Category Archives: Photos

Vacation, Driving School and Financial Crisis

I am not going to make the usual apology for not posting since August.  Yes I have spent a lot of time in front of the computer, but working or studying for the Italian Driver’s License.

September we spent 9 days in Neustift im Stuaital, Austria at a guesthouse, Gasthof Schallerhof.  I highly recommend the place.  Tuesday nights they have utensil-free dinner, yes you read correctly.  You are served your dinner, which you have the pleasure of eating with your hands.

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After returning from Austria I started studying to get the Italian Driver’s License since Italy is one of many countries that does not convert a North American license into the local one.  I had to obtain a medical certificate from my family doctor, results of a vision exam from my optometrist, a letter from my neurologist since I have epilepsy stating that I am under medical care and I am fully capable of driving plus a medical certificate from the provincial health.  This is all before being able to start “driving school”.  Once enrolled in the driving school a person has six months to take the theory exam.  There are forty questions, in Italian, French or German, all of which are true/false and you are allowed a maximum of four errors in order to pass.  My first attempt at the exam – six errors.  Second time, seven.  I was doing well at home, averaging two errors but when I went to the provincial department of motor vehicles, I panicked and failed.  Price of taking the theory exam, 150 euros ($195), each time.   In addition to the 200 euros ($261)to attend driving school theory lessons.  Now that the six months has passed I have to do all of the documentation over again.  Once I do pass the theory exam, next step will be the actual driving lessons, with a manual transmission.  Lessons are 13 euros ($17) for every half hour, with a minimum, by law, of six hours.  Then another 150 euros to take the driving exam.  At the moment studying for the theory/driver’s license in general is on hold since I am concentrating on working as much as possible.  Explanation is to follow.

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Italy is still feeling the financial crisis and it seems, for at least the immediate future, no relief in sight.  We (my husband and I) had been lucky and really didn’t “feel” the crisis, business for both of us seemed to be going ok or well.  That was until the end of November.  Thanks to poor financial management on the part of my husband’s boss my husband has not been paid since the end of November, like other employees of the company and also creditors.  His boss is in severe financial problems, both personally and professionally speaking.  Thankfully since I am taking a break from studying for the Italian driver’s license I am able to work more hours teaching English.  I am doing quite well, for me the financial crisis has actually helped me.  Many people are needing to learn or improve their English because either they are looking for a job or if they do have a job they want to make sure they keep the job.  I do have some students that are even looking abroad since they are unable to find a job in Italy.

Dolderauhof

Morimondo

Yes I admit I have neglected this blog. My original intention “years ago” when I started this blog was to blog about my life here in Italy as an Expat originally from the midwest of the United States. Well, after over seven and a half years of living in Italy, I’m still here and I feel that there is not much to blog about anymore. No I am not totally abandoning this blog, but posts will not be very frequent. I’ve already done the posts about my ordeals of obtaining my permit to stay and eventual Italian citizenship. Bureaucratic nightmares that I do not wish to relive. One thing that I haven’t mentioned and I am thankful that I obtained Italian citizenship when I did is that shortly after I officially become an Italian citizen the Italian post office has taken over trying to help the Questure (police) in handling the paperwork for the permit to stays. This has turned into a bureaucratic mess and have heard there is a backlog of literally thousands of applications and people receiving expired permit to stays.

Last Sunday we did have a little “outing”, the first time in a long while. We visited a small village called Morimondo which is about 20 kilometers (roughly 12 miles) southwest of Milan. There is a nice abbey that dates back to 1182.

San Mamete, Italy

Just got back last night from spending the weekend in San Mamete, Italy.  San Mamete is along Lake Lugano, bordering Italy and Switzerland.  The weekend before we spent the weekend in the Black Forest and also in San Gallen Switzerland, had lunch in Austria.  Sorry but no photos from that weekend :(.

Now if I could find a job, specifically in North America, preferably in Canada, combining my customer service skills (12 years worth) and love/passion for travel I would be in seventh heaven.  I have experience traveling in Europe, I am able to speak Italian (even impersonate the accent from the Ticino area in Switzerland but the dialect is a different story).   True I have no experience in the travel/hospitality industry but I am a fast learner and I am a firm believer in continuing education.  Learning does not stop once one has graduated from school.  Life is school and every day is a learning experience.  I thrive on change, welcoming change with open arms.  I am a people person and get along well with others yet at the same time I can work independently well with little or no supervision.  I have 12 years of customer service experience and I am a firm believer/doer of excellent customer service.

I have been teaching English privately for over six years now.  I have built up on my own my student base, starting out with a couple of students to now averaging 20 hours a week.  I have had to be a creative thinker, in the sense of how to attract new students and also a creative thinker in the sense of planning lessons for my individual students for whom I tailor their lessons.  Each student has different needs and different ways of learning and I cater to their needs.

For my current resume/curriculum Vitae, please contact me using the contact form in this post.  Thanks!

Sioux Falls, Boulder and Philadelphia photos

Here are more photos of my latest trip to the United States.  Included are some photos of my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and also my little tour around the Boulder Colorado area.

While in the States I stayed only a total of 3 days out of 14 in a hotel/motel.  In Sioux Falls I stayed with a friend and while in Boulder I stayed with a couple of gals that I had met on CouchSurfing website.  They were very cordial and kind.  If you enjoy traveling, meeting new people and also saving some cash, would highly suggest the site.

If you couldn’t guess from the photos, I REALLY enjoyed visiting the Boulder Colorado area.  This was my first time there and for sure not the last.  Yes it was very difficult to leave, if I would have left with job offers in hand for both my computer technician husband and myself………

Selby England

The main sanctuary of the Selby Abbey. The Selby Abbey is an Anglican parish church in the quaint town of Selby, North Yorkshire, England.
One of the at least three small “chapels” in the Abbey.

Front entrance to the Abbey
Selby Town Square right in front of the Selby Abbey. Selby is a small town, around 13,000 people and found it was a very clean town and people friendly. When we went to visit the Abbey, church services and tea had just finished. The priest was just leaving when we entered and told us “You JUST missed tea and cookies, we would have loved to have you join us.”. How nice!

Stonehenge England

Last Thursday we visited Stonehenge. It was very interesting to see, but we were a bit disappointed in the size since we were expecting it would be bigger than it actually was.
The day was rather cloudy, cool and windy. Ok we weren’t expecting tropical weather, especially considering we were in England and a couple of weeks before it had snowed six inches.

Vigevano Italy in photos

This is in Vigevano Italy, taken back in 2002 shortly after I moved here. Again, with my grandfather’s old 35mm camera which I still have to this day.


Don’t you just love black and white photos?!?!?