Tuesday, November 17, 2009


You may recall that a few months back I made a post saying that, although I am happy to be back in Italy, all is not roses and sunshine. I believe the phrase I used was "Be careful what you wish for". I spent my entire two and a half years in Heidelberg trying like hell to get back here to Vicenza somehow, some way. People misunderstood that and took it as me not liking Heidelberg and Germany in general but nothing could have been further from the truth. We LOVED our life in Heidelberg. We loved everything about it except one thing - it wasn't Italy. But I often said, if I never got back to Italy, I would be very happy staying in Heidelberg.

When I got my old job back here I knew instantly that there were many things I would miss about Heidelberg. I have since come to realize that the thing I perhaps miss the most is the commute - or lack thereof - that I had. The base I worked at up there was within walking distance. A long walk to be sure, but walkable nonetheless. But driving there and back each day never took more than 10 minutes and in the morning with little to no traffic, it was not uncommon for me to reach the base in about 5 minutes.

Coming back to Italy, we were adamant that we wanted to live in our old town, Caldogno. We practically had roots there, many friends and neighbors which was a major reason why we wanted to come back here and we were fortunate to find a nice house only one street away from our old place. During my first 6 years here, one of the few things I really hated was the commute to and from the base. It took anywhere from 15-30 minutes but it was all traffic, lights and crazy drivers and was a considerable source of stress for me as I HATE sitting in traffic and even moreso dealing with idiotic drivers, which is commonplace in this country. So I get back here and find out that I'll be working at a satellite facility which is about 15 minutes away from the main base. And it just so happens that it's 15 minutes in the opposite direction. In other words, my hellish commute, such a source of stress for me, is double what it was last time I was here. There are basically only two routes to this base from my house and either way I go, I have to deal with traffic and crazy Italian drivers so it's usually the lesser of two evils. I also have to work an earlier schedule because if I leave the house later than 7-7:15 am, it will take me at least 45 minutes to get to work. This cuts into my ability to establish some kind of pre-work exercise routine in the morning.

I don't know why it stresses me out so much. I mean, it's not like driving in Boston, Rome, Naples, or a big city like that. It's just that sitting in a car in stop and go traffic for a half hour grates on my nerves. It's so bad that when I'm in the car on the way to and from work, I can literally feel my blood pressure go up and often get stress headaches. In the States it wasn't as bad because I listened to talk radio a lot which distracted me but there is no talk radio here. I sit there alone with my thoughts which, believe me, do not make very good company.

Anyway, there is a very good possibility that we will be relocating back to the main base within the next 2-3 years so I keep telling myself that it's not forever and will get better eventually but in the meantime everyday is a freaking nightmare driving to and from work. Definitely one of the worst parts of being back here.


Anonymous said...

if the new Volvo had a tape deck you'd be able to pop in that Billy Squire cassette to ease your pain.

Rik said...

Every now and then I rediscover a nold casette or even CD that injects a bit of joy into my otherwise miserable commute but it only lasts a day or two then the thrill is gone. What I really need is someone to commute with who knows a lot about sports. That would make the commute a hell of a lot more bearable. If only there were such a person...

Anonymous said...

i'm doing my part.