Shortly after arriving back home from Siena, literally out of one car and into ours, we drove over to the "mall" where IKEA and all the essential homemaking stores exist. We felt like we needed to make our apartment ours so we closed down IKEA and decided which new couch, chairs, kitchen stuff/things we needed to get. Of course we didn't get it all because our rental car would only allow us to fit a few things and ourselves into it. The idea was that I'd use a van from school and go back on Monday to purchase, pick-up, deliver, and install said items. Upon arrival to school on Monday that plan was quickly shut down. I'm not covered by the school to drive a school owned van but I can drive our school owned car. Yep. Loss #1. So I'd drive our rental car (which school arranged until our blue bonnet was ready) over to IKEA and then rent another van to bring everything home and return it back to IKEA in four hours. If you didn't know that you can rent a van at IKEA to bring all the huge boxes home, you can. At least in the land of tiny cars. Lucky the women at the rental counter spoke english and it wasn't a huge pain in the ass. What was a pain was delivering a van full of boxes, in 90 degree heat, up two flights of stairs, alone. No big deal. I think I ended up making six trips to IKEA that day. Losses #2-8. I'm over IKEA. It's now all assembled and in place in a our sweet new apartment. Win#1. Our apartment is great. Quit a bit more space than the Avon apartment but now we have all this space with nothing to fill it with. Fine with us but the white walls are calling for some serious decoration. We're currently looking for submissions of photos and art if you're looking to get your work out there. What we're learning here is that you have to have different expectations when planning anything. And you have to take the wins with the losses. Because everyday is a new battle while you're learning to live in a new city, culture, time zone, apartment, etc. Some of these battles are self induced and some are due to the way life runs.
WIN! On July 5th Wilco was playing in Rome and there was no way I was missing this. Tickets were still available the day of the show so Bob (from the Siena trip) and myself wandered around this giant park for a while searching for the entrance to the venue. After some lite scrambling we found the entry point. I walked straight up to the cashier, payed 30 euros with no tax or crazy tickets fees and headed in. By the time we figured out how to buy a beer, which essentially was going to one line to pay for the beer and taking that ticket to the next line to get the actual cup of beer. These two line were right next to each other but the person taking the cash couldn't be bothered in both handling the money and serving beer. Not a huge deal, just different. We took our beers and walked right up to the second row and waited about 3.6 minutes and band walked out. They played a killer show with tons of new and old tunes to a crowd of about 1500 people. The venue was placed on a small island in the middle of this huge park with great sound. I enjoyed a few of the small beers and paid dearly the next day. Mostly because I thought I was a rock star being at sea level. Putting together furniture in the heat was not exactly fun the next day either. Good times!
On July 6th we celebrated American Independence day at the U.S. Embassy. Its the biggest event the embassy has each year and they invite many Americans who live in Rome to come celebrate. Through Heidi's school we received an invite to attend and again couldn't say no. As you can imagine is was very official. The invitation was evan bar coded. As we took a pass around the embassy to find parking we quickly realized this was a BIG deal. The area was taped off and had security from every military branch both American and Italian, local police, and secret service. So when we got to the gate and showed our invitation to the women scanning them it was no big deal we didn't have our passport to match the names on the invite. Who knew you'd need I.D. at an event like this? They still let us in. Inside the Villa the gardens were beautifully decorated in red, white and blue along with every state in the union's flag being represented. While we waited in line to meet the Ambassodor and his wife the smell of burgers and dogs overtook us. We said hello and thanks to the hosts and made our way to the LONG line of Italians waiting for the grillable meats. Looking at the spread of all the food we sure felt at home. We're talking French's mustard, Heinz Ketchup, Vlasic pickles, Ruffles potato chips. All items you'd be hard pressed to find in Rome. As we went to find some drinks that spread was even more impressive. Sam Adam's Summer Ale, PBR bottles, PBR tall boys all on display with the Italian wines and liquors. We did a lot of laughing. When we found a place to sit and eat we also passed the gourmet Italian food. Which we of course had to sample throughout the night. After dinner we wondered around the gardens listening to the big band who played all the standards. Much to Heidi's liking. When the band wrapped up we watched the fireworks show and made our way home. Another great experience in our new home city, what a treat.