My kind of errands

10.27_errands

On Saturday, around 5:00 pm, in the finally crisp fall weather, we set off on our evening passagiata.  Passagiata is that special time in the late afternoon when you just walk, browse store windows, see and be seen.  Another expat describes it well here.  The people watching really is fantastic.  I particularly like this walk because, if Henry will consent to being stroller-ed, it is almost like a mini-date for James and me.

Although restaurants won’t open until around 7:00 pm, most of the stores are open, after possibly being closed during mid-afternoon.  We took advantage of this to check a few tasks off the list.

Up first, the tabacchi.  That’s right, the tobacco store.  We don’t smoke, but I almost think of these things like gas stations for pedestrians.  You can get snacks, magazines, and–our aim–metro/bus tickets.  I’ve got 10 tickets burning a hole in my pocket now.  I’m hoping to share some adventures in public transportation soon!

Next, we strolled over to the wine store.  I’m still scared to take in the stroller because of space issues and fear of Henry grabbing bottles, but James picked up more recommendations from his fave employee (a French woman who speaks excellent English).  The last batch had a good mouth feel, but, now that the weather is cooling, I’m looking for something more robust.  Look for more wine tweets on these soon.

And then, the pasticceria.  Oh, the pasticceria!  This is a pastry and chocolate shop that we have passed many times but never entered.  (I again blame the stroller and Henry grabbing things.)  James came out with 18 euros worth of amazing looking chocolate.  He picked up some dark chocolate bark with hazelnut pieces and some little bonbon squares.  We’ll see how long these stick around.  They are incredibly rich so it would be hard to eat a lot of them at once.  I think.

After the kids went to bed, we had some incredible takeout from Himalaya’s Kashmir.  Followed by a pretty stellar wine and dessert course.  This was a nice Saturday night before dealing with Daylight Savings Time, which I now know to have been invented only to torture parents.  We start earlier than the U.S. so for the next few days, I’m only five hours ahead of you folks on the East Coast.

What is your personal Snickers?

The rest of our stuff should be showing up in the next week or so.  We did a pretty good job packing.  I really haven’t felt deprived.  But of this collection, I am most excited to see:

  • The kitchen trashcan.  Our place came with a trashcan.  It has a step on lid that doesn’t really work.  The bag doesn’t really stay on.  And it is so very small.  It looks like a bathroom can.  Even with mandatory recycling, I feel like the thing fills up every time I blink.  Frequent emptying is probably a good thing given the lack of garbage disposal, but it currently seems a little ridiculous.
  • Tissues.  I also miss nice toilet paper, but I can’t remember if I packed any.  The pipes are so old here that Italy has just decided not to let people have quality paper products.  (My working theory anyway.)  Years ago I had a household ban on tissues.  Why bother if you can just use TP?  And then I rediscovered the pillowy softness of a high quality tissue as it caresses your nose and have not looked back.  Surely there are tissues here somewhere.  I’m just having trouble finding them.
  • The boys’ cribs.  We have loaner cribs right now.  These have been perfectly adequate, but they have bars instead of our chunky slats.  I feel like there has been more pacifier escapage.  The loaner mattresses are so thin you could probably fold them in quarters.  This has made changing sheets easy, but I’ll be glad when they have their nicer mattresses back.

Someone told me that when their daughter was in Italy, she craved Snickers but couldn’t find them.  So her mom would send care packages with Snickers.  I totally get missing things, but Snickers surprised me.  This is the land of chocolate and gelato!  I may have an unhealthy relationship with Kinder Chocolate that I have been indulging.

But now that I’ve been here for a bit, I’ve had a chance to think about what may own “personal Snickers” is.  I do have a few.  Unlike the above, these things are not showing up with our stuff.  Many of them couldn’t come even if I wanted them to.

Grocery delivery.  In the year before leaving DC, we converted to Relay Foods disciples and never looked back.  Before, we had been doing double grocery store duty at the local Giant and then Whole Foods to get the nice meats.  Enter Relay Foods.  They would deliver Whole Foods/farmers’ market quality food right to my front door.  Granted, you were paying WF prices, but I thought it was pretty reasonable.  We paid $30/month for unlimited delivery.  You just filled up your virtual cart and they would deliver it the next day.

I miss it so much.  I feel like I am constantly grocery shopping.  1) We need more food because we’re eating at home more and 2) I have to take more trips because we can’t carry that much.  It’s either what I can carry myself or shove under the stroller.

I’m talk more on this later, but grocery shopping is a pain with both kids.  The stroller is unwieldy.  If I take the stroller, where do I put the groceries when I’m shopping?  I’m hoping some day that Henry can walk there and back, but you just never know with that guy.  And then I’m stuck carrying stuff until I find a personal grocery cart we can buy.

Hops.  They do have beer here.  There is a whole aisle in the store.  But it seems to be pretty much a lager party.  I miss good-ole-American-punch-you-in-the-face hops.  We’ve heard there is a developing craft beer scene here.  I’ll report back when I encounter it.

A variety of takeout options.  Where we lived in DC, we could get a range of takeout or carryout.  For $15-40, I could get Thai, Mexican, Sushi, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese, or Indian for the whole family to eat in the comfort of my own home.  Which is key with the small kids.  We do restaurants, but it is nice not to have to do restaurants, you know?  And we do lots of cooking, but sometimes you just don’t want to cook.

We had been warned that Rome does not have international cuisine and this has been largely true.  There are two Chinese restaurants in our neighborhood.  We’ve heard of a Mexican restaurant across town.  I’m sure there are others, but you definitely don’t have your pick of everything a few blocks away.

I swear I’m not sick of Italian food yet.  Just in this one instance of takeout.  It would be great to have something other than pizza or panini to grab when we are feeling lazy.  The pizza and panini are pretty amazing.  But OPTIONS.  And you never know if the pizza or panini place is actually open, but that’s another post.

King bed.  We had a king back home.  We opted not to take it.  Our place here is furnished so it didn’t make as much sense.  Also, others told us that it wouldn’t fit.  Even if it would fit in the room, they might not be able to get it into the place it would have to be abandoned by the roadside.  I figured this could be a good chance to test drive a queen; wouldn’t our room look so much bigger if we opted for a queen later?

I miss it so much more than I expected.  I’ve slept in plenty of queen beds.  They aren’t that much smaller, right?  WRONG.  It seems fine to start off.  But the number of times I have woken up about to fall out of bed is more than I’d care to admit.  The day I wake up on the floor is coming.  I’ll make sure to tell you about it, probably in a post with an ill-advised name such as “Queen are the Worst.”

I’m sure there are others, but that is what I’ve missed the most in the first month.  What is your personal Snickers?