We have been in Italy for a few days now and it does not feel like home yet, but we are enjoying our time exploring what the city has to offer. While here, we have realized how much of a blessing air conditioning is, enjoyed walking everywhere, and already found the best gelato shop.
The language barrier is definitely real, but not prevalent enough to keep us from getting what we need (thank God for google translate). It is real enough to withhold us from having deeper conversations with most people and I do feel myself yearning for that connection with others. I am hopeful we will find a community of people here to do life with that at least speak english to a moderate amount.
Many people have asked, “Why Turin?” Our criteria involved being close to the Alps for D and in Italy because that has always been my dream. We didn’t want to live in a tourist trap and lose all the culture, but still needed the benefits of a large city. Turin just fell in our laps as we were doing research in the area and googling cheap places to rent an apartment. A full video tour of our apartment (more like room) is on my instagram if you are curious what our Italian living is like! We are in a month to month contract with our apartment right now and are discussing living somewhere else next month. We figure, if we have the ability to try more places, we might as well. TBD on where.
The country of Italy has a national holiday called Assumption Day (celebrating the assumption of Mary into Heaven) on August 15th. The entire city of Turin shuts down for this Holiday and many businesses close during the week or even the entire month of August. This is apparently pretty common as the whole country treats the month of August as a holiday and a number of businesses close for renovations.
One of our challenges has been finding places to work outside of our apartment due to the Holiday and Italian culture. Most of the public libraries and other working environments are closed but will be open after this week, which wouldn’t be a problem if we could go work at any coffee shop like we typically do in the States. Unfortunately, most of the Italian coffee shops are designed for getting coffee or treats and sitting for about 15 min while eating, then leaving. We are excited for the holiday week to be over so we can start creating a schedule for ourselves that involves working outside our apartment.
The most prominent challenge here has been no air conditioning. The first night here, sleeping was incredibly difficult as we only had one crappy fan and instinctively kept the door to our apartment fully shut. The next day we got a new fan and learned to keep the doors open while still being able to lock our balcony for safety. We still crave our blessed air conditioning, but are learning how to better live without it.
That is the thing I am learning most while being here. How to live with less. Less clothing, less square footage, less transportation, less comfort. God is constantly teaching me that I don’t grow when I am most comfortable. I had gotten so comfortable in our everyday routine and the American culture of wanting more all the time. Even just after a few days, I feel like we are being pushed to grow in our relationship and become comfortable with the uncomfortable. While I understand that routines in our lives will become natural and necessary when we have children, I hope this time abroad will be a reminder to disrupt my routine thoughts and actions that have been assimilated by surrounding culture.
Hopes and Dreams
Our job search has been interesting as we do not speak any Italian and do not have many connections here. It seems like our most likely scenario would be to find a job on an American military base that involves D’s engineering background because we would not need to obtain a work visa. While we think this is the most likely, we are not ruling out any other opportunities.
We are very aware that we might be coming home in about 3 months if we do not find a job, which is perfectly fine with us.
Currently we have trips planned to France and Switzerland, with hopes of going to Greece and Austria. We expect many day trips in our future to hiking spots and dreamy towns in Italy. I am excited to keep everyone updated with what we are experiencing! Ciao!