Nobody ever thought we’d do this, nobody really thinks it will work do they?
You just described every great success story.
– Say Anything (1989)
Ok, well so maybe not all of you have thought that, but I for one have. Musicals are just so full of life! Funnily enough now that I have to spend a lot of time with the two kids that I look after, I have the freedom of bursting into song at any given time, just to keep them amused. If only I was better at remembering the very simple lyrics that I make up.
Anyway, from my experience living in Italy is like living in a great big musical. To keep reading…
I knew before arriving in Italy that it would be a massive adjustment. I don’t know any Italian. I didn’t have a job lined up and they eat dinner really really late. The first two, not knowing the language and no job, I wasn’t extremely worried about as a) I will start taking classes and being thrown in the deep end will force me to learn quickly, and b) Lucy mentioned that she knew someone who needs an au pair. And as it turns out, that has worked out. So little Italian children – look out.
But not eating dinner until 9.30pm is killing me! At the moment in Roseto, our routine is as follows; wake up, breakfast at around 9am, go to the beach, a slice of pizza or fruit for lunch at around 1pm, then beach and dinner at 9.30pm. The 8.5 hours in between lunch and dinner is what gets me. Though, check out my reward for waiting so long!
One night after arriving in Rome, I was once again in transit to meet Lucy in Pescara (so excited!!). Thankfully this was only a 2.5hr bus ride away.
After struggling up and down all of the stairs in Rome’s metro system with my really heavy suitcase and a backpack (my reward being a beautifully air conditioned bus) I found that Pescara is a beautiful seaside uni student haven.
Once there Lucy and I hit holiday mode. This included bike riding around the city and eating aperitivo then beers and tanning on the beach. Aperitivo being a plate of tapas that was free with the beer!
The beach is hilarious. During the summer, they flatten out the sand and erect a million umbrellas for as far as the eye can see. Though, in Australia going to the beach usually means having sand all through your clothes and belongings. Here, I can avoid all the hassle and hang my clothes and towel on the umbrella.
The next morning we were en route to Roseto, an even more relaxed seaside town. But before we left, I had my first real Italian breakfast – coffee and cornetto (croissant) then gelato. Best breakfast ever. Forget about all bran and special k, buttery pastry and caffeine is what it’s all about.
So I arrived in Rome at around 9.30pm on the night of the 17th. This means it was around 5.30am back home. I was SO tired, had been on a plane for the second day in a row for 11 hours, and the man in front of me kept fidgeting and attempting to push his seat back further. I just wanted to find my hotel and not have to carry my 20.1kg suitcase (I tried to hard to stay within the weight limit) around for a minute longer. Thankfully my English passport ensured that I sailed through customs, so as soon as I got my suitcase I was out of there.
When booking the flights I had also booked an airport shuttle as I didn’t want to deal with the public transport system straight after a long flight. You’d think this would have made life easier. Apparently not.
I found the shuttle company easily enough. After they were happy with the amount of time they had made me wait, the guy behind the desk took me, it seemed to the other side of the airport. By this time, my arm was just about falling off and I was saturated in sweat as it was sooo hot and I was in my ‘I freeze in the plane’s air conditioning so I’m wearing long pants and boots’ outfit.
The ride there was nice. Air conditioned and pointing me in the direction of bed. Or so I thought! When we finally got there he dropped me off at the address they were given by the travel agent, which in hindsight I really should have double checked. However there was not a backpackers or any hotel for that matter in sight. I was in a completely nondescript street somewhere in Rome, with no map and my phone wasn’t working at 11 at night. What a welcome. So I did what any rational, sane however completely jet lagged person would do. I started to freak out a little. Some nice germans who I ambushed on the street pointed me in the direction of hotels. I then asked a very lovely receptionist how to get to my backpackers. And then I set off walking with my massive heavy suitcase and all my hand luggage.
Two and a half hours later from arriving at the airport, I find my backpackers, I’ve had a shower and am about to collapse into a dead sleep. I’m just glad its a double bed as I know I won’t be sleeping in one of those for a while!
My flight to Rome has a stopover in Seoul. Well they tell you that you are going to Seoul, but really, the airport is in Incheon, a completely different city to Seoul, maybe they just say it is Seoul on all of the departure boards and the boarding gate as it’s the biggest city closest to it? Anyway, Incheon is in Korea, the pilot was handy enough to land in the thickest blanket fog I have seen in a long time, and the hotel provided an amazing buffet and a bed. So that pleases me!
From what I could see from the transit bus to the hotel, which by the way had a distinctly Asian décolletage to it, Incheon is cluttered, dirty and has apartments or houses plonked everywhere! Unfortunately due to intense fog, we couldn’t see anything flying in. The next morning I had a bit of time to wander around. It was cool! Not very dirty at all, just old buildings. One question though, where were all the people?? All the shops were shut up, I guess life in Incheon doesn’t start until after 10am. I’m sure the Hotel had a lovely view of the city, harbour one side and little houses piled on top of each other and hills on the other. Due to the weather (the fog persisted through to the next day), I unfortunately can’t confirm the view. Wish I could, bet it was awesome.
The hotel is very nice. Korean Air put us up in a 5 star “Harbor Park” Hotel. Very nicely decked out, complete with a smart toilet which kindly warms the seat for you. However it seems that the Koreans who stay at the Harbor Park Hotel enjoy sleeping on beds akin to concrete slabs and chain smoke in their private rooms. I didn’t want to use all of my perfume trying to make the room smell nice, so like a cockroach, I adapted, however will not be using the thoughtfully placed ashtray on the desk.
Mum and dad dropped me off at the airport for the last time in a while this morning. Goodbyes suck, so I’m not going to dwell and instead will show you this picture of mum and dad waving from the balcony at the Brisbane International Airport.
Its difficult to write about the last couple of days. I’ve started and almost finished packing (after two ruthless rounds of culling unnecessary clothes- thank you Alexis, Caitlin and Alix, I’ve only got the toiletries to go), I’ve said my goodbyes, and I’ve vacuum sealed the rest of my wardrobe. I’m in a bit of a limbo. Nervously waiting for my adventure to start and thinking about missing everyone at home.
Not long now!!
That’s one question that I’ve been hearing lately. The answer? Ummm… no. Not packed, but I’ll start soon!
You’d think it’d be easy right? Chuck a variety of clothes in the suitcase, finish with the toothbrush and off you go! Well no. It’s not easy. It’s damn hard. Well, maybe it’s just hard to get the motivation to start. I do want to start packing, but seriously, I arrive in summer, then have to survive a cold European winter. What to pack in the hope of not spending all my savings on clothes?
It’s also apparent that I am one of those people who pack with the ‘just in case’ mentality. So my limit of 20kg becomes a slight problem. Luckily, two of my friends who know exactly how much trouble I will have packing have promised to help me cull. I just need to get started. Which I will. Soon!
So, I’m leaving work, practically unemployed, to live, work and travel in Italy, a beautiful country in the midst of an economic disaster.
What is your plan, you may ask? I don’t really have a plan, more like vague notions. To add to the confusion, my ‘vague notions’ often contradict each other. I want to a) learn Italian (this is a definite, mainly due to the fact that I am ashamed that I only know one language, being bilingual has so much more appeal!, also, after surfing the net for jobs in Italy, I have found that knowing the Italian language is up there when looking for a new employee and well, communicating in general), b) travel!! I want to explore. Italy, Eastern Europe, Russia, anywhere, c) work in Italy, to be entirely immersed in the Italian culture, I want to be able to work with the locals, and contribute to their local community.
At this point in time (a week from leaving Australia), I feel that travel and work have the potential to cancel one or the other out. If I am lucky enough to score a job that does not require serving alcohol or coffee to locals, an office job in a field I enjoy may not be generous with holiday time. Also, knowledge of the Italian language will be a must for such a job. On the other hand, a pub/cafe job will have the added bonus of, getting to know the locals, a lack of commitment and therefore, time to explore!
So, I have a plan. It is a plan to wing it. I’ll travel, work and live in Italy. Or Switzerland. Or Germany. Who really knows?