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?