Apparently buying a plane ticket online is impossible for me right now. My trip to Granada isn’t happening in April, though we’ll be scheduling a poetry reading for later in the year. A lot of websites don’t want to take my credit cards, having decided that none of my addresses are “valid”.
I’ve been to my bank and got a pre-paid credit card from them so that I can deal with situations like this when they come up later. I’ll figure out how much a thing costs, put some money on the card, and use that to buy the ticket or whatever, so long as I have sufficient cash to cover the situation in my account. What will happen if I need something that costs more than I have in my account is kind of an open question at the moment, but as a foreigner living in Italy, they apparently can’t give me just an Italian credit card. I’m not sure what all the laws are, but they are apparently tangled and problematic.
The other thing I’ll be doing when I get back to Seattle in April is going in to one of the mail scanning and forwarding places and opening an account there, then transferring all my billing addresses to that address. Too many websites don’t even have APO/FPO addresses as an option – they will take a state abbreviation, but AE (armed forces Europe) is not even on the drop-down menu, which means I’m nobbled at the gate. Mostly this just means I have to be a little more creative to get some of my more abstract needs met.
The Veterans Administration sent back my form for changing my direct deposit to my Italian bank. I sent it to the address on the website, but it was the wrong address. Rather than sending the form to the right address, they sent it back to me. With the newer form, which doesn’t require a signature from someone at the bank. So I filled it out again, stuffed it in an envelope, and handed it to my brother to mail at the base. Hopefully by May my automatic deposit should be arriving in my Italian account without having to go through my US account and be wire-transferred.
The situation with receiving my library and other things is also slightly tangled. The contractors wanted me to arrange for a parking permit for them. I’ve looked over the Trieste municipal website and found what I think they are looking for but (a) I can’t tell if they actually need it and (b) I can’t apply for it anyway. The permit in question applies to restricted parking zones and pedestrian zones, not open parking areas with paid parking on regular public streets. In order to apply for a permit, I would need a driver’s license from one of the people driving the truck, the truck’s registration, and a few other things. I told them I would pay for it, but they had to actually apply. This leaves me wondering if they actually know what they’re doing. You’d think if these people were professional movers, they would have dealt with this and would have been aware that I can’t file for the permit without those documents. At any rate, mail has been passed back to the contractors through the company shipping my stuff, and we’ll see what happens. Everything is due to arrive next week, and I’m unutterably excited. It’ll be nice to pet my books again. Not to mention having to sort through them, stack them, and arrange them in ways that allow me to use them again.
I tried moving my modem from the kitchen to the hallway yesterday and found that when the phone company here activates service to your house, you only get it in one phone outlet. You can’t move your phone or your modem without paying them another €100 or so service fee. I’d wanted to free up the counter space, so I ended up having my brother mount it on the wall in the kitchen behind the door, and we’ve added a plug to the wall outlet so that I can plug in more than one thing there. I’ve got the counter space back and now I can put an oven there when I finally get one.
Carnevale has come and gone. I didn’t make it out to Muggia or up to Opicina over the weekend, but I did get out walking around Trieste. It rather reminded me of Halloween on Capitol Hill in Seattle, but the drag queens here were not nearly so fabulous. People I’ve talked to said that Carnevale was a bit subdued this year, though no opinions were offered as to why. I did, however, take some photos of the city by night, as you can see.
The American Corner is starting up a Women’s Library as a part of their collection. I was in last week cataloguing some education books for them, and was asked to come in to help early next week with more cataloguing, as well as helping set the space up. Apparently the US Consulate General from Milano will be visiting on March 18th, and they want to have the beginnings of this resource organized by then.
Speaking of books and organizing things, I’m working on my writing again. I downloaded Scrivener after talking to some of my other writer friends and have been organizing what electronic files I currently have for my next book. I’ll be able to get a lot more done once my library is here, but it felt so good to be working on a book again! I did have to spend a couple of days on a tutorial and working my way through some of the manual, but I think the organizational capabilities of the program will be more useful for coordinating my research than just using a word processor. We shall see.
My brother and I went to the covered market on Via Carducci. We’d tried the day before but walked in just as things were closing down. It’s a little like a very small-scale Pike Place Market in Seattle. The fruit and veg stands all close down at 1pm, but the upstairs part of the market – clothes, books, antiques and the like – closes at 5pm. I’m going to haul a camera over there at some point and take a few photos.
Not far from there are an Indian and a Turkish restaurant, off on side streets, where my brother and I have gone for dinner a couple of times. The Indian place (Yoga on Via Filippo Corridoni) was passable good, and they deliver. The Turkish place (Piccola Instanbul on Via Enrico Toti, one block away from Yoga) was quite good. My brother said the Turkish coffee there compared favorably to the stuff he’d had from some Turkish construction contractors he worked with while he was in Baghdad a couple of years ago.
Last night I went for pizza with my brother to one of the places that was highly recommended by Elizabeth, whom I met at the American Corner. She gave me a list of her favorite places, and I have been slowly working on checking them out. This one is Pizzeria Capriccio on Piazza Libertà, about two blocks from me. The food was excellent, the prices reasonable, and the service was good. I’ll definitely be going back. They have food for carry out as well as dine-in, and the décor and atmosphere were very nice as well.
Tomorrow I’ll be having lunch with Giulia, whom I mentioned in my last entry. We’re going to talk about her upcoming WorldCon presentation. She suggested a place called Knulp – a bar/library/cinema/music venue on Via della Madonna del Mare. She says the menu is rather limited, but they emphasize fair trade items, they have wifi, and they are a great place to hang out, with tables and comfy couches. The website is certainly promising and seems like the kind of place I would really enjoy spending some time. Anyway, slowly but surely I’m finding my way here, and I’m very grateful to the people who are helping me make a home of Trieste.
And, since the weather outside looks gorgeous and my computer tells me it’s a nice temperature outside, I’m going to head outside to explore. I’m thinking about going to Bosco Farneto and the botanical garden, not far from Viale XX Settembre. I’ll be taking my camera!