Time for a further update:
Today has been a wonderful sunny day as well. Unbelievable – each day is warmer and more beautiful than the last. Today the skies were bright. The Duomo and Alps were clear as if etched into crystal. I know it can’t last but the sun and warmer weather is a boon to my disposition. Work is still getting even better. I’m not sure when or if it will decrescendo but I hope it does not come too soon.

Today we took the new intern out and another employee of the consulate who are new. We went to Subway, bought a Panini Gustosa and after, went for a nice walk to the park and then back. The two girls were very nice although one does not speak English and is very shy – the other is Latin-Italian and from Rome. They are FSN Interns so a slightly different program but interns all the same! Both are cute and quite interesting. It should be nice to regularly include them in our lunch habits. Haha.

I got to practice the new salsa routine that I am learning from the Tropicana classes. It was a treat to say the least. I really enjoyed myself and I seem to be a pretty big hit in the classes. Italian bachata is… more than I’m used to, and let’s leave it at that.

The importance of waking up every day and taking care of yourself…Then making sure that you take advantage of your surroundings in order to better explore the area you are in… now that’s something important! I can’t tell you how easy it is to just stay in bed after going to sleep at 2-3 in the morning and waking up at 7 for work. That schedule for the week alone is tough but then having a weekend packed full of adventures awaiting you…wow. It’s tough but worth it to muster up your courage and face the big bright world. I couldn’t imagine being here and not exploring the city. Now because of work I also get to explore more of the Italian countryside without the hassle of needing to rent a car. Wonderful…
Survival in Italy is about attitude. Perseverance and strength of will. The desire to try, to attempt, to drag your self-confidence through the mud as you muddle and distort Italian in an attempt to communicate… it is hard and sometimes it can be downright frustrating to not know the language. Not be able to fully express yourself. But that frustration is only fuel. It pushes your anima forward. At the end of the day, the absolute value is positive… (for you math kids you should get a chuckle).

I need to spend more time reading, but every day is so packed with responsibility at work that it’s not entirely feasible. I am reading, thinking, focused on work from 7:30 when I’m dressed and out the door until 6pm when I stumble down into the metro. Then it’s about food, talking with my roommates, discussion on Italian culture and what we will eat. After its time for some writing maybe a few minutes of quiet relaxation reading The Emperor’s handbook – the only book I was able to bring with me – I really wish I had one of dad’s manuscripts. But by the time I’ve finished those quiet few minutes its 11pm…time to pick up the paper, watch some Italian news, and try to read to get the words and language flowing in my brain before I sleep. 1:00 in the morning rolls around and I’ve got to get everything posted, pictures uploaded… then its crash and burn. Rinse, repeat.

I’ve got to say that I’ve found a great online radio station that provides free streaming music. It definitely helps keep me focused. Some of the projects I’m responsible for allow me to lay the groundwork for people’s future… what an unbelievable opportunity.

Verbania, a lake resort town by definition, is increasingly interesting. Textile-based industry which shut down, the city itself is steeped in a different history. Villa’s owned by Lombardy wealthy were built into the islands in the lake creating gem’s of 17th + century art and architecture. I hope you enjoyed the few photos I was able to get up on Facebook. Alex is working hard to get a gallery set up for me so that soon I’ll be hosting the photos on my Blog instead of having to link out. It will also allow me to include photos in my posts so I can show you my favorites. I deeply enjoyed my short trip up into the mountains and am looking forward to a visit to the Last Supper next week as well as a visit to the Germanic-Italian town of Bolzano. Another week stuffed full to say the least. My to-do list is steadily growing as projects come under the revision phase and new projects are started. There’s an endless amount of work to be done. I’m still doing well, not over burdened but keeping my plate full enough to keep my mind from straying.

As the weather warms there seems to be an increase in the feral cat population. They are springing up all over the place. And fashion seems to have taken note *see my photo’s from Viale Torino. I’ll start work on Italian customs as preliminaries for my independent study and am building research for my Urban systems studies… working hard but playing hard too. The best combination.