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First, let me say that I adore blogging.  I’ve taken to it like a duck to water. In the past few days, whenever I had a spare minute, I thought about this blog and how I can make it better.  So hopfully, some neat changes will be coming soon.

Second, yes, I too will be happy when I can get off this base and start taking pictures of interesting things 🙂


Okay now about phones.  Before I left the States, I read everything I could find online about the best way to go about staying connected while in Italy.  I have a Samsung Galaxy Android with Verizon.  I called Verizon and asked them to unlock my phone.  I was assured that it was unlocked.  I called back again about something else and was told that the kind of phone I had was not “Global Ready” and that it wouldn’t work in Italy even if it was unlocked.

I had already installed Magic Jack on my mobile.  Magic Jack allows you to use any Wi-Fi to make phone calls back to U.S. phone numbers (as if you were in the States).  It’s perfect, if you are like me, and have no actual phone service overseas.  All you have to do is find some free Wi-Fi, and you’re ready to roll.

The only downside is that if your W-Fi is spotty, your reception will be too and it may sound as if you are underwater, in a tunnel, or diving from an airplane.

The day after I got here, I bought an Italian SIM card from a store in the BX.  It works kind of like a pre-pay phone card where you put money on it every month or so and use it when you want to.  I think the minutes also roll over every month. I’ll let you know if that turns out not to be the case.

Now you have to understand exactly what an Italian SIM card will and will not do.

You should only use it with those who have Italian or other European phone numbers.  There is a bit higher charge for non-Italian numbers.  Under no circumstances should you call anyone in the States with that SIM card.  Nor should you allow them you call you–unless they don’t mind paying an arm and a leg for the privilege.

The problem I had was that because my Android was locked and not global ready, it wouldn’t recognize the new Italian SIM card…so I was basically SOL.

My solution?  I went back to the phone store and bought a little white Samsung Vodaphone flip-phone for 39 Euros.  I can talk and text on it, and and it came with a charger.  This way, I can use my Vodaphone to look for a house and give the number to my coworkers.  Most of them bought the Italian SIM and put it in their iphones or androids, because their phones are unlocked and can be used overseas.

Another little something I learned was that if you have a locked mobile phone, KEEP IT OFF OR IN AIRPLANE MODE until you are ready to use your Magic Jack app.  Otherwise, you will be constantly incurring roaming charges because your phone is always going to be on the lookout for a signal.   And those charges could add up.  So please be careful.

Okay everyone, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!