It has been a week of new experiences and regular routines as I am in the second half of my stay here in Italy as I write my 80th post of Weathering the Storm. I am not counting the days because I do not want it to end. Today, in essence marks a point of one month and a few days left, as I return stateside on the 15th of September, but I will return, sooner rather than later. It was my intent to return to Italy, as I had been invited and accepted into a program in Tuscany, but the timing, as much as I would like to return that quickly, had some technical difficulties. You see, as an American citizen, I am absolutely allowed to visit as many countries in the Schengen Zone as I want, but I can’t do it for more than 90 days total, in a 180 day period, and although, I have not been here in Italy that long, nor will I have been when I leave here the middle of next month, I was also in Spain in April and that counts towards the 90 total days in a 180 day period, so I would have gone over that threshold.
The choices I had were to take a chance, return knowing I had a few extra days of those 90 to use, but when I left, according to the schedule, I would have been over my limit, legally and could have been fined or worse. The second option was trying to secure a business visa for the balance of the year, and I thought, being here in Rome, I should be able to find the correct ministry, ask for an appointment, fill out the proper documents, pay the appropriate fee and, with any luck, receive the visa, as it was a legitimate business reason to return. But alas, after contacting ministry, and being told, it can only be done at the local consular office in the area in which I reside stateside and having that confirmed, by that office, I was left with only one choice, and that regrettably was to cancel my attendance. I could have flown back stateside for a week, let’s say, knowing when I would receive the appointment, which in essence would have given me the added days I needed anyway, but I would miss being here with Rosa, and my decision was made. I know I will have other opportunities and as the UK is not in the Schengen Zone, another opportunity made itself available, and so, I will be going to the UK for a hosted conference at the end of September. It is a lesson learned as this experience overall here in Italy has been and thank you to a very good friend of mine of the situation. It is truly appreciated.
I also started this past week working with two very nice people in tutoring English to secure my certification and that is exciting. It is a challenge, and while one of them is an advanced English speaker, she still needs assistance and that is mostly in conversation, so our focus is on speaking and we incorporate some grammar in there, as well. She also is a friend of Rosa’s, so once again, my secret weapon has come through. The other person is an employee of an incentive company, so somewhat travel, and her boss is also a friend of Rosa’s, so we had our first introduction, did an assessment and excited to my best to bring her up to speed, as she needs the language for the business and her level is low intermediate, but I look forward to the challenge of getting her comfortable with the language. This also is good for me, in developing a tutoring business later, be it stateside or here in Italy, where you all know I was to be.
The week was not all business and that is always good and having that balance of business and pleasure. This week, Rosa bought tickets to see the Barber of Seville outdoors at the Baths of Caracalla of Rome, The Baths of Caracalla were the city's second largest Roman public baths. The baths were likely built between AD 212 and 216/217, during the reigns of emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla according to google and the venue was very nice, the acoustics were good. The show was fascinating in that it was done Hollywood Style and had a bit of a modern twist. I knew a few of the songs but had never seen any version of this opera before. The singers were amazingly talented and while I am not an aficionado of opera, I was very entertained overall. The only distraction was that they had on either side, an electronic board with the words in both Italian and in English. I understand why to help the people understand, but I found it a distraction as I found myself looking at both the translation and the stage on a swivel. Perhaps, behind the performers would have been better, not on either side. In any case, it was a very nice evening.
The other event that happened this week, sorry no wedding bells, was meeting more of the family. I finally had a chance to meet Rosa’s middle sister Pamela and her boyfriend, fiancé, or whatever the terminology is here, Salvatore and Salvatore’s daughter Victoria who is studying to be a teacher, as well as Salvatore’s brother, who is a waiter at the restaurant in which we ate, and did we eat. Momma was there, as well. We had bruschetta, and we had suppli and we had pane and we had pizza and we had pasta, as there was dessert, and aqua frizzante and naturale. There was also beer. You get the point. There was food and more food and more food. I should not have ordered anything as everything was shared with me. The carbonara, the pizza, the pane etc, etc, etc. It was a wonderful, sitting outdoors and in a nice rustic restaurant with Rosa’s family. I felt a part of it and very welcome. Still have one sister to meet and we will see when that will happen.
This week starts anew with a holiday here in Italy and I think across southern Europe, as much of August is much slower here in Roma and across the country. I continue to work on the travels of my valued clients as many are coming here to Europe in September, so between the tutoring and the travel planning, and the ventures out here and there, I am definitely keeping busy with a few trips planned out of Rome in the next few weeks which I will be excited to share with you from this American in Rome. Until next week and the continual sharing of pictures of my experiences, and as always, I am interested in your thoughts, comments, questions and adding to the discourse is always appreciated be in on the site itself or on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you read this. Thank you for your support of my crazy little world and of my small business. It is truly appreciated!!!
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin