After an exhausting trip...
We finally made it to Milan. We've been here for 5 days and it seems like we've been going non-stop. I think I'm still a little jet lagged because I am getting very tired very early in the day. Hopefully I'll adjust soon.
As a matter of fact there are a LOT of things I'm going to have to adjust to. To be honest I knew that signing on to this excursion but there are a lot of things here I didn't expect. First of all I don't know how I'm ever going to get my bearings. While we have a beautiful view of the Alps from our hotel window, the roads and so winding and narrow with so many trees on either side I can't tell what direction is what. Plus there are round-a-bouts everywhere, which really do make more sense than your average intersection because they keep traffic moving, but talk about getting turned around! Adding to the chaos is that most of these crazy roads aren't labeled anywhere. Forget about street signs, they're almost impossible to find. Even with our GPS we've gotten temporarily misplaced. I'm learning to look for landmarks so we'll see how it goes.
The next thing I'm going to have to get used to seeing on those narrow, twisting roads is...(are you ready for this?)...prostitutes. Basically they just stand or sit on upside down 5 gallon buckets, yes you read that correctly, waiting to be picked up. If you drive on those roads you will see them every day. Some of them are dressed like you'd expect to see prostitutes dress, some are just in everyday clothes but there's no mistaking why they're there. It's just one of those things that all the locals know about and shrug off. Strange and a little sad if you ask me.
Also, we took our first trip to an Italian supermarket the day after we got here. It's a fairly modern place with a lot of the items you'd expect to see but there are a few things I wasn't prepared for. For example in the meat department you have your basics: chicken, ground beef, pork. Then there's the section labeled "Eqino". If your Italian isn't good, that's horse meat. They also sell whole skinned rabbit. Um, no thanks. Kinda makes me wonder what other surprises await me.
As for the language barrier it's just going to take some time. My Italian vocabulary is very limited and while we come across some people who know English, many do not. We're learning to listen and watch the gesturing. It's amazing what you can pick up by doing that. The good news is that the Italian people seem to be very warm, friendly people and they seem to appreciate our efforts at speaking and understanding them. It's still a little intimidating to walk into a store or restaurant because you never know if you're going to be able to communicate but we're doing our best.
So far things are going pretty well. We had our first house hunting trip today and I think we may have found something. The process takes longer here so we just have to put our bid in and wait. We've got the hotel room for 2 months but I'd much rather have my house and be able to cook and do everyday things. Also, we're starting the immigration process tomorrow. That's something else that will take time. I think God is putting me in a position to work on my patience because everything here works much more slowly that I'm used to. In any case, it'll all work out. I do appreciate your continued prayers.
I'm sure I'll be posting more in the coming days with new discoveries and pictures. We ventured into downtown Milan and toured the Duomo and visited the Galleria so enjoy the photos! (I'll add more when I'm out of our hotel and the internet isn't so slow!)