Monday, July 13, 2015

Italy Day 32 - Milan (or as the Milanese say, "Milano")

Wendy is officially sick, so I'm (Corey) on blog duty now.  She is almost never sick so this is really shocking and unsettling to me.  Long story about trying to get some meds for her but we'll get to that later.  First things first.  I guess we've been in Italy long enough for people to tell us the correct pronounciations for things.  For instance, it is MEE-lon, not mi-LON and technically it is MEE-lon-oh, just as it is Roma not Rome, but that's another story.  In either case, we have found the Milanese people to be incredibly warm and welcoming - even moreso than many of the other cities we have visited.  We feel in a way that Milano is Chicago and Roma is NYC (but of course we are biased).  Milano is also very easy to navigate and the metro/tram system is awesome and efficient.  It is a more modern and sophisticated city in our very limited experience, but it still has lots of charm and culture.  Our Milanese friends (admittedly also very biased) say that there is a distinct north-south dividing line in which Florence separates the ideologies of the north from those of the south in Italy.  I'm not going to get into what the perceived differences are, but I think some of the same sterotypes that exist in the US with respect to yankees and southerners tend to exist here.

Wendy is a bit of a mess at the moment.  Terrible ear ache, body aches, chest congestion, hacky cough, and completely exhausted.  For those that know Wendy, nothing keeps her down, especially when she is in a new city!  Well she did not get out of bed all day yesterday so that tells you how sick she is.  I was tempted to haul her to the ER!  Instead I called my friends here in Milano and asked advice.  Just an fyi, I keep referring to our 'friends' here - I have been working with Massimo for 11 years since I met him in the PhD program at Maryland, when he studied with us for a semester.  We have become good friends over the years as he has visited the US several times and introduced us to his lovely wife Chiara and their new daughter Matilda.  He is with Bocconi University here in Milano, which is said to be the Harvard of Italy.  It is almost certainly the best business school in Italy and one of the best in all of Europe and the world for that matter.  In any case, Massimo said we would likely need to see a doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics.  Back in the 'old days' of Europe when it was just Wendy and me traveling, we used to just walk into a pharmacy and they would sell us antibiotics over the counter but those days seem to be over now.  So I ventured off with the 3 kids in tow and found a pharmacy that was open on Sunday (it took visiting 2 other closed ones first) and finally found one that was open and the pharmacist spoke English (BONUS!).  I described the symptoms and he handed me Vicks cough medicine...ugh! Wendy hates cough medicine and plus, I knew it wouldn't help.  I asked for antibiotics and he crinkled his face and said, "you must have prescription."  Well, looks like Wendy is getting Vicks!

This was Gia's face when the pharmacists said "No script for you!"

So back home we went, dejected and empty-handed save for the Vicks cough medicine.  On the way home, we stopped off for some play on the gigantic snails that adorn Navigli.  

Not to forget the birds... There are also a few birds too!

And this is Matilda Magni... the daughter of Chiara and Massimo.  They were kind enough to organize a play date at a Childrens' Museum not far from our apartment.  As you can see in the picture below, our kids really enjoyed it!

The staff were amazed at the city the Angst' kids constructed.  I had no part in this epic city plan - it was all the kids.  

And all good playdates end with the parachute trick!  

On the way home, I said a "Hail Mary" for Wendy and it struck me that I should try another pharmacy that Massimo had recommended that might be open 24-hours.  So we got off the tram and walked a couple blocks to the pharmacy, which happened to be OPEN!  I asked the pharmacist if he spoke English and he said, "No." (uh oh...). Then I described and acted out for him the symptoms that "my wife" had.... and I'm still not sure if he thought it was me who was sick, or my wife, or my kid, or my dog, but at that point, he was noticing that my 3 hot, sticky, sweaty kids were examining everything on the he was really trying to get me out of the store.  Not surprisingly, he turned around and produced none other than Vick's cough medicine!  The Vicks sales rep must be unbelievably good in Navigli!  I said, "we try - no work".  Then he cringed that same cringe as the other pharmacist and I hit him with it..."antibiotic?!"  He looked me up and down, and up and down again, and then looked over the top of his reading glasses at my 3 kids who were now picking up boxes of condoms and other things that I didn't even recognize...and he quickly vanished into a backroom.  He then handed me a box and I recognized one word on it only..."AMOXICILLIN".  Exactly 12 Euros (dollars) later, I was walking out of the pharmacy feeling as though I conquered Caesar in his city!

After we exited the pharmacy, we jumped on the snails one more time in celebration of Amoxicillin! Now if it just works...

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