Italy, Personal, Travel

My Life in Italy

They say I am lucky and blessed to be here in this beautiful and historical place, Italy. Well, yes! Who would have thought that a simple girl from the province  in the southern Philippines  could come to Europe?

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To many, living abroad is like living  in a fairyland or in a wonderland. Everybody wish to live and work abroad especially those in my country who have never experienced life abroad. So, I am inviting you to join me as I reveal the life we are living here.

Though I came here to work as a volunteer in a school in Florence, I already knew what my job would be. I left my job in Thailand as a kindergarten  and elementary teacher and came here to work as a volunteer in a school in Florence. Before coming here, I watched the movie “Milan” and since then, I already pictured out my life in Italy. I know I would not teach there, I know I would clean the dormitory, help in the kitchen or maybe clean the whole school!  Life was not so easy  in the first few days. I actually cried the very first day I arrived there because right after I put my things in the room, the dormitory dean  told me to clean the dirt of the birds outside the dorm. I never used to do that but I did not complain. I volunteered for that job so I should do my work. Though I used to sit down, face my computer, teach the children and watch them play, I also got used to the my work in that school. I also met friends there and life was a bit easier.

A couple of months before my flight back to Thailand, I kept thinking whether to go back to Thailand or stay. I left Florence after 8 months of service. I got a job as a nanny in a small city in a province of Emilia Romagna. But taking care of the children was not my only job. I have to clean the house in the morning while the kids are at school, clean the rabbit’s cage and iron the clothes whenever I have an extra time in the afternoon. And even if I don’t have extra time, I really have to find time to iron. I also need to travel an hour to work and an hour to go home. I work 5 days, 45hrs a week. I also teach the children at the church once a week.

When i started working as a volunteer in our church this year, 2015, I decided to stop working to give myself a time to relax and just focus on teaching the children. But when you used to get a salary every month, it is not easy to be broke. Hahaha! Anyways, I love teaching children and when you love what you are doing, things become so easy.

Most the Filipinos in Italy are working as a domestic helper or a caregiver. Some of them are also professionals but chose to work here because, why not? The salary is so much bigger here than in the Philippines. There are also a few who works at the stores, restaurants or hotels, usually, they are those whose parents are here, had studied here and can speak Italian very well.

Many people really wanted to come here and experience the life in Italy. Yeah, it’s good. You should come! This place is very beautiful. Money is also good if you can get a full-time job. You can also explore Italy or travel around Europe easily. But you must also know that working in Italy is not easy. You need to be tough. But for me, it is not a good place to spend my life forever. I will just be here with my husband to experience the life they are living here and to travel while we are still young. And that’s the reason I started blogging again. Soon I will write more of our experiences here.

Ciao!

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Italy, Personal

Venice

The “City of Waters”, the “City of Mask”, the “Floating City” are some of the famous names of Venice. Years ago, I read from a newspaper that this city is going to sink in 50 years. I think that was when the water rose in 2005 and covered the streets of Venice. Jokingly, I told my friend that I should visit this city before it sinks, although at the back of my mind it is so impossible for me to step in the land of Europe. So after about 10 years, by the grace of God, I got to visit this beautiful city!

Words can’t describe how happy I was when my boyfriend invited me to go to Venice to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. I was so excited! I woke up at 4 in the morning to prepare myself and meet him at Bologna train station. The train ticket costs 11 Euros from Bologna. We took the train and arrived there after about 2 hours. I was so happy when I saw the city from afar. Anyway, I am just going to show our pictures here.

 

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my journey, Personal

Beautiful Lugano

A day trip is fun. I mean, leave in the morning and come back in the afternoon or at night. I’ve done this a few times and the latest one was the best.  We went to Lugano, Switzerland from Milan, Italy. We left our friend’s apartment at 8 in the morning and waited for the subway train to Milano Centrale (train station).  We already bought our 2-way tickets to Lugano ( 23 EUR 1 way per person, Trenitalia) so we already know our train schedules. We ran to find our train because we only had few minutes left (Ah, I remember how we ran as fast as we can when we were in Rome!).  We left Milano at exactly 9:10AM.

The train stopped somewhere (maybe at the border) and the men in uniform went inside and checked our passports. Again, like the immigration officers, they were also wondering why I have 2 valid passports (the old one will expire next year). Whatever! Anyway, as I was told, they did not stamp on our passports, they just checked.

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We saw the lake while we were on the train and we were so excited to go! After an hour we finally arrived in Lugano, Switzerland! Let me tell you something about this city. Lugano is located in Southern Switzerland, the people speak Italian; it is situated at an elevation of 273 m (896 ft) above sea level.  It is the 3rd important city and financial center in Switzerland, next to Geneva and Zurich.

We had no itinerary or plans.  We looked for the tourist information and there’s none. We saw the funicular and I thought that funicular will gonna tour us around the city. I had read from an article about funiculars in Lugano. But they should be expensive, not 1EUR. But anyway, I was so excited again, but after like a minute, we stopped. The funicular only brought us down the city and did not tour us. Ok fine!

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We walked and took pictures and then we finally arrived at the lake. It was  breathtaking! The lake and the mountains are so beautiful! We continued to walk until we arrived at Parco Civico. It’s a very beautiful park beside the lake. We had a little picnic there. We ate lunch and took lots of pictures. And then we saw this fountain from afar and we decided to go there. Sad to say, my camera’s battery was empty before we reach the fountain because we took lots of pictures on our way and my boyfriend’s camera’s battery was low.  We only took like 3 pictures near the fountain and all our cameras were dead.

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We were looking for restrooms but there’s we couldn’t find, so we decided to eat at the restaurant so we can use their restrooms. We found this fastfood near Manor (like a department store near the funicular) and their foods were very affordable. They accept either Euro or Franks.

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Our train back to Milan will leave at the 5PM. We bought chocolates and some souvenirs near the lake and we hiked back to the train station and waited for our train (which is from Zurich).

It was such an amazing day. The next time we’ll go out for adventure, I should always make sure that my camera’s fully charged.

Personal

Unrealized Dream

[Written August 26, 2013]

Dressed in executive attire with high heels and nice bag; that’s the look I always want since college.  I want to be one of those who always walk fast in the morning going to their offices holding their favorite Starbucks coffee. As graduate of Bachelor of Science in Commerce and as a former president of College of Business and Management Education, I dreamed of something big and I was so confident to make that dream come true.

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As I was sitting at All Seasons Place in Bangkok, I see these people like those I have seen in New York (In the movies, of course. FYI I’ve never been in NY.) They all look great! To work in a place like this was my dream! Men in suits, women in nice executive dresses! Wow!

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But… reality check! I am sitting here at the Starbucks Coffee inside the All Seasons Place, waiting for my visa to be released.  A visa to Italy where I will work at the kitchen and clean the school. This is so much far from my dream but…

Personal

The Reason Why

[Written August 19, 2013]

I love Chiang Rai, I love my work, I love my workplace, I love everything here. My salary is okay, I have a stress-free work, my students are lovely and I have friends. It’s a nice place to stay. The city is not crowded and very peaceful. I eat and buy what I want but why should I leave?

I stayed in Chiang Rai, Thailand for 15 months. My family is in Philippines and my boyfriend is in Italy. I went back to Philippines 3 months ago and now I’m going to Italy.

I have been thinking a lot since I was accepted in Italian Adventist College as a volunteer. What were my motives why I have to leave my comfortable life and go to Italy where I have to work hard as a volunteer? First, I didn’t think of anything before but just my boyfriend. I just want to be near him. That’s all. (I am not obsessed, okay?) But before I applied for my visa, I realized that I also need it for myself. I have been so relaxed in my faith. My relationship to God became cold. You know, when your family is happy, your work is better, when your boyfriend loves you and when you get what you want, what else do you need? It’s been awhile since I prayed wholeheartedly to God; that kind of prayer when your knees get hurt and your eyed get wet after praying. When was the last time I talked to God like that? Hmmnnn… maybe 2 or 3 years ago. IDK. That feeling when you really really need God in your life, I want to feel that again. I want to need Him. I have an easy life here, I should leave this comfort zone.

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Personal

26th

I couldn’t believe I just turned 26. I only have 5 years and I’ll be out of the calendar. 

So what did I do on my special day? Everything’s like a normal day. There are only 3 things that made my day special; a morning greetings from my love ones, a birthday song from the students of Villa Aurora at the cafeteria and a surprise cake from my roommate which we and other friends shared..

Anyways, I suddenly looked at my old notebook where I had my 5-year plan. At the age of 26 I will have a business. I am a commerce graduate so I should have a business of my own. Well, I don’t have a business yet. I guess I failed in that area. Life must go on… I’ll enjoy the ride!

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Italy, my journey, Personal

Debit Card Rejected

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I don’t usually travel with cash. I only had 150 Euros in my wallet when I came here in Italy. I prefer carrying a card. My Union Bank VISA card in Philippines works in Thailand and my Krungthai VISA card in Thailand works in Philippines. I opened another account at Kasikorn bank a month before my flight to Italy, thinking that I could use it in the new country where I am going to stay.

When I ran out of cash, I went to the ATM that has VISA logo to withdraw. I can’t withdraw at BNL to I went to Banco Firenze, but still I can’t. I read in the internet that the maximum withdrawal is 250 Euros so I guess I exceeded. I went again and withdraw few Euros but still it did not work. I called the Kasikorn Bank in Thailand and they always hang up. Finally after 20 minutes I was able to talk to a good operator. She got my card number and said it is active and can be used in any ATM that has PLUS logo.

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I search an ATM that has PLUS logo in the internet. I got my map so I can locate them easily.

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There are only few in Florence. I went there and tried 3 ATMs. Guess what happened! My card was denied again and again. “WE”VE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO RETURN THE CARD”, “CONTACT YOUR BANK” “THIS TRANSACTION IS NOT AVAILABLE” those were always the words.

I am hopeless. I guess I might send the card back to Thailand and ask a friend to withdraw the money. For now, I have to live with my 2 Euros and few cents. I can survive.

Few things I’ve learned; before traveling, make sure to call your bank and inform them that you’ll be traveling abroad. Ask or search in the internet if you can withdraw from the country you’ll be going. Make sure to have cash in your wallet, dollars or euro.  In my case, since I won’t be going back to Thailand, I should have withdrawn my money.