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 1-7

What am I grateful for? Part 1

Happy November!

I was scrolling through Pinterest trying to figure out how to make this blog stand out and what options I have for blogging. I stumbled upon some 30 Days of Gratitude posts and it hit me! Rather than blog each and every day (because do you really want to read what I’m writing that often? If you do, let me know!), I’ll do them one week at a time. And include some pictures. Aren’t you feeling lucky? But first…

Tea of the day: Mint Medley
Brand: RC Bigelow (again, another part of a variety box I bought)
Color: Pretty light. It’s practically clear.
Taste: This tea tastes exactly like what I imagined mint-infused water to taste like. It’s very nice and not overpowering. The smell was a little strong but the strength of the taste is much more calming.
Ideas for next time I have this: I really can’t think of how else I would drink this. Maybe combined with another tea. Perhaps something with lemon or strawberry.

1. What smell are you grateful for?

Really?! Right off the bat? This is such a weird question! Haha, if I’m being honest it’s probably the smell of bacon at home. WAIT! Before you start shaming me for either meat-loving or having an “easy” answer, listen… or read.

Every Christmas since I can remember my family has had a Christmas brunch. When I was younger, that meant waking up to the smell of bacon and knowing other delicious goodies were downstairs, like homemade Belgian waffles. The bacon smell is the most overpowering of everything being prepared. Then, my husband was visiting me after A School. He was my boyfriend at the time. He decided to make dinner… grilled cheese with bacon. The first thing I smelled was the bacon!

So I’m grateful for the smell of bacon at home (NOT in a restaurant) because it means that someone has spent time and love into making me a delicious meal. Bacon is not a mandatory part of these love meals, but when I walk in and smell it, I know without a doubt that someone loves me. It’s not that I LOVE bacon (I mean, I do, let’s not get crazy here). I love the thought and time someone puts into making a meal for me when it happens… and happens to include bacon.

2. What technology are you grateful for?

Again, probably another cliché. I never thought I’d be so grateful for FaceTime. Matt and I met at a point in our lives where we did not live close to one another. And we wouldn’t live close to one another for over a year! I 100% contribute our relationship’s success in the beginning stages to FaceTime. Everyday until we met in person, we would FaceTime before Matt went to bed and for hours on the weekends.

After he left for Italy, we would FaceTime so I could see where he lives, meet some of his friends, see our fur babies, and “be” together in the closest way possible to actually physically being together. Being able to see someone’s facial expressions, their laughter, and that they aren’t crafting the perfect text message back built more trust in our relationship than I ever thought it would.

For all that, I’m thankful for FaceTime. And the ability to screenshot some pretty goofy pics!

IMG_1831

3. What color are you grateful for?

This is a simple one… PURPLE! No particular rhyme or reason here. I just love the color. It’s gorgeous. The color of royalty. And I didn’t like pink like girls are “supposed to.”

4. What food are you most grateful for?

This is a HARD one! If I have to choose one, I might have to choose pizza because of the variety! There’s your classics: cheese and pepperoni. Endless toppings you can mix and match. And now, different sauces! BBQ Chicken Pizza was my FAVORITE for a long time. Lately, I’ve been really into Hot Wing Pizza. And the pizzas with salads on them aren’t bad! And dessert pizza?! Get out of town! You could probably go your entire life and have a pizza for whatever mood you’re in and never duplicate exactly what you have had before if you don’t want to. Now I want a pizza…

5. What sound are you grateful for?

The sound I’m grateful for is the sound of the front door being unlocked. These days, I spend a lot of time at home… drinking tea… no joke. I’ve had like 5 cups of tea today already. So when I hear the door unlock that means Matt is home. And unlocking the front door is LOUD haha. I can hear it from upstairs.

I’m taking a second sound for this one. The sound of a text on my phone. Again, I’m home a lot and the majority of my friends are living in a world 8 or 9 hours behind me. So around 3:00 PM is when it’s finally a normal hour that we can chat. Similar to my answer for #2, I’m so grateful for technology that I can still maintain my friendships from thousands of miles away and that little *ding* is what let’s me know I’m not completely out of touch and just a message away.

6. What in nature are you grateful for?

When it comes to nature, I’m grateful for water! It’s so beautiful. As a kid and teenager, I loved going to the beach. I’m totally looking forward to beach season next summer! And it adds so much to different landscapes whether it’s a canal, lake, shoreline, or waterfall. Even rain is beautiful.

7. What memory are you grateful for?

WARNING! I’m gonna get sappy. I’ve told a few people about the first time that Matt and I met, and to be honest, it’s a moment that could have gone totally wrong and went so right.

Matt and I met online and didn’t have an opportunity to meet for a month. He was in San Antonio, TX and I was in Gilbert, AZ. Referencing #2 again (Yay for FaceTime), we built a relationship that I was incredible. We really got to know each other because we could actually talk without the distraction of physicality. So a month later, I decided to rent a car and drive from New Orleans to San Antonio to meet him for the first time.

A lot of people thought I was crazy. What if he didn’t turn out to be who I thought he was? Yeah, I’ve seen Catfish. I know that was possible and it ran through my head constantly while we were getting to know each other to the point where we said “I love you.”

I get to San Antonio, check into the hotel down the street, then drive to the Visitor Center at Lackland Air Force Base to wait for Matt to sponsor me on base. The ten seconds between seeing him in the sideview mirror to getting out of the car was the most nerve wrecking ten seconds I’ve EVER experienced. Everything I had built up in my head and heart was about to be confirmed or come crashing down with all the disappointment possible in the entire world. I was pretty sure if things went right that I had met the person I wanted to be with the rest of my life. And if he wasn’t, I’d give up. The stakes were high people!!

Finally, I got the courage to step out of the car and smile at him. “Hi.” That’s all he said. I don’t even remember what lame greeting came out of my mouth. Then he smiled, kissed me, and hugged me… and the whole world made sense. I’ve never felt so immediately comfortable with someone and like I had known them for so much longer. I felt like we had actually spent time together and were meeting again.

That memory is what I’m most grateful for. Knowing that the most genuine person I’d ever crossed paths with was real and that he was mine.

IMG_1904
Our first picture together. March 19, 2016

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!