Sunday, September 23, 2012

All about Bologna

Can I tell you how much I LOVE this city!  Bologna is a small city similar in size to San Fran, but a lot less in population.  There are a MILLION little stores everywhere!  The history behind these buildings is hard to take in… I am going to pee my pants when I go to Rome.  Oh and that is another thing that is so great, I can be in Florence in an hour and Rome in 3 via train. 

Things are going great here.  Everything is lining into place.  Sorry for those of you who read my last blog and were scared, but the truth is that everything I experience isn’t all great.  I wanted to write a blog to tell my friends and family my experiences here and that sometimes means good and bad.  More good than bad of course… I’m in Italy for goodness sakes :) I just want everyone to realize that this is my journey and my personal blog and I think when I look back I will remember what a growing experience this is even if I sometimes need to vent.  For those of you who have given me encouraging words this last week… thank you!  I needed it.

I am not going to write much, but want to show my pictures of this city.  The city is a University town so there are A LOT of students from all over the world.  I hear about 4 different languages walking through the streets.  It cracks me up that everyone here just sits.  I mean literally they just sit and people watch all day.  They drink and sit, eat gelato and sit, talk and sit.  People are so laid back here just taking in the scenery. 

I am trying to work on my Italian because I finally found a place that does not speak dialect!  This will take some time, but everyone is very patient and kind.

Piazza Maggiore

 Sleeping like a true traveler

 Amazing Book Fair

University students doing who knows what...
 This is my favorite coffee shop with good food and many books to read
 In my element... am I in NYC?

 Live music and balloon animals? Random Sunday

 Normal night just sitting and drinking

 French fries on pizza... I had to try

 Excuse my photos taken at night.  This city is known as the "Dark City" because it is so dark here at night... makes sense :)

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  Good job Wolfpack! Proud of you!  


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tough times = LONG BLOG

If you know me you know I am very naïve.  The definition states…

naive |nīˈēv|(also naïve )
(of a person or action) showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment.

Now, I wanted to move to Italy for several reasons, to learn a new culture, to meet new people, to teach the Universal language of English, and mostly HAVE FUN!

When I first moved here I realized quickly I had come to Italy WAY too early for the hiring process.  Everyone is on “vacation” in the month of August.  Literally, everyone is out of town and all the stores and businesses are closed.
So I was approached with the idea to start an English school a little outside of Treviso to do private tutoring working for this couple.  This sounded perfect for me!  I can teach while still being able to have a flexible schedule to travel and do the things I want to do on a long weekend or when friends come in town. 

I say I’m naïve NOT because I am not wise, because I am :) I say this because of the lack of judgment.  Now obviously I am not dumb and know that all people are not safe people to be around.  I do however, give people too many chances.  Since I was little, my sister and mom have always yelled at me that I’m “too forgiving”.  I always give people the benefit of the doubt and realize I am not perfect, and we all make mistakes.  I thought of this as a “Missi” characteristic and embraced it, and actually thought my sister and mom were harsh and bitchy for cutting people out of their lives if they were not worthy of their friendship. 


There were many and I mean many red flags that I should not being living with or doing business with these people.  They took advantage of me, and it sucks.  I thought they were helping me, but actually isn’t helping supposed to be out of the kindness of your heart and not bought? I felt stuck because I do not know Italian, I had been emailing schools who were not interested in me because of my lack of Visa, and because I don’t know ONE person living here in Italy! 
I was scared, but I FINALLY listened to my gut, and my gut was telling me to get out!  I packed up my bags and left on a random Friday.

I stayed in a hotel for two days and instantly felt relief.  I didn’t know where I was going or what I was going to do, but I knew that I finally was relying on myself and not someone else. 

Why don’t I EVER listen to my family?!?!?!  I always fight against what they say and then… BAM… it hits me, oh I get what they were saying.   I am like Joey on friends when it takes him 60 second to understand a joke.  Hahahaha

I went into overdrive for two days.  I seriously never left my hotel room except for free breakfast.  I began reapplying to any school in Europe to get hired, and started branching out onto the social network called “Couch Surfing”.  This is a website where people from all countries around the world go to meet people and basically either ask to stay at their place for free or just ask someone to meet you for coffee or a beer while traveling through town.  Now it seems pretty strange, but actually the people here are hippies… yes… but the nicest people I could ever imagined.  They literally all have advised me and helped me to make the move to Bologna, Italy.  Bologna is a University town and has a lot of people my own age which is exactly what I need. 

I met a British guy names Felix who looked nice on couch surfing as well on Facebook using my fantastic lurking skills.  He was going to meet me at the train station to help me with my bags.  Oh and again, I never listen to my family!  Brett told me not to take two big suitcases because if something happens and I need to leave somewhere, I will be stuck.  Did I listen?…. of course not!  Man I was kicking myself in that hotel room let me tell you. 

Now picture this… a little girl carrying two big ass suitcases, a big backpack, and a purse getting up and down the stairs (several sets of stairs) to not ONE but TWO different trains.  This was difficult to say the least. Thank you man on the bike for carrying one suitcase up a flight of stairs.  Thank you Italian couple who helped me when I fell getting my biggest suitcase off the train :)

When I met Felix he was very very nice and assured me that I will be fine living here (in his cute little British accent) and that I could always do private lessons to make rent.  It is rather cheap to live in this city thank goodness.

Now, I am a Christian and I pray every night, but I don’t think in all my life I have prayed more then I have while living here in Italy.  I prayed when I left that hotel room that I would meet nice people and be able to stay here in Italy.  Please show me what I am supposed to do Lord.  I knew nothing could be worse than the situation I was in before, but you never know what other lessons he wants me to learn.  Gods path has brought me here and is opening doors. 

Still things are far from peachy, but I finally feel that this is where I am supposed to be.  I am staying with another guy who is nice.  He promised another girl from Mexico that she could stay at his place as well.  As soon as I got to his house, I was nervous (I am very weary of EVERYONE now), but both of us girls are relieved we are staying here together.  The girl is here traveling from Mexico City for three months while taking Italian lessons.  She is staying with this guy for a month and traveling on weekends to other cities using this couch surfing website.  She literally doesn’t have to pay for anything besides food and train tickets. Smart chica!  It was funny because the guy wants work on his English from me, she wants to learn Italian from him, and I want to work on my Spanish with her. Haha We all come from different countries and cultures and are living in a small European style apartment.  Did I ask for an adventure or what?!

I was offered a job at a school that finally is willing to work with me on getting a Work Visa.  There is still much to do.  I found out Italy has opened an Immigration Program for the Month of September 15th to October 15th to allow people to receive “green cards” to work to boost their economy so hopefully I can stay here and work!

While I am wandering the streets of Bologna looking at the incredible buildings, I am also meeting people from all over the world.  I have a Mexican amiga to explore with and a British guy who has been here for only 2 weeks, and still has met soooooo many people also teaching English or Italians looking to speak English.

Now I know this blog was VERY long, but my family and friends keep emailing me and understandably worried so I wanted to give the whole low down or down low (I forget :) on what has been going on.

Please keep your prayers coming because I think they are working.   
An example of gods love…
Me and Felix were meeting for lunch after my interview.  We went to a place in the touristy part of town and sat next to an American couple around my parents age.  We started talking about what we both were doing coming to Bologna to teach English and my awful previous situation.  Come to find out they are from New York and have two daughters about my and Jessi’s age.  They were so comforting and told me to stay strong and asked if I wanted them to call my parents for them :)  They said they understood how scary this could be for me moving all the way across the world and the man told Felix that he better take care of me.  After we finished the meal, the waiter came by and told us that the couple had paid for our entire lunch.  I couldn’t help but just cry.  I wanted to hug them because they reminded me of my own parents and I just wanted a parent hug. Ya know?  Unfortunitely we didn’t know where they went, but from the bottom of my heart those people helped me have hope that I can do this.

My next blog will be on the school I got hired at.  The lady is sooooooooo nice and is going to pay me to learn Italian and curriculum the whole first month.  So cool.  My British friends are super jealous.

I am stronger than I ever thought I was.  I have been faced with so many learning experiences and with the help of god have come through. I have MANY more things to learn and achieve here in Italy, but now I know that I can seriously do anything.

Ciao my friends and again thank you for all the support,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Picker Pick Pick Pick

I am now officially friends with the owners of a winery in Italy.  Me and Emily were so excited to finally get invited to go sip wine and see how the picking process works. 

 I picked grapes for 2 hours one day with Emily, and then by myself the following day for 7 hours!!! I felt like I was apart of a scene in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.  I was with three young girls, one young boy (who was super shy), and three old men who called me by the name Ms. Americas.  We wear gloves and use clippers and go up and down the vines picking all the bundles of grapes.  Once your bucket is filled you dump it in the back of a tractor hauling a huge metal holder.  Sounds easy enough right?...

I was soooooo sore the next day.  Bending up and down all day long was exhausting!

I started the day trying to talk a little English to the younger crowd, but only one girl knew just a little. Not being able to talk to the others was actually very relaxing.  I was in silence just thinking how amazing this opportunity is.  Who can say they have picked grapes from a winery in Italy?! 
God is good.

We had lunch at noon around a big table.  They asked me whether I wanted homemade Minestrone soup or Gnocchi. I chose the soup and was feeling pretty full when they offered me to try the Gnocchi as well… so I did.  Little did I know there was a whole other course! They brought out some kind of cooked meat, potatoes, and cooked cabbage.  It is very impolite not to finish your food so needless to say I thought I was going to fall asleep at the table from a food coma.  After lots of water and a shot of espresso we were off again for another 4 hours.

The girls started talking to me more after lunch asking me if I see movie stars in Las Vegas and telling me how much they like Johnny Depp. Haha   They started singing popular American songs like Katy Perry and Beyoncé while messing up almost every word.  I loved it.  We just sang, picked, and sang some more.  By the end of the day we had filled two whole truckloads and were ready to drop to the ground.  The poor old men looked drained while drinking their wine and beer as we cleaned up to leave.

I am so thankful for this experience, but will be ok if I never have to do it again.  I think I made my ancestors who worked in the fields either in Italy or Mexico very proud :)

 These are the stems that get sorted out.

The machine even knows when a grape is a baby and not ripe!

 This is seriously my favorite picture I have taken in Italy so far.  This cute old man taking a break for some wine.

It was Marcos birthday the other day so we celebrated with a lunch at his parent’s house with lots of wine followed by a drive to the mountains. 
We stopped at a beautiful winery called Villa Sandi.


There is little stone cottage up on the mountain where people from all over the world come to see the sights.
The old man who owns it fills up the fridge with bottles of wine, fresh bread, and salami daily.  You go in and pick and pour whatever you want yourself, and make a donation in a small piggy bank.  You can drop as little as 3 euros to 20 euros.  Whatever you want! I think he makes quite a bit of money though because the supplies probably cost him nothing and tourists will sometimes will be generous if they drink enough. Anyway, the owner was very impressive.  He spoke Dialect with Marco, spoke English with me and Emily, and Dutch to another guy.  I don’t really know how many languages he speaks!  He told me he was from Germany and knew Siegfried and Roy personally! Haha He loves Vegas. We hiked up the hill where you sit, drink, and soak up the Italian life. 


Business cards from all over the world!

It was September 11th a couple days ago and I wanted anyone reading this blog to know how grateful I am to be an American.  I may be living in Italy for now, but I will never forget that day and how much I appreciate the brave soldiers who risk their lives for our country.

I hope you all have a great day! Oh and congrats to all my little cousins Taylor and Hudson who are getting involved in sports this year! And of course my all star cousin Gregory who is the best football player I know :) A proud Mimi over here.

Ciao people,