Thursday, 15 October 2009

It's Been An Action Packed Few Weeks, Sorry For Not Updating Sooner!

Well, where to begin! Lots has happened since I last updated my blog and I feel I must apologise for not updating sooner but the only internet connection I had available was really poor - every time I tried to do anything my connection got cut and I lost everything I had done so I got to the stage where I gave up! Confession time - since my last update I have not actually kept a diary either so a lot of this update will be from memory and, consequently, there will probably be quite a lot missing. Maybe the best way for me to do this is to focus on key events as it is really hard to remember in what order and on which day things happened.

I ended up staying in a hostel in Roma for around 3 weeks and, I have to tell you, I was pretty sick of hostels by the end of this 3 weeks! Hostels are really fun places to stay if you are moving around but the minute you stay somewhere for a prolonged period of time everything changes. Sure, you still get to meet a whole bunch of people but the new experiences tend to dry up a little if you know what I mean. You find yourself going to the same places with people and the conversations begin to take a similar trend.

The 3 weeks in the hostel weren't exactly fruitful for me either. I must have sent off around 50 or 60 emails to people that had advertised accomodation online but only ever got 4 responses. 1 of these responses ended up being a room share with a girl who didn't want to share with a guy, another was outside of the city centre but had no washing machine and was overpriced when you take into consideration commuting costs, another one seemed alright but was a little small and the last one turned out to be a scam - the pictures were really good, location was excellent and the price was really good but then the guy wanted me to send him a deposit before he sent the key! Yeah right!

As for work well this wasn't exactly the easiest thing to come by either. Although I have quite a bit of experience in the job that I have been doing I have never studied for it. As a result, nobody in Roma was prepared to even entertain me for a job as they insisted on candidates having a degree, regardless of prior experience. I found this particularly frustrating as I know how capable I am of actually doing the work that would have been available to me. The only types of job that I think I would have been able to get there would have been either bar work, pub crawls or hostel work. These jobs are not particularly awful but the pay is and it would have meant I would have been living on about 100 euros a month at the most and the hours would have been ridiculous.

I was resigned to the fact that I would have to accept one of these types of jobs when I got an email out of the blue from a guy I used to work with asking what I was up to and whether I would be prepared to relocate to Germany for work as he may be able to hook me up with something. We emailed each other a few times so that I could get more information about the role and he could get more information about my current situation before I agreed to speak to another director within his company regarding the role. The following day the other director called me up and asked me whether I would be prepared to fly to Frankfurt to meet with him. I agreed and he booked me return flights for the very next day!

The meeting, which was more of an informal meeting to give us the opportunity to get to know each other a little more than a formal interview, went really well. We seemed to share a fair bit of common ground and I think that he was impressed with the way in which I answered a lot of the questions he put to me. We sat talking for around 2 - 2.5 hours before parting company and I headed back to the airport to fly back into Roma. I was really impressed with the lengths that he had gone to in order to meet with me - they paid for the plane tickets and all other transport connected with the trip, it wasn't cheap let me tell you!

After I had spoken with him I decided that I was going to take him up on the opportunity of work, if indeed the offer was forthcoming. It was a bittersweet moment for me really - although I wanted to stay in Roma and had never even contemplated moving to Germany it was becoming apparent that life in Roma would be extremely difficult without qualifications and the potential offer in Germany would be a very good one that I would be a fool to turn down. When I left the UK I pretty much gave up the career that I had worked so hard for with no guarantees about the future and the job in Germany represented a way for me to continue my career at a higher level and also means that I do not have to return to the UK - this was one of the major things about me leaving, I didn't want to live in the UK any more.

At this point I decided that I would go to Perugia to visit the American girls who I had met in Sorrento so called Jordyn to arrange it. The first night I spent with them we travelled to a place called Lucca, a charming little walled city north of Pisa. Jordyn had seen it on a Relocation, Relocation, Relocation type programme and really liked it so suggested we all go there. It was a really nice place and I enjoyed the time we spent there. We arrived at about 9pm and left around lunchtime the following day - it wasn't a particularly big place and we also wanted to go to Pisa. Whilst we were in Lucca I received a text message to tell me that the director I had been speaking with wanted to move forward, basically I had the job! To celebrate we went to the local supermarket and bought a couple of bottles of 2.59 euro champagne - you wouldn't believe how cheap wine and champagne is in Italy - and we took it to the top of a tower to drink!

Pisa didn't really have too much to offer from what we saw of it but we did manage to get a bite to eat there before heading off to see the tower. The thing that struck me the most about the tower was just how small it was! I always expected it to be bigger but it really wasn't that big at all. We took the usual photos of each other trying to hold the tower up, hugging the tower, kicking the tower down etc.. before we had to head off to catch the train back to Perugia for a house party. We arrived back into Perugia just after 7pm and all headed off to get showered and dressed up.

The house party was really good fun and the Italians made me feel really welcome despite the fact that I couldn't speak as much Italian as I would like. I did, however, meet a guy from North Africa so I was able to speak quite well with him in French for quite a while. It was quite surprising that I remembered so much after 4 weeks of not speaking it and trying to learn Italian. When we arrived at the party we were immediately given red wine and there must have been hundreds of bottles of the stuff floating about. The Italians, contrary to popular belief, certainly know how to party!

After the party we headed off to a late night bar that had just opened in Perugia that was only open between 2am and 6am. It was free entry and the drinks were reasonably priced in there for a change. The music was also pretty good and I enjoyed myself there. After we finished there, some time around 3.30am, we headed back to a friend's apartment for some food - in Italy they don't really do fast food but like to cook pasta after a night out instead! It made a really nice change to get some decent food after a night out and we eventually headed back to Jordyn's apartment at around 5.30am.

The following morning I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and it has gradually got worse each day afterwards. At one point it was so bad that I literally could not sleep because of it. I know this is a bit gross but I will describe my problem anyway. One night I went to bed at 11pm and got out of bed at 10am the next morning although I would have been lucky if I had got more than 2 hours sleep. I was in so much pain that it was taking up to 45 minutes to get comfortable enough to get some sleep only for me to wake up within 5 or 10 minutes choking on phlegm - my mouth was producing loads of it due to my throat infection but it wouldn't go down my throat as it was so badly inflamed. It was a really horrible night.

The following day I decided to organise myself ready for returning to the UK for a few days before heading off to Germany. It had been 8 weeks since I had seen any of my family or friends and I had really missed Roman especially. My flight home was due to leave at 6.30am the following morning but I needed to check in at 4.30am as I had baggage I had to check in. To get there for that time I would have to get a shuttle bus at 3.30am from Firenze and this would mean me getting up at 2.30am! I didn't really trust myself to get up early enough so decided to get the last shuttle bus at 7.10pm and sleep in the airport.

This actually turned out to be a really bad decision. I didn't realise that Pisa was quite so small an airport and at midnight, when the airport had quietened down a little, I was just about to get my head down for a few hours when there was an announcement stating that the airport was closing until 4am! I have never been to an airport that closes before so it was a little bit of a shock and meant that I had to sit outside the airport for 4 hours waiting for it to reopen! It wasn't all bad though, there were about 20 of us that had to do this so there were people to talk with but it did mean that I got no sleep at all!

After arriving back in the UK I decided that I didn't want to sleep in the day as I wouldn't have slept at night so I spent the day at my brother's (Rich) house playing on Football Manager and catching up with him, Nathan and Stevo. It was nice to be back amongst the boys again even if I was feeling particularly tired and ill! I went to see Roman at Emma's house before heading back to my parents' house for something to eat and to sleep. It was really funny seeing Roman again - he was blatantly excited but it was almost as if he was so excited that he could hardly move! He normally bounds around all over the place but he was relatively calm despite the obvious excitement.

Yesterday I managed to get in at the doctors so I now have some antibiotics for my throat infection and I got some aspirin based painkillers off Rich that really helped me with the pain a lot. I spent another couple of hours with Rich and Stevo whilst waiting for Emma to get in from work so that I could go and pick Roman up and take him to my parents' house for a few days. Roman has behaved really well with Casper and my initial worries about him charging around the house have proved to be unfounded. He was remarkably calm once he got inside the house which I am pleased about.

Today I have come to visit my mum with Roman and will be staying here for the night. My little brother, Jamie, has apparently missed me loads so I am sure that he is happy to see me. My mum's next door neighbour has the tiniest dog in the world so we let Roman play with her. It was really funny to see as she really wanted to play and chase him around but he was a little unsure - he has never played with such a small dog before and I think he was worried that he might hurt her so he was really hesitant. Don't believe the press - Rottweilers are actually gentle giants!

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