alzheimers of course. For me it is difficult because it is a long, drug out (no pun intended) disorder. A person can suffer from Parkinson's disease for years. My father lost his sense of dignity, loss of independence. He went from a strong, healthy man who loved being outside, to being bedridden, unable to do anything for himself. He is fed through a feeding tube, has cataracts so he is unable to see, wears adult diapers since he is unable to control his bladder or bowels. He is bedridden, spending his days in bed, or for a few hours a day sitting in his wheelchair.

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Gay Marriage in Spain

on Thursday, June 30, 2005

Parliament in Spain has legalized gay marriage, making Spain the third country in Europe to legalize gay marriages, after Belgium and the Netherlands. Tuesday, Canada's House of Commons passed legislation that would legalize same sex marriages by the end of July, as long as the Senate passes the bill, which is expected. I am a supporter of this. I feel that no matter what one's sexual preference, they are entitled to equal rights, we're all human beings. Why should people be discriminated against because they prefer one side of the fence to the other? Now only if President Bush would get off his high horse, quit trying to combine Church and State.

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Heatwave in Italy

We've been having a HEATWAVE here in Italy, at least in the northern part. As of yesterday, 18 people, mainly elderly people have died because of the heat. Highs have been in the upper 90's, close to 100, with high humidity. I know this may not seem to be a serious problem for some people, but consider here many people do not have air conditioning. First the air conditioning units are expensive, not as expensive as a couple of years ago, but still spendy. Second, electricity is OUTRAGEOUS. For example, our electric bill has been averaging about $80, for two months, and the only big appliances we have are the dish washer, small apartment size washing machine and a chest freezer in the garage. I didn't even pay that much in the States, and that's having all electric applicances, dish washer, stove, huge microwave, a/c and the heater for my water bed. Electricity here usually comes from France and Switzerland. In 2003 when there was a heatwave ALL summer with temps around 100, ALL SUMMER, at one point one Sunday night, the entire country experienced a 5 hour blackout. I think the only place that didn't have a blackout was either Sicily or Sardegna.

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Foreigners in Italy

on Thursday, June 23, 2005

In a previous post I mentioned an encounter I had last week in Milan, about the poll of Italian's opinion of foreigners here in Italy. For the most part I haven't had any problems. I get the usual question of "Where are you from?", of which I have NO problem with, since it's a normal question in the States. But when I get the sarcastic reaction of "She's a foreigner?!?!", which has happened on more than one occasion, it bothers me. Call me sensitive if you want. But when a person finds out I'm American, oh then their tone of voice changes totally. Then they're all nicey nicey.

Once I was at a small shop, asking if they had a certain Estee Lauder product. Here you can find pretty much any Estee Lauder product you want, so it's not like an "exotic"/typical american thing. So anyways, I went into this shop, asking for this product, asking in Italian, polietly. One shop asssistant was very nice and helpful. Then another walks up, very rudely in Italian says "Maybe in the United States, but not here in Italy". What the hell ever lady! I responded back with "I have bought this before, in Milan". Then she shut up and I walked out of the store, never to return to that one again. I went to another store a few blocks away, where the shop assistants were friendly and bent over backwards to help me. Now if I ever need any cosmetic products, the second shop I went to is usually the first place I stop.

Another time, I had to go to the local police station to pick up my permesso di siggorno (foreigners permit to stay, kinda like the American green card). One of the officers was helping a guy, don't know where he was from. The officer was rude with the guy, treating him as if he were an idiot. Once the officer found out I was American, he was being ooo soo polite with me.

With the influx of immigration, whether it be legal or illegal, I wonder if some people are "prepared", dealing with different cultures etc. In Milan and Rome it's probably a bit different, big cities. But in the small towns, some people are not so open minded.

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Italian Mother-In-Law

on Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Whatever you've heard about Italian mother-in-law's are probably true, or pretty darn close. For the most part, mine isn't TOO bad, basically a milder version. There are moments that she drives my husband and I crazy. For the first few months my husband and I were married, I didn't say too much. Now after three years, I'm not afraid to tell my husband what I think about his mother. Now he's starting to "see" how much a pain in the back side she can be.

For example. Last weekend my husband went to Slovenia for a bikers meeting and returned yesterday. He called home every day to let me know he was ok. Then he would proceed to call his mother, not because he wanted to, but because SHE wanted him to. My husband told his mom only to call in case of an EMERGENCY. Yesterday, while he's on his bike in Austria, she calls him, just because. When he didn't answer his phone (since he was on his bike), she immediately calls me wondering if my husband had called home yet. Not two minutes later, my husband calls home. I told him about his mother calling, he starts going off, and I don't blame him. He's almost 41 years old, intelligent man and is able to take care of himself. Yet his mother feels she NEEDS to talk to him EVERY day. Get a frickin grip lady, your son is a grown man with his own life and family now, time to cut the apron strings!

Once we were over at my husband's parent's house, and my husband's mother ordered pizza delivered. When it arrived, she went downstairs (they live on the 2nd floor), to pay for the pizza, but I had to bring them upstairs. She had a backache, therefore she couldn't bring up 4 pizzas that didn't even weigh a pound, including the boxes, up a flight of stairs.

One Sunday the four of us, my husband, his parents and I went for lunch with a couple of friends of the family. Basically everyone in the family smokes, minus my husband's sister and her husband. When my husband's mother wanted to smoke, she'd put an unlit cigarette in her mouth, and just sat there expecting someone to light it for her. This wasn't a once or twice incident, but ALL day! After the second time, I just ignored her. I figured if she wanted to use my lighter, she can ask me directly. About a week or so later I was out and about with her, we had stopped for a coffee. Afterwards, we were outside, she pulled the same stint. Finally I told her point blank "If you want to use my lighter, just ask me!". Don't play helpless/I'm too lazy to do it so will you do it for me attitude with me.

One day I was with my husband will he was running errands for work. His mother calls ME, to ask my husband to stop and get cigarettes for her, since she was too lazy to go get them herself. Heaven for bid she'd actually have to drive the six blocks to get them.

My husband's parents have helped us on a few occasions, but that does not give my husband's mother the excuse to act in this way.

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Excessive Debt Procedure

on Tuesday, June 21, 2005

According to the Corriere della Sera, one of the major Italian newspapers, the EU has started an excessive debt procedure for Italy. The deficit - GDP ratio in 2003 and 2004 was at 3.2%, exceeding the 3% threshold set at Maastricht. Shortfalls are expected to reach 3.6% in 2005, and 4.6% in 2006.

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Italian Economy

on Monday, June 20, 2005

According to an article in the Economist, Italy is "The real sick man of Euorpe." As of the first quarter of 2005, Italy was in a recession. In the 1950's & 60's, Italy's economy consisted of textiles, furniture, machine tools, food processing and white goods. Nowadays, since many of such things have been outsourced to other countries... I realize that there is no such thing as a "perfect" economy, but I think it's time to move on..

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Thick Stemmed Begonia

on Friday, June 17, 2005

The two photos I posted of the plant, finally figured out it's probably a type of Thick Stemmed Begonia.

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Italian Etiquette....

on Thursday, June 16, 2005

....Or should I say lack thereof, at least in American terms, in my opinion. I was in Milan today, running some errands, was approached by a young man, would say he was in his mid to late 20's, with a poll roster in his hand. The question of the day was "I'm doing a poll, finding out Italian's opinion's of foreigners in Italy." My response was "Buddy, I AM a foreigner." His jaw dropped and had a "oh shit" look on his face. He better be careful who he asks, Milan has a decent size ethnic/immigrant/tourist community, especially compared to the smaller towns in the area.

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Apartments in Italy

on Tuesday, June 14, 2005

When you rent an "unfurnished" apartment in Italy, it is LITERALLY unfurnished. The only things that are provided are the toilet, bath tub and sink in the bathroom. Otherwise, you provide everything else yourself, including the water heater, the ENTIRE kitchen (cupboards, frig, you get the picture), even the light fixtures. Closets do not exist, so one has to be creative when it comes to storing things.

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Eurpean Currency - Euro

Last week the Labor Minister, Roberto Maroni suggested Italy would be better off returning to the Lire, compared to the current currency of the Euro. For a country who's economy is already struggling, reverting back to the old currency of the Lire would be like committing suicide.

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Fertility poll

Sunday and yesterday there was an election here in Italy for a referendum, to change the currenty fertility law. Currently the law limits the creation of embryos to three, forbids sperm or egg donation and prohibits scientific research using embryos. It failed. The purpose of the referedums was to see whether these limitations should be ended, as well as permit fertile couples with hereditary diseases to screen their embryos. In a country that has such a low birth rate, one would think this referendum would be a good thing, but it failed. The Vatican had a campaign, telling people not to vote. I thought Church and State were supposed to be separate. Whatever.

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Weather in Europe

on Friday, June 10, 2005

For at least the last week or so, the temps have been cooler than normal here in Italy, and much of Europe. Right now, it's barely 70 F. Some parts of Austria has received snow. In the Austrian Alps, they received up to 16 inches of snow. Verona, Italy, home to Shakespere's Romeo and Juliet, was hit with a hailstorm.

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on Wednesday, June 08, 2005

These are the leaves of the same plant, dried. Have no idea what the name of this plant is, so if you know please tell me! Thanks. Posted by Hello

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I have no idea what the name of this plant is. I was given the dried leaves with seeds from my husband's friend's mom. So if you know the name of this plant, please let me know! Posted by Hello

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My niece, Anna, taken a couple of weeks ago. She's going to be six months old on FridayPosted by Hello

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Date Rape Drug Warning: Beer

on Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This was an "article" in the Twisted Parrot.

Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, parties and local pubs to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink from any woman. Many females use a date rape drug on the market called "Beer". The drug is found in liquid form and available anywhere. It comes in bottles, cans, from taps and large "kegs."
"Beer" is used by female sexual predators at parties and bars to persuade their male victims to go home and have sex with them. A woman needs only to get a guy to consume a few unites of "Beer" and then simply ask him home for no strings attached sex.
Men are rendered helpless against this approach. After several "beers", men will often succumb to the desires to perform sexual acts on horrific looking women whom they would never normally be attracted. After drinking "beer", men often awaken with only hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night before, often with just a vague feeling that "something bad" occurred.
At other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their life's savings, in a familiar scam known as a "relationship". In extreme cases, the female may even be shrewd enough to entrap the unsuspecting male into a longer form of servitude and punishment to as "marriage".
Men are much more susceptible to this scam after "beer" is administered and sex is offered by the predatory females.
Please pass this warning to every male you know. If you fall victim to this "beer" and the women administering it, there are male support groups where you can discuss the details of your shocking encounter with similarly affected like-minded guys.
For the support group nearest you, just look up "Golf Courses" in the phone book.

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Sunless Tanning

The summer season has arrived. The time of year everyone packs up the car for vacation, and no one wants to be pale as a ghost. Seems the new "trend" in tanning is the sunless tanning, where you can have an airbrush tan. From what I've read, sounds as if it's at least healthier than the trational routes of either basking in the sun or hitting the tanning bed.
People here during the summer enjoy going to either the mountains or the sea during the summer, and HAVE to have a tan. Tanning salons are popular, there are two less than six blocks from my house. Have talked to a few of my students, none seem to care about the effects of too much sun. For a country that cares so much about beauty and looks, I'm kind of surprised no one is concerned about in the future they may have nasty looking skin, wrinkles or skin cancer due to too much time spent in the sun or tanning booth. Whatever.

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on Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Me in St. Paul, MN Posted by Hello

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Italian Restaurants

Eating out in Italy is more expensive compared to some areas of the United States. Expect a minimum of about $20 per person.

Pizzeria's are usually relatively inexpensive, depending on where you go. For one pizza, prices can start at about 4 euro on up. The pizza is about the size of a "medium" American style pizza, but is a thin crust, a light layer of tomato sauce and cheese and is for one person.

For an excellent meal, especially of the local "cuisine", and if time isn't an issue, an agritourismo is always a good choice. They are located out in the countryside, and they usually grow/raise at part of their menu. Average meal takes about 3 hours, from start to finish. Price about 30 euro a person (on average).

Tipping - most restaurants charge between 1 - 3 euro per person, and it is for the "place setting", so for the table setting, bread, etc. Waiters usually earn a decent salary. You aren't goning to be chased after if you don't leave tip. If you do leave something, one or two euros is acceptable.

Water - Water is served in glass or plastic bottles. There are two types, gassata/frizzante (carbonated) or naturale (regular, non-carbonated). Tap water in most parts of Italy is pretty hard, and people usually prefer the taste of bottled water over tap water.

Bars - In many bars, they charge more if you occupy a table versus if you stand at the bar and have a beverage. Even if you order and get your drinks yourself then sit down, you're still charged for sitting at a table. For example, in Milan, if you stand at the bar and have a cappuccino, it would cost you around 1.20 euro, and if you sit down, price more than doubles to around 4 - 5 euros.

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Port of Galveston

on Monday, May 30, 2005

Out of curiosity, I am wondering if anyone has gone on a cruise that has departed from the Port of Galveston, and what your opinion of Galveston, Texas in general was.

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Communism and Missionaries

Usually when the Jehovah Witnesses stop by (which is usually about once a week!), I usually will say I don't speak Italian. Normally that works, until the next week. I have nothing against them at all, I just do not have the same beliefs as they do.

Saturday I tried to do the same when a gal from the Communist party stopped by, wanting to know if I'd buy a raffle ticket/donate to the Italian Communist party. Darn, didn't work, she could speak English. No I did NOT buy or donate any money. I am not going to give any money to a political party I do not participate in. I can't even vote in this country, not yet anyways.

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Europe and Italy

on Friday, May 27, 2005

This is a cute Cartoon about the "differences" between Europe and Italy

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Pet Peeves

What I cannot stand here:

  • the self-centeredness/vanity
  • difficulty of making friends
  • the "Keeping Up With The Jones' " syndrome
  • the gropping/hit on by some old men
  • it's all about WHO you know, more than WHAT you know attitude
  • insane taxes
  • obssesion of paperwork/photocopies
  • length of time it takes to get anything done
  • "one-stop shopping" practically does not exsist
  • parking, what's that?
  • Television - have never seen so many skantily dressed, unintelligent females on a gameshow, or the stupid political debate shows.
  • all talk and no action

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Sex Offenders and Viagra

on Thursday, May 26, 2005

I read an article yesterday in the Galveston County Daily News, that some registered sex offenders have been getting Viagra, and the prescription being paid for by Medicaid! It's like giving a recovering addict free alcohol/drugs, at the expense of the taxpayer! I could understand if they needed a medication to help them recover from something, like cancer etc., but to help their sexual stamina? Is that really necessary?!?! Last year in Texas, $1.5 million spent by Medicaid for Viagra prescriptions.

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Italian Fashion

on Friday, May 20, 2005

While out and about recently, I've noticed that jogging suits are becoming more "fashionably acceptable" here in Italy. Also seems pink is the "in" color this year, again.

You're probably well aware Itay, well at least northern Italy for sure, is home to one of the fasion capitals of the world, Milan. Home to such names as Versace, Gucci, Prada, D&G to name a few. Here fashion and beauty are of the utmost importance. But recently, seems fashion is becoming more casual.

I remember one day last summer, I was sitting at a local cafe, having a cup of delicious gelato (Italian ice cream, yummy!!). A young lady dressed very, well, interesting, her skirt barely covered her back side, HIGH heels (I wonder how she was able to walk). She walked by an elderly couple, I'd say they were about late 70's early 80's. It was fairly obvious that the older gentleman was checking out this young lady.

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on Wednesday, May 18, 2005

One thing I'm still learning here in Italy is to have more patience. EVERYTHING moves at a slower pace, minus the traffic. For example, at our apartment complex, there was some work done to the ceiling of the underground parking, the entire parking lot was dug up. This work was started about 3 weeks ago and was SUPPOSED to be finished around the 30th (ish) of April. As of today, of course it isn't finished and no one is able to use the parking lot as a result.

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on Monday, May 16, 2005

One more week then my in-law's are back from the Canary Islands. I'll be glad when they get back, so I can get back to my place.
Gotta run, have English lessons to prepare, at least for this afternoon.

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Italian BBQ/Picnic

on Sunday, May 15, 2005

Today went to a bbq/picnic my boss hosted. BORING! The menu: pasta (of course), grilled meats, after that I don't know, since I snuck away after that. Was a very clicky event today, I knew hardly anyone, did meet a couple of nice gals, one who was Italian but was born in Brazil and lived for many years in the U.S., and another lady from South Africa. Man I miss a good ol' American picnic.

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The Beginning

on Friday, May 13, 2005

I've been asked by some of my friends stateside about some of the differences between Italy and the U.S., and by people here in Italy why am I here. So I've decided to combine the two. This is a work in progress. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

December 2000 - January 2001. After spending ten days in Yokohama Japan visiting my best friend, I vowed I would not go on another international trip, at least not for another year or so. Well, a few months after visiting Japan, it was about time to start planning on another trip, had already been to Las Vegas, and of course Japan. Wanted to do another international trip, figured why not Europe next. I started planning, the first week in October 2001 to visit the northern part of Italy. Yes, alone. I had posted in a newsgroup on Yahoo, including the dates and what cities I was planning on visiting. Three weeks before my trip, my now husband emailed me, offering to show me around, let me crash at his place. At the time he was living with his parents. We emailed back and fourth, he seemed like a nice guy, so I figured why not.

The week went well. My now husband was (and still is) a true gentleman. He showed me around Milan, Verona, Venice and some small towns along the way. We stayed at a cool castle/mansion for a couple of nights outside of Venice, called the Castello di Roncade in a town called Roncade ( in Italian and English). Cool place, owner very nice.
As simple as it may sound, I knew he was "the one" when my shoes came untied a couple of times while in Venice, he INSISTED on tying them for me.

Three weeks after I arrived home back in the States, he proposed and six months later, on April 28, 2002 we were married in my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Two weeks after our wedding, I was arrived in Busto Arsizio, Italy and have been here ever since.

Differences between U.S. and Italy:
Have to pay the monthly bills at the post office with either cash or debit card called Bancomat.
The Italian postal system also offers banking services.
At the grocery store: you sack your own groceries, pay for the sacks and also pay a depost for the cart.
Parking - next question please!
Houses are made of cement. Since Italy is such a small country, especially compared to the U.S., they build up and not out, so the main dwellings are apartments and condominiums.
The Italian Health System is public, so everyone is covered and services are of little or no cost. The downside of the system is that it is very disorganized, having to go 5 different places for one thing.
Gas is EXPENSIVE here in Italy, and throughout much of Europe from what I've heard. Currently, as of today, gas is at 1.19 euros for one liter, so about $5.93 a GALLON. So don't complain to me about gas prices in the States. I just put 20 euros worth of gas in my car today, a little over a quarter of a tank of gas.
Housing ix expensive here, especially if you go in the bigger cities like Milan or Rome. Here in Busto Arsizio, I think the prices for a decent one bedroom, start at about $150,000 for an apartment that isn't very big.
Apartments here come totaly unfurnished, except for the toilet, bidet and bathtub. Otherwise you have to provide EVERYTHING, including the water heater, fridge, cupboards and counters for the kitchen.
Many people live with their parents until they get married. Either for financial reasons or for other motives. Of course there are the world famous "Mammoni", or mama's boys.

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House/Dog Sitting

on Sunday, May 08, 2005

It's been a few days since I've written anything, first not much new, second we're house/dog sitting while my in-law's are on a three week vacation to the Canary Islands. I'll be glad when they get back, hate living between two places. At least they don't live very far from us, about a mile.

My husband mentioned on Friday about starting to work on the business plan for our hopeful project we want to start in Galveston, Texas, MAYBE within the next week or so. Of course I'm going to keep after him until he gets it done. Would like to move back to the States within the next twelve months or so. Just need to get the business plan done, find fundage (there may be a ray of hope there, yeah!) etc., plus am waiting for my Italian citizenship to come through. Should have that hopefully by Halloween of this year.

Since my husband is Italian, I'm eligible for Italian citizenship, and without losing my American citizenship, so I'll be able to have two passports. After being married to an Italian and living in Italy for six months, or three years living abroad, one can apply for Italian citizenship. I had to submit a pile of documents literally half an inch thick, mainly due to all of the photocopies required. Only needed 3 documents from the States; my birth certificate, criminal record from the State of South Dakota, and also my criminal record from the F.B.I. Also had to include a few documents from Italy, and five million photocopies of everything. Turned in my stack of a "couple of trees from the Amazon forest" on Halloween 2003, and was told within two years I should have the Italian citizenship. Last October, had to have an interview at the local police station, basically to verify first that I could speak at least some Italian, if we owned or rented our apartment, my occupation, have my passport "analyzed", basically explaining every single frickin stamp in my passport. Now it's playing the usual waiting game, as like everything else here.

I'm really excited at the possibility of moving back to the United States. I've mentioned before, my hubby would like to maybe move to the Galveston, Tx area. For me it's not really important where (ok, maybe not out in the middle of nowhere, a big city or California). The excitement of getting back to a way of life I'm more accustomed to, different mentality.

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It's all about the Benjamin's baby.........

on Wednesday, April 27, 2005

School is almost finished for the academic year, yeah... But the only bad thing is the summer is unpaid, so I have to compensate with private lessons. At least with private English lessons I have more control of my schedule. Either with the school or privately, the money isn't all that great. At least it's a job, better than a swift kick in the backside.

My husband and I want to start our own business in the States, maybe in the Galveston, Texas area. I've spent I don't know how many hours in front of the PC researching the type of business we're looking at opening, demographics for several cities in the United States etc. Now it's just a matter of getting a business plan written, and of course the MOST important factor, finding financing. Seems like the most difficult part of this project is of course finding fundage. Like with everything else in life, always boils down to money. I hope that we're able to find the means to do this, I'm to to point where I'd do ALMOST anything.........

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Beautiful day in the neighborhood.

on Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Spring is FINALLY here! Yeah! Over the weekend was rainy, and cold. Today, sunny, and 72 F, go figure.

Yesterday was a bank holiday here in Italy, Liberation Day, 60th anniversary of being "liberated" from fascism and Benito Mussolini. I guess his granddaughter, Alessandra Mussolini is trying to get into or is IN politics, not sure which party she's affiliated. All I know is she's a right-winger. There are so MANY political parties in Italy. Some of my students have told me even for an Italian it's hard to keep track of how many political parties there are. They're broken down into three parts: Left, Center, and Right. Then they're broken down again into Center Right, Right etc. etc. Even a specific political party can be broken down into many smaller groups. For example, Forza Italia (don't know what side of the tracks they're on), is broken down into several smaller parties.

Nothing moves fast in Italy, ok minus the traffic on the highway (autostrada in Italian). For example, this morning I had to go to the grocery store, the doctor for a prescription, post office and the pharmacy. By the time all was said and done, took me three hours, including unloading the my car, which was parked a block and half away from my house, since the owner of our condo is tearing up the parking lot to repair the ceiling of the underground parking. That is SUPPOSED to be finished by Saturday. I'm not holding my breath, would suffocate waiting. All this, and I STILL have to go to the bank. That'll have to wait, since my bank is in Milan and it's a 40 minute train ride one way, and my bank is only open in the morning. I'll probably just go next week, after getting paid, make the trip more worth while. Plus I have to go to a bookstore, Messaggerie Musicali, to see if they have a certain book in English. This bookstore is a little spendy, but at least they have a somewhat decent selection of books in English.

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on Friday, April 22, 2005

Our Wedding Day, April 28th Posted by Hello

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Me in the Windy City of Chicago Posted by Hello

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Why am I here?

Why am I in Italy you ask? Well, my husband, Luca, is Italian 100%. He was born and raised in the area, self-employed and was easier at the time for me to move here than vice-versa. We met while I was here on vacation October 2001, and were married April 28, 2002. Less than two weeks later, I was here in Italy.

The first three months or so were a bit of a whirlwind, getting enrolled in this that and the other, the normal things when one moves to a different place, let alone another country. Yes, I was homesick, spent many a night crying, wondering why the hell I moved. I love my husband dearly, I don't regret marrying him for one moment. To this day I still sometimes wonder WHY I moved instead of the other way around, of Luca moving to the States. I can say it has been an experience living here, and can always say "I lived in Italy".

We're planning on moving back to the States in the near future, since we're BOTH getting sick of living here. We each have different reasons for being tired of the shit here, but at least agree on moving to the States. For Luca a lot of it has to do with the political and economic situation here at the moment, for me it's the mentality, way of life, etc. I realize that nowhere is perfect, but at least in some places it's better than others.

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Hi there, welcome to my neck of the woods. My name is Ann, I'm 33 years old, married with no kids. My husband, Luca, is 40 and Italian, born and raised here in Italy. I'm originally from South Dakota, good ol' U.S. of A., and to think I actually moved to Italy for a man. I love my husband dearly, but honestly can't say the same about this country. That's another post for another rainy day. We live in the suburbs of Milan, about 20 miles northwest, between Varese and Milan. Luca is a computer technician, and I am a full-time housewife/part-time English teacher.

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