Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hark! The Rondini are Here!

I never noticed the little buggers before, but it seems to be all that anyone is talking about this year. The sweet darling RONDINI are back. I had to look them up for a word in English, and I got this spectacularly boring name: Barn Swallows. They are these tiny little birds that look like bats when they are in flight. If they make a nest on your house you have been CHOSEN and you should feel honored. They come back year after year and nest in the same place so don't be all filling up that hole in your outside wall anytime soon!

We have a nest in a hole in my house that we haven't moved into yet because we are renovating. It is a man- made hole that goes all the way through the external wall that I am guessing was for inserting a metal tube and extending it to the roof for expelling smoke from a pellet heater. In the early evening there are three little babies in there. They peek their heads out to say hello.

Beware, once you notice the Rondini, you cannot stop noticing them. Now I see them everywhere, after years of not even knowing they existed. When did I start looking up?

They are pretty little things. Their legs are short so they stay up high and fly off their perches and glide from there.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

World Championships for Offshore Sailing in Trieste this Week!

I don't know if you've heard the buzz, but ORC Worlds Trieste 2017 is taking place in Porto San Rocco all this week until July 8. There are 118 boats participating with crews from 19 countries. The Long regatta is underway now. It started yesterday at 2pm from Piazza Unità in Trieste, went towards Sistiana, then turned back around and down the coast of Istria. The biggest boats have a whopping 120 miles to complete. The first finishers should be coming back this afternoon, for the others it's going to be a long night...

The regattas continue until July 8 and  there is something special going on every day. Check out the website here.  You can also follow them on Facebook, sometimes there is livestreaming if you want to watch from afar!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Working with Italians and Put the Pig in the Bag are Out!

Yes, finally, the books that Klementina Koren and I wrote and self-published are available on Amazon. The one in English is called Working with Italians and it is a set of lessons learned and diary-type gossip about the work we have done helping Italian companies communicate abroad. The Italian book is called Put the Pig in the Bag.  My brother, Ed Steckley, a hot-shot artist in New York, was kind enough to do the covers.

Spoiler alert, we don't talk much smack about the Italians (except the ones who aren't good at making decisions, homophobes, and a couple of scoundrels). We do go into some detail about cultural differences and what makes the Italians, and the Americans, tick. It is a story with two voices:  mine and Klementina's.

This is the link for the English version called Working with Italians.

This is the Italian version Put the Pig in the Bag, and yes, you have to wait until the end to understand why.

Like any good story, there are always two sides. Klementina Koren published the Italian version and translated my words into Italian, I did the English version and translated her words into English. How's that for teamwork?!

For a complete picture, I suggest you read both, of course.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Still Making Housecalls!

Perhaps only Americans will truly appreciate what happened here a few weeks ago (that I forgot to blog about). It was like a scene out of Little House on the Prairie! The Italians may not be so surprised, but I mention it because it is one of the wonderful things about the Italian Healthcare system. Mostly, people complain about the state of healthcare here, but that is understandable because it has always been available for next to nothing. Things are changing (as in you have to pay for things now, but not everything and when you do it costs about the same as what you would pay with insurance on the day of the visit in the States).

One night about a month ago, my husband had terrible stomach cramps after dinner. They continued until he went to bed. Poor guy, he was literally moaning in pain from his side of the bed. I told him to go to the bathroom, the only place where problems like these get solved. So that is where he spent most of the night.

He was miserable and erupting at both ends. Finally he said he couldn't take it anymore. He was scared it would never end. He decided to call the hospital. He told them his condition was not life threatening but he didn't know what else to do.

They told him to call the Guardia Medica. You do that and within a few minutes the doctor calls you back. He asked a series of questions and when he understood the problem he asked if husband could come to his office. Husband said he was not able to drive (for fear of another acopalypse) and besides that, I couldn't take him because our young daughter was sleeping.

Ok, he said.

Then HE came to OUR HOUSE. Yes, at 5:00 am this kind man came to our humble apartment and gave my husband a big fat shot in the behind and left him a pack of immodium.

I felt so grateful and husband finally got some sleep. He snoozed like a baby until noon.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Two Seasons in Trieste

Back in Ole Wisconsin we used to say there were two seasons: WINTER and CONSTRUCTION.

I believe that in Trieste there are also two seasons: WINTER and STINKY FOLKS ON THE BUS.

It's that time of year again!! Enjoy the sun!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Monday has Practically Disappeared!!

It's one festivity after another this month! Even next Monday we're off! Woo hoo! This week it was the Liberation, next week it's May Day. The week before it was Easter Monday.

Europe rocks!

Living the Elementary Green Dream!

I have to say I am quite impressed with what kids learn in school in Trieste from an early age. Earth day is not really a THING here like it is in the States, but there is an emphasis on living the green life every day.

My sweetie is in first grade and here is how she's learning to live the green dream.

1. Kids wear a smock over their clothes.

In her school the girls and the boys wear the same color: dark blue. The kids know that when they put them on they are in SCHOOL and not at Home, or at Grandma's house, and they act accordingly. On a green level, they are protecting their clothes and therefore less washing needs to go on at home (and thank God for that, as most of us here have no dryer, also green, even if I still miss having one sometimes).

2. Kids bring slippers to school.

They have their outside shoes and their inside shoes. This keeps their classrooms and common areas cleaner, therefore less need for heavy-duty harsh chemicals.

3. Kids grow a garden with their teachers.

They have a little plot of land about a 5 minute walking distance from their school. They plant all kinds of goodies and get to see them grow. They also see where their food comes from and have the opportunity to see a project through its entire cycle. This week they are beginning their "Fruits and Vegetables" project. There is a dietician coming to meet with parents and explain how parents can support it at home. For now, we got a note reminding us to have lots of fruits and veggies on hand and talk about them with our kids.

4. Kids leave a cloth napkin at school.

They use it all week for their snack and lunch and then bring it home for washing on weekends.

5. Kids leave a hand towel at school.

They use it to dry their hands after they wash them. They each have their own hook in the bathroom. When the weekend comes we do a load with the smock, the napkin, and the towel so we are ready to send them with her again on Monday.

6. The kids leave their own water bottle at school.

They fill up their bottles as they need them. Plastic disposable bottles are discouraged.

Yes, this is public school, but it's not just her school. I think most of the elementary schools in Trieste have similar routines.

These green details may be small gestures, but put them together and you create routines that can last a lifetime and make a real difference. Well done, School!