(As mentioned in the email…but now with photos!) Paul started his job at FAO which is part of the UN, it’s the Food and Agriculture Organization. He’ll actually be working with several friends and former colleagues, most of whom he met in the UK when they were all with Ernst and Young. Ironically, all Americans. Now they’re working on a project to convert the UN’s accounting system from one to another. It sounds like a lot of work but I’m told that the hours are much more civilized than those in NYC. We’re both hoping to see a lot of Rome, Italy and as much of Europe as possible while we’re here. When not soaking up the scenery I’m working on some consulting projects as well as a few creative irons in the fire. Looking forward to life outside of the conference room!
Monthly Archives: November 2008
Our first dinner party took place approximately 24 hours after we arrived. Our friends Amy and Dan, practically natives of Rome now that they’ve spent eight years here, hosted 10 adults and 7 children…all under age 4.
On the menu was delicious Mexican food, prepared by Dan and his merry men (seriously, all of the men helped in the kitchen. Is this how they do it in Italy? Or Mexico?) As Dan put it, “the main event” was the mole sauce, brought by hand (his hand) from Mexico earlier this year. Atop roast chicken and pork, it was lovely.
“Italians just eat. You don’t have to wait.”
During week one I can tell you…not much. It’s sunny and warm so far. Sweaters are totally sufficient for outdoors though it’ll surely be getting cooler by the day. We’re going to dinner at friends’ house tonight. Meanwhile the task is unpacking. PM is reorganizing the apartment. This means moving unfortunate sculptures to less visible areas, lining up our books on one little shelf in the living room and putting away the three sweaters or so that we each brought. Think some shopping may be in order but let’s see…
Exploring our new area was the first order of business. We strolled, successfully ordered a cappucino + cornetto (the Italian equivalent of a crossiant) and we did it at the right time of day. (In every guidebook, tourists are advised to not, under any circumstances, order a cappucino after 11am.)
We’ve also gone to the grocery and there made our first mistake. When in Rome, one apparently weighs the produce while still in the produce aisle then affixes a special little sticker to the plastic bag, noting the price. All of this is to be done strictly before proceeding to the checkout. If one fails to do so, here’s what happens. The slightly put-out checker has to stand up from her stool where she rings up customers and wordlessly walk over to the sticker producing machine herself. Meanwhile, as silly Americans you have no choice in your confusion but to sheepishly shrug a smiling apology to the Romans still waiting in line. So, lesson learned.
We woke up at about 2am, completely and absolutely unable to go back to sleep. Watched movies on the cream colored leather sofa. On the agenda, two of the four english speaking movies in the apartment: The Illusionist and Panic Room. Made risotto from a packaged mix in the cupboard. Not bad.
Must get some sleep. Preferably while still dark out.
It wasn’t the best way to start. Our fancy business class tickets to Rome were no match for my life-long battle with motion sickness. Despite the lovely reclining seats, friendly flight attendants and individual movie selection on British Airways, turbulence in the air made for a sick traveler on the ground. My mom always thought I’d grow out of my motion sickness but no. Still queasy after all these years.
Once we finally arrived, after 17 short hours of travel, we found our apartment in an area of Rome called Trastevere. We’ve rented a one-bedroom apartment for the first 2-3 months, while we learn about the city and find a permanent place. Going forward we’ll get something bigger, with an office for me and a guest room as well (hint, hint). For now, our area is a cute and busy place in the southern part of central Rome and about a 20 minute walk to Paul’s office. Described in a guide book: Rome’s popular Trastevere district is a postcard neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets, fantastic restaurants, and overflowing bars and clubs.
Back to the apartment. It’s good, despite the questionable artwork which seems to be a mainstay in any European rental experience. We’ve got a large living room and bedroom. A skinny kitchen and bathroom. And the smallest elevator ever: we put our two biggest bags in, then walked up the stairs to meet them as though they were the two weary world travelers and not us.
In the end we rallied for pizza and gelato before falling asleep for the evening.