Top 5 Technology Things I’m Getting Used To

How’s living in Italy?

Welcome to a special Thursday edition of Tuesday Tea. There will not be a tea review for this post because I’m trapped on the couch surrounded by the cold and if I leave this spot I might die of frostbite. I’m also experiencing some mild Feline Paralysis.

While living in Italy isn’t entirely different than living in the US when it comes to technology, there are certain adjustments that I have had to make in getting used to how things are here. I’m not talking about a lack of WiFi or kerosene lamps or anything like that, but everything on this list is technically technology. So here goes!!

1. 220v outlets

If you didn’t know, the majority of appliances in the US can be plugged in to 110v outlets. In Italy, all of the outlets in our home are 220v. Luckily, the Navy offers appliances that are this voltage so we don’t have to get too crafty. Also, being in Italy, those appliances are available anyway.

One of the best decisions I’ve made is getting a hair dryer that is 220v instead of the risk of sacrificing my beloved hair dryer.

But it’s not always THAT easy. Some plugs have two prongs and others have three, just like in the US. And some two-pronged plugs only fit in certain outlets so we STILL need to use an adapter to plug it in. Or we need to convert a two-pronged plug to fit a three-pronged outlet, like below.

2. Transformers to Convert Electricity

As Americans, we are used to certain items in our homes and have already acquired them. Most of these are small kitchen appliances and gaming consoles.

Who really wants to purchase everything again though? That’s a lot of money!

Bring in the transformer! This delightful piece of technology converts electricity so my 110v Kuerig doesn’t die a painful death when it’s plugged into a 220v outlet.

These puppies weigh about 20 lbs and have two plugs. You can buy them in a variety of voltages to plug in more/larger appliances. There is a small fuse that can blow if it’s overloaded but they are relatively inexpensive to replace.

The one in the picture is our “kitchen transformer.” Imagine only being able to have two things plugged in at a time. Let’s just say I spend a lot more time cooking on the stove or in the crockpot now, and plan cooking more since everything can’t be plugged in at once.

Our “living room transformer” can handle a higher voltage and it’s quite the elaborate set up that includes a power strip. So yeah… welcome to Italy!

The best part is doing what I like to call the Fuse Box Dance. That’s when the transformer gets plugged in, trips the fuse in the house so you get up to flip it on, the fuse in the transformer gets tripped so then you reset the box which causes he house fuse to trip… and back and forth and back and forth. I think the record for the Fuse Box Dance is somewhere in the 20s.

3. Doing Laundry… in different rooms

Most Italians opt to hang their laundry outside or on drying racks rather than purchasing a dryer like we have in the US. However, this is another appliance we can opt in for from the Navy to make life a little more convenient. Or is it?

In our first home, the washer and dryer were in the same room but only one could be plugged in at a time because there was only one outlet.

Where we are now, we have the washer in the bathroom, which I believe is fairly appropriate…

And the dryer is in the…. wait for it… kitchen. Because there is minimal counter space, it also plays home to the microwave.

The positive side of having the dryer in the kitchen is it warms that room quite a bit when it’s running, which leads me to my next point.

4. Radiators and heating

Italian homes are heated by radiators, and it takes forever! We choose to not use them because they use a lot of gas to heat the water the runs through the pipes to heat a room.

A quick google search taught me that radiators increase the room temperature one degree per 45 minutes. Well, when it’s 40-something degrees Fahrenheit, that’s a looooong time and you really start to miss central heating and timed thermostats.

My new best friend, and I think Maya’s and Ariel’s too, is this little space heater that I’ve been literally dragging around from room to room with me when blankets just aren’t cutting it.

5. Gas Oven

Baking here can require a tad bit more effort and time than back in the states.

For one, the oven is gas so it can take longer to heat up to the desired cooking or baking temperature.

Secondly, our oven doesn’t have any indicator that it has reached said desired cooking or baking temperature, so we usually just wait 20-30 minutes and hope for the best.

Thirdly, make sure it’s actually lit. The last thing you want is for the gas to be going without the flame so you have a stinky kitchen, fire hazard, and a cold oven on your hands.

I will say, this oven is about twice the size of the one in our first home here and was large enough to comfortably fit a 25 lb. turkey.

Overall, it’s really not that bad. Just takes some getting used to. It is nice to have a lot of the conveniences of home with the transformers and it’s not like we have dirty clothes all the time. It certainly is putting things into perspective when it comes to how homes are built back in America.

What are some other questions you have about the differences of living in Italy?

30 Days of Gratitude – Days 8-14

What am I grateful for? Part 2

And just like that, the first week of the 11th month has passed and we are that much closer to 2018. A lot of time this week was spent talking about Thanksgiving plans and preparations. Definitely looking forward to that… and continuing to think about everything I’m grateful for. This week, I’m going to focus on what I’m thankful for regarding the prompts and what married life has brought me.

Also, please forgive any weird formatting. I’m writing this on my phone because I blew the fuses in our transformers and haven’t been able to charge my laptop. 😦 And the tea…

Tea of the day: Matcha Lemon

Brand: Yogi Tea. I’ve included a link below to a variety pack offered by Amazon also.

Color: GREEN! This is the greenest tea I’ve made myself. It’s not totally green, but more like a yellow-green.

Taste: It’s definitely has an herbal flavor and the lemon is totally there without being overpowering. It’s a great sipping tea, but probably not something I’d choose to drink everyday except for health reasons.

Ideas for next time I have this: I did add some honey for my second cup which add a pleasant sweetness, about a teaspoon to not overtake the lemon and natural herbal flavor. That’s probably how I’ll continue drinking it, and I’m open to suggestions!

Day 8 – What book are grateful for?

So, I haven’t actually read a book since I got to Italy but I do have a series that I’m very grateful for. If you know me in real life, you probably know what I’m about to write.

Harry Potter

I was two years behind in getting started with reading these books. It was 5th grade when I finally decided to pick one up and it was the first book that I didn’t mind continuing to turn the pages. I was quickly infatuated and intrigued! That same year, I had gotten in trouble because I had flat out not done a book report because I really wasn’t much of a reader. Those books probably saved me from a difficult time in English class for the years to come because I didn’t mind reading after that. To this day, it practically impossible to go into a bookstore and not find at least one thing that I want to pick up.

I have favorite authors (Meg Cabot and Nicholas Sparks to name two) so I keep up with them. And I’ll read just about any romantic young adult novel out there, haha.

Day 9 – What place are you grateful for?

In Italy, I’m grateful for pretty much this whole entire place. It’s absolutely incredible! One advantage of being affiliated with the military is being able to still have access to some of the pleasantries of home through the commissary and NEX.

The commissary has really been a blessing because we are having our second Thanksgiving in Italy with all the proper American side dishes. Who would have thought we’d be able to get a turkey in Italy!? Well, if not for the commissary, I don’t believe we would have.

And also, peanut butter. Peanut Butter isn’t really a thing here in Italy. They love Nutella, and their Nutella is better! But this girl needs peanut butter in her life and the commissary is the place to get it.

Day 10 – What taste are you grateful for?

Wine!! And Italy does it well. 😉

I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few wineries so far (and two more later this week!) and I’ve had some great vino.

My favorite, by far, is Tenuto Torciano. This winery was part of a wine tour we went on and it included a “wine tasting school.” The experience and staff was superb, and the wine is glorious. And don’t forget the truffle oil! A-MAZ-ING!

Day 11 – What holiday are you grateful for?

Before last year, I probably would have said Christmas. Who doesn’t enjoy waking up to Belgian Waffles and presents? And later on, Bloody Marys and mimosas? 😉

Now, I have to say Thanksgiving, and there’s a few reasons. Growing up, I liked your normal sides. Mashed Potatoes. Stuffing. Rolls. And that’s it.

A few years ago, Mom added sweet potatoes to her repertoire and oh… my… god! So amazing!

Also, Matt’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and it’s not just that. He proposed to me on Thanksgiving 2016. That’s pretty special! And it’s the first REAL holiday we got to spend together. So yeah, it’s kind of our thing.

Day 12 – What texture are you grateful for?

WARNING! I may sound like a crazy cat lady in a moment. I have Ariel in my lap right now.

The texture I’m grateful for is Maya’s and Ariel’s fur. It’s so soft. And obviously if I can feel it that means they are close to me. It makes me so happy to feel something weighing down the blanket on the couch or comforter on the bed and then to reach out to feel them. I can’t read a cat’s mind, but I’m taking them being so close as their way of saying, “I love you. I am comfortable around you. You make a good pillow.”

Day 13 – What abilities are you grateful for?

This is another hard one. I’m going to go with the ability to cook. Especially now.

In Italy, we don’t have many fast food places and there’s pretty much no delivery. So you have to drive to get food and wait for it if you want to take it to go. And the concept of being too lazy to get food AND too lazy to make food doesn’t exist. You’re forced to do one or the other.

Between having a set of pots and pans, a crockpot, and this ability, we’ve had some really delicious dinners. And being married, there’s something really nice to having dinner with just my husband that we or one of us made.

Day 14 – What sight are you grateful for?

Recently, the sun. It’s been raining the better part of the week here, so when the sun is out, it’s a sight for sore eyes. Not literally, but you know what I mean.

Aside from that, I really love being able to wake up with the sight of my husband next to me each morning. We did long distance for so long, and it’s a welcome change. And I know how fortunate I am that his job in the Navy allows him to come home each night (well, morning right now) so this is possible.

If you’d like to do your own 30 days of gratitude, here’s where I found the prompts I’m using. And catch up! You’re late!What are you grateful for? Leave me a comment!