Yaaaa’ll, oh my gosh! We’ve been in Italy for EIGHT Months (in just a couple of days)! How crazy is that? And it’s exactly as I feared… I have fallen SO behind on this blog/website situation! (I was actually going to post something like this at six months, and then didn’t get it together! LOL) Ugh! But hey… I’m here now and trying to get back on track with updates and posts for the new year (Hope y'all enjoyed the holidays!).
But first, can we just sit with the EIGHT month thing for a minute? We all know that time truly flies by so fast. And I’ve done this whole living overseas thing before and know well how it feels like a whirlwind that’s over before you know it! When September came this year I was like, “Oh no, that’s already one whole summer in Europe down! We probably only have 3 more – at MOST, but really most likely only 2!! That’s not enough time to do aaaaalllll the things!!!” However, I am trying to move past that thought process, live in the moment, not think too much about the future, and just be present in the now.
Speaking of this being the second time though, I had some goals and things I wanted to do differently this go ‘round and I’m happy to report that a few of those are being worked on already! We are getting out and doing more weekend – day trips than we did last time. It feels like we are seeing more of Italy and I’m super pleased about that! Another goal was to work harder on learning Italian. We’re fortunate to have access to free Italian classes through two different organizations on the military base here in Vicenza. I’m honestly so proud of myself for doing for it! I REALLY regretted not learning more Italian last time. There *were* difficulties with the dialects being SO prevalent in Napoli, (there are dialects here too, everywhere really, but it doesn’t appear as common here to me) but I also just didn’t push myself as hard then. That is not at all the case now! I even had to do an assessment to get into one of the classes (to basically skip the 101 course and go straight to 102). I’m starting the 103 class next week and I’m excited! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m fluent at this point, but I’ve been able to move from present tense into past tenses and even if I still sometimes (read: often) get tongue tied when trying to speak I understand SO MUCH more. And that is a really great feeling.
Scroll through to see some highlights of day trips we've done!
One thing we *thought* we wanted to do differently this time was to live in the city center and have a more walkable lifestyle (which we did not have in Napoli - we really lived outside of Pozzuoli, which was outside of Napoli, up on a hill with great views but no walking!). So we looked at several apartments right downtown or “in centro” as the Italians say. We didn’t look at a ton, admittedly, but the ones we saw were just not hitting anywhere near the mark on space, functionality, practicality, or air-conditioning units! One in particular is best described as something you would choose as a quirky weekend AirBnB just to be funny, but absolutely not how you’d want to live your everyday life! We asked if there was something with some more modern functions and our realtor said yes… but not in centro at the moment. She showed us pictures of a stand-alone house and we knew we had to go take a look. When we got there I was so mad, because the house was practically perfect, but it was a 15 min drive from the center (and from the military base) and probably a 20 min, somewhat perilous, walk to the closest restaurant. I didn’t want to love it, but I loved it. (4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, open floor plan with a pantry, a laundry room, and attached garage! Where are we, the States?!) Chris basically felt the same and we decided to go for a house we loved over location. We are those people who want the house to be comfortable and the right fit for who we are and how we live. We almost never want Italian or any other “charm” in a house. That charm is all around you as soon as you step out the door. We have learned that charm can mean terrible internet, no hot water, no water at all, unbelievably high electric bills, leaky windows and doors that the wind blows right though… etc.
So we moved in, in mid-July but didn’t get our household goods (HHG)until the end of August! (The pandemic, plus summer is the moving season for the military equals things being way behind!) We got some temporary or “loaner” furniture in the meantime and basic utensils and things from a lending closet on the base. It’s not great, but it works out in the end. I barely remember what that time period was like at this point!
The not great loaner chairs with cute new pillows I bought from a favorite European store and boxes upon boxes of our HHG being delivered.
We had also decided, as some of you may remember from when we left Denver, to leave a good portion of our things behind in storage. That was definitely the right choice. This house does have plenty of space (not as much as the Napoli house for those who saw that place! There’s no built-in bar or indoor pool! LOL) and it has an attached garage that I’d call about 1.5 cars worth. But even so, I’m glad the house isn’t filled to the brim with our things. Overall we have settled in pretty nicely and smoothly. We’ve needed to buy a few pieces of storage type furniture to replace some big chests of drawers we left behind. So we’ve been to IKEA more times than I’d like to admit. It’s about 30 mins away on the outskirts of Padua and sadly that’s the only part of Padua we’ve seen so far! (Hoping to remedy that soon!) Sometimes we do think about how it would be fun to be IN downtown (Chris especially), but it’s also super nice to be where we are. It’s very quiet and peaceful with a view of the Dolomites, plus a lovely yard, easy to get in and out of driveway (NOT always the case over here), and a front porch fireplace that we’ve very much taken advantage of. Yet it only takes 15mins to drive to the base or to downtown, which is really not bad at all.
A few photos of views from our yard
We do still have pictures and art to hang and the guest bedroom is a bit of a catch-all spot for now. The hanging of wall art is always an interesting challenge over here because there is no drywall to nail into. I’m not entirely sure what the walls are made of, but I do know it loves to crumble and not hold your nails. So you’d think that maybe command strips would be a good option and they do generally work for lighter things. But when you take them down a chunk of wall WILL come with it! So it’s always a fun game to see what will stay up and what won’t. I’m already dreading seeing what these walls look like when we leave. Usually it’s considered part of the wear and tear, but who knows! Our landlord is very nice and quite responsive though, so that is a relief. He built the house himself (I believe that’s his job) and I always majorly fawn over it and tell him how great it is (because it IS), and I can tell he really likes that. He’s older, kind of grandfatherly, and doesn’t speak a lick of English. Google Translate doesn’t understand him either. One time, early on, he was trying to tell me something and the voice translate said, “the devil goes to Puerto Rico” and he looked at me like… “Okay. You understand?” I was like… Nooooo, I do NOT think that’s what he said! LOL But we do better now!
Well, that’s just a little update on where we’re at now! I need to catch you up on some of our trips… Santorini, Greece and Pula, Croatia in particular! But also our Prosecco Road trip and a day trip to Slovenia! Plus we recently got back from another trip to Venice – specifically to Murano to dive deep in to all the gorgeous glass this time. And for Thanksgiving we went north to see a Christmas market! But I think my next post is going to be all about the food here in the Veneto region. It’s probably not what you’d expect!! Until then, ciao for now friends!