Friday, November 30, 2012

A View from the Piazza

Howdy Friends!

We are finally set up in Italy.  Vonage is working, Skype is active, internet is alive and we both have cell phones.  We've made it through 3 days of homeschooling (first one was in the States on Monday) and are somewhat caught up on sleep.  Life is beginning to start again after being so wrapped up in the move.  I'm sure we have many adventures to come, starting tomorrow when we explore our town in the daylight (gets dark about 4:45 pm here), so this post is to share come anecdotes about our travels thus far.  Our main goal tomorrow is to get gelato and maybe have lunch/dinner out.  Our goals are not lofty, but they are important.  There is supposedly a Christmas market in town too, so maybe we will find that and contribute some of Dave's hard-earned American Euros to the local economy.

Here are a few stories from our 2 1/2 days here, hope you enjoy!

1. The Dutch do not get my analogies.
We were targeted for a marketing survey while resting in the KLM business class lounge in Amsterdam (Dave and I both SUCKER tattooed on our foreheads.)  The very nice (and not surprisingly blonde) service rep was asking us questions (which is humorous in itself as neither of us travel regularly enough to really be of use).  One of my responses was "Oh, that's icing on the cake."  I got a blank stare back as she was trying to process what I'd said and I caught Dave smirking out of the corner of my eye.  I back-tracked and explained that I meant that amenity made the lounge all the better.  It was a good example that my skill at painting mental pictures doesn't translate well.

2. Laundry is done everyday hour.
You might think this is because we have a lot of clothes.  Not so.  I've washed what would equal 1 load in my washer in the States since 6:30 am yesterday morning.  That's because our washing machine is about the size of a small handbag.  The machine isn't really the problem.  My struggle is the lack of dryer and the consistent rain so I can't use the laundry line outside.  So, we've had all manner of Dave's personal items drying around - the fastest time on the radiator, but that makes them a little crisp, so you have to watch them.  I should get my American Texan sized drying rack next week in our air shipment so I'll be able to keep up.

3. Learn to live without TV.
Since our TV is rather small (think your grandmother's/parents' from 1990) and we don't have a couch, not to mention no English channels - we are occupying ourselves without the boob tube.  Today, the girls and I didn't wake up till noon (conquering jet-lag, finally!), so between homeschool and meeting Dave after work, it was not needed.  Right now, we are sitting around with Dave and I on the computers, Nats is reading on her Nook and Sophia is coloring.  I guess Sophers is the only non-techno geek at the moment.  But I think that will be good.  We've eaten 2 dinners at the kitchen table, all together, so this is kind of like re-orienting to family life.  We watched a lot of TV in the States, so this will only force us to be together.  For better or worse.

(On a side note, we do get MTV, which is all music videos (and in English).  But we can't leave that on when children are around because a lot of videos are, to say the least, not appropriate).

4. There are some (mostly humorous to Dave) quirks about the house.
I say they are funny to him because he lived in the house for 10 weeks alone, so he has already figured all of these out.  For instance, as I went to cook my first dinner in our kitchen, I didn't realize you had to lift the glass top off the burners.  Also, the toilet handles are not actually on the toilet, but on the wall (above and sometimes on a totally different wall) and about 1 ft by 1 ft.  And our electric recliner requires electricity to recline.  And we could blow out our breaker box with too many lights on.  Our shower doesn't quite work like a shower, more like a bath with a shower handle.  The bathtub is 5 ft by 3 ft, so later in my pregnancy I'm going to need someone to haul me out of it.  I'm sure I'll find some more to add to his collection of jokes.

5. Excellent preparation does not make up for poor execution.
Several of my friends and family know this story already, even though it happened just last night.  Our plan was to take the bus to Dave's work, then go with him to by some essentials (including a hair dryer, which is not on his list, but most certainly on mine).  He sent me the following email before we got on the bus, and I laughed it off because really, I knew the exact time the bus was coming and how hard could it be?

OK, to make sure we are covered on all the bases, if you were to miss the bus, just go head and go back home and after the bus goes by at Auchan's and you don't get off, then I will go home and meet you.  If you happen to be on the bus and miss the stop at Auchan's or whatever else goes wrong that you couldn't make the stop at Auchan's, then just go ahead and finish the bus route at the bus stop and wait there.  If you didn't get off the bus at Auchan's and I go home and you weren't at home, then I will go to the bus stop.  If you aren't at any of those locations, then I will panic and swim to Croatia.

Turns out, several different bus lines pull up to our stop within a minute of each other.  We arrived at the bus stop 30 minutes ahead of schedule (first mistake) because I didn't believe that the stop was so close to our house (second mistake).  So, we walked around the town for awhile.  When the bus arrived I didn't look at the front to see which one it was (3rd strike, you're out!)  As the bus pulled away, Natalie asked me if our bus was the "99."  It didn't occur to me that was wrong and we should have been on the 2A.  As a result, we ended up in the town next door (which is where Dave first stayed and is gorgeous).  We completely missed our rendezvous point with Dave and he began his search.  I asked a kindly Italian woman for help (she did speak some English and turns out most Italians are quite helpful) and her advice was the ride the bus back around to the station.

The station, interestingly enough, is less than 1/4 mile from our house, but we got back to our original stop first and got off there.  Even though I'd laughed off Dave's plan A, B and C, we did go back to the house.  I found a note from Dave, who had been there about 6 times in his search.  I also called my Dad on Skype because I thought he could help me get a hold of someone over here as I'd locked out the cell phone Dave loaned me when I couldn't guess the PIN number.  His advice was to sit tight, so we did and Dave showed up a few minutes later.

After lots of tears, profuse apologies and many hugs (on my part) I was calm again.  Dave didn't make me the butt of any jokes to his coworkers who we met up with later and hasn't breathed a word of this to anyone.

He is awesome and I am thankful for the quality of husband and father God has given me.  All of these experiences so far (like I said, more to come) have revealed how much he has grown as a man and how much the Lord has worked in him in his time away from us.  I wish I could say I grew a lot while he was gone, but I think that is the next phase.  Nothing like being completely away from everything familiar to force that kind of growth!

We face complex challenges (lack of visa and language skills not withstanding) but the Lord is here.  He is keeping us together and safe, bringing us to a country with a purpose He will reveal.  Until that time, I'm just going to enjoy and keep busy - the latter will be a lot easier in 3 months time when our 3rd arrives.

Then Dave will have his "four of a kind" and we will definitely have a full house.

Buona Notte from Fano, although I know you in the States have a few hours left till happy hour.  Toast your new-Italian friends and I'll have some pictures ready to share next week.

1 comment:

Gindi said...

I never commented, but this is still so funny.......