Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mercatone dell´ antiquariato del Naviglio grande

At Naviglio, there is an outdoor antiques market on the last Sunday of every month. It is one of the largest antiques markets in Milan. The bargains include clothes, toys, books, furniture and jewellery.

One month ago when I arrived to Milan, I accidentaly found myself from the river bangs of Naviglio and from the market. Actually it was a bit too late in the evening, so everything was closing. Today we visited the market with Irene, my Finnish friend, who studies at Marangoni as well. I think visiting this market will be in my agenda monthly.

I just couldn`t walk past this adorable screen. I thought that it is exactly what I will need in my new apartment...if I get it. The partition is from 1930`s and thinking of my furniture back home it will match them perfectly. I just need to change the fabrics for some new white lace or other...
You can just imagine how much fun we had having aperitivos and in the metro with this new Friend...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sabato e le scarpe

Saturday is a great day for getting new shoes. There is two other Finnish girls at our school. Today I went shopping with Irene and her adorable dog Alba. The sun was shining, we had a great lunch at Vittoria Emmanuele II (know those super expensive cafes behind Duomo?) and we found some great shoes. Yeah, I don`t even want to admit how many pairs we bought all together...

I have never understod how much you get attention being blond in Italy, but try two blonds and a cute chihuahua... ;o)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Le cose che mi fanno felize?

What does it take to make you happy? I still don`t know where to live next week. The owner of the apartment where I would like to move, has been thinking now for 2 weeks if he wants to rent it. Si!!! Today I heard that now he is considering selling it. What an italian!!!!!
Meanwhile I am staying in Porta Venezia (where the pics are taken) and I still haven`t unpacked my luggages. I would love to hang my dresses and take out my highheels. The weather has finally started to get warm. Today it was +24c. My mood goes up and down like the weather these days, because I would finally start living the normal life here. I haven`t been homesick, but sometimes you just need to get cheared up a bit...

I started to think what makes me happy... Last night, after getting back to the apartment from a terrible dinner, I found out that videoconversation with a friend was exactly what I needed. (Thanks baby...again!) Today I got a surprise visitor at lunchtime with a bottle of red wine and lunch ingredients. It turned out to be a picnic... Even a little message from a friend is sometimes enough to make you smile and think warmly. In the evening when getting the groceries, I bought some sparkling wine, strawberries, chocolate and ice cream. If it is only those little things to make you happy, who says you can`t enjoy every day?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fare il jogging

In my opinion Italian food is the best in the world. Who could resist pizza, pasta, parmigiano, prociutto crudo, il gelato, le fragole or prosecco. Not me!!

I have always found running nice. You can go jogging where ever in the world you are. Usually there is treadmills in the hotels where I am stying, maybe even from Tunturi-brand. (Homie, homie...) Or then you just go out for the streets, that is the best way to see the neighbourhood.

I have started my mornings here with a run. It is a great way to wake up. In the morning there is no traffic and it isn`t too hot. (Already preparing for summer`s heat). So there is just the early dog-walkers , garbage trucks and me. Yes, just me!! I am lucky to see one other runner on the streets once in a while. Never women in sports clothing. Except this one lady who was wearing jeans while jogging. Hmmm..... What is wrong with this picture?

One morning I wanted to sleep in a bit and by mistake, went running around 9.00. OMG, that was a mistake! I have never gotten so many stares. What is she doing? Running? Wearing sweatpants? And she is a girl?!?

My friend also was worried of me running in the mornings. He said that it isn`t safe. Maybe that was, because at that time I was staying in a hotel next to the Central Station. He said that early in the morning I might get kidnapped, he must have been joking...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Istituto Marangoni

My school here in Milan is Istituto Marangoni. It is downtown next to the fashion triangle; Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Manzoni. That is a nightmare for my Visa-card. I guess you have heard of Gucci, Prada, Bvlgari, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Armani, Missoni etc. Yeah, me too... (Just to name a few of my buddies...)
These pictures are taken from our Fashion Collection Fundamentals-class. That is a subject which we study most of the week. Miss Chiusi Lara teaches us to draw and sometimes I think that she really has patience with me... ;o)

I guess Sara has had it.

Via Tortona

One of the areas in Milan where is happening now during Design week is Zona Tortona. It is close to Porta Genova, the area where I lived the first two weeks. It feels homie for me and I like to return there as often I can. My finnish friend Anne works there in a cool Outlet Store and I have made other friends there as well. People just start asking where I come from and that `s how easily it starts. I love this country! I actually feel happier by now...
Today I went for lunch quickly with Anne at Via Tortona. After she had returned to work I found myself helping in this phonestore. It is close to the metrosation and my friend working there doesn`t speak english, so I was translating for turists. I got my paycheck with espressos ... I guess I won`t be sleeping tonight...
Btw, today was the first day in two weeks that it didn`t rain... Is this really how easily I get happy? Hmmm... Must be something else... ;o)

Friday, April 18, 2008

La Scala

I love ballet and especially in Milan, La Scala. I went there first time about 10 years ago with my mom to see La Cenerentola/The Cinderella. Year ago, when living in Helsinki and working for a famous Finnish designer Janne Renvall I tried to go to see The Swanlake, but it was too hard (never enough time). Before that I had quite an experience around x-mas, dragging my ex-boyfriend to the Nutcracker- ballet and making him (and me) suffer there. At that moment I desided, that never ever in my life will I try to accompany a guy there, unless he is gay.

My friend Anna from Finland arrived here with her school, to find out all the latest innovations with Design. Like I told before, Milan has Design week at the moment, Mobile del Salone. She really made my day yesterday, by wanting to come to the ballet with me. The Swanlake was unbelievable. I have seen it once before in Finland, but this really was something...

After the ballet, we went out for drinks with two italian friends from Venice. The mohitos tasted really good, when there was a view of Duomo just in front of you behind the rainy class. My evening ended with a try to find a taxi in wet Milan with hundreds of other people.... Luckily my friends made sure, that I got safely back home.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

La vita meglio?

On Tuesday when checking out from the hotel in the morning before school and leaving all my luggages and belongigs there, I felt terrible. I didn`t know where to move in the afternoon. I went again to the Residency office at nine and of course I had the wrong document for my healthcare. After school I moved all my 10 luggage to this apartment which my real estate agent had magically gotten for me. (He called to his mom, aunt, friends and other colleagues... Nice guy!) On Monday evening I tried to find a reasonable priced hotel room from this city and found out that the cheapest where starting from 450€. Great! This week Milan really is packed.

On the way to the hotel I was having fun in Montenapoleone metrostation.

The apartment where I am now is terrible. I have so much "principessa" in me, that I don`t know how to manage here for 2 weeks. I only come here to sleep and shower. This will be an expensive staying here... I have already eaten out every evening, bought too much prosecco and visited Louis Vuitton twice. God, I miss my old apartment in Finland with Oras-showers, Alessi- waterpan, nice and warm sheets and my TV.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lunedí difficile

This advertisement is in every metrostation. I guess I am totally cool! Great to get a reminder of home every day. Today I had a meeting with the new landlord at the agenzie. It went well, but he needs to think about it with no rush. Noo!!!!! I need the place now! I understant it. I am a foreigner and usually here in Italy, the rent contracts are made for 4+4 years. I pray for him to approve me. I really liked the apartment.
That means that I really am without a place to stay tomorrow, HOMELESS! This week in Milan is the busiest week in the whole year, I have heard. Milan Design Week, Salone del mobile has just started.
I guess the first time since my arrival, I feel a bit down. It has been raining for a week now, I got kicked out of the pattern making-class today (if you can`t stay the entire 2,5 hours, you can`t be present at all) and I have to move again...who knows where. Luckily I am a tough girl! This all only makes me stronger for what`s to come. After a class of prosecco I will for sure feel better and if not, I just walk to the Louis Vuitton-store tomorrow and get the cure...

Pranzo con gli amici finlandesi

I have been too busy searching for the apartment and with school the whole week. I got visitors from Finland and only on Sunday we had time to go out for lunch. Just a few steps from Duomo there is this fabulous italian restaurant. I have been there a few times before and the food and service never lets me down. Neither did this time. I had my first pizza and prosecco during this stay. Sooo good! The waiters just couldn`t leave our table alone... I promised to return there many more times.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sabato sera a Milano

When there is no kitchen to cook, you need to go out with your new frends, right? On Saturday we went for dinner with my new classmates or at least I hoped to go to a chinese restaurant that we had talked about. After being late for an hour of our first planned meeting time and changed the location once, we ended up to this nice Altamoda-café in Brera, for aperitivo. The place was great!

During the evening drinking my new favourite drinks, mohitos, I learned a lot about my new friends. We are all from different countries around the world. Somebody is from strict private school, other from hippie-school with no exams. Someone is kinda lost without a personal driver, cook and cleaning lady. (It isn`t that easy to do your own dinner or clean your own laundry). Someone is a famous singer back home, spanish teacher or just graduated from high school. Most of the people were still living with their parents before moving here. I never feel outside with these friends, but I certainly am a bit more grown up and maybe also a bit older... I would love to be able to continue my studies still in London, Paris and New York (one year in each, like someone planned). For that I am way too old and I really don`t have the money. (Pappa betalar inte...)

Best conversation was with bed and fridge. Yes, one of my friends can`t sleep because the fridge is too close to the bed and gives bad energy. Luckily she can call to her feng shui-teacher to solve this problem. ;o)

I know that I will get great friends, get fluent with Italian and I already got a sister I never had. Thanks Monica!! If someone needs help, I certainly can help.

La vita senza casa

This is Monica on our way to her apartment to get me an other luggage for all my books that have arrived here by mail.

I had to move to a hotel. I didn`t get the apartment in time and I had to check out from the other apartment. I felt that even thought the money might have arrived in time from Finland, there were too many problems with this old agenzie. On Thursday I went to see an other apartment in Ticinese and I just fell in love with it. The area was clean with full of trendy stores. There were no electricity in the apartment, so I couldn`t see well how it really was. The floor was green carpet, kitchen was terrible, there were no bed, no oven, neither enough closet space for my clothing or shoes... But there was something. ;o) High seeling and only one big room, of course the bathroom was separate... with bathtub. I love to have bubblebaths, with a class of champagne or two...

So I ended up going to this new agenzie and we made a recommendation to the new landlord of me needing these certain items. For now, he has accepted them all and I am meeting him on Monday. I know there will be reconstruction to come, but at least I hopefully get to move to an apartment where my "padrone" (landlord) cares about me and where I feel homie. I can`t wait to meet him and find out more where to move and when.

For now I am enjoying my life in a really nice hotel called Andreola Grand Hotel, with great breakfast, cleening every day and paying way too much of my internet time. (I guess I unfortunately need to leave the new Prada sunglasses in the store).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mia prima visitatrice

On Tuesday I got my first guest here in Milan. Jette arrived from St. Moritz. She was there as a skiing instructor for the season and desided to visit me before flying home to Finland.
When she arrived we were in the middle of phone conversations with my friend Stefano. The rental agency I use here, became difficult. Have you ever heard something like this? To get the apartment here, I need to have 1 years rent already in my Italian bank account, to be able to pay 3 months rent, the agenzy fee (1100€), some taxes (220€) and I also need the guarantee from my Italian bank. If I want to end the rent contract, I have 6 months notice time. WOW!!!
At the end, I said that this would be okay, but the money doesn`t transfer from Finland in time, by Friday. I am only allowed to stay in this apartment until Saturday. I asked if the guarantee from Finnish OKO-bank saying that the money is arriving, would be enough guarantee for me to move there on Saturday, but I got a NO. I was only told that "we are simple people here in Italy and we don`t give a shit if you have to move to the hotel". Nice!!
Here we are, Jette and I.

Yesterday we went out for dinner with my friends from school. It was the first time and certainly not the last. We had fun getting to know each other. Other than this I have been too busy showing Jette the town. She has also had bad luck with the weather. It has been raining the whole week, so sightseeing by yourself in rain isn`t too much fun.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Che giorno oggi!!!

How does this country work? I have always thought that I have a long temper, but not anymore, since I arrived to Italy. My friend said to me that my temper has also become italian, maybe that is true. Does it mean short and heated...?
There is some official documents you must take care, when you start living in Italy, in my case Milan. You must get for yourself "Codice Fiscale", which is an Italian version of tax identification number. You will need it to open up a bank account and the account you will need to sign the rent contract. And you must get residency of Milan. This all seems like done in no time. Yeah right!

Last Friday I started with getting the residency of Milan or at least I thought I would get it. I found the right place after asking two times from the street and twice inside the building. I started waiting with all the copied documents I should have....for two hours, until I had to return to school. All right I though, I have to try this later with more time.

Yesterday morning I went for the Codice Fiscale. I was behind the government building already 30 min. before it opened, but later on I found out that so were about 100 others. So I had to do an other try this morning, when finally I got it. After getting this in the morning I realised that I was too late for fashion design class. I desided to skip it and go to the bank instead. In the bank, opening an italian account isn`t that easy. It would cost me 120€/ year. After asking the costs of wiring money, interest or paying the bill via internet and not getting proper answer, I was pissed. I desided to think this through again.

My journey continued back to the office of residency. (Remember, two hours waiting last time?) There I got told to go to "Tribunale"/court, to get my copy of insurancecard translated from english to italian. WTF??? So I continued to Tribunale (the place is a size of Chicago airport) to translate my document in italian...Or not! After asking from 4 people where this office is I got turned down and laughed at.

Yes, I lost my temper. I didn`t know that after spending 11 days in this lovely country I could already swear so well and really scream at some poor officeman. When leaving the court, this nice security guy (to get in the building you must go through x-ray like in the airports) asked me if I got my things done. I guess I looked like just bursting into tears or killing somebody cause he told me to go to this translation-shop just around the courner. There I found out, that getting the god damn insurancecard translated, would take a week and cost me 70€. This card is valid EVERYWHERE in the world except in Italy I guess.

I truly believe when italians move to finland, they will have all their documents translated in finnish language. ;o) I have been taking care all these in italian, I would just like to know how do other foreigners do it here? How will I ever get used to dealing with all this paperwork and bureaucracy.

My evening ended nicely finding out, that I might not get to move to my new italian apartment cause I won`t get in time from Finland 15 000€ money transfer. If you come from Marocco and have a job selling umbrellas on the streets you will get an apartment, but if you are a Finnish student, studying in the best fashion school in Italy, having the cash available... you are not allowed to sign the rentcontract...

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I have always thought that Sundays are great for meeting friends like they always do here in Italy. Tonight after drawing human bodies for schol the whole day, we went out for aperitivo with my beautiful school friend from the Philippines. Here is a great tradition in the evenings at "aperitivo"-time around 19-21.00 when you enter a place and order a drink with 7 euros, you get to eat free from the buffet table.Basicly you will get your stomach full with this. I have already found a few really great places around the area.
Here were are at Más with Monica.

Apartment hunting

My biggest worry for the last week has been finding a decent apartment from Milan in just two weeks. I have had a certain budget what I want to pay. I already knew that living here is expensive, but I never thought it would be like this. I got a good advise from my Finnish designer friend how to start searching. He advised me to start walking in the areas where I want to live and start looking for "Affittasi"-signs. If there is an apartment free in the house, there is always a sign outside the building to show it.
So my walks around Navigli, Ticinese and Porta Genova started... After finding tens of these signs I started to call after them and make appointments. All of these phonecalls were made in italian. What an incredible way to learn the language better. I don`t recommend it to anyone, though! At the same time I was searching through internet and calling other rental agencies...and not to mention this has been my first week of school.

On Friday I went to see one apartment at Navigli, by the canal. It was an old building which I love and it had been just renovated. Meaning new kitchen with oven (others just have had microwaves), new bathroom, new bedroom and new sofa. I highlight the word NEW cause I have seen such disgusting places with increadibly high rents that I can`t believe. I have visited one-room-apartments with the rent of 650€. Huh!!! How in earth can people live here like this?

First day; behind the door

I never thought that it would happen to me, but here we go... First day in Milan and I left for a walk to see how is the surrounding area. Walking here on the streets, tall, blond, Finnish girl... a lot of attention and people calling after you. Anyways, I found a supermarked and did some groceries. Walking 10 blocks back with 4 heavy bags in sun shine, wearing "winter"-clothing makes you thirsty and sweaty. I couldn`t wait to get back to the apartment.

Behind the door trying to open up the locks and not getting in, makes you a bit nervous. So, my first day here in Milan and I didn`t get in to my apartment. I was trying to open the door for 30 minutes and felt quite frustrated. It was Saturday and I was wondering to whom to call... I went to ask help from neighbours in this building, but nobody was home. After asking help from two guys passing me and still no open door, I had to call the rent-agency. Feeling dumb, blond and very much tourist the guy from Rentexpress came. He couldn`t open up the door as well. Nice! We had to call the repair man to open the door. After 1,5 hours I finally get in and at the end I didn`t feel that bad anymore. One new experience to get yourself cleared in italian behind a locked door...

Destination Bella Italia

I finally made it to Milan about one week ago. I was planning to start writing every day, but it has been a huge hassle here... as well. Back in Finland I sold my apartment in Turku and moved all my stuff to my parents house. ( My mom is so happy with me...) What a job to do all by yourself. Luckily my dad has helped me a lot. ;o)

Anyways, I arrived to Milan Friday evening with my 10 bags (I had about 120kg extra weight in my bags) and got a little assistance in the airport from a nice italian gentleman. He helped me to taxi. The journey started great with the taxi driver trying to screw me of with paying more than normally. I speak italian and I didn`t give up with the price. At the end, outside my new rent apartment he left me and all my bags in the middle of the road and pulled of. Great!
I have been staying in this nice apartment from Rentexpress for a week now. It is hideously way too expensive, but I had no other choise. This one or hotel with no kitchen. It is in Porta Genova, really close to a metro. I have kitchen, bedroom and livingroom in the apartment so it has really served me well. It is in the area where I want to live so looking for the apartment and staying already here, has been good decision.