Saturday, October 27, 2007

The number one question I was asked at an Italian dinner party.

How old are you?

Followed by disbelief then, "Yes, you must move to Rome."

As some of you know, I spend my Friday nights reading some scripts, watching Clint and Stacey on TLC's WHAT NOT TO WEAR and then I'm in bed by 10:00.

Yesterday G tells me at 5:00 the friend he is staying with decided to throw a dinner party at the last minute. If I want to come it starts at 8:30. In passing he had mentioned this guy (let's call him G#2) was an artist, they grew up together in Milan and he lived in Beachwood Canyon. You can find some deals/rent stablished places in the flats of the Canyon but the Hills are very expensive. Most artists barely eek out a living. G neglected to tell his friend lived in the Hills of the Canyon. I drove around for almost an hour trying to find the side street off Beachwood Drive. Of course I forgot my cell phone at home. There is nobody on the street, because it's L.A. and nobody walks here. I finally drive down the to bottom of the Canyon and the gas station attendant couldn't be more rude when I asked if he knew where the street was. At this point I was very frustrated. There was a pay phone in the back. It looked like it harbored several infectious diseases. Thank God I had some change. I dialed G's cellphone and what did I hear? His outgoing message. ugh!

Back at the station, I asked a woman if she knew the street. She asked her boyfriend. They live in the area and it was still difficult for them to tell me how to actually get there. It turns out the house is at the top of the ridge. For any folks who live in L.A. you know what it is like trying to drive in the canyon hillls at night. Pitch black, sharp turns on narrow roads, coyotes walking in front of you and staring you down and getting lost.

I finally make it to the house and the host G#2 is gorgeous (and married with two beautiful children). He is a perfect host greeting everyone who comes in and getting them drinks. I see G by the stove and he yells out "you made it. We were so worried about you." Then he starts laughing at my message (I used a lot of the"F" word). He had his phone with him but the reception up there is spotty.

This house was bananas. Views of the Hollywood sign and the reservoir on one side and expansive views of L.A. on the other. I almost cried when I saw the walk-in shower in the master bedroom. It was the size of my living room.

The pasta was delicious. I was talking to another American, who had just moved to L.A. from San Fran to pursue her acting career. She had lived in France for 3 years. She said she was shocked there was food at this party (she arrived around 11:00 and it had turned into more of a party, instead of a sit down dinner thing) and more importantly that people were eating. ha

G told all the Italians I was moving. Two of them I have met before and they work in the Industry. Since I'm over 35, the Italians, esp. those in the biz, got where I was coming from right away. One woman C, said "it's good for you to be so positive but I want you to call me after you've tried to set up your Internet, especially since you will be trying to do it in English. I'm curious to see how you will feel about Italy then." G said, "Come on, why are trying to scare her?" Then they started arguing in Italian. She did say I could find a place for less then 1000 Euros. Her friend has a nice one bedroom in Trastevere for 800.

It's funny, what C mentioned are the things that keep me up at night. Not walking away from a great (but low paying) job but trying to do basic things. When I rented an apartment in Trastevere last year I ruined two shirts because I didn't understand the washing machine directions. I couldn't switch my cell phone to English instructions by myself.

The friend, S, who introduced me to G couldn't be more helpful and said I should call him regarding any production jobs in Italy. He has lived in America for 17 years and is torn. He wants to move back to Milan but he just signed a production deal with an indie company based in NYC. He told G he better look out and take care of me. G said he is on the apartment search and then will try to find me a boyfriend. haha. S knows a black American woman who worked in banking with him in New York. She took a 3 month sabbatical to Italy. She is still living there seven years later with a husband and two children. He mentioned another American expat who is a book agent in Milan that I should meet. C told me to call her the minute I get to Rome.

The party was very fun. I learned some new words and met some very nice people. I was laughing with the other women because there were maybe 6 men at the party and over 30 women. What the hell? We gave G a hard time about it. One woman, a Roman who was born in L.A., just moved back to America and works at this production company that is a super tough place to work (because the people there are crazy, in the truest sense), we will go to lunch/drinks soon and I will try to stop by her Halloween party tonight but I have plans.

Okay, now I have to stop by my office and deal with my desk. I was so backed up at work this week I didn't have time to get organized.


J.Doe said...

LA at night becomes a ghost town. It is wierd how all the people disappear. I do know what you mean about driving around those canyons. it is scary, although where I live now they don't use streetlights either.
Glad you had fun at the party, even though the ride there was not the best.

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I love how it looks like your time-table is speeding up...Let's put our heads together when you come out in Nov and try to think of some more ideas for re: work.

I agree that you should start telling everyone you're moving - like you see, you'll get a lot of info and advice and contacts!

I think 800-1000 is doable for Rome.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Well, it looks like you're still in the Toronto groove as far as enjoying things - but maybe that was because you were hanging around with Italians?

Texas Espresso said...

wow it looks like you have a lot of Italian contacts. Noone is better at "knowing" people to help you find work, etc than Italians. :) sounds like things are going to work out just fine. How exciting!

Kataroma said...

Wow - a one bedroom in Trastevere for 800 euro? Bargain! Do you think maybe she's been there a while though?

Re the internet connection, getting your residency etc - you'll probably find that you have no other choice than to speak Italian. And seriously you just do it when you have to. Don't be afraid - remember, the people you're talking to are mostly mono-lingual so they're probably in awe that you are able to speak a foreign language at all. I've found most Italians to be very polite re my language skills even when I hardly spoke any Italian at all- and I think it's because they often feel bad that they don't speak any foreign languages themselves.

Liz said...

Glad you had a lovely time. And oh yeah, those houses up there are out of control. You have a ton of perseverance, don't you...if you didn't give up on finding that house, you'll do just fine in Italy.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

j. doe - It just bizarre, that there is nobody on the sidewalks in a city of this size.

sara - Sounds like a plan. See you in a couple of weeks.

jen - it's the latter. ha. I had to remind myself earlier in the week that I would be moving soon.

texas - I really know just a few people but they seem to know eveyone. I am fortunate to have such good friends.

kataroma - Not sure how long she has lived there.

I noticed in Italy people were very tolerant regarding my Italian speaking skills, which only encouraged me to keep trying. I did not have that experience in Paris. ha.

liz - At that point I had already missed WHAT NOT TO WEAR, so I kept on driving. :)

Those houses are stunning but I could not live up there. I would be worried about mud slides, earthquakes, fires and the coyotes.

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

It sounds like its all coming together. Networking is the key! Regarding your comment to my comment (last post) yes firstly Positano.

Rob said...

I just love it when I get lost on the way to some (usually uncontactable) persons house. Has happened to me a lot, though usually I am on foot, not in a car.

I had heard that LA was a city for cars, not pedestrians, something I find intriguing as in Ireland you can get pretty much anywhere faster on foot than you can in a car (crappy old roads and too much traffic).

Good luck with your relocation to Rome. To make your internet issues easier I would suggest that you buy one of the wireless internet gadgets from a mobile phone provider - they are a bit more expensive than a landline based connection but you will be up and running in minutes, instead of having to wait days or even weeks for a land based connection to go live.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

confessions - that is great. good luck with you move back to the coast.

rob - yes, L.A. is a car city and it's reflected in the architecture and layout. When I lived in the suburbs (when we moved from NYC) I loved to drive. I have a hard time (after 9 years) wrapping my head around living in the 2nd largest city in the country and having to drive everywhere. I prefer to live in cities where people walk. If I'm going to live in a suburban type place then I would actually move to a suburb.

Thanks for the Internet tip.

modelbehavior said...

"G#2 is gorgeous (and married with two beautiful children)."

Sigh. Why is this always the case?

Good luck with the move! And yeah, with internet get Fastweb NOT Alice. Many hours of my life has been lost trying to figure out that nuttiness.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

model - yes, why does that always happen!

I will check out Fastweb. Thanks.

Michellanea said...

I wanted to mention to you that they are apparently building what they are calling the "Cinecittà di Milano" in an old tabacco factory not far from my house. I'm not sure what kind of film work is going to be done up here (and, yes, I prefer Rome to Milan as well, though I hear Rome is harder to work in...) but it's definitely something to keep in mind. I have a feeling that if it takes off, there will be some back-and-forth between Milan and Rome for those who work in the film industry. Just FYI!


P.S. If I had ANY contacts in the film world, I'd share them with you. I have so few useful contacts in my own field. Sigh. :(

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rob on the internet tip. Many cell phone providers are now offering internet connection that is not that expensive and is hassle-free.
Fastweb is better than alice BUT fastweb is notorious of their (lack of) customer service. They have NO clue what they're doing and are slow. So you might want to think twice/thrice about that.
800 euro for a flat in trast? WOW- that would be a miracle! Please keep us posted on that.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

michelle - grazie mille for the information! That is good news about the new production space.

anon. - thank you. Yes, 800 is a bargain. I know someone who is paying only 1200 for a great place on Via's all about connections and timing. I hope I can find a nice place within my budget.