Wednesday, April 25, 2007

my little slice of heaven in Milan

It's about time I made a little piece about where I live.

I've spent years living in Costa Rica, where every house has bars on the windows, high iron fences and gates with barbed wire on top. Petty crime is common in the streets.

Then twice as many years living in New York, famed for its crime, street shootings and hookers on the street--although, truth be told, Giuliani did clean a lot of that up.

In both countries I knew where I could go and where not, and felt relatively safe walking about at any time of the night on my own.

In Milan, I feel a different kind of unsafe. Perhaps it's me still adjusting, and more scared about the situation out of general insecurity in my personal life than I should be. Ignorance generates fear.

The more common bad elements here are the eastern Europeans and the Africans. I was used to the latinos, their sexual harassment, the desperation of an immigrant culture... but now I am dealing with new cultures I know nothing about. And are unable to measure.

It doesn't help that I decided to move to an area where they congregate. I thought living next to a major train station would be all sorts of useful for traveling (not quite used to being settled down yet... lol) and the street looked nice, and the apartment was huge, and the guys living in it had been here for years, and they were all artistic...

I didn't calculate all the details, though.

You can check out a little photoshoot of my street to see what I mean.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

working at the fair

Today I started working at the Salone del Mobile, an international furniture/design fair where the whole world congregates for 5 days of events, shows, and sales... over 2K booths, 1/4 of which are from overseas... I helped set up our booth (an international bookstore in Milan) on Tue and today I worked my first day as a "sales person"...

If you're in the area, stop by the entrance of pavilion 9-11 at the "Milano Libri" booth and say hi!!


Monday, April 09, 2007

Open house in Milan!

Aaight, the Battlegirl's House in Milan is open for guests. Dont' expect much, but drop in whener. One big ass bed, a comfy couch, and an extra mattress are all up for grabs. At least in the next 3 months, which are all paid up for :) I'm extremely easy to get to from the Central Station, the international train station of Milan. So just send me an email and drop on by!!

Things in Milan seem tough to get a handle on. When people complained about having to network and know people in New York... they had never tried to make it in Milan before. This place runs *only* on being friends with someone rich... Most grads go overseas to get a job, and anyone who is looking for a job gets a really tough time... But I'm here for more than just make it as an employee. I'm going to find a way!

'Hope to see some of ya god friends around here soon!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Eggs!

In the USA Easter eggs are virtual surprises, usually hidden in some computer application, snippets of code that reveal themselves only with a special combination of actions.

In Italy they are an object of real-life. It's a tradition for Easter to gift an overly-packaged hollow chocolate egg, with a surprise inside. It seems that the tradition to gift eggs goes as far back as the Middle Ages. Not sure when this chocolate version came about, I know in the USA they do paint real eggs and hide them around the garden for children to find... It's always the element of surprise, nevertheless.

I was warned that "you can't find an egg the day before Easter! You better get one now!" In a rush, I went to the first supermarket I could, a small one near the place I just moved to (actually, it was right as I was moving, we stopped by the first place we saw). So I bought myself an egg a week ago. A regular-sized egg, about 8" tall, made of thin chocolate, goes for about 8EUR. Fancier ones, with thicker, fancier chocolate shells or nicer surprises can be over 25EUR.

I was thorn between a Kinder egg (a major chocolate producer in Europe, famous for its toys) and a Simpsons one. In honor of the American culture, I went with the latter. :)

This is what it looked like. It's more packaging than chocolate. The price probably goes to cover the fancy metallic paper and copyrights more than the egg itself. Careful not to ruin the paper, I unwrapped it. The egg inside is almost a let-down. Well, perhaps a chocolate lover would start drooling at the brown yummyness... Seeing as I don't fancy regular chocolate, in the back of my mind I already started thinking how I could dispose of it... Good thing I live with two guys. :)

I started knocking the shell. It was tougher than I expected. A small punch barely made a dent in it! Challenged, I gave it a couple of solid knuckle punches. Breakthrough! I was finally able to peek into it. Saw a Bart peeking back. I widened the hole and retrieved the prize.

I am now the happy owner of a Bart yo-yo.


Wishing ya all better surprises for your eggs. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More Italian Job Nightmares

Well, I managed to make one small dream come true. I was a waitress for one day! :) And got paid 4 times as much as a regular job! It was a special event, a presentation of the new line for next winter by a fashion designer. There was some catering, and a friend I met a couple of months ago knows the organizers and has been working with them for a while, and recommended me as an extra hand.

Excited about the prospect, and wanting to be presentable, I pre-spent a third of what they paid me just to get clothes that would fit the job: black dress pants and a white shirt. I figured I could consider it an investment :)

The day was quite uneventful, far less people than they expected showed up, so it was basically helping 2 sisters set up the food on trays, and then this friend of mine and myself would carry them outside in this big warehouse to the arriving guests. Which weren't more than 2 at a time, spaced evenly throughout the day...

I was on my feet for the first 5 hours straight. Didn't feel any tiredness. Tried to help as much as I could, considering I was clueless and had never done this before... I guess the adrenaline helped. Every time someone would come through, we'd jump out, and offer the drinks (juice and water in the morning, wine for lunch, back to juice after that) and the tiny snacks (sweet first, then salty, then some warm food for lunch, and back to small salty snacks...). After 2pm, though, I started to feel the fatigue. With no real break all day, 9 and a half hours of work, I got home on automatic pilot, grateful I had taken the trains so many times already I knew where to go without thinking about it. But damn happy about it all!

Besides this random one-time deal, though, I am still jobless. I haven't been contacted by anyone yet. I keep trying to make new contacts, friends of friends, but I keep falling short of expectations on one side and being too much for the other. The photographer I had randomly met last year, that keeps promising to help me out, keeps bailing on me, so that is a route I haven't been able to explore yet.

I also just moved to an apt "of my own". As in, I have my own room in a 3-bedroom apt, the other rooms being taken up by two guys. I don't feel like I can quite make an official "open house!" announcement yet, as it's already the 3rd of the month and I haven't even paid rent yet... Apparently it takes a lot longer for money to cross the ocean than to stick to the same continent. 3 whole business days and no money yet... It's starting to feel uncomfortable...

But, as soon as that is cleared up, I will finally be able to start returning some guest-ing favors and welcome any of ya that want to come visit the fashion capital of Europe! :) So start looking for some ticket deals. I recommend those search-all-the-airlines-for-the-cheapest-deal websites like or, within Europe, ! ^.^