I'm officially done moving into our new apartment in Rome. For those acquainted with the area, we're located to the northeast of all the touristy locations, between Villa Borghese and Villa Ada. I love this neighborhood (which, I believe, is called Parioli). It's out of the way enough to be quiet and relatively safe, but only a twenty minute walk to the city center (and my husband's workplace, which cuts both commuting cost and time).
To my complete surprise, both our Household Effects (HHE) and Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB) were already waiting for us in Europe, so I got to spend my first week here putting our new home to rights, (By the way, I'm described by the US government as an EFM or Eligible Family Member. Weird as the acronym may sound, it's definitely a step up from "trailing spouse".)
So while my husband got to snap awesome photos on his morning commute to work, I literally walked over 100,000 steps, all more or less inside the apartment itself or within the vicinity of our building.
Suffice it to say I've discovered very little of the city this week, but here are a few things I've observed about daily life in Rome. I probably would have found this out beforehand if I bothered to buy a travel guide, but oh well...
1. Fruits & veggies are cheap, delicious, and addictive. I've been here 9 days, and I've only gone out to eat once, mainly because I tend to go a bit nuts in the grocery store. And then I went to an open air market, which was a whole new level of awesome. Yes, the shelf-life is pretty short, the produce doesn't look nice and shiny like they do in the US, and the grapes have seeds, but everything is yummy!
2. I learned this in class and then promptly forgot, so it bears repeating. An etto = 100 grams, which is a tad shy of 1/4 pounds. This is the unit of measurement used when buying cheese, cold cuts, and olives, which I've been doing quite a bit of. A good phrase to know is "Vorrei un etto (or due etti) di questo ("this," which gives you the opportunity to point), per favore."
3. Google & Google Maps can be an excellent resource, given that one's search is in Italian and that one is very specific. For example, searching both supermarket and supermercato (nm.) yielded niente (i.e. zip, zilch, nada). But searching "Carrefour," "Punto Simply," or "Tuodì" got me where I needed to go. Likewise, searching for "ferramenta" does me much more good than "hardware store." [Side Note: We discovered a huge gaping hole in our language training. While we can give our opinion on global warming if we absolutely must, neither of us knew how to say "light bulb" (nf .lampadina), "lighter" (nm. accendino), or "plug/plug adaptor" (nf. spina).]
4. Tabaccherie (lit. tobacco shops–but all the signs say Tabacchi), is the place where one (a) adds money to a pre-paid cell service, (b) buys bus tickets, (c) pays fines, and that's just what I've figured out thus far. This is perhaps why such establishments can be found everywhere (although Romans do seem to smoke a lot).
5. It pays to have a spare bus/tram ticket in one's wallet because most tabaccherie (along with other small shops) are closed on Sundays, between 1-3:30PM, whenever the person working there feels like taking a break, and the first two weeks of August (or so I've been told).
And that's all the blogging enthusiasm I can muster this week. Hopefully, resting at home tomorrow will get me energized enough to go exploring this weekend. I'll report back if I find anything cool!