LYDIA'S BLOG: It's the simple things

Feb 17, 2012


We filled out paperwork the first week we were here, but I guess that wasn’t the end of it.

This morning, we went to the police station to get fingerprinted. I woke up bright and early (at least by college student standards) to get there by 8 a.m. And the waiting began.

The school warned us the process could take more than three hours, but we didn’t think we would have to wait for four hours before anything even happened.
Kids ran around screaming. They climbed and kicked our bench and rammed their pointy elbows into my back.

There was one small boy who kept ducking behind a wall and popping back to see us smiling at him and making faces. He squealed with glee and repeated the game. He was cute and made me forget about the rest of the small monsters running around. It’s the little things.

At noon, they started calling our numbers. I finally walked up to a window at 12:30 p.m., gave them some paperwork and placed each of my fingers on an electronic scanner.

Four-hour wait time for a five-minute technicality. It’s the devil in the details. But at least I won’t get kicked out of Italy (knock on wood).

Having missed my Italian class and exam entirely (along with most of the rest of my class also stuck at the station), I had the rest of the afternoon free. It was the weather we’d all been waiting for: sunny, clear sky, 50s.

Amy and I had breakfast at Cafe Deluxee; or, as many of us call it, John Lennon’s Place — both for the owner’s resemblance to him and for their constant streaming of The Beatles over the stereo. I had the lunch vegetarian special: simple penne with pomodoro and mozzarella.

We walked back toward the school, stopping at the chocolate fair for the last time. I picked up a chocolate bar on a stick that resembles a popsicle and saved it for a later date.

Then we went to get gelato for the first time in weeks. It’s been too cold to even consider it, but today I ended up taking off my jacket while walking around. I was too used to layering. It’s the little things.

Amy and I both had cookies-and-cream and menta gelato, then headed to the school to print our tickets and confirmations for the weekend: Assisi and Orvieto!

We went home and started doing research on TripAdvisor and in my Italy guidebook to plan our must-sees for the weekend. I’m getting more and more excited. Our train leaves at 8:02 a.m. tomorrow.

Amy is my ideal travel-companion. She has the same do-all, see-all mentality I do. When our choices for a direct train were 8:02 a.m. or 12:12 p.m., her response was: “8 it is! Let’s get our money’s worth.”

I made dinner for the two of us and perfectly finished off my cheese, salad and veggies. Nothing will go to waste while I’m gone!
I’ve decided to focus on the small, simple, good things about my day — such as finding sticky notes with little messages my mom and family put in my last package. They’re on my bulletin board.

The one big downer of the last couple of days is discovering that my Piccell isn’t as cheap as I thought. “Free Piccell-to-Piccell minutes,” the advertising boasts. Sure, the minutes are free, but they still charge you €0.195 per call. The devil is always in the details and that darn fine print.

Still, my bill is less than it would be at home for a month. And I only make calls I need to, so there’s nothing I can change at this point.

After dinner, Amy and I did some shopping for snacks for the weekend, where I found 22-cent yogurt I can have for breakfast tomorrow! Then we went over to Yelena’s and visited with everyone. I came home around 10 p.m. to pack and get ready. Sitting in the immigration office feels like days ago, so I will eliminate it from my day and call it a great one.

Here’s to an even better weekend. Arrivederci.

Editor’s note: Former Grand Haven Tribune intern Lydia Coutré is spending a semester in Italy. She is a junior at Kent State University, studying journalism. Her blogs during her stay in Italy will be posted here and at This blog was written on Thursday, Feb. 16.


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