#9: Attend soccer matches in South America and Europe

When we visited Florence last year we had the unique opportunity to attend a soccer match of Italy’s top division, Serie A. We arrived in Florence around 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning, plenty of time to arrange transportation to the afternoon match. We stayed in the apartment of a local girl, who we found on Airbnb (I should write a post on our experiences using this website). She was a great host, especially when it came to helping us find the ticket office by bus. Nothing Google can’t solve but it’s nice to have a local on your side! Transportation was so easy – hop on a local bus and end up at the ticket office. The line for tickets to the match was already out the door. We waited in the group outside for a while before finally being let inside the office – where we saw a sign that said that passports were required to buy tickets and ours were back at the apartment. Luckily we had just enough time to run out of the office and catch the bus back to the apartment, grab the passports, get back to the ticket office, wait in an even LONGER line and get our tickets all before the game started.

Waiting in line was… interesting. A guy cut in line near us and someone noticed and got angry. I have no idea what was being said but I have to tell you it was quite the experience being the only tourists in a group of locals! Very entertaining.

Fiorentina is the local team of Florence but I don’t remember who they played. It was a beautiful day for a match! I loved being able to see the rolling hills outside the stadium. I highly recommend going to a local event like this as a tourist. It’s a good opportunity to get away from the typical touristy haunts and rub shoulders with the locals. It was easily one of my favorite experiences of our whole trip.

Some differences between an Italian stadium and an American stadium:
  • The visitors’ section was literally fenced in by sturdy plastic, presumably so the home fans can’t throw objects at the visitors? Or maybe it’s the other way around?
  • No alcohol in sight – it’s prohibited within the stadium.
  • As I mentioned earlier, you need a passport to buy a ticket. I think Mark said this makes it easier to keep the rabble-rousers out if they’ve caused trouble before. Your identity can be tracked.
All in all, very fun. Does anyone have any recommendations of non-touristy experiences during their travels? I’m thinking local markets and the like, anything that gets you into the heart of the culture!

A 100 List Update

I was browsing my 100 List the other day and I think it’s about time I updated it! I believe it’s been two years or so since I came up with it and after learning more about myself, there are some changes I need to make.

#9: Attend soccer matches in South America, Africa, and Europe

I suppose I shouldn’t close the door on Africa, but I was probably the most motivated to visit when my friend Nicole lived there for about two years. She’s now back in Seattle and since we didn’t take the opportunity to go when she was there, it’s not high on our priority list now. So I’m now only including South America and Europe. And actually, I’ve already fulfilled Europe. I can’t believe I forgot to post on it! That post is forthcoming.

#16: Own a cat

Cats are OK, I guess. But our neighbor has three of them and while I don’t hate them by any means, they track dirt all over the car, poop in our yard, and creep me out by peering into our basement windows when I least expect them. Friends may swear by how sweet their kitty is, but what’s to stop them from ripping up the leather couch or scratching my beautiful (yes, I love it more than I should) dining room table? It’s just too risky. I know I can train dogs but a cat is more of a loose cannon. I’m changing #16 to re-painting the kitchen.

#32: Own a Newfoundland, like in Peter Pan

Now that I’ve done research on the type of dog I want to own, I realize a Newfoundland wouldn’t be a good fit for me. They are too big and have way too much hair for me to handle. I want a dog who can run with me, and Newfoundlands would probably overheat. But I still think they’re cute! #32 is being simplified to owning a dog in general.

#62: Live in NYC at least once

Not saying this could never happen. But at this point it isn’t a realistic enough goal to focus on, so off it goes. #62 is now to create a gallery wall. But I’m kinda cheating because I already did this and just need to post about it… ha.

#93: Read through the list of Pulitzer-Prize winning nonfiction books

Well… I was going to change this to fiction instead of nonfiction but I think I’m just going to add the fiction winners also to #93. Because I like reading!

#74: Go to a stand-up comedy show

We actually went to a show with Mark’s sister and brother-in-law back in March! We went to see Adam Carolla at the Moore Theater in Seattle, which was a great venue for a comedy show. Adam was pretty entertaining and kept us laughing with his anecdotes and slideshows, like a rant on how every faucet knob in a hotel bathroom is different and why can’t they all be standardized (complete with pictures). I thought the end to his routine was very inspiring – he showed us his yearly income when he was starting out (lots of zeroes) and his income now (lots of zeroes but behind bigger numbers), proving that just because you come from very little doesn’t mean you can’t make something of yourself. He’s a prime example of someone who has worked very hard to be where he is and there’s nothing stopping you, either.

Yard work

Undoubtedly, the biggest task for a homeowner is yard work. Maybe every house is like this but I swear we seemed to find the house with the biggest area to keep up versus the square footage. I am not fond of yard work. I know there are people out there who are but I'm just not one of them. All that aside, it's really not too bad when you have clear goals (we're going to weed to HERE and then eat dinner) and gloves.

The picture above shows a patch of land behind our house that no one ever sees. Does that mean it doesn't exist? Sadly not. Even though no one sees it, we still get to keep it weeded. I don't remember what it looked like when we moved in last April but by THIS April, it looked like a greenbelt. See that small patch of weeds toward the back (technically the front) fence? Imagine weeds like that all the way up to the nearest window well. It was BAD. But after two sessions of weeding, it now looks like the above. We found all kinds of creepy crawlies who have hopefully found new homes NOT on our property (I "relocated" the slugs to our neighbor's yard... they're renters, they won't know) and it's nice to look out the office window (the one nearest the chimney) and not see a forest. I really wish I had taken a before picture because it's such a dramatic change but you'll just have to use your imagination.

Ahh yard work. It's painful at the time but you sure can see the fruits of your labor!