Posts Tagged ‘american sports’

It seems hard to believe that we have been living on Malta for an entire year.  We have come so far since we first arrived and even though we are still waiting to hear if my husband is going to be deported (well, deported isn’t really the right word, but I love teasing him), we have done quite well and we are pretty proud of ourselves.  I’m working full-time, Homie has finally had a chance to take some time off of work to decide what his next goal in life may be and we have met so many cool people, friends for life from all over the world that we never would have met if we wouldn’t have taken the chance of following a dream.

There are many things we miss from the States, but when you come right down to it, other than family and friends, it’s all material.  There are so many contrasts from our former life, but in other ways, our daily life is not that much different.  I’m working everyday, in an office where I’m the minority.  It is a really different feeling and I’m not sure I like it all that much, but it offers a sense of perspective I never would have gotten in the States.  My colleagues automatically speak Maltese not to shut me out of the conversation, but because it’s their language and I have to remind myself daily not to take it personally.  Homie and I are taking a conversational Maltese language course in January, so I hope to at least understand some of the language before we go home for a long visit next summer. 

We are feeling pretty comfortable in our surroundings and now dress like the locals and not the tourists in November!  We know where to shop, what trucks to buy our produce from, where to get the freshest seafood and what Maltese wine tastes the best.  We know how to take the bus wherever we need to go and when we go for walks we almost always run into someone we know.   

I should have my Maltese ID card soon and with that I can finally open a bank account here, but it amazes me how easy its been to be able to live completely on cash, without checks or a debit card or any credit cards.  It has also been rather easy living without a mobile phone, (I vowed to go a year without one, just to prove that I could) although there have been some days when it would have come in handy.  It’s been easy living without a car, almost a blessing really with the parking issues here and auto congestion.  If we need a ride anywhere our friends pick us up or the Wembley cab will take you mostly anywhere for €10-12. 

We are used to watching the Weakest Link instead of Wheel of Fortune, having ham for breakfast instead of bacon and watching Eurosport instead of ESPN.  We went to Africa and will be spending Christmas in Sicily and find ourselves blessed to be able to travel all over Europe for so little.  We are now used to thinking in terms of Euros, kilos, kilometers and metres.  Lots of Brits migrate to the island and I find myself saying things like brilliant, straight-away and bloody hell! I go out for a fag and say Cheers! before even thinking of drinking before anyone else at the table or bar.

Skype and Facebook keeps us connected with friends and family and sometimes it doesn’t seem like we are over 4,000 miles away from home.  But now that we are at the one year mark and have taken a moment to reflect on all that we have been through with the visas, finding work and fitting in to a land where we had never even visited prior to moving to, I can honestly say that moving to Malta has turned into an adventure of a lifetime and we’ve never been happier!

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When we decided to move to Malta one of the drawbacks was the fact that we were going to miss out on seeing the Minnesota Twins play this season in the brand new outdoor stadium.  It wasn’t a deal breaker, but none-the-less, it was a bummer.  So when we were able to get the game in tonight, we were both happy to be there, if only by way of our computer screen and a shaky connection to Sopcast.  With a little bit of patience and some real determination, we finally connected in the bottom of the fourth inning.  What a beautiful diamond in the city, looking all green and new!  The Twins won, Kubel hit the first homerun in the new digs and we found ourselves craving a good old-fashioned American hotdog.  The only thing that may have made the experience a bit more realistic would be hearing the wail of Wally the Beerman!  It was a great game and the stadium looks amazing.  Outdoor baseball is back in Minnesota, and it is about time! 

When we first moved into the flat, our landlord kindly took Homie down and around the block to show him where the grocer, DVD store and Step-In (a little store kind of like Tom Thumb…) were located.  Then he pointed way down the block, near the bus stop and looked at Homie and seriously stated, “Be careful down there.  That’s where all the hookers are.”  We of course immediately started to wonder what kind of neighborhood we got ourselves caught up in.  Here we are five months later and we actually do live in a nice little neighborhood (if not for the continuous traffic…) complete with a kick-ass DVD store and a reasonable grocer right around the corner.  It takes five minutes to walk down to our little bus stop that takes us to Rasta Bar, and on the way,  nearly right across the street, sit the ladies of the night.

When we first moved in we were anxious to walk around and check out our surroundings.  As we first encountered the ladies, either sitting by the open window or standing in the doorway, our nostrils were assaulted with the fumes of heavy perfume and Aqua Net.  It doesn’t matter what time it is, whenever we have ventured past, they are all done up and open for business.    When I was able to catch their eye, I’d make sure to smile and say hello.  By the surprised look on their faces I realized that they were not expecting any Minnesota nice, but hey, that’s just me.   They don’t really bother anyone, except maybe someone’s wife, and it seems as though they are not hassled by the Puliza, as we have never seen or heard any trouble, even when we are dropped home by the Wembley cab service after hanging at the Rasta bar til 4 a.m.    Last night Homie walks in at 1 a.m. after a night in the kitchen chopping garlic and declares, “Well, I’ve done something tonight that I’ve never done before in my life.”  I said, “What could that possibly be?”  And he informed me with a huge smile on his face, “I directed some Russian guy to where the hookers are.”  I laughed and said, “Maybe you should consider pimping, there’s some money in that.”  And then we watched South Park.

Dingli Cliffs
Last weekend we were day trippin’ at the Dingli Cliffs.  I had been wanting to go for some time and we ended up having perfect weather as we headed out, on Homie’s only day off for the week.  We took the bus to Valletta and after consulting the trusty 2009 bus schedule we saw that Bus #81 would take us straight to one of the biggest tourist destinations on the island, the Dingli (din-glee) Cliffs.  The bus ride was the longest so far, about 30 minutes, and as we wound our way through the tiny villages and towns,  our new countryside started to get a bit greener.  Homie and I looked at each other like we were ten again and on the way to Disneyland, and I think it was completely due to the fact that we were now seeing grass, trees and colorful wild flowers.  Not a lot of color where we have been spending the majority of our time…

Just when we started to wonder how much further, the bus stopped with a screech and the driver shouts, “Dingli Cliffs!”  Everyone shuffles up and out of the bus and we find ourselves in the tiny little town of Dingli.  I do not see anything except a round-about and more cement.  Suddenly Homie exclaims, “Look at that sign!”  I look to where he is pointing (there is a picture of this in the photos…) and on the building in front of us is a little sign with an arrow that says, “Dingli Cliff”.  So we start to hoof it down the road, following our fellow passengers, wondering where the heck we are going.  We walk for about a half mile, with buildings on either side of us and all of a sudden we the buildings are behind us and we are confronted with the most beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea yet.  The road that skirts the cliffs is over a thousand feet above the sea, and is easily the most panoramic view we have witnessed so far on this tiny little island.  At the end of the road sits Bobbyland, the only restaurant in sight, so we stroll in for a few Cisks and split a dinner of Steak Diane (still can’t do the rabitt which Bobbyland is famous for…) which was delicious. 

Afterwards, we thought we’d have a bit of a hike, but the terrain was so rocky, with no defined paths, complete with rusty gates in the middle of nowhere to prevent you from any further descent.  We meander back down the winding road to the bus stop, noticing a decorative cemetary on the way.  I snap a few pictures just as we saw the bus turning in the roundabout.  A great day exploring another part of the island and as the older bus jostled its way toward Valletta,  I am once again amazed that this Minnesota girl is living and loving life in Malta.


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The  Minnesota Vikings lost.  We stayed up until about 3:30 a.m. and finally logged off (we watch the games online) when there was about 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter and the score was tied. We missed the interception and the Saint’s field goal that won it for them.  I’m glad I missed it as I tend to get overly emotional.  I’m sure all the die-hard fans and the Minnesota radio personalities will have lots to talk about in the coming weeks. There has been some controversy about this team and who the coach actually is,  Farve or Childress.  It’s been a great season, but I’m just glad it has come to a close for this Vikings fan.  Side note:  Homie is a die-hard Bears fan.  He tries to hide his happiness at the Vikings loosing, but fails miserably and once again I am reminded that I may be the only Vikings fan on the island of Malta.  When we were living in Minnesota, one of our favorite places to watch sports, especially football, was Lyle’s.  Homie always remarked that some day he would love to be in a bar where he is surrounded by Bears fans.  I don’t think that will be happening for awhile, unless we stumble upon a Chicago style sports bar on Gozo or something. 

I had my first Malta interview yesterday.  Because of the game, I got into bed about 3:30 a.m. and got up at 7:30 a.m.  So I put on extra undereye coverup, brushed my teeth twice and ran to catch the bus.  Homie didn’t have to go in until 8:00 p.m. so he insisted on coming with.  Last week we walked to where the interview was to take place and it took about 35-40 minutes.  We took the bus and it took about the same amount of time.  We walked to the bus stop and paid .47 each to the Viletta terminal.  This is the bus terminal which is right in front of Valetta proper, and Valetta is the capital city of the island.  Once we arrived at the terminal, we each paid .47 again to catch the 157 or 159 to get to within 2 blocks of where the company is located.  I kept telling Homie that I could handle going by myself, I know he must have been exhausted, but he insisted on coming with.  He knows I have a twisted sense of direction…  So we get to the terminal with about 3 minutes to spare because the next bus we have to catch only comes at 10 minutes past the hour.  If we missed it, I would be late.  When you are at the bus terminal, there are signs with bus numbers on them so you know where to go to catch them.  We looked and couldn’t find the 157 or 159.  So I just started asking bus drivers.  That’s the difference here, I have no problem stopping and asking anyone anything.  If someone doesn’t give me the answer I’m looking for, like the first two bus drivers, I will ask another.  This sometimes annoys my husband and arguments have ensued in the past, but I always say, when in doubt, ask. 

So we finally get a bus driver that understood my english and my question and no sooner did we walk to the designated area, the bus pulled right up.  It was 10:09.  We sat on the bus for about six minutes and departed at 10:15.  We arrived at our destination at 10:25.  I was thirty-five minutes early and it was windy and it looked like it was going to rain any minute.  We walked around and there really wasn’t a coffee shop or anywhere we could sit for a few minutes, so finally at 10:40 I decided to just go in and wait in the waiting room until my appointment time.  I walked upstairs and it was like an open office environment and I stood there for about 20 seconds and no one looked at me or inquired anything about my standing there, so I spotted a couch down the hallway and sat there for a few minutes, wondering what to do next.  People walked by, no asked who I was, or what I was doing there.  Finally at about 10:50 a young woman walked past me to the rest room and on her return I asked, “Are you Helga?”  She said no.  Then as an afterthought, she turned and said, “I’ll let her know you are here.”  I was going to tell her my name, but I wasn’t quick enough. 

Two minutes later Helga came to my rescue and took me to a conference room where she asked me to fill out a questionnaire.  Ten minutes later we started the interview.  She had some questions, I had the answers.  She was genuinely interested in my story and made me feel confident that she would be able to help me pursue a position within the online gaming companies.  I felt really positive leaving and then I as I was leaving, after thanking her, I somehow called her “sweetie”.  Sweetie?  What is wrong with me?  She looked at me as if she didn’t hear correctly, then realized she did, then said, “Okay.”  Damn it!  Why do I do that? 

 Once my mom and I drove down to the south part of the United States to visit my brother and his family while they were stationed at Fort Bragg.  At every restaurant we visited the waitress would call you either “honey” or “sweetie” and I hated it!  I started this annoying habit when I was providing computer consulting at a small non-profit I once worked at.  Homie hated it when I did this, because he said it “dated me”.   Thinking back on it, I know what I was thinking.  We had talked and she was really nice and seemed interested in my “story” and I’m always trying to make people feel warm and cozy.  Yuk.  I hope she doesn’t think all Americans act this way!  Only southern waitresses!

So I am consciously watching my indubitable dialect and here’s to hoping I am working in the iGaming industry by February 1st!

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I’m sitting here this evening working on the book, freezing my butt off.  Homie and I have tried everything to get the unit on the wall to blow out some heat.  The only one we can get to work is the bedroom (our bedroom) unit and that’s the one we need the least.  The floors are ceramic and thank god I had the sense to bring my Minnetonka moccasin slippers from Minnesota.  I’ve been chomping on Nicorette gum and drinking Nescafe instant coffee all evening and I’m sick of both of them.  I would love, love, LOVE to have a cigarette, and I would love to have a whole pot of fresh brewed coffee, I’d be happy with just the smell of it right now.  I am making it my personal quest to find a grinder and a press this week!

Last night was the only evening of the weekend that Homie did not have to work and we had planned to go to the Rasta Bar in St. Julian’s (or Paceville, depending on who you ask…).  We listened to the Ipod, had a few drinks and played cards to get in the partying mood.  We have been bickering a bit lately and one of the bickers is all about getting sucked into the couch in front of the boob-tube and our energy levels.  I like watching movies, not that idiot Bear Grylls, the stoops on Mythbusters or African soccer.  Homie could sit in front of the TV for hours on end and watch up to ten shows at once by manipulating the remote until it needs new batteries. I on the other hand, would rather watch a movie or two, then listen to some music, play cards or read.  I will admit that I have been on the laptop far more than he has, but I’ve been writing and blogging and sometimes when you get in the groove, you lose track of time.  Then I’ll look up and be instantly irritated that he is watching somebody using their hand as bait in a swamp to catch a huge catfish, then eat it raw.  That Bear Grylls is something else.  I can’t just sit and watch that even though Homie tries to convince me that this show may save my life some day.   Well, maybe, but the odds are against it.  In an effort to avoid another bickering session, I promise to practice my fire-making techniques and make a mental note to always carry a flint in the form of a Bic lighter. 

It’s Friday night and we plan to leave about 9:30pm to go to our favorite little bar, The Rasta Bar.  Our plans are to stop at the ATM on the way, grab some cash and then the bus.  Homie thought he was getting paid today and since there was a death in the owner’s family (all the staff were shocked and dismayed at the fact that the owner did not close the business for two days as is the normal Maltese custom when there is a death in the owner’s  immediate family) they did not receive their “wages”.  The ATM did not give us the cash we needed, citing a pin discrimination.  I know I had my pin # correct, but after three incorrect attempts, continuing is fruitless.  So, disappointed and knowing our little haunt does not take Visa, only cash, we head back home.   I was actually secretly relieved, because it is far too early for me to be in a pub environment without nary a week of non-smoking under my belt.  I felt far too vulnerable and I knew that as soon as I start having fun and my inhibitions are lowered, I will talk myself into only having a puff, then it turns into a whole cigarette, then it turns into one cigarette for the road and before you know it I’m buying a pack.  So we head back to the flat, listen to music, play cards and finish off the beers and gin. Unfortunately, I had an emotional breakdown over “wanting” to quit vs. “having” to quit.   This is my dilemma:  I still like smoking.  I like it.  I don’t worry about getting sick from it and it is rare that I even feel the effects of smoking as I’ve never been a “heavy” smoker.  I remember stopping in at a teeny little store that sells everything from souvenirs to cigarettes by the hotel where we stayed when we first arrived in Malta.  When I asked for menthol cigarettes,  the darling little Maltese man showed me several selections and I laughed and pointed to one pack that stated on the front in bold black letters, “Smoking Kills” in both Maltese and English.  The guy looks at me and says, “But sometimes it doesn’t.”  I had to think about that because I do know some people who have smoked all their life and did not die from cancer.  Look at George Burns!

For me, I just know that it is time for me to quit.  That’s all there is to it.  But, I still like it.  I can’t apologize for it, it is what it is, but I cried about it (after too many Heinekens and an Absolute/diet Coke) and realized then that I’m mad that I have to quit.  I don’t internally feel that I have to yet.  But the expense is an issue and Homie is a non-smoker and he has put up with it, and my promises to quit for over ten years.  It’s time to say goodnight to the butts.  Luckily,  I’ve gotten the emotional crap out of my system now and god bless my husband for putting up with me.    

Today we woke up and we finally had a really beautiful blue sky day.  I threw my hair in a pony tail and we walked to the grocery store up past the strand and got a few items.  We didn’t have to go that far, we have a decent grocer right around the corner,  but the walk was great and we both actually got warm coming back.  It’s funny because it must have been about 17 or 18 and its easy to tell who is Maltese and who is a tourist.  The Maltese have their turtlenecks and winter jackets on and the tourists have flip-flops and t-shirts on.  It was a beautiful day and the walk was awesome. 

Okay, back to the book.  I need to get some work done tonight because tomorrow, Sunday I will be researching online gaming and getting myself prepped and ready for my interview on Monday.  Oh, and of course rooting for the Minnesota Vikings!  Go Vikes!


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We really slept in today!  The mattress sucks here and I regret sleeping in almost every time I do it.  I can’t wait to start working just so I can get out every day and form some sort of schedule!  Without that type of routine, it’s easy for me to stay connected to the laptop as if its my lifeline or something.  I love to write, but I can write for hours before I realize how long its been and then most of the day is gone and I haven’t even stepped foot out the door.   If the weather wasn’t so unpredictable I’d take the laptop down to the Strand or the sea and write.  But during this time of year the rain can come pouring down in the blink of an eye and its been really windy and chilly.  Not chilly by Minnesota standards, but I’m not in Minnesota anymore and you tend to acclimate where you live.  It has been in the low 50’s most of the week.  I guess I should really start getting used to writing the celsius version and then that would be 15.  It’s a little after midnight and the wind is just howling out there.  We have two big picture windows that face the street and I can see the trees swaying and all I hear is the wind and the constant traffic.  Constant.

There are about 410,000 people on this little island.  And there are about 375,000 registered vehicles.  It’s crazy because they have one of the best public transit systems I’ve ever seen.  We are able to take the bus anywhere on the island, its cheap and dependable.  They drive here like in the UK, on the opposite side of the road and the driver’s side of the vehicle is opposite of what we are used to.  It’s taken me at least 51 days to get used to crossing the street, and if I’m 100% honest, I’m still looking the wrong way when I step off the sidewalk (there is no “curb” to speak of).  Generally, I’ve always lived with the belief that the pedestrian has the right-of-way.  Not here.  Not in New York City either, but I think it’s worse here. 

I subscribe to a daily  update from the Star Tribune in Minnesota and today’s edition carried a story about a state Supreme Court decision that unanimously upheld the drunken-driving conviction of a man found sleeping in his parked car with the keys on the console.  The article caught my eye as just about a week or so ago I was asking a new friend named Joshua about the drinking and driving laws on the island.  He said it is illegal to drink and drive, but there are very few people who are arrested for it.  Many times they are told to just park their cars and they are driven home, or they will pull over and “sleep it off”.  I told Joshua that if you pulled over in Minnesota, you run the chance of still getting arrested for drinking too much and he thought that was unnecessary since the person driving knew they were too intoxicated and if they were not putting their life or anyone else’s in danger, why should they be punished?  It was hard for me to explain, since I could see his point, so we just did a shot.

There is very little crime here, and traffic offenses are a news worthy item in the Malta Times.  Just today as we were walking back from where my interview is to take place on Monday, a police car with full sirens raced past us as if en route to a bank robbery.  We walked half a block further and as we turned the corner we saw that the Pulize car had pulled in front of a vehicle and was issuing some type of citation.  When walking down on the Strand the sounds of tires squealing is a common occurence and you can’t help but wait for the sound of crunching metal.  We’ve yet to hear it, thank goodness.  People drive so fast here, and they never use their blinkers and they NEVER come to a complete stop at intersections.  It is safe to say that we have no desire to own and operate any kind of motor vehicle during our stay here on the island.  We are not surprised to see a lack of bicycles and mopeds.  It is all cars and trucks and SUV’s.    And outside our picture windows, garbage trucks, dump trucks and all other kinds of vehicles that love to blast their horns.  It is the one negative of the island and I can only hope that I will soon get used to it and be able to block it out.

As I mentioned earlier we walked to where my interview is to occur on Monday and it took about 40 minutes.  A good 15 minutes is uphill and while I am feeling a bit better from not smoking, I do not want to arrive out of breath and all sweaty, so I plan to take the bus.  Taking the bus will be okay, and I feel confident, it’s just that I will have to take a bus from the flat to the Valetta terminal, then take another bus to where I need to be.  The interview is at 11 a.m. which means I will have to leave by 9:30 a.m.  This isn’t really a problem, but the Vikings are in a playoff game which will decide whether they get to the Superbowl and this game will start at about midnight our time.  I have to watch this game!!! 

I still have not had any cigarettes and it is not any easier.  I still get testy and it is so hard and the Nicorette gum is turning my tongue green.  The real test will come tomorrow night as we plan to go down to the Rasta Bar for some R&R.  We just love that place and we are getting to know the owner quite well and some of the regulars.  Well, technically we are regulars now too, and Homie and I love having a place to go where everyone knows our name. 


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Today was a very productive day.  Number one, I did not have a cigarette.  I did want a cigarette, very badly, and even though there was a 5 euro bill on the kitchen table, I did not wander down to the Step In, under the guise of buying a paper, to purchase a pack of cigs.  I could have, I know that, but I didn’t and I really can’t believe I didn’t.  The Nicorette gum really helps and I kept myself busy all day, doing things, not just on the computer writing, and that really helped. 

 I applied for two jobs, I did a load of  laundry, (it’s still not dry and its 2:37 a.m.) and I cleaned the bathroom.  I did some situps, I changed the bedding and I swept the floors.  I hate the floors!  They are impossible to keep clean.  Then Homie came home, we shared a delicious bowl of Mediterranean Spaghetti with chicken and then I researched some gaming sites online.  Here in Malta they have several online betting companies and I am feverently trying to get a job at one of them.  There’s no denying we need the money, and I am really looking for part-time work, but I what I really am looking for is a chance to meet more people.  This job I found today sounds like it is right up my alley, so I’m hoping something comes of it.

I knew it would be tough living so far away from home.  I thought I had prepared myself, but you really can’t properly and completely prepare yourself for something you’ve never experienced.  I miss my friends and I miss being able to just pick up the phone and call them when I want.  I thought about all this in the weeks before we left the States, and I told myself that in reality, it wasn’t like we saw each other all the time.  Sometimes I would go months without seeing some of my girlfriends.  But I always knew that they were there and I miss them so much now.  Homie and I have met some great people here, but it’s not like you can call them up the next day and go hang out or just talk about nothing.  I know it will change eventually, we’ve only been here for 49 days! 

I talked to my mother this evening and got caught up on all the family drama.  This was kind of a catch-22 because I miss her and love talking to her, but before, during and after the need for a cigarette was stronger than ever.  During the phone call I chewed the Nicorette gum so feverishly that my throat hurts now.  Seriously. (Your only supposed to chomp on the gum when you have a serious craving, not chew it continually.)  She means well and I love her, but she sees things so differently than I do.   She offers up the advice and observations like other mothers serve pie.  We are very close and one thing we have going is that we can talk to each other and agree to disagree. 

It is now almost 3 a.m. and the Australian Open is on.  I love watching tennis!  I never used to enjoy it as much as I do now, and that is mostly due to my husband being such a fan.  He even got me to play when we were still in Minnesota, and we seriously considered bringing our racquets, then didn’t.  We really haven’t seen many tennis courts around Malta, except at the bigger hotels and at the private clubs.  We have not explored the entire island yet, and if we do find the elusive free-use court, I just know we will regret not hauling the tennis gear, it is such great exercise!  And even though I sucked at playing, I really enjoyed it.  Homie is a great tennis player and I know he will miss it a lot when the summer months arrive.

God I want a cigarette.  Off to bed. 


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How can I talk about life in Malta and not talk about TV?  My husband loves sports and I love movies.  He is disappointed (about the lack of American sports on cable here) and I am happy because there is a little DVD shop down on the corner and now we watch movies together all the time.  Back in the states, I had to beg him to watch a movie with me, and then he would predictably fall asleep while pretending not to be sleeping.  Don’t ask me how he pulled this off, but he did. 

Here in Malta we splurged and got cable.  We pay about 20 euros a month for the premium package, which is equivalent to the basic cable package in America.  When we were in Rome we discovered ESPN America, where Homie could catch all of the American sports he loved, live on the tele (except we had to stay up late as we are seven hours ahead).  Because we are with the cable company GO, they do not have ESPN America so we need to catch all the NFL and college football games on the internet.  When we were in New Jersey visiting my best friend, I Binged “Free college football” and found a website that offered all American sports for only $13.95 a year!  I did something I’ve never done before and immediately signed up and paid the fee without looking into the site a little further by reading all the fine print.  On one hand it has been great because we have been able to get most of the games we want to watch, but on the other hand, the connection is sporadic, the time delay is noticable and we are always having to download another kind of  “player” to catch the game of the week.  Also, because I didn’t take the time to read the fine print, my credit card was charged almost $80 and when we finally were able to contact customer support, we were assured that we were very lucky because we got in on a one-time-deal and we have the lifetime membership and will never have to pay again!  Yay!  So in reality, the site is a “gateway” to the actual sites that stream the games.  Some of the sites will only let you watch games for a certain amount of hours per month, some of the games have great video but the commentary is in Russian or Danish, and some of the sites cut out the commercials and play jazz and let their kids do the play-by-play during half time.  I’m not kidding.  So while we have been very lucky so far, and have gotten almost every Vikings game, (this might be a great time to mention that I am a die-hard Vikings fan and my husband is a die-hard Bears fan, and it hasn’t been pretty on some Sundays…) there have been minor issues (like they cut you off 10 minutes before the end of the game) but we feel fortunate that we have been able to get any at all.  And if Homie gets all pissy when he is unable to connect right away or the buffering isn’t as speedy as he wants it to be, I remind him that we are living on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and maybe he should take it down a notch.  After all, it was his idea.

The regular tv is pretty good, the place came furnished with a 42″ flat screen, which I am sure was a deciding factor on my husband’s part when we chose this place, and the picture is good.  We have about 30 channels, and most are broadcast from the UK.  We have 3 or 4 channels that are in Italian and before cable was hooked up we had these channels already.  We watched The Mummy in Italian one night and it was so funny because this happens to be one of my husband’s favorite movies, if he has a favorite, and when it was shown on cable in America he would watch it.  He must have watched it at least 30 times.  So when it came on, we laughed because we said that we could probably translate the dialog all on our own.  Well it was amazing because as we watched it we were so much more aware of the movie, and all the little things we never noticed before and it really felt like we were watching it for the first time. 

We finally got the cable box, after many phone calls and a nice gentleman delivered it to us and filled out all the paperwork with us.  But it was another five days and a follow-up call on my part before it was actually turned on.   We have about 30 channels and they include but are not limited to: Comedy Central, VH1, MTV, Biography, 4 different Discovery Channels, 2 EuroSport Channels, TCM and MGM, BBC, CNN and a bunch of kids’ channels.  They even have a channel called Baby TV that I have never seen before.  Three quarters of the programs are American, but they are all re-runs or shows that we have already seen, but it’s still nice to have the TV and we are not complaining by any means.  The EuroSport channels are awesome because they show tennis all the time and we love watching that.  One thing we noticed is that in America the minute there is a break in the action they switch to commercials, but here they don’t show any commercials during the event whether its Tennis, Football (Soccer to us), Darts or winter sporting events.  We are exicted that we will be able to watch the Winter Olympics in another country and are really looking forward to that.  On Comedy Central they are big on Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond and Scrubs.  They do advertise the “New” episodes of 30 Rock, and even though I laugh when I watch that show, I did not regularly watch it in America, so every show is new to me.  One thing that is funny is that if they show a particular episode in the morning, they will replay the same set of episodes in the afternoon. 

The DVD shop is awesome and a real god-send for us.  We watch about 5 – 6 movies a week.  At least.  We plowed through the first and second seasons of Dexter and the sweet little girl behind the counter assures me that the third season is on the way.  They will write down your name and save stuff for you.  She had our member number memorized after the third day.  You pick out your movie and bring it to the counter and they have about 50 DVD soft-sided three-ring binders that hold all the DVD’s.  You pay for the movie when you bring it back.  Each “New Release” movie is a dollar ( or I guess I should say 1 euro!) a day and you don’t have to pay on the days that they are not open such as Sundays and Holidays.  They are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. then they re-open from 4:3o p.m. to 8 p.m.  They seem to be the only DVD store anywhere around here and they do a brisk business.  We are such regulars now, that we have become privy to the DVD’s that are kept “under the counter”.  This is a status that Homie does not flaunt or take for granted, nor do I.  We do not ask to see those DVD’s unless there is no one at the counter and we have seen some good movies like The Blind Side, Avatar, The Brothers Bloom, and many more that are still in the theatre and have not been released to DVD rental.  We do not ask where they come from, we bring them back on time, and we always pay with a smile.  When Homie first asked to see them, (he’s so damn observant and saw the young girl give a stack to someone and he knew about it before I did) the young girl looked at the big burley owner and he nodded to her, and she gave them to him to thumb through.  The Blind Side was awesome, I highly recommend it, Homie like it too and was prepared to hate it.  If it doesn’t have killing and blood or boobies, he’s not interested. But we have had some great evenings watching movies together and I couldn’t be happier.

It rained all day today, it was a great day to write.   I started Chapter Three in the book which is all about sorting, selling and storing our stuff.  I started thinking about all the garage sales, selling our bigger items on Craig’s List and parting with things I didn’t have room to store and it started to get very emotional.  There are so many funny things that happened during that time and it struck me how each day of your life is really a moment in your own personal history which should be documented.  We might not all be a movie star or some famous person who changes the world, but each and every one of us on this planet has a story and it is worthy of being told.  That’s why it’s so easy for me to make friends, because I am genuinely interested in everyone’s story.  I think everyone is interesting and unique.  Of course I’m hoping that when the book is done everyone will want to read it, but if they don’t, at least I got the chance to write it.


p.s.  And god bless the poor people in Haiti.

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