House Update

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We are almost out of the hotel, whew.
We spent part of the weekend and this past week cleaning our house. I'm just going to say it's filthy, and leave it at that. Like, it probably hasn't been cleaned in a decade. Every inch is just dirty. Ok, that's all I'll say about it I promise.
Yesterday TMO came with all of the things that the military provides for us. We got a washer and dryer, 4 wardrobes (they actually didn't look bad. I think we lucked out. I've heard stories about what others have received), a refrigerator (American size, yay!), and a GIANT microwave (actually, it's a microwave oven. All we needed was a small regular microwave, but oh well....).
After seeing this stuff delivered to our house, I have become even MORE antsy about our home goods arriving. The internet is also going to be installed tomorrow, which I am INCREDIBLY excited about.
I believe we are going to check out of our hotel either tomorrow or Friday, and start staying at the house.
The house might be empty, but at least we'll have cooking supplies (borrowed from base), food, a BBQ, internet, and an air mattress.
Hopefully (fingers crossed) our home goods will arrive next week.
I cannot wait to put our house together.
Ciao!

Prosciutto Festival

Monday, June 27, 2011

This weekend we went to a prosciutto festival.
Yea that's right, a festival focused on ham.
 It was about an hour from Aviano, and the first thing we did when we arrived was take a tour of a family run prosciutto factory. 
We learned about the entire process that occurs in order to make delicious prosciutto.
If I remember correctly it beings by submerging the piece of meat in salt.
Then storing it at a freezing cold temperature. 
 Then the meat hangs out in a ventilated room.
Then I believe the meat is moved to another room.... One that isn't ventilated and has a controlled climate. 
We had a lovely ham scientist that took us on the tour. I believe at this point the ham is checked to make sure it's good. They do this by smell. Apparently I wasn't a very good listener, seeing as I don't remember many details from the tour....
Perhaps I was distracted by all the ham...
When the ham is good, it receives a stamp of approval to prove that it is, indeed, good ham.
The entire process takes a little over a year. I guess that explains why prosciutto isn't cheap. 
At the end of the tour we got to taste the prosciutto and drink some Prosecco. That was probably my favorite part. 
After the lovely tour we went on to explore the festival. There was lots of prosciutto, wine, and beer.
In case anyone forgot what exactly they were eating, these guys were here to remind them.
I guess that should be considered the "before shot?"

The weather was wonderful, and we ate, drank, and had a great time.

Ciao!

First trip to Venice

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On Saturday Jacob and I decided to make our first trip out to Venice.
I knew we were close, but honestly I didn't realize how close. We caught the train (my first time on a train and, yes I thought it was the coolest thing ever) in the nearby city of Sacile and in an hour we arrived in Venice. It was absolutely breathtaking. Honestly, it was just like what you see in the movies. I was blown away. I think that's when it finally hit me that we now live in Italy. The weather was gorgeous, and it was about 10am by the time we arrived. We didn't have any particular plans, we just wanted to explore. Our goal was to eventually make it to San Marco's square, which we did, but I doubt we took the shortest route. We had lunch and stayed until late afternoon. Once we were tired we hopped back on the train and headed home. It was nice to not feel pressure to see everything in one day. We know we can go back anytime we want, which I still cannot wrap my head around. Here are a few of the pictures from our day:











Ciao!

Hotel Living

Monday, June 20, 2011

The lovely Ciasa de Gahja Hotel has been our home for the past couple of weeks, since our arrival in Italy. It is a wonderful hotel with a rustic feel and a relaxing atmosphere.
Not only is Ciasa de Gahja a hotel, but it also happens to be a restaurant too. A very delicious restaurant I might add. We have enjoyed many meals during our stay here, and have never been disappointed. The staff is wonderful and extremely accommodating.
 The hotel is located in the city of Budoia, which is very close to Aviano where the Air Force base is.
This view is from around the corner of our hotel.
I must say, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the region of Italy in which we are living, is absolutely gorgeous.
But I will admit, hotel living tends to get a bit old after a couple of weeks.
Luckily we only have a week left until we can say ciao to our hotel, and buongiorno to our new home!
Jacob and I will be moving into our charming townhouse, in the town of Maniago, next Tuesday.
Although I cannot wait to get into our home, one of the things I will miss the most about our hotel stay are the wonderful cappuccinos I have been spoiled with every morning! 
  I will, however, be happy to no longer be tempted with yummy croissants every single morning. 

Ciao!

First Week in Italy

Friday, June 10, 2011

We've been in Italy for 1 week as of today.
I'm not going to lie, it has been a pretty stressful and exhausting week.
PCSing isn't easy, and PCSing overseas is even more difficult.
It can only get better from here, right?
When we arrived TLF was full, so reservations had been made for us at a hotel instead. Don't get me wrong, the hotel is pretty neat, but not for an extended period of time. TLF gives you a full kitchen, washer dryer, all of the things you would need in a temporary home. A hotel does not offer you those same luxuries. Also, TLF is very convenient seeing as it is located on base, and in walking distance of many important places. This is not possible in a hotel. Gotta make the most of it though, right?
I had no idea that finding a place to live here in Italy would be so chaotic and competitive. Technically, you have a month. BUT if you wait, all of the decent places will be snatched up by other newcomers.
The AHRN website is not the best tool to use. Word of mouth if by far a better option. My personal opinion about the website is that if a house is that great, someone is going to take it before it even gets a chance to make it onto the website. And if it does make it to the website, and it stays available for a while, well then there's something wrong with it (either with the house itself, or the location is super far from base). Other people may disagree, but this is just my personal opinion that was formed from my personal experience.
My husband and I got lucky. His sponsor told us that the townhouse by him was available. It was huge, and pretty awesome. We viewed it on Monday, and signed the lease on Wednesday. We really didn't feel like continuing this house hunting business.
Our car actually beat us to Italy, but has been held hostage.
We began Right Start classes on Monday, which lasted until about 4:30, which is when the place where the cars are held closes. On Wednesday while my husband was in class his sponsor took me to try and pick up the car. I got as far as the registration office on base. Even though the car is in MY name, since I am merely a dependent, I was not allowed to register the car.
Seriously, they're not joking about the term dependent.
So we left, and came back later that afternoon with my husband. This time, the system that registers cars was down. They told us that if we went upstairs to the legal office, my husband could give me power of attorney to register my own car, and I could come back in the morning and take care of business.
So we did that.
I arrived at 8am the next morning to learn that the system was still down. I spent the rest of the day on base in my husband's shop calling the registration office every 30 minutes to see if the system was up.
Nope.
So yesterday morning I decided to stay at the hotel while my husband went on base to take care of things. Surely the system must be up and running, right?
Nope.
It was down all day. They told my husband that it would be working by today.
My husband goes on base again this morning. Guess what?
System was still down. They said there was nothing they could do to help us, we just had to wait until the system came back up.
So this afternoon my husband receives a phone call from the registration office. They tell him that the place that houses all the cars is too full, so they will give him a temporary pass to go pick up our car.
I'm sorry, there's a temporary pass?
So.... This temporary pass didn't exist all week long, but as soon as something becomes an inconvenience for them, it suddenly appears?
Um.
Right.
Well, at least we will finally be getting our car. The housing office should complete the inspection of our place by the end of next week, and our home goods are also scheduled to arrive by the end of next week.
Hopefully (fingers crossed), we will be able to move into our place the following week.
I know things will only get better from here, and I cannot wait until we are settled.
Now that we have our car we can really start to explore the area and see what it has to offer!

Last Day...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So I wanted to make one last post before leaving for Italy tomorrow (eek!).
Honestly, I don't even know what to say.
I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. I just pray that everything goes smoothly.
It is going to be a LONG 2 days of traveling that's for sure.
I hope that it won't be too long before I'm able to blog again!
I cannot wait to share all of my adventures in Italy, and get back to blogging regularly!
All my bloggy friends in Italy, do you have twitter??? @Nicole Leeay