Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Home in Como

Cole is home! What a relief for this new mom... His week in Italy went well - aside from the initial culture shock, he found most Italians to be welcoming and helpful. Fortunately, he returned really excited about our coming adventure - and not too terrified about the huge change we're facing. The primary goal for his trip was to find us a home - think House Hunters International. Truly, the places he saw were representative of an episode on HGTV! During his stay in Saronno, he met his co-workers, toured the area with Andrea, our relocation representative, and realized that we need to get serious about learning Italian. At this point, many people have been telling us "most Italians speak excellent English!" And we've been hoping they are right...

That may not be entirely true, since Cole struggled to communicate with both the driver who picked him up at the airport and the hotel employees. We know just enough of the language to be dangerous. Recently, during one of our lessons I kept asking our tutor why he was calling the shower "dessert." He patiently explained that he wasn't... the two words are just one letter apart. I know I'll get some strange looks when I ask accidentally ask for a shower instead of tiramisu. But dessert is the least of our worries - it's really time we buckle down... I'm sure that we'll learn (and remember) much more quickly once we have been immersed in the culture.

We are excited to know we'll be living in Como (Piazza Volta 28, 22032 Como) around this time next month - a date which is rapidly approaching. The photos above are of the building we'll be in - that third floor balcony is ours. The statue out in front of the building is Alessandro Volta, inventor of the battery.
Our building is situated just a few blocks from Lake Como, which is known to be one of Italy's most scenic lakes and a popular area for tourists, Como is located just 19 miles from the Swiss border and 25 miles from Milan. Cole thought Como would be the best location for Eva and I - since the area is popular with tourists, there will be more people speaking English, and lots of close activities, shops and walking trails near the apartment. Our new place is just a few blocks from the lake shore and is one of the more spacious and updated options that Cole toured. Yes, I said spacious. Here are some photos of the interior:

Here are photos of the living room, entryway and awesome ceiling!

This is the master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. 

The sweet life, or la dolce vita, will come at a price... Unfortunately, the apartment will not include a few American amenities that I'm sure I will miss dearly.

See that hanging rack stacked next to our itty-bitty washing machine? Yep. That's the drier. I guess I'll learn to love ironing!

Cole mentioned that many shops had their lights turned completely off during the day. He was surprised to find that they actually were open for business. I guess this is just a way they save money and energy, but for this wasteful American, it will take some getting used to.

During his stay, Cole was able to watch an episode of Walker Texas Ranger - completely in Italian! As he said, one thing was clear - Chuck Norris is still a badass. In order to watch movies in English, we may need to use Apple TV, which works with an iTunes account. We need to do a little more research here. Many TV and music websites (like Pandora - so sad about this one..) are blocked through the web in Italy. We'll have to learn what our options are by trial and error once we're there.

Monday, May 7, 2012

TWO Months Old!

Today is Eva's two month birthday! Our lives have changed so dramatically since having her - and we couldn't imagine life without our sweet baby girl... She is starting to smile at mommy and daddy and coo back at us, which is SO exciting! Over the last few weeks Eva's appetite has become more predictable and nursing has become a much easier process overall. Every day we see growth and development - Eva's baby blues are more focused and bright and she loves wiggling her arms and legs in excitement - or when she's angry! Cole thinks Eva has more of a yell than a cry - she definitely lets us know when hunger strikes or she needs some cuddle time. Already, two months old! It's been a wonderful journey so far.

She has also learned to chatter with mom! She just started doing this over the last few days, and it's so much fun! Here's a video:

Sunday, May 6, 2012


According to Wikipedia...
An expatriate (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex ("out of") and patria ("country, fatherland").
Yep, that's about to be us! We are so excited to begin our adventure as a family and experience a new culture. Officially, we will head to Italy on June 22nd, so the countdown is on! We'll return in June, 2013. So many people have asked if we think we'll stay there after our year is up... While we may fall in love with the country, we both know that we will greatly miss our family and friends! We have so much to learn in regards to language, transportation, lifestyle, etc. It's all a little bit overwhelming, but we are eager to get the experience started.

We'll be living northeast of Milan, most likely in Como or Saronno - in the Lombardy region. The Parker Hannifin plant where Cole will be working is in Veniano, which is a small town of about 3,500 people. Veniano serves as Parker's European headquarters. Here's a map of the three locations, Veniano is the middle marker:

View Italy

We have been fortunate enough to have the services of a relocation company, as well as a tutor in preparation for the trip. There has also been a company working with Cole to process his work visa and assisting us with all of the paperwork necessary to make the move. Overall, the paperwork has been a sticky process and I'm not sure we could have done it on our own - it's a bit overwhelming with multiple options for processing all of the paperwork and the Italian government has a reputation for being kind of confusing to work with.

2012 has already been a whirlwind, after welcoming our sweet baby girl on March 7th, we're now preparing to depart! I've said it before... but this year I am really hoping to regularly update this blog with updates about Eva and Italy! There will be so much to see and do - our year as expats will fly by! Cole is staying in Saronno this week, house hunting and meeting his new coworkers. Hopefully we'll have photos to share of our new "home" soon...