Thursday, April 16, 2009

Encountering initial obstacles

Usually people say, days fly by when you’re having fun. But in Italy, they fly by mostly because of the crazy long working hours you have. Here even though you might have a morning shift in a hotel, you don’t start before 9 a.m. which means you don’t get to leave before 5 p.m. Seeing as the sun sets at 8 p.m. that only leaves you with three hours of daylight during your free time. That’s nothing.

Working at the hotel has been interesting. Since the hotel I’m doing my internship in is quite small, they give me quite free hands and I get to try a lot of things. I’ve been surprised from the beginning of the way they treat me as one of them. In fact, sometimes they tend to forget that I am not Italian.

I’ve realized that the opening of the owner’s second hotel, Hotel Alisei, which will take place next Tuesday, will mean more responsibility for me since half of the staff of my hotel will move to the other hotel. Therefore the opening will in fact leave me in charge of the reception together with my boss. Funnily enough, she is also responsible for the other reception and therefore I can already imagine that I will be left a lot alone at the reception. This after only one week of internship. Interesting. I remember working at Palace Kämp Hotel Linna in Helsinki, and there I would never have been left alone after merely one week of practice.

I can’t deny that I am worried since it’s very different for me to be working purely in Italian, but I guess I should look at this all as a great opportunity. The people here continue to see me as one of them, and they do not treat me in a different way even though I’m Finnish.

Yesterday I encountered some obstacles in finding a way to get wireless Internet. Since I in Finland use an Internet key that is attached to my USB port, I thought I would do the same in Italy. Here though, the keys are not as developed. Ever since I arrived, I have been searching for an operator situated here in Lignano. Eventually I heard that Vodafone has an office here so I decided to walk to their office after work. I left the hotel at 5 p.m. and arrived at the Vodafone office about one hour later.

A distance that seemed fairly short on the map turned out to be a mission impossible in reality. I just have to face it; in Italy you can’t do anything without a car. The roads are in terrible condition and more importantly, people misunderstand you when you’re walking alone as a woman on a street meant for cars. I noticed I could not walk for more than 5 meters and then there was always a car asking me if the driver could drive me somewhere. It would be fine if I wouldn’t be alone, but honestly, I don’t think it is safe accepting a similar office from a person I don’t know. As a result, I ruined my feet by walking about 5 km in 25 degrees only to get an Internet key.

I mentioned earlier that the Internet keys here aren’t that developed. In the end, the only one that Vodafone could offer me was one of 99€!! In Finland my key was free. Here almost one hundred Euros and after my internship I can’t return it so I’m stuck with the key and there is no refund. Besides this, I had to charge the key with 30 Euros in order to receive 100 hours of Internet usage.

The positive part of walking all that time in order to reach the Vodafone office, I managed to see the center of Lignano, called Sabbiadoro. This part of Lignano is the posh part of peninsula. Even though Lignano is small, you can still find designer shops here like Dolce&Gabbana, Dior, Gucci etc. Lignano is a place that lives on tourism. Here you can find a great quantity of hotels. Everywhere you look, there is a hotel and a bar. To be honest, I prefer the area in which my hotel is situated, called Pineta, because it’s less commercial. But seeing the center, I realized why people come here on vacation. With a car and the right company, Lignano would be a great place to spend one’s vacation in.

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