A couple of weeks ago, my internet key broke. After all the tears and frustration of getting one that worked in my apparently aging computer and figuring out how not to get ripped off by Alice Mobile, it just broke. I took it out of my bag one day, plugged it into the computer and the little green light just didn't come on. The bit that plugs in feel too loose, so I figure it was probably all my own fault because I didn't look after it properly. There's no way of replacing it that would be worthwhile for the six weeks or so before I move to France, so at the moment I am internetless and scrounging friends, school and the internet cafe in a bid to stay in touch with the world, because it couldn't have happened at a worse time. I need to book flights, arrange to ship my stuff to Paris and plan a holiday for me and my mum, and this has really brought home to me how dependent I am on the internet for information and communication. I'm sure all of these things can be done in other ways, but it's just so much more difficult. (The best places I've found for internet here are the major bookshops. Although Mondadori is closer for me, I tend to use FNAC because although the internet cafe is open all day at Mondadori, they only sell credit at certain times, and never at weekends. Trust Italy to make even the internet inconvenient!)
Anyway, apart from finding myself temporarily on the wrong side of the digital divide, here are a few of the things that have been happening in the past two weeks.
Summer has definitely come. The school year has ended, it's 30 degrees outside, and the comune (town hall) is shutting for it's 3 month long holiday. It's only open for 5 hours a day at the best of times, so I guess 3 months of being completely closed won't make much difference.
With the end of the school year have come lots of goodbyes and farewell parties. Two of my favourites have been at the bar of the Mondadori bookshop, which has a terrace which is open to the public all the time and another one for private parties, and at La Toscana, a bar and restaurant on the Corso Porta Ticinese. I also attended a Partyamo event for the first time. Partyamo is a social group organised by a Scottish guy called Steve who has been living in Italy for 15 years and that lets foreigners and Italians meet and speak in different languages.
On Friday, my friend and I went shopping in Nadine, which is one of my favourite shops in Milan. She was exchanging a skirt and I actually didn't let myself even try anything on because I was scared I would want to buy everything! Italian fashion, I will miss you...
The highlight of Saturday was quite definitely a visit to the car wash. Mr A needed his car repaired before driving it back to the UK this week, and we were actually looking for a garage but ended up in the car wash by mistake. 4 euros bought us a good half our of fun with the high pressure hoses, the foam brush and a special machine for washing the floor mats, and weirdly enough the place, which had room for about 30 cars, was full of other people doing the exact same thing. It was great. Then we actually did find the Fiat garage (on Via Corsico) and met a very friendly mechanic who, despite the fact that he was closing up, came out into the street to look at the car and listened very patiently to my attempt to explain the problem without any technical vocabulary and then offered to let us skip the queue for repairs first thing on Monday morning.
And now there are just a few days of packing, cleaning and paperwork before Mr A goes back to the UK for a few weeks and I get ready to entertain my mum, who's arriving for a week's holiday on Tuesday, and enjoy Italy like a tourist again!