Journal 8 – Milano, Viale Bligny. 26-1-09

Today was my first day at work. It went well! I met a lot of people and got to sit in on a few meetings. I’m still not sure what my learning curve will be but I am sure it includes ascoltare e leggere italiano molto buono.

I don’t have internet, so I’m not sure how I’m going to get these journals up online. I’m sure I’ll find a way. I can’t take a jump drive into the Consulate even with a secret clearance. Today at least, I was introduced to the guards and will have a pass waiting for me until I get my official badge. I can also take my cell phone into my cubicle… which is wonderful because we are on the 12th floor of the building (the top floor) and every room has windows. On our floor is the Executive and Pol/Econ branch… its pretty darn nice. I’m definitely going to enjoy working there.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself. I woke up this morning and took a hot shower, got dressed, picked my blue suit with black tie and red shirt. Put on my beautiful dress shoes and waited a few minutes for Giovanni my literal compagno di stanza. We walked quickly to the Metro station about five minutes away and bought tickets for the day. Then we boarded the crowded Metropolitana car and headed in toward work. Giovanni got off at the Duomo to switch lines and went off to work. I continued on to the Turrati stop and got off. I had given myself a large span of time to make sure I felt comfortable getting to work and had to wait 20 minutes outside the Consulate to be within the acceptable time table of my appointment for security to let me in. After I got in I met with the Marine at the inner door and gave my identification then continued on with Ms. Manno the HR director. She was very kind and helped me get acquainted with the floors and the steps that I needed to complete today. She took a picture of me and had me write up a small blurb about myself which she had posted in the elevator by the afternoon. This introduced my face and position to the consular members. Then I went with my mentor and supervisor, Mr. Kidwell, upstairs to my new office and had an introductory chat with him. Met the team I’ll be working with and went off about the consulate to introduce myself. I had to get my check-in packet signed off by each department. After that I attended two meetings…one a mentoring meeting for all the interns and a second, a very interesting goals meeting, for the Consulate. Both were fantastic and contained a plethora of information. The day passed quickly and tomorrow I finish up my security briefing. After that I only have Health and CLO check-ins which will need to be done next week.

I need to figure out what to do about this no internet issue. It could be highly frustrating. I don’t know how much personal use I can have on the unclassified system. I think very little since it is monitored at all times and for work. Maybe the CLO officer’s know a solution or perhaps I can bring my laptop and leave it downstairs in the CLO offices? I’m not sure. I’ll ask Mr. Kidwell tomorrow.

From what I heard in meeting and conversation today, I am going to really enjoy this post. I am very excited and think I’ll spend some extra time working at the Consulate as long as they don’t make me abide by my hours. I doubt they will complain about an unpaid intern wanting to work more… but who knows….t is a bureaucracy after all. I will need to find out I think. I got the other interns together for lunch tomorrow, meeting at 12:30 in the lobby to go out and grab some food for the day. I’ve been spending around 4-8 euro per meal and eating only twice a day, so keeping costs down. A blanket, pillow, and 1 fitted sheet cost me 38 euro at 50% off at the big department store outside of the city centre. It’s the cheapest I found… home items here seem to be unreasonably expensive. The blanket was 38 itself at full price, the pillow 10 and the sheets 18… so weird.

I also did laundry today, so I have freshly laundered clothing happily resting in my room on a drying rack. The implications of not having a dryer are interesting. I get a chance to lay out the clothing exactly as I want it before it dries. This lets me almost press my shirts without an iron. It should make it easier to deal with them.

Tomorrow I will wear my beige suit, coat and pants with dad’s tie and a baby blue shirt. I have not seen a single other person here wearing anything lighter than deep blue so I’ll stand out a bit, but maybe in a good way. It will be under my trench coat until work and we will see after that.

Food is great…pasta, meats, cheeses, and best of all, if you buy a drink at most of these shops, they have a miniature buffet where I can eat the equivalent of a meal for 3-4 euro (a glass of wine of Jameson). That’s a nice change. Small and bite-sized, they are a combination of meats, veggies, cheeses, mushrooms and bread. All smothered in oil I’m afraid.

Okay, I’m tired, time for bed.

Ciao, a domani.