March 7, 2017
Sono a casa. I am home. It doesn’t sound like much but it feels so much larger than it sounds. I moved out of my apartment before the end of September, 2016. I had a grand adventure traveling to Canada and in the United States before leaving for Italy on 10 January 2017. It really was a fabulous experience.
However, I gave up so much to do it. I sold or gave away most of my belongings. I lived out of a suitcase or two while in a basement room in my sister’s home. And I packed up my few treasures to store in Minnesota while I jetted away to Rome.
It has not yet been two full months in Italy but it has flown by. In this short amount of time, I spent over two weeks in Apino, Lazio with my cousin.
I spent 3 weeks studying la lingua italiana, the Italian language, at Poggiobono in Maremma.
No, the above photo is not the house. It is across the way from www.Poggiobono.it.
With my teacher, Virginia Villani, I also visited Marsiliano, Manciano, Pitigliano, Porto Ecole, Orbetello, Santo Stefano, and Telamone.
I traveled by train back and forth to Chiavari 4 times to find my future apartment.
And in the middle of all of this, My Daughter, Stephanie, and Granddaughter, Maggie, arrived for a week of frivolity. We explored Montecatini in Tuscany, and the Chianti hills where we experienced wine, food, and running with goats. We traveled by train for a day in Florence where Maggie finally got some fantastic Gelato and so did we. We spent two days with cousins in La Spezia and Cinque Terre. Then we drove to Milano for our last night together before they left.
As they headed for the USA, I took my train to Chiavari to secure my new apartamento. It took all day for the wire transfer to go through. I would have dropped some things at my apartment but was afraid I would miss my train back to Maremma.
After all of this excitement, exploration, exasperation and exhaustion, guess what? I made my second visit to an Italian emergency room. Yes 2 days in less than two months I spent in a hospital, exhausted and dehydrated. Perhaps I should slow down a bit? One note, the hospital in Orbetello was amazingly good. Thank you to Virginia for convincing me to go.
Learn from me! Do as I say, not as I just did! I could have taken 6 months to do all that we did in such a short time. Go slowly. Enjoy la dolce vita.
And now, finally, I have a home. Above is my modest solotto, living room. I plan to dress it up with better coverings.
You know what I have missed the most about not having my own place? My electric toothbrush. Isn’t that silly? But most bathrooms in Italy do not have a place to plug it in. I used my electric toothbrush 4 times already! Yippeee.
Yes, I am still exhausted. But so far, I am in love with my little place. My one bedroom flat is on the 3rd floor in a building that is 2-minute walk to the sea! On a windy night like tonight, I can listen to the waves crashing into the breakers, visualize the spray of water high into the air, hammering down on the rocks and calmly cruising into the shore. When I am on my big balcony I have a tiny view of the water too.
When I first arrived, I took a taxi to my place and tipped the driver to help me get my things into the apartment building. He actually took the elevator up with me and carried them into my hallway. He showed me how to use the skeleton key and told me I would be safer using that key all the time.
I actually hung up my clothing, unpacked my 2 towels and one sheet Virginia kindly gave to me. I hung the towels in my cute little bathroom and made my bed. After freshening up, I headed to la passagiata, the promenade by the water for my first sunset in Chiavari.
The water was absolutely furious that night.
On one of the househunting trips I had stopped at a Gelateria on the promenade. I went there again and Renaldo was my waiter once again. We spoke in Italian. I told him that I had just arrived in Chiavari and had rented a place nearby. I planned to stay a year or maybe forever.
Renaldo told me of how people in my age group show up outside his shop to walk together every Wednesday morning around 930 or 1000. He wanted me to meet an American named Tim who was one of the organizers. Tim spends 6 months in Chiavari each year. He would make sure I met him. That was so nice of him. I think I will go on Wednesday.
This is my new home. I live here now. It is an exciting step to take after dreaming about it for years. It is a somewhat frightening prospect too. I have trouble even getting my door unlocked much less lighting the burners, reading the paper, meeting people and improving my language skills. Wish me luck. And travel vicariously with me….just not as fast as the first two months.
Ciao for now!
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Ciao for Now!
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