28 November 2016

Trial Ride - Sundays In My NEW City

We're moving!  Well, I found a house and we move in 2 weeks (because it takes 10 working days to get the electricity turned on).  Housing here is a little different than in the Netherlands.  There we waited 7 weeks to move into a house I looked at the 2nd week we were there.  I kept thinking I needed to look around more.  Here, housing goes fast and I didn't want to do another 7 weeks in a hotel with dogs! Plus, there I had use of a car and could spend time looking around.  Here I can walk or ride my bike (car won't be here for another few weeks) so I relied more on other people's knowledge.

I found a house that met all my requirements (no stairs (the old girl doesn't do well on them anymore), fenced yard, biking distance) and took it.  So on Sunday I went for a trial bike ride to see how the route to/from work would be.  It's not the most scenic ride since it's mostly through residential streets but there is a pretty stream that I get to cross and it's an easy, flat route.  And, my house is right next to a bakery (I'm going to have to bike everywhere!) :D

This is behind the hotel where we're staying. I have to go to the back to put my bike in the garage.  One of the prettier buildings nearby.

More commutes and sights and maybe a bike ride or stream crossing over at Unknown Mami.

Unknown Mami

20 November 2016

Welcome to South of the Alps - Sneak Peek at Vicenza - Sundays in my NEW City

South of the Alps is, obviously, different than North of the Alps.  Lots of people stationed here have previously been stationed in Germany (North of the Alps) where everything is meticulously clean and orderly and well-manicured.  It's not like that here.  So Welcome to South of the Alps is what you hear a lot when discussing the differences here.

I took the bus into downtown Vicenza today for a look around.  I meandered aimlessly (and slowly meandering seemed to be the standard pace of people) about and took pictures of random things.  I present them here without comment since I don't know what any of it is yet.

Hope you enjoyed this first visit to Vicenza.  I'm sure there will be more and, at some point, I'll learn what stuff is :)

To visit other places around the world, check out Sundays in My City over at Unknown Mami.

Unknown Mami

14 November 2016

First Pizza

Of course we've all had pizza before!  But I promised the dogs that they would get pizza for dinner the day we arrived in Italy. Well, we arrived today and so they got pizza (I had some, too :D).  I'll write more about the trip later but just know it, again, involved a mad dash through the airport to make our flight despite arriving 3 hours early; but this time the flight crew was much nicer!  The dogs did great and we all arrived safe and sound.

The dogs got half of the tiniest slice plus some regular food. These are very small plates, not very large slices of pizza!

Jack had his pizza and half his food gone before Chey even got to her plate.

They both ate the pizza first!  And they both ate it so fast I didn't have time to snap a picture of them eating it :(

I stuck my head out the window to see if I could see the Super Moon (it looks like a regular-sized moon to me) and Jack had to see what was going on :)
I somehow managed to stay awake all day despite a hacking cough (mine) that didn't allow me to get much sleep on the plane.  So I'm going to go to bed early (I always go to bed early!) and hope for less coughing and more sleeping. 

01 October 2016

My First Home Away From Home

When I was 16, my wonderful parents agreed to let me go overseas as a foreign exchange student.  I was originally slated to go to Italy but then there was a problem with the Italian program (meaning the American side and Italian side were having some sort of disagreement) so I was reassigned to the Netherlands.  And now things are coming full-circle again.

The first family I lived with in the Netherlands (in my program you lived with three different families so that you got a diverse experience since no one family is representative of how everyone lives) lived 3 houses from the dyke on what was a huge orchard.  I've been back to visit them several times while living in and visiting the Netherlands. 

This last visit, I walked around the grounds and seriously have no memory of it being such a beautiful place. How did I miss that? It's on a canal (they used to have a boat there) and the mother still has a wonderful garden and works to bring back heirloom varieties of some of the original orchard trees.

It wasn't exactly easy living there all those years ago.  The kids were a lot younger than me and no one in that village went to my school (my other two families were close to the school) so it was rather lonely.  I had very few friends and they all lived much closer to the school.  I had no confidence in my ability to learn the language and so I struggled with it (one day, after months and months and months of living in the Netherlands it was as if a switch flipped and I realized I could speak Dutch). Plus, you know, I was a moody teenager.

I have a much better relationship with that set of parents now that I'm an adult.  They are really very lovely people and I enjoy visiting them.

You can see the dyke here; keeping out the Ijsselmeer. It really isn't very high. 

She really does wear these when working in the garden!
To think of how many homes away from home I've had at this point... I'm glad I get to keep visiting this one. I'm also glad I get to see it now as a beautiful place with lovely people.

What is your first home away from home?  Have your feelings about it changed over time?

21 September 2016

Can Dogs Learn Italian?

Two years ago on this day I was getting ready to leave for Italy with my Mom and Gran. 

Now I'm preparing to move to Italy with 2 dogs. 

I've done an overseas move with 2 dogs before but this time there's a new dog and the old dog is...well, much older.  Not to mention the new dog has a blocky head which some people think makes him look like a pit bull.  It shouldn't come as any surprise that that makes getting him on a plane a potential nightmare...even to go as cargo...your luggage must be kept safe from such a dangerous monster (or, as my tiny 82-year old Gran says, a big love bug).  So throw in an anxiety attack and probable nervous breakdown with the rest of the usual stress over a big move.  I would never leave a dog behind so I will find a way. It's a good thing I have done the whole flying dogs overseas thing before because I already know how far in advance you need to start getting everything in order (in case you're wondering, it takes approximately 2 weeks longer than you have :p) and although I don't have my departure date yet I've already started with all their paperwork.  Because dogs can't fly if the ground temperature is below 45F I am shooting for an earlier departure date than I would like because I don't want to take my chances with mother nature.  So I'll have less time to get everything ready.

These past almost-3 years have been the closest (distance) to my family I've ever lived since I stopped living with them.  That has been great. I've never been able to go there and back in a day and it's awesome to be able to see them so often.

The work I've done and the people I've me through Adopt a Homeless Animal Rescue has been amazing.  They are such wonderful people and I love every one of those dogs.  You can read all about my rescue work here.

At an adoption event -Showing people how wonderfully easy-going this dog is.

I will miss all of that. The rest of this location, however, has been less than happy. The cost of living here is ridiculous and the work hasn't been my favorite. 

Aside from the distance from family I love living overseas.  I won't say I was born into the wrong family because those are definitely my people but I really feel like I should have been born Dutch.  That (the Netherlands) is the place (again, aside from the town where I grew up) that truly fits me...even if all the people are WAY taller. I have no doubt that I will love living in Italy and am super excited to explore more of Europe with those wonderful cheap air fares!  I'm hoping family and friends will visit me just like they did during my last stint overseas. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go sit in a corner and rock like Rain Man for a while.

Have you done an overseas move? Have you flown dogs overseas?  Do you have any advice for me?

21 August 2016

The Best Part of Iceland - Sundays in My City

I've taken trips with my mom. I've taken trips with both of my parents together.  I've taken trips with just my brother and sister. I've never taken a trip with just my dad.  When I asked him, he said he wanted to go to Iceland. So we went. This was the best part of the trip.

There's lots more to say and show from Iceland but I'll save that for another time.

Do you travel with your family? What's your favorite family trip picture?

Take a trip over to Unknown Mami and check out some other great posts.

27 May 2016

Packing for a Long Trip

I pack last-minute.  Always.  And I almost always under pack.  So how do I pack for a long (in this case, 3 weeks) trip?  It goes something like this:

Step 1: Throw everything including your smallest suitcase on the very messy bed (you're going to take the sheets off and wash before you leave anyway).

Step 2: Sort through and get rid of stuff from the last trip that you know you don't need.

Step 3: Consult your randomly-scribbled list and throw some more things on the bed...go in search of the things you have no idea what you did with after the last long trip...freak out because you can't find that one thing you absolutely need, add some more stuff just in case.

Step 4: Check the weather for your destination(s)..DUH! Rethink everything you've packed.

Step 5: Fret that you have too much. Fret that you don't have enough.  Rinse. Repeat. 

Step 6: See if it all fits. Adjust if necessary.

Step 7: Check the weight (if you're flying with a weight restriction)

Step 8: Open it all up and leave it there in hopes inspiration will strike and allow you to make it all perfect.

Step 9: Add, subtract, add, subtract...spend far too much time thinking about whether or not you need rain pants and/or a mini-tripod.

Step 10: Decide it's fine if you only have one pair of socks and 14 t-shirts (or vice versa). Who cares...you're on vacation!!

How do you pack?  Do you take too much...to little?  Do you have any super packing secrets? What's your one MUST HAVE item?