Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I've discovered a few other things that are uniquely American...things that I've been enjoying while I can...things like rye bread. I even had the brilliant idea to bring a 5 lb bag of rye flour back to Italy with me so that I can bake some whenever I want it!

I've also been enjoying chips and salsa, and unlimited refills of iced tea or diet coke. And WARM chocolate chip cookies! The other night we had dinner with my daughter and her family. They were in Texas on birthday, so this dinner was sort of a belated celebration. We went to Max and Erma's where you can order chocolate chip cookies for dessert and they'll bake them while you're eating dinner! YUMMY!

I've also been enjoying wall to wall carpet, for two reasons...first, for the general warmth, especially on my feet when I have to get up in the middle of the night. Secondly, for how quiet it makes the house. With tile floors, everything seems to be louder and reverberate throughout the whole house.

I'm also enjoying the freedom to shop ANYTIME....of course I could shop at 2 a 24 hour Meijer's or Kroger, but for me, the most appreciated shopping hours are 1:00 until 4:00 pm, when almost every store in Umbria is closed. I can also shop on Sunday if I need to.

I'm appreciating the fact that I can have several loads of laundry washed, dried, folded AND put away in less than 2 hours! On top of that, the towels will be soft and fluffy, and everything will be almost wrinkle free. Wow!

I'm also appreciating the fact that screens and storm doors are commonplace. If it's a nice day, we can open the windows for a nice breeze, and if we have a cold snap, the storm windows can easily be lowered. In Italy, I don't think anyone's even heard of storm windows, and screens are just now starting to SLOWLY appear. Of course we don't have shutters in the states like we do in Italy, but conserving the cool evening temperatures isn't such a big deal when you have central air! Central air is EXTREMEMLY rare in Italy, and I don't even want to think about how much it might cost to cool our house!

This reminds me of how CHEAP the utilities are here in Louisville. I just checked our Italian bank acount online, and our gas bill for mid October to mid December was €208...about $280! And that's just for gas, not for electricity. We use gas to heat our water and also to heat the water for the radiators...and we didn't even start to use the radiators regularly until the END of October.

Of course everyone here is SOOOO relieved becasue the price of gasoline is finally dropping. Right now regular gas is about $1.65/gallon. In Italy we pay about $6.00 per gallon for diesel. Interestingly enough, diesel gas in the states now costs MORE than regular...when did THAT happen?

Having the newspaper delivered to our door every single day is another treat. In Italy, getting the daily paper is probably part of the morning routine...walk to the store for a newspaper, then read it over a cup of coffee at the local bar...or maybe people just read the bar's paper. For us, just being able to read and understand everything in the paper is a treat.

Being able to find water fountains in every store is another thing we didn't realize we'd miss....other than all the outdoor fountains in Rome, we've seen only one or two water fountains inside an Italian store.

Once again, none of these things are crucial to our lives...they're just things we've grown up accepting as a "normal" part of our lives. Now that we live in Italy, we realize just how many little differences there are. These differences are what make our lives so interesting now....we appreciate the little things, and know that whether we're in Italy or the United States there will always be something unique to enjoy.


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