Friday, July 31, 2009

Holiday!!

Today I'm going home for a week! I'm so excited!! I haven't been home since Christmas, I can't believe the time's gone so fast and that I've been out here for that long a stretch without having been home! It's got so hot here recently, it'll be lovely to go back to the cool for a bit! I'm flying from Malpensa tonight, I haven't flown from Malpensa before, only into it, and I've got to cross the city to get there, so it might be a bit of a mission! But first I've got a day of work to get through - it might well be a long one!!

It always feels like I'm going home for longer than I am when I leave Italy, it was the same at Christmas; even after doing a year abroad in Italy and going back and forward for the holidays. And because it feels like I'm going away for longer than I actually am, I'm a little bit reluctant to leave! But I am looking forward to being at home, it's been a long time coming!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nerys’s Random Tips for living in Milan #1

Always carry extra spare change.

I learned the hard way on Tuesday night that I should always have some spare change on me! I was coming home on the metro from Sesto F.S after being going to the cinema with a couple of friends, and I’d completely forgot that Sesto was out of the city, and so the urban metro/bus/tram 10 trip carnet I had wouldn’t cover my trip home! I didn’t have enough loose change, and didn’t have a note less than 20 euro, and by then it was around 11.30pm, no bars or anything open, and the ticket machines didn’t have enough change - PANIC!! I asked as many people as I could if they could change my 20, no luck. But then a flash of inspiration hit me! A few weeks ago I’d found a euro by the side of the road near work, and I’d put it in my bag – not in my purse, just in my bag. I frantically scrambled around in my bag, digging things out, trying to find this euro that I knew I had somewhere at the bottom of my bag! And I found it! So I was able to buy an interurban ticket and finally get on the metro and home to my bed!

So the moral of this story is, if you take public transport in Milan, especially late at night, make sure you’ve got change to cover your journey before you leave the house!! What I’m going to do from now on is carry a couple of euros extra in my bag – not stashed away at the bottom though! – not in my purse so I won’t be tempted to spend them, just in case this sort of situation happens again!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

From the 'Nobody Told Me..' series: Monsoon Season!

I'd never been in Italy at all during the first half of July before this year, and the only time I'd been in the north of the country during the summer before was a week at the beginning of August; and I have been amazed at the weather this month! So many thunderstorms!! Tuesday morning was mad, the mother of all thunderstorms rolled into Milan around 6.30 in the morning! Of course, it woke me up, with 2 hours to go before I needed to get up for work - not happy!! It even caused a powercut! I live in a mahoosive block of flats, and our patch had no power for the best part of 3 hours. 3 hours! In a big city like Milan, I couldn't believe it! The other side of the flats didn't get their power back til about 11, and the houses in the nearest piazza didn't until 5 that afternoon! It's so Italian that it took so long, but surely that's poor for even a town, never mind Milan. From what I heard Milan and Bergamo (around an hour to the east of Milan) got hit the worst, the pictures that I saw on the news was insane! So much rain in such a short amount of time! I had no idea the weather could be so bad in the summer!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

At the doctor's...

I've been ill. Again!! Another stomach virus that's been doing the rounds. Seriously, how many illnesses like that can do the rounds in a city in the space of just a few months?? Ok, I won't start whinging again... So I had to go to the doctor's to get a certificate for work, the first time I'd gone to the doctor's on my own in this country. I'm lucky that I live around 5 minutes away from my doctor's, but even though it's that close to home, I'm not too keen on the area it's in. Don't ask me what it is, it involves going under a bridge, I just don't like the atmosphere round there... But never mind. It's obviously a pain dragging myself out of the flat when I'm ill, and when I went on Thursday the surgery was only open in the afternoon, so add around 30 degrees to my annoyance! It wasn't as scary as I expected, I was in & out quite quickly, another new experience under my belt! But hopefully I won't need to go back to there for another few months at least!

And with a couple of days at home, I had plenty of time to watch Italian daytime TV. Oh yes. Though La Prova del Cuoco (Italy's take on Ready, Steady, Cook which is shown on Rai Uno) is legendary - It feels like I grew up with that, for the 3 years I was actually at uni in England, I watched so much of that, it always seemed to be on when I was watching tv after my lectures were done for the day! - I got bored of what was on offer fairly quickly. I also managed to get bored of Italian radio! Yesterday I spent a lot of the day listening to British radio online. I'm a bit of a radio geek to be honest, I spend so much time listening to radio, here or back in the UK; but I rarely listen to British radio when I'm in Italy, only when I'm bored of Italian radio, really. I used to think that Italian radio was more open-minded than mainstream British radio, that it played a bigger variety of music. After yesterday I'm not so convinced. There were so many songs I didn't recognise, things that had been doing the rounds for the last few weeks or even months in the UK that I'd never heard before; mainstream, Top 40 stuff. It was nice to have a proper comparison, and to see what was going on with music at home!

It is hot though, it's finally starting to get to me! It's still not so bad in the night, but having to leave my window open & the sound of the trains being louder is a bit annoying, but I think I'm getting used to it. No new mozzy bites - yet! I think my plug-in's doing its job! We've been having a lot of thunderstorms here recently, I hate thunderstorms, and one we had recently, when the thunder was properly shaking in the flat was horrible; but the morning after a thunderstorm is lovely, it properly clears the air. A necessary evil I'm starting to think!

And I've lost 6 kg now, I'm so pleased! I haven't hit the sales yet, I didn't think it would've been very sensible after being ill, and still not feeing 100%; but I did go shopping last weekend, and bought a very pretty multicoloured Italian-equivalent-of-a-UK-size 10 skirt from Promod, I was so chuffed! Only problem is all the other summer clothes I've got from summers past are getting too big! Never mind, an extra excuse to hit the sales I think!!