All in all, the flights over here went surprisingly well. We were worried because our seats were not together. I was in the bulkhead with the infant cot and the two kids and Matt was behind us, in the middle. At check-in, however, we inquired about this and they upgraded us to economy premium, all together. That was really nice. Did it promise good fortune to come?
Cate had about an hour of irritability from pre-boarding until after takeoff, but calmed down with the aid of Tylenol and then slept like a champ for most of the flight. Dominic was so excited, he just sat in his seat and said, "buckle up!" His little melt-down came upon our arrival in Venice, when he had to get off the airplane. "More plane!" "More sit in airplane". "Please (dramatic whining here)!!" The promise of a shuttle ("bus"..."big bus") ride soon calmed him down, though, and we were off to collect our bags and begin the final leg of our very long journey. We collected all our belongings without too much trouble. The bubble wrap did its job and our very expensive stroller made it safely through all the handling. It's a good thing we did wrap it, though, because the red canvas bag had a big hole in it. That could have been the stroller! The only mishap was a torn handle on one of the smaller bags. I'm sure we will survive.
We found the shuttle just fine and about an hour later we arrived safely in Padova. Here we had a bit of local "fun". Fortunately, we were able to recognize Residenza Galileo from the picture we had seen, so we at least we knew we were at the right place; the signs were miniscule, however, and neither the said office nor the said manager was anywhere to be found. So there we were, four of us and nine bags, standing on the sidewalk in front of the building, unable to get inside and unable to figure out who to call. Unexpectedly finding some courage, when I see three students going inside, I stop one of them and ask, apologizing profusely for my horrible Italian, "manager?" "office?" He tells me, "sei, zero, uno". Matt follows them in and goes up to the sixth floor, hoping this solves all our problems. As our luck would have it, the manager is not in.
A Bangladeshi (Bengali?) family is just going into our building and the woman asks me if we need help. I tell her that I'm looking for the office manager because we need our keys. She tells me she has the number for his office, and asks if I have a "mo-byle," when I tell her that I don't have one, she offers to me that I should follow her in. She knows somebody who has a phone. I follow her in, she knocks on someone's door.
Ellie, a Philippino, answers. A phone? Sure, of course. Come in. You must be tired. Sit down. Would you like something to drink? Really, you must be thirsty. Here, have some water. What's your name. What's your baby's name? Oh, you need to call Ivan, at the University... Here, let me call my friend. We always call him when we need to contact them.
Down Juan Miguel comes. He's just full of questions and help. What is your name? You need your keys? Okay sure, I will call right away. He (another Philippino) comes down to Ellie's room, introduces himself and calls the office. He says he'll come over in a few minutes and meet you in Ellie's room. I ask them if it would be all right for Matt and Dominic to come up too, since he's meeting us there. They apologize profusely for not offering earlier. Do they need help carrying things? Juan Miguel jumps up to go get them and help them with our stuff. Ivan meets us there within the keys and in about 20 minutes we are in our apartment. Very nice people around here! That's a good sign.
Since then, we've been trying to unpack and get settled in. I found the local grocery store and made our first meal. Pasta, prosciutto, zucchini, and pomodoro (tomato). It would have been better if I could have found garlic, salt, and pepper and the grocery store, Billa. Next time.
The apartment is decently equipped. It has a big pot and a sauce pan, 4 sets of plates and cups, and, of course, since we are in Italy, wine glasses and espresso mugs. We have a long list of things we'll need to complete the apartment, especially, the kitchen, but it's better than we thought it would be. It even has a mini dishwasher. I wish it were a microwave, but it's nice to have one, I guess. We're still trying to figure out the best sleeping arrangement with the two kids. They're both exhausted from the trip and totally off their schedules. Matt and I spent most of the night rubbing Dominic's back and keeping him quiet so that Cate could get some more tylenol-induced sleep. We're trading naps for now, but hope that soon we'll settle into a workable arrangement.
Well, more will come later, including some pictures, but I hope that calms any anxiety you may have had and gives you an idea of where we are in our voyage.
Love you all!
9/16 Via A. Magarotto
35136 Padova, ITALY