Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pordenone food festival

I picked up Miho from her house in Aviano then drove to Pordenone. It was about a 20 minute drive but it passed quickly as we chatted. We parked next to the train station and walk a couple minutes to get to the center square where the festival was being held. We walked past different tables full of various items. We continued to another street to an area with food trucks and tents. I got hummus and deep fried bread which was amazingly delicious. Miho got pad thai. She let me try some and it did not taste like pad thai; it tasted like spaghetti with white sauce. I thought this was amusing since we are in Italy and the people here prepare foreign dishes similar to their own. As we walked back to the car I bought 3 small paintings. The interior of my apartment is themed green and orange so I thought it would be perfect. I dropped Miho off back at her house then went home to do laundry.
L’image contient peut-être : 2 personnes, personnes souriantes, lunettes, plein air et gros planL’image contient peut-être : 2 personnes, lunettes et plein airL’image contient peut-être : personnes assises, moto et plein airL’image contient peut-être : plein airL’image contient peut-être : arbre et plein airL’image contient peut-être : nourritureL’image contient peut-être : plein airAucun texte alternatif disponible.L’image contient peut-être : 1 personne, plein airL’image contient peut-être : nourritureL’image contient peut-être : intérieurL’image contient peut-être : boissonL’image contient peut-être : 1 personne, table, nourriture et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : ciel, nuage et plein airL’image contient peut-être : planteAucun texte alternatif disponible.Aucun texte alternatif disponible.

Gas coupons/22 Mar 2017

L’image contient peut-être : 1 personne

Gas in Italy and Europe is expensive, so my work provides a benefit called gas coupons. They are convenient because they offset the price of the gas so we don't go broke! Only a certain amount can be purchased within each month and they all expire in August. They are only accepted at a gas stations called Eni. We have plenty of those gas stations in Aviano, but in places elsewhere the gas coupons may not be recognized. Whenever I go to the Eni gas station, one of the workers comes up to my car and fills the gas for me, a luxury that I will enjoy while being in Italy! On a different note, the sign Eni is quite peculiar. I cannot decide if the image is a dragon or some other mythical creature.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Broken computer/05 Apr 17

One of the things that you should never do it put a water bottle in the same bag as a computer, which I did. I learned the lesson the hard way and now my laptop has liquid damage to the screen. I had someone in the states fixing it, however, it has been about 2 months because they accidentally ordered the wrong part three times then when the correct part came it they accidently broke it while trying to replace it on my computer. Its strange being without a computer and I realize now how much I used it. I waited until the afternoon to call them again (due to the time difference) and they are going to give me a new labtop that is a similar model but newer for the same price I would have paid to get my broken computer repaired. They offered me this option since it has been such a long time. I decided to go with that option since I have little hope that my old computer will be able to be repaired. In the end it is probably a better deal for me since I get a new computer and get to have my memory/data transfered from my broken labtop. Bad situations can lead to better ones.

Almost left at the wrong time!/23 Mar 2017

My co-worker and I take turns back and forth grabbing patients. One of the patients were scheduled for 11 but was told to come in early. My co-worker said he would take the patient and I was good with it because I was ready to take my lunch. I packed up my papers and was on my way out the door but stopped before I got outside. Something did not feel right. I double checked the time and it was only 10! I convinced myself it was 11 because the patient was originally scheduled for 11 so I thought it was 11 until I saw the time was actually 10. I hurried back to grab the next patient. Disaster averted!

Internet deal/24 Mar 2017

Its been a couple of weeks and I am still trying to figure out the situation with my internet. Iv been on base and it was not cheap. It was going to cost 260 euros for the router and to get it installed then I would have to pay 30 euros per month for the first year then 40 euros per month for the next. My co-workers suggested I talk with a guy named Joe who could hook me up with internet, but it was pretty much the same price...My last resort was going off base to the TIM store (internet/phone store) to see what they had to offer. In the end it was the best deal. It cost 200 euros for the router and modem, free installation, and would only cost me 30 euros per month for 2 years. They were having a promoting and it was ending after the day I went in, so I signed the contract on the spot. They told me to expect a call to make an appointment with the installers. My concern is that I do not speak will be a very interesting conversation when it happens! I hope to get the internet all set up within the next month or two. It is known that it takes a long time to get it installed. 

Wine tour/25 Mar 2017

My body naturally wakes up at 0600 most days and today was no different. I didn’t have to leave for another hour and a half to meet up with my friend to go on the wine tour so I decided to lay in bed for a little bit. I eventually got up and opened the windows to let fresh air and sunlight into the apartment. Before I knew it, it was already time to head out. The weather was perfect and I didn’t need a jacket. It took about 15 minutes to get to the spaghetti house (a restaurant in Aviano) where I met up with Miho for the tour. People were boarding the bus and Miho, Miho’s friends, and I followed suit. We sat down on the second story in the back of the bus. Miho and her friends are Japanese so they spoke a bit while we traveled through the narrow streets. I remember some Japanese but I understand more than I can speak. Our destination was a vineyard and winery. The owner of the winery gave us a tour of her factory and lead us to a table where wine, bread, cheese, and meat was served. I tasted different types of reds and whites. I enjoyed the dry white wine and the sweater red wine. We ventured out into the vineyard afterwards and came face to face with the grape vines. It was very beautiful, especially with the mountains in the background. Next we drove to a restaurant where we had lunch. I was already full but I managed to eat a bit more (there is always room for more!). The time passed so quickly and we were all back at the spaghetti house restaurant before I knew it. My friends went on their way and I decided to stop at the local gelato shop before going home. My favorite flavor they have is pistachio and my second favorite is hazelnut. The other flavors are amazing as well. They change out the flavors depending on the season. I can truly say that gelato is one of my favorite desserts!
L’image contient peut-être : 2 personnes, personnes assises, table, intérieur et nourritureAucun texte alternatif disponible.L’image contient peut-être : intérieurL’image contient peut-être : 1 personne, sourit, lunettes, intérieur et gros planL’image contient peut-être : personnes assises, table et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : intérieurL’image contient peut-être : une personne ou plus et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : une personne ou plus et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : une personne ou plus, plein air et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : une personne ou plus et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : ciel, montagne, herbe, nuage, arbre, plein air et natureL’image contient peut-être : plein airL’image contient peut-être : une personne ou plus, boisson et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : intérieurL’image contient peut-être : boisson, tasse de café et intérieurL’image contient peut-être : nourritureL’image contient peut-être : plein air

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Driveway Challenge/21 Mar 2017

My garage is underneath the apartment building so in order to get in and out of the parking area I have to drive on a steep slope to enter and exit. Getting into the garage is not a big deal; driving out is like having a heart attack. I drive a manual car which to those with experience is not a difficult task. I have been driving a manual for a couple months and even though I am confident in my skill I still have moments when I stall the car. Getting up that ramp was like wrestling an alligator. I would get up half way then the car would roll back down. I had to play with the gears and the E break a couple of times before I finally figured it out. I was afraid to rev the engine before hitting the clutch at first but after doing it a couple times I was not scared. My neighbor watched me go through this trial and I am pretty sure he was thinking I was crazy driving up and down this ramp. I’m just happy I can make it out of the garage alive. 

Kiss of the Italians/17 Mar 2017

In America, it is typical to give a handshake to new people you meet. A handshake is used in Italy as well when meeting new acquaintances. The difference is that the Italians will give a greeting to friends and family with a kiss on the cheek vs a handshake. When delivering the kiss it is not done by planting your lips on their cheek, that’s weird! Instead, it’s described more as grazing the side of your cheek with the other. People usually go from right to left to make it less confusing (you don’t want to end up accidentally kissing them right on the lips!!!). The kiss is typically between people of the same gender but depending on the region is can vary. The number of kisses is typically limited to two in Italy, one on each side of the face. The number of kisses varies across countries and cultures. I first learned about the greeting kiss while I was exposed to French culture. The French call it bisous.  Another thing to note is that once you “kiss” someone, you should not go back to shaking hands, it makes the situation confusing. I encountered this dilemma with my landlord. The first time I met her I shook her hand. I found out that not giving the greeting kiss is rude so the next time I met her I attempted the greeting kiss. I almost turned my head the wrong way and we both hesitated for a moment before we performed the greeting. I felt extremely awkward and silly for giving it a shot but I am sure I achieved my objective in showing my landlord that I am embracing the culture. I hope to avoid these situations if and when possible!

Surprise lights out/22 Mar 2017

It was late because I just got done with boxing. I was preparing a smoothie at my apartment as a small snack before I went to bed. I put all the ingredients in the blender and connected it to the outlet with a converter. The moment I pushed the button to blend the ingredients, the lights shut off! I stood in pure darkness dumbfounded. Later I found out that the voltage is not the same between America and Italy. The voltage in Italy is between 220 and 240v while in America it is usually between 110v and 120v. My next objective was to find light. I bumped into random furniture and a wall as I made my way to the front door. I managed to open the door and light flooded into the apartment. A soccer field sits in front of my apartment and it is well lit. I took out some candles that were stored away and used them to light my path as I cleaned up the smoothie that was not made. I tried messing with the electrical box in the house without success in turning the lights back on. I called it a night and kept in mind that I would have to contact the landlord the next day to recover my electricity.
What it looked like once the lights went out

Lost then found

There is a saying that you are not thankful for what you have until it’s gone. I can relate to this saying when I lose my stuff. I lost my headphones for a week and didn’t realize how much I used it until I lost it. When I found them again I was so thankful. I have to work on not losing my stuff but at the same time I appreciate the things I have that make my life more convenient. 

Contracts and headaches/22 Mar 2017

Getting internet in Italy is a headache…I went on base to the BX to talk with an agent to get service through TIM (a phone/internet company in Italy). He wanted to charge 260 euros which included a router and to have it installed. I would have to pay 30 euros per month for a year then 40 euros per month for next year. I talked with my co-workers about it and they said the price was normal…I went back the next day and signed the contract. I scheduled an appointment to have the router installed but the agent kept telling me it was not a set appointment and it looked like I would have to reschedule the appointment. I talked with other people and they had similar issues. It took about 2 months for one person to get internet installed because the laborers either did not show up to the appointment or cancelled the appointment and rescheduled. I didn’t like that I had to pay a huge fee up front and was not guaranteed a date for having a router installed. My other co-worker suggested I talk with a guy named Joe who could do the job for me with less of a headache. The price was a lot cheaper for installation, only 95 euros! I felt as though I was being ripped off by the other agent and went to cancel the contract. The agent said he could cancel the contract with no fees attached since I made no payments. I later wished I would have taken the contract from him because I had my signature on that contract. My fear is that he will later contact me to charge me cancelation fees. I will have to go back and talk with him again. So for now I have no internet in my apartment and do not expect to get it anytime soon. 

Saturday Rolling/18 Mar 2017

I woke up early and listed off what I was thankful for as the usual. My body automatically wakes up between 0530 and 0600. Sometimes I lay in bed and think about random things like past memories or what I was going to do with the day. Today was already planned out and I wanted to get a head start on moving my things from the hotel to my new apartment. I mailed some gorilla boxes from Korea to Italy so I would have extra clothes and supplies while I waited for my TMO shipment to arrive. My apartment is only 10 minutes away from area F and the drive was calming. I parked next to the soccer field and started unloading my stuff.
 I'm on the second story of the building and climbed the stairs on the side of the building. I have to mention that in Italy they do not consider the first floor of a building as the first floor; the first floor is actually considered the 0 floor. For example, in America the first floor is the 1st floor and the 1st floor in Italy is floor 0. I walked up to my door and thought about how odd it was. The door does not have a nob that twists so I have to use the key and push on the door to open it. The electricity was not on so I opened the windows to allow light in. I would have to open the windows every day from now on anyway because of the radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas produced by naturally occurring elements which are common in soils, rocks, and building materials throughout the world. Most radon is released into the outdoor atmosphere; however, it can enter into houses through cracks and may accumulate inside buildings. In this way, the concentration levels inside buildings may be greater than the level outside. The levels measured inside buildings exceed the value recommended by the US environmental protection agency. This does not mean we will all die of radon poisoning! Risk is based on factors such as level of exposure, years of exposure, lifestyle, and exposure to other hazards. Since I'll be staying there for a couple of years, my exposure will not be as significant compared to someone who has established themselves in the area for many years. To avoid a buildup in the house, it is recommended to ventilate the house by opening windows periodically throughout the day.
I walked over to the windows to crack them open. The windows were also a bit different than what I am used to. Green shutters were outside the windows that folded open and closed. To open the window, I had to turn the handle to swing it open. I also had glass doors that opened onto the balcony. I walked upstairs to the loft and took a break on the orange couch (the apartment is themed with green and orange). I looked over at the desk in the corner and imagined myself studying there in the future. I looked over the edge of the loft down at the dinning table. It had 4 chairs sitting around it and I again imagined having those seats occupied by new friends. I have met a lot of people already from work, jiu jitsu, boxing, and even people from my previous bases. I feel as though I have seen a lot of familiar faces. I walked outside under the stairs connected to the side of the building to get to my garage. The air was a lot cooler since it was underneath the apartment building.I continued to walk up the ramp and back to my car. It was time for an ice cream break. There are a few places near my place like a pizza restaurant, a soccer field, a gelato place, a bus station, and a huge grocery store (the best part). I stopped at the gelato shop and got a scoop of hazelnut gelato, my favorite. It was time to head back because there was an open mat later for jiu jitsu.
    One of the jiu jitsu practitioner's from base picked me up and we drove 45 minutes to the town of Treviso where we met with locals who practice jiu jitsu. I have yet to study Italian so I could not communicate much with them. The instructor was a brown belt and showed up a couple of take downs before we started rolling. I was happy that some of the guys were my size; it makes rolling a bit easier. 2 hours later we said our farewells and headed back to base. I was super tired and headed to bed. It was a very productive day.

Sunday out to lunch/19 Mar 2017

Open mat for jiu jitsu is every Sunday at 1000. I had some time beforehand to do some stretching and ate a small breakfast. I even wrote in my blog a bit. I'm an early riser so I get a lot done in the morning. Once I got to the gym I walked up to the second floor to the matted room (the walls and floors have mats on them). I did a short warm up then open mat began. Some of the people showed me new techniques. Sometimes the techniques work for me and sometimes they do not. Certain techniques for better for others depending on the length of their limps, strength, agility, etc. Open mat lasted for about an hour and a half then I headed out to meet with my friend Miho who I met while I was stationed in Japan. I invited her to eat out with the jiu jitsu people but by the time we got there they were done eating. We still decided to stay anyway since they served breakfast. Not many restaurants in Italy are open on Sunday so options are limited. Unfortunately, it was quite busy and it took 40 minutes for them to cook our french toast. I was starving! I pretty much golfed down my food once it was served. It was almost 1400 and I had to hurry to get to the movie theater on base. The med group reserved the theater so that we could see Beauty and the Beast. It was only $10 which included a drink, popcorn, and a hot dog. I walked through the doors as the opening credits were playing. The movie was pretty good and it brought back good memories. To this day I still enjoy watching the original Disney films. I went back to my hotel room and though about how this would be my last night in the hotel. I could not wait to start living off base in my new apartment. It truly was a day well spent.

First night at new home/20 Feb 2017

Instead of being at work by 0800, I had to drive to my apartment because my dryer machine was going to be dropped off. It was my last night at the hotel last night and I collected all my belongings and put it in my car. I checked out of the hotel and drove right over to my new home. This was the first time I was in the apartment by myself and I started to feel giddy. I never lived in an apartment by myself before. I have spent the past 3 years living in dorms. A truck pulled up in front of the apartment building a couple hours later and I lead them to the closet where the washer machine was (my landlord provided the washer). The dryer machine was a few inches too big for the closet…they suggested moving it into the bathroom and as they were making their way into my apartment I stopped them. Having the dryer machine, in my opinion, would be odd to have in the bathroom…so instead they brought it down into the garage which sat underneath the apartment building. Once it was all set up I went to work. I was still trying to get spun up at the hospital, but I was catching on quick. The workday ended before I knew it. I hurried to the gym to make it to jiu jitsu at 1730. Boxing was after jiu jitsu and I typically get done by 2000. I took a shower at the gym and drove home in the dark. A soccer game was in session as I drove up to my apartment next to the field. I watched for a couple minutes then headed inside. My stomach was growling so I ate some of the fruit in the center of the table. My landlord gave me a bowl full of assorted fruits, white wine, soda, etc (which was super nice of them). I decided to try to use the washer machine since I needed to wash my Gi and workout clothes. I walked away and came back to find out the machine stopped and the light wash flashing that it paused. I turned it back on then left and returned and the same thing happened, over and over again. The words on the machine were in Italian so I could not understand completely what it said. The clock read 2300 by the time I gave up and headed to bed. It was really cold in my room and I turned up the heat...but it never got warmer. I ended up going to sleep bundled in a jacket and layers of warm clothes. It felt like I was sleeping in the Antarctica! It was not a super smooth transition for the first night at the apartment. Hopefully I will be able to recover the clothes stuck in the washer and figure out how to get heat....even though the first night was not the smoothest transition I was still thankful that I had a roof over my head and that I had the opportunity to live in such a beautiful apartment.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Washer machine translation/21 Mar 2017

I did not understand exactly what the words on my washer machine were so I google translated it. They have a lot of different options!!

Scarico acqua: drain water
Centrifuga breve: short spin
Centrifuga: spin
Risciacquo and Centriguge: rinse and spin
Lingerie 30: lingerie
Lavaggio a mano 40: hand wash
Lana a freddo: cool wash
Lana 40: wool
Rapido 30: fast
Sintetici: synthetic
Delicate: delicates
Cancels: annula
Avvio: startup
riduzione centrifuga 500 giri: Reducing spin 500 laps
risciacquo intensive:  rinse intensive
pulizia filtro: filter cleaning
ingresso acqua:wanter inlet (entrance)
pre-lavaggio: prewash
lavaggio: wash
risciacquo: rinsing
anti piega: crease
 centrifuga scarico: centrigual exhaust
aparture porta: door openings


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Keys to the house/17 Mar 2017

It was time to go and I had to rush out of work to meet the realtor Mara to get the keys to the apartment. My co-worker drove me to the place once and I drove there myself using a map printed off google maps, but when it was time to head out I could not find the map! I did not have time to go back and print off another map so I had to wing it. After about the third roundabout I was sure I was on the right track. About a million cars passed me between work and the apartment. I would rather them pass me than tailgate me...which happens often in Italy. I have to keep reminding myself that the culture is different but whenever I look in the rear-view mirror and see a car right behind mine, I can feel my blood boil. Its dangerous that people drive so close but I just have to ignore it because it is going to keep happening while living in Italy...the insurance in Italy is extremely high for a reason. As I pulled into a parking space I looked up at the second story of the apartment and saw my landlord, her husband, and the realtor on the balcony. I hurried over and walked inside the apartment with them. Inside was a bowl full of fresh fruit including a bundle of bananas, a pineapple, oranges, etc. The landlord also bought a bottle of wine as a welcoming gift. I later found a big water bottle and 2 cokes in the fridge. The realtor started explaining important features of the house. One example is the recycling. I will probably have to study in depth about how to recycle because it is quite extensive! I have 3 trash cans with multiple different types of trash bags that are different colors. They all serve a purpose for different types of trash. One is for organic waste, another for plastic, the other for cardboard; that's just the tip of the iceberg. A manual explains it all in depth and a calendar is included to show you which days to put out which type of trash on the street. If the rules are not followed then a heavy find is to be expected. Even though it is complected I am willing to do it because it is beneficial to the environment. Mara explained how to use the oven and details about the dishwasher, air conditioning, heat, etc. I have to be careful because the temperature dial is in Celsius and not in Fahrenheit. I also have to make sure to change the status of the heater/air conditioner when the weather changes seasons. Mara had to leave to go to her next appointment so I didn't get to ask too many questions; I would have to figure it out. One question I wished I would have asked was how to use the washer machine, or even better, what keys were for which locks on the huge key ring of jumbled keys. I will have to learn Italian quickly so I can ask these questions when I see the landlord again. All my neighbors are also Italian, so there will not be much social exchange in English... Its time I hit the books!
Aucun texte alternatif disponible.L’image contient peut-être : fruit, table, boisson, nourriture et intérieur

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