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Posts Tagged ‘meeting new people’

It’s been three months since I’ve been working full-time in Malta, it’s gone so quickly and I think I’m finally starting to fit in a little bit.  I am past the imaginary finish line of the “probation period” and things have been going well, even though the only Maltese word that I can seem to remember is ‘Mella’ (of course).  Homie and I have come to the conclusion that the only reason that we can’t seem to memorize any of the Maltese language is because we don’t ‘have’ to.  English is spoken by 98% of everyone on the island, so we are able to communicate quite easily. 

All of my colleagues are Maltese, except for the owner who is Greek, and two others who are German.  I don’t get mad when I’m the only one in the room that can’t understand the conversation, I just feel isolated.  I tell myself that they are not talking Maltese around me because they don’t want me to know what they are talking about or that they are purposefully trying to exclude me, it is just that this is their language and when you let your guard down during the course of the day it is easy to slip into your native tongue.  At least that is what I hope they are doing!  But then there is another part of me that is annoyed and kind of hurt by it.  I know I  would not speak in a language in front of someone, let alone carry on a 20-minute conversation in front of that person, if they could not understand what I was saying.  I think it is really rude and insensitive, especially if that person was the only person who didn’t understand.  Just today we ordered take-away and most everyone was in the board room eating lunch and everyone was talking in Maltese.  I wanted to stand up and take my lunch to my desk where my iPod and the Internet were, but I didn’t.  I wish I could just politely say, “Could you speak in English please?” and I can not do that either for some reason.  I’m so afraid I’m going to offend someone, unintentionally, and I don’t ever want to create problems with my co-workers. 

In any situation in America, whether social, work-related or family and friends related, I’ve been a really down-to-earth, assertive and tell-it-like-it-is kind of gal and I’m not here.  That pisses me off too.  That I can’t be myself.  I have been popular and well-liked in all of my previous positions and I love  making people laugh. And it never fails, I inevitably become half of the office’s confident.  But I don’t see that ever happening here. 

Right before the Christmas break the people I sit with in a rather large room were all called into the board room for a short meeting.  We were told that because of reorganization and expansion purposes we were going to be switching offices.  Because part of my job includes recording instruction videos for our software, I was getting my own office.  I thought this was great for my work, because it does get noisy every now and then and I was wondering how I would manage.  But then it occurred to me that I will be segregated from my co-workers even further.  I am curious to see how it works out, sitting by myself has its advantages, but then I won’t have the opportunity to get to know the people I work with better.

Other than the language barrier things have been going well at work.  I’m finally understanding the software and have no problem finding the tools I need on the network to do my job.  I love the fact that I can walk to work and it is just a short 10 minute jaunt to and from.  The office atmosphere is relaxed and they have flex time, meaning that you can come in up to 10:30 a.m. and then leave at 7 p.m.  I have health insurance and direct deposit.  I have access to the Internet and freedom, meaning I am left to meet my deadlines without anyone looking over my shoulder, criticizing my work.  Then, I called in sick.

I was sick.  I had a terrible head cold.  In the States, I probably would have went into the office, but here, it just seemed like too much trouble and I didn’t want to give anyone my cold.  I emailed the HR gal and about a half hour later she called me at home.  She wished me well, told me to take care and said the Doctor would be by shortly.  Huh?  I said, “Doctor?”  She said, “Yes, the company will send a doctor to your flat.”  I said, “Will he call me first?” She said, “No, but he usually comes by in the early afternoon.”   A couple of hours later the phone rang and it was the doctor, he was lost.  I truly did not feel well, (thank God) and tried to give him instructions to our flat, but he lost patience with me and, well, he hung up on me.  Now I was thinking I really didn’t want to see a doctor who was angry with me.  So Homie, always coming to my rescue, offered to go and see if he could find him.  Of course he was successful and less than 10 minutes later I could see them on their way to the apartment. 

So he examined me and sure enough, I had a sinus infection that may possibly turn into bronchitis, so he wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic (I’m actually surprised that he didn’t ask for my Father’s signature…) and for ibuprofen.  As he was giving me all the instructions for the medication, the rude American that I am, I interrupted him and said, “Well, I can go back to work tomorrow, right?” It was a Thursday.  He looked at me with a worried look on his face and said, “Slow down!  You may want to take an extra day to recuperate and get back to normal before you go back to work!”  I just looked at Homie,  shrugged and said to the doctor, “Well, if you think it’s best.”   It was a great 4-day weekend.

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Adventures can come in many different forms, like leaving America to live on a small Mediterranean island, or starting a new job in an office in a foreign country and then, there is my new friend Inga.  Born in Iceland and raised in Norway, this girl has become one of my favorite peeps to hang out with on this little rock in the sea.

The first time we met it was at an expat event at the Black Pearl, a bar and restaurant in an actual ship that had been resurrected from the sea, then used in the film Popeye.   She smoked all my fags, (I am still SO not used to calling them fags!) but in return bought me wine all night.  Me, Inga and Valerie (from France) had a great time inciting riots on the dance floor and by the end of the night we had promised to get together for dinner the next week.

The next week it was my birthday and the three of us met for dinner at a cute little restaurant right on the sea and we shared three bottles of wine, and the last one I brought home with me.  Inga took a class to learn about wine and she is passing on the knowledge to me, free of charge.  This adventure was of a different flavor, there was a dead fish floating right below us and none of us could identify it and after the second bottle of wine and two Irish coffees, we seriously contemplated climbing over the railing and finding a way to get down to the rocks to check it out, but finally settled with talking the waiters into sitting down with us and having a glass of wine, even though they were waiting patiently for us to finish our long dinner so they could go home for the evening.

The next adventure was a BBQ at her house where I had so much fun playing hide and seek with her seven-year old in the mansion they are calling home for the next three years.  After the kids went to bed, we stayed up, discussed world peace, politics in Iran and damn if she didn’t teach me a thing or two about this crazy, radical world we live in. 

The next adventure was a short trip to Gozo, Malta’s sister island and a visit to the dentist office.  It seems this wild child has a phobia with the dentist and she needed some moral support.  I wasn’t working yet, and it was a beautiful day and who am I to say no to an all expense paid trip to the quaint little island? As we sat and talked it occurred to me that I had found a great friend; and in such a short time!  It seemed we were passionate about the same things and as we sat on the ferry and drank our Cisks, we both wondered how lucky we were that we were living on Malta and what luck it was that our paths had crossed so momentarily. 

On to Mdina!  Originally she offered to drive Homie and I to Valletta, since the work permit had not yet materialized, we needed to apply for an extension on our travel visa, and she knew right where to go.  But since we live in Malta, (and remember, we are glad we live here) they closed at half past 11 (that’s in the a.m. folks) and here we are at 12:10 with a whole afternoon free on our hands, so why not visit the oldest city in Malta, the silent city, Mdina.  As we park and get out of the vehicle the clouds start to get dark and here is Inga ready to give her umbrella to the parking attendant, and lucky for her I was there to talk some sense into her as it wasn’t a half hour later and we were caught in a torrential downpour.  We finally found a little restaurant appropriately named Bacchus, and we had the best lunch of calamari, wine and caesar salad (Inga doesn’t eat mammals…) and the three of us had a great day.

The other day we were supposed to meet for dinner and while I still don’t have a mobile (my year of giving up my dependence on the mobile phone is nearly up, and it was Inga who in her distress at not being able to get ahold of me claimed I was so “1995”) she was actually able to phone me.  How you ask?  As I’m biting into my delicious garlic chicken, the owner of the restaurant hands me a phone and says in his Maltese accent, “It’s for you.”  I answer and who else?  Inga.  At the hospital with poor little Freyja, who needed a few stitches above her eye.  We met later the next week for dinner and Inga picks me up looking like a battered housewife.  She has decided to take parasailing lessons and as she was getting to know the gear, the wind took hold of her and dragged her across the rocks for at least 50 meters.  She just laughed about it, and I thought to myself, it’s always an adventure with Inga!

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I have never really been the type of person who has had regrets in her life.  To have regrets or to wish that a certain event had not taken place, in my mind, would change or alter your path in this time-space reality we call life and then where would you be?  As I write this and think about all that has led me to where I sit right now, whether pleasant or not so pleasant, I have to say that I totally believe in fate. One decision ultimately leads to another and I made a decision in 7th grade that I now regret.  When Ms. Perry told us that nothing is more important than learning another language, I wish I would have listened.  “It can change your life!” she had declared. Sitting in her class (she was one of my favorite teachers) I thought to myself, “Why would I ever need to learn another language?  I’m never going to leave the U.S.!”   Had I known in 7th grade that someday I would move to another country, I would have listened to Ms. Perry and started  studying like there was no tomorrow.  Well tomorrow is here and if I spoke Norwegian or German or even Italian, I would be feeling pretty confident right now. 

Here’s my all-time favorite vision that I am determined to achieve.  It is early morning and the sun is shining as I open my eyes.  I can’t wait to get outside to write and experience all the sounds and smells that my senses can devour.  I walk down to the strand with my trusty laptop and find a little cafe where all the servers know my name.  I order my fruit, granola and yogurt along with a steaming cup of coffee and cream.  As the words flow from my fingers to my Word document,  I feel confident and happy.  Could people actually enjoy what I have to say? Of course I think to myself! (Remember, this is my all-time favorite vision…) Now it’s time to go down to the sea, get some sun and make more Maltese friends.  I have a little picnic on the rocks, and jump into the sea and there are no jelly fish or anything else that will bite me.  I get more than enough sun, pack up my towel and sun cream, and head back to the flat for a little nap.  Rousing,  completely refreshed, I am again inspired to pound out more exhilarating  words.   I’m writing and grateful and happy.  Fulfilled is what I am and I take a minute to reflect that I have no boss with a permanent scowl, no set hours, no time clock, no co-workers that don’t work as hard as I do and certainly no obligation to give eight hours of my life away every five days just so I can pay the rent.  Oh life is sweet.  You may be asking yourselves where Homie is during all of this, and my answer is he’s at work.

Until this vision can completely come to fruition, I must find at the very least, a part-time job.  I believe I would have been working by now if I knew another language or possessed a portfolio of all my excellent Flash designs.  Another expat I met in Malta tells me that I need to market myself as having skills that maybe a Maltese person may not possess, and I have tried that as well.  I’m registered with every employment agency that my Google search has provided me, and I’ve scoured the Sunday Times consistently for the past six weeks. 

I’ve sent emails, I’ve composed amazing cover letters.  I’ve updated my resume, custom tailored for each position I apply for.  I’ve done almost everything I can think of outside of “pounding the pavement”.  I’ve created dialog with hiring managers through email that may be considered cyber stalking in another country.  Everyone says (and my research prior to the move also verified) that obtaining employment may take anywhere from 3 to 4 months.  All I want is a little part-time job! 

It’s really not all about the money.  Working in a new environment is a great way to meet people and to learn more about the culture and the language.  I love to write and I will become a writer, but until that dream becomes a reality, we must persevere and pay the rent!

I’ve been spending a lot of time on expat websites, concentrating on the Malta forums and meeting lots of other Americans who have migrated to this little rock in the sea. Networking is where it’s at, no matter what country you reside in!   I can only anticipate good things to come, and if the book agent comes through with an advance on the manuscript, I won’t have to worry about a thing! But until that happens,  it looks like it’s time to hit the pavement with a smile and a CV.  Or I could knit.

~Peace~

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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. 

~Peace~

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It’s been a long eventful day in Malta.  I still have not had a cigarette, and it occurred to me today why it is called a “habit”.  Most of the temptation and frustration stems from  automatically reaching for a smoke when you are so used to having one when you were a smoker.  That first cup of coffee, after eating, while you are working on the computer, taking a break from cleaning.  There are  two items missing from my usual daily routine that I do not have to deal with here.  The first is the phone.  As soon as the phone would ring, I would instantly go to the pack and light one.  It went hand-in-hand.  The second is driving.  I absolutely had to have a smoke on the way to work, and on the way home.  I especially loved this ritual because it would just be me, the road, and my smoke.  No one in the car to bug me about the smell, or complaining that the smoke was drifting to their side.  (Side note: Never did I smoke in the car when my grandson was in the car or anyone else that didn’t smoke or didn’t like it.) These two instances do not occur in Malta for obvious reasons.  No one is calling us and we no longer have a vehicle.  One thing that changed here that I did not do in Minnesota is taking the cigs when we left the house.  Whether it was for a walk, or out to eat, or just down to the DVD store, I would make sure to grab the smokes.  I still miss them but the good news is that I am starting to feel the desire, the bloody in-your-face-I-have-to-have-a-cigarette-NOW desire is subsiding.  I know it will get better as time progresses, just have to get past the 72 hour mark.  I have faith that I may be successful this time around.  There is about 65% less temptation going on around me.

I can’t get my friends from Minnesota off my mind tonight.  They suffered a devastating loss as their brother died from complications of a heart attack today.  He was only 45 years old.  As a family they decided to take him off of life support, as he had suffered brain damage.  It is so hard to be so far away when something like this happens.  Before we left Minnesota we completed our Health Care Directives and left a copy with my mom and Homie’s parents.  This is a nifty little document stating what you want done if you are ever in the position of having to be kept alive by a machine.  It made us both feel better that our wishes were documented and it made me think about what Laurie and her family must have been going through to make that decision. 

I made such a stink before I left the states about not joining Facebook, I was so against belonging to an online community.  There is something so vain about it, and I felt like it just wasn’t my gig.   I have done a complete 360 on the subject and Facebook has become our continual link to family and friends, and I’ve even gotten some of my family members to join.  It has been wonderful to keep everyone up to date about what is happening with us and of course what is happening with them.  So much easier than continually sending individual emails.  It was awesome today because our friends kept us posted about what was happening with Laurie’s brother and we really felt that we were a part of it and that we could in some way, through Facebook, be there for them.  We were able to let them know continually since it happened that we were thinking of them.  Another great feature of technology.  I often wonder if I ever would have been able to make this move without it!   

On a much brighter note, I finally secured a job interview for Monday.  In Malta there are several online betting companies and after talking with some of our Maltese friends, they have said that these companies are the best to work for on the island, they pay better than most other companies.  I have sent out my resumé relentlessly for the past week, checking the job postings every day.  I saw a situation vacant, (that’s what they call a vacant position) at a betting company that would be perfect for me.  It was so nice to finally get excited about a potential ‘situation’ and I applied online straight away.  This morning I found the contact person’s email on the website and sent a cover letter describing all my skills and talents.  They promptly emailed me back, and while I will not be considered for the position I wanted, I was still invited to come in and interview to see if there is anything that I may be a match for.  I am very excited to at least get my foot in the door, and I am sure that once they meet me they will have no choice but to hire me because I am an excellent employee and I have motivation, drive and enthusiasm!!   I am really excited to get out there, meet more people and really integrate within the community.  I want to try and start learning the Maltese language which every Maltese person we meet will tell you that you will never learn it and they are very proud of this.  Homie and I bought a phrase book and promised each other that we would practice together for at least an hour every evening and we have not done it yet. 

Tomorrow Homie doesn’t have to work until 7 p.m. so we are going to walk to where the interview is to take place.  We looked over the Google map feverently this evening to determine whether or not the office is within walking distance from our flat.  We believe that we can walk there in about 30 minutes or so, but it is supposed to rain tomorrow, so hopefully it will hold off a bit while we walk.  I am so grateful that Homie is able to go with me so I know where I’m headed, because I get lost really easy.  I get lost in my home town.  And once I make a wrong turn and realize that I’m lost, I start to panick and then all hope is lost as I am unable to navigate my way out of the blunder.  The timing is perfect, and this is another instance when I discover that life is all about timing and fate.  Homie has been working every day, whether it is 4, 6 or 8 hours as he did yesterday.  I finally make contact on a potential situation just today and tomorrow is the only day that he would be able to help me find the place.  I’ve been cooped up in the flat so much lately that a nice long walk is just what I need, and I am so excited that I too may be working soon.  Wish me luck!  

~Peace~

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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. 

~Peace~

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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.

~Peace~

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

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