Things I tend to forget

“Keep on the Watch” International Assembly in Rome – 2009

Our Italian (working) holidays started on the 4th of August. The first destination was the “Keep on the Watch” international assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

We chose to stay with friends in Rome instead of getting a room in the hotel. We knew beforehand it was going to be less convenient, as we would be staying in someone’s house. But we felt it’s worth the hassle if we get to meet and know new brothers from another country. Now thinking about it, it was truly worth it!

The house we stayed in was the De Cata’s (Leo and Stefania). We had never met that family before. But their love was overwhelming. Both Leo and Stefania had trouble communicating in English, but we overcame that quickly by writing numbers and verses and other indicators on napkins and whatever. Later their daughter Giulia was very helpful translating from English to Italian and back. It was a great week that we would never forget.

There was a bad side to it, as we were 40Km from the city. So it was hard to meet with Juliano, Matia, Ghassan and Hanan! As always, most of the time was spent on the road between stations.

We did enjoy a couple of nights out with Simone and the gang. We went to Piazza di Spagna and sang along with dozens of brothers and sisters from all over the planet! We met many friends, and made some new ones. It was great 🙂

On Sunday, Leo offered to take us with him to the Olympic stadium. We spent the morning there with Juliano. There was ~60,000 there! It was amazing.

Then went back (also with Leo) to the Assembly hall. Picked up Ghassan on the way. Sorry Leo for putting you through this!

All in all the Assembly was very refreshing. Looking forward to next year. Who knows 🙂

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Settling down in Florence

The last couple of weeks were indeed hectic. So we didn’t have much time to do anything, let alone write in this blog. I’ll try to catch up later.

Right now though, I feel I’m home. I have felt this way the minute we got in Italy. Everything is familiar, the language isn’t that much of a barrier here, and the people are as friendly as in Lebanon (even more so sometimes!).

I needed to get back in my own skin. First, I needed an Internet connection. You can get that from many providers here. I found the services provided by 3 very convenient for what I needed: 300 hours for 19Euros per month. There’s a catch though: you need a 23 months contract to get that, otherwise it’s .90Euro/hour!

The friendly lady at the tre store under the Firenze S.M.N. train station was kind enough to mention there is one way out. I could buy the USB key/modem (chiavetta) for 52Euro, get a contract and cancel it at any time without any penalty (since, as she put it, I have already bought the key). That sounded good, but I had to ask my friend Daniele to do the paperwork as the offer was only valid for Italians. Bureaucracy. *sigh*

So now I have Internet (now downloading the pilot episode for Defying Gravity at 150kbps/s, I hope it’s worth the bandwidth). The next step was to find a supermarket. It turns out there’s a huge mall 5 minutes away (walking) from our house. Go figure!

Pia and I went there yesterday (very hot afternoon), and got into a shopping frenzy. We got food, soaps, coffee, etc. All the absolutely necessary stuff. As we arrived to the checkout (cassa) it was obvious there’s no way for us to carry all that in the flimsy nylon bags they hand out. Pia asked the lady at the cash register for a small cart on 2 wheels we saw a elderly couple  using. We got one of those for 12Euros (expensive!) and carried our things in it (+3 large bags!) We’re at home…

Among other things, we got some fruit yogurt. The 8 pack is about 2Euros. Good stuff. I couldn’t find any real yogurt though. I would rather make my own combination. I’m eating one with Peaches (pesca) now. Oh, and I also learned how to make coffee with the espresso kettle. That wasn’t very obvious until our friend Simone explained how it worked (silly me). He also explained I needed to make at least 5-10 pots of coffee in it before it starts tasting good. That’s true; I’m now at my 15th pot and it smells and tastes great.

Pia is looking into some routes to take and things to do (other than work), we should get started with that soon. I have service with Daniele this afternoon. Him and his wife Irene are taking us for a swim this Saturday.

So, I should say we have settled down, or at least I have, for now. Plans for Thailand are still far along the way *evil grin*

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