Tag Archives: iphone

The Housing Inspection


  1.  Rememberance Run 5k.
  2. Got through all of my errands and connected with oodles of friends and family on skype!
  3. Felt extra super-duper ALIVE the whole day.
  4. Cozied in for the night with Dave and watched Change of Plans. It was a good movie with a thoughtful balance between action and dialog; fun enough to pull you along and make you laugh, yet serious enough to inspire contemplation and conversation.
  5. Finally uploaded the Pandora app to my iphone!

What is this business about a housing inspection? The military provides housing; in Sicily there is base housing at Marinai and another option is to live “on the economy.” When you live on the economy, the house/villa/apartment/condo must be inspected (unless it is already in the system). Inspection addresses two issues: rental standards (light fixtures, kitchen cabinets) and fraud prevention (overcharging and pocketing the difference). Standards verification is necessary because Italian renting differs from the U.S.: e.g., leases are a minimum of four years, lighting fixtures and kitchen cabinets are not provided. Fraud prevention is necessary because some people suck.

P.S. That’s the short and sweet on the housing inspection. Let me know in the comments or by email if you have more questions and I will answer them in future posts.

P.P.S. (this is starting to feel like a teenage note passed in class) If you have a Theme suggestion for a post, let me know!


Filed under 5-100

How to Order Italian Style

I’m adjusting to the Italian life. During my visit to Catania yesterday, I remembered the first lesson in snacking at a bar. The first lesson was to go inside the bar attached to the outdoor tables in the Piazza del Duomo (http://www.siciliainfoto.it/Monumenti%20a%20catania.htm) and request a table, which I did in Italian! (Remember here, a “bar” is a cafe, and you need to check in with the host before claiming your outdoor table). However, I quickly slipped away from emulating Italians and gave in to my first instinct. My first instinct was to order everything I wanted right away, and it all came out at the same time.

It all came at the same time, but I couldn’t eat it all at the same time. So, naturally, I started with the arancino. As you can see, an arancino is a fried rice ball, stuffed with some yummy filling. You might not be able to see the accompanying breadcrumbs on the outside crust. This one had tomato and eggplant inside and it was good and filling without being rich and heavy. This surprised me a little since it was fried.

After the arancino, I quickly downed my espresso, which was just warm enough to say it was still drinkable. Then, I turned to my granita. Ruh-roh. In the time it took me to get to the granita, it had already started to melt considerably. With the hot Sicilian sun, granita always melts before you finish it, and even moreso when I gave the melting a head start.

As I progressed through my lunch, I noticed that the Italians surrounding me ordered in bits and pieces. An espresso here, a pastry there, maybe another espresso to finish, or a bottle of water as an afterthought. In retrospect, I could easily have started with the arancino, then flagged down the server for the espresso, sipped and enjoyed that, and finally ordered the granita when I was ready for it. The good news is, I’m ready for next time! The better news is, the granita was still incredibly delicious and refreshing.



Filed under Adjusting, Food. Cibo.

“The Evolution of the Human Head,” and Homer (not Simpson).


  1. Science Tuesdays in the nytimes.com (especially this article about “The Evolution of the Human Head” by Daniel Lieberman (gift idea for anyone who’s interested; and amazon ships to FPO AE addresses)).
  2. Remembered latent memories of my dear friend Lester’s comments about how her iphone changed her life (for the better) – they convinced me to get my iphone and I’m LOVING it. Thanks, Lester!
  3. Mastered more functions on my iphone, and actually felt my position shift on the technological spectrum.
  4. I love the Sigonella library, it delivered the book “La Bella Lingua” by Dianne Hales into my eager hands.
  5. Used my new yoga mat; I have one coming in our household goods shipment, but I couldn’t wait and bought a new one this weekend. You can always use an extra yoga mat, especially when Bryan Kest is in the house. Power Yoga, holla! (Here’s a great blogpost about a BK training session this summer.)

To my U.S. sense of national history (200+ years), the historical culture in Italy is intoxicating (eons). Sicily has myriad historical reminders: ruins, landmarks, buildings and infrastructure that are hundreds of years old (and still in use!). One such landmark is part of Homer’s stories in The Odyssey (Homer was an epic poet). The Cyclops, Polyphemus (“Polifemo”), threw rocks at the departing ship of Odysseus (protagonist) as he fled modern-day Aci Trezza. Whereas I grew up learning stories of Lewis andClark (supercool, don’t get me wrong), Sicilian children grew up learning stories of Odysseus. That realization rocked my world.

*If you’re interested in Homer’s stories, check out a neat-o website that tells the stories: iliadodyssey.com.

The Cyclops Island and the three rocks he threw at Odysseus, in Aci Trezza.


Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

Summer camp is over.


  1. Seeing not only 1, but 2 beautiful homes where we’d be quite happy living. One in Acitrezza, the other in Acireale. *hint* If you want to look at an Italian website, go to the Google homepage, at the upper left hand corner click on the “More” tab and select “Translate.” A new page will open and you need to cut and paste the URL of the webpage in Italian that you want to translate.
  2. Semi-communicating with the Italian landlord (with the help of the English-language speaking real estate agent).
  3. Watched “Conviction.” (Official site here)(Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, et al.) Great true story basis; adept tear-jerker adaptation, I cried.
  4. Made a yummy dinner with the last of the fruits and veggies we got at the Catania markets on Wednesday (and some leftovers in the fridge): leeks, tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms; and finished with ricotta salata.
  5. Got my new phone!!! It is an iphone – my first smartphone!

Lately, I feel like I am at summer camp. What with the heat, humidity, and planned activities; not to mention I’m tan! Even using the locker rooms at the gym contributed to the camp feeling. Now, orientation is over and we’re looking at housing and planning to purchase a car; reality snuck up on me. Bills are rolling in, the cats need new supplies, and I have a considerable to-do list. Overall, I am grateful for the people I have met, for the wonderful man Dave is, and for the opportunity to be here and live in Sicilia with him.

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Filed under 5-100, Adjusting, Food. Cibo.