Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Holy guacamole! What have I done?! I now have a minimum of NINE people coming for lunch on Wednesday. Additionally, three MORE people are “maybes”, and who knows how many more will be added before Wednesday actually gets here?!!! This started out so simply……then simply got out of control!

In March when we attended the get together (hereafter referred to simply as a gtg) organized on the ExPats in Italy message board, we met, among others, Larry and his daughter. Larry owns a house just outside of Massa Martana, and he and his family were here for a vacation at that time.

Because there were soooo many people at the Siena gtg, it was impossible to talk with any one person for very long. Mostly we just touched base with everyone and wished we could have gotten to talk longer and in more depth.

When Larry emailed us a while back and said they’d be here for a week or so at the end of June, did we want to gtg, we said “Sure!” Because Larry and his wife Shelly are only here for brief periods of time, I figured my kitchen would be a little better equipped to host lunch, so I invited them here.

Later, Shae and Art sent us an email inviting us to their house one day this week, and I thought, what the heck, and asked them if they’d like to come here to get to know Larry and Shelly better. Shae and Art were also at the Siena gtg, but none of us has ever met Shelly….I think Larry and his daughter were the family representatives for the gtg, while Shelly was fulfilling other obligations elsewhere.

Okay, cooking lunch for six people is no big deal. I’m set. Then last week we met Anna and Ramon who are here in Umbria doing what we did a few years ago….making their first city-hunting, house-hunting trip in preparation for their permanent move within the year. We REALLY liked them, and thought that meeting more expats and future expats would be very informative, not to mention fun, so we invited them too. Okay, with us, that’s eight people.

Anna and Ramon had asked about several people on the ExPats message board, specifically Judith. This seemed the perfect opportunity to have Judith see our house and to let Anna and Ramon here yet another expats story! Assuming that her dental emergency turns out to be minor, and that her car gets serviced as scheduled, she’ll be here too. Nine.

THEN I found out that this is the week that Alice Twain (from both the ExPats and ST message boards) had picked to visit Umbria. She and her boyfriend are claiming their prize of a stay at Brigolante, just outside of Assisi. Alice was another person from the Siena gtg that I’d like to know better, and since she lives so far away (Milan), it seemed at shame not to invite her too.

This was the point where I just threw in the towel and decided to post a gtg notice on the ExPats board and see who else might be interested! Alice replied that she wasn’t sure of her schedule for the coming week, but that she was a definite possibility. Possibly eleven.

Then I had a reply from Kellee who lives in Tuscany, about an hour from here. She’s only been here a few weeks, so this is a great opportunity for her to meet some of the neighbors! Twelve.

Then I had a reply from Robert and Mary, who live just south of Todi. They said they’ve been here for FOUR YEARS now, and haven’t met a single American. I’m not sure if they were bragging or complaining, but they did express interest in coming on Wednesday. So let’s see, including us, and if everyone shows up, that’s……FOURTEEN PEOPLE!!! What am I going to make for all these people??!!!!!

We haven’t heard from Bob and Rosemary, and since they don’t have a car, they’d have to take the bus to Marsciano where we could pick them up. Not a problem. We also talked to Wendy and told her to stop by if she could get away from work. That would make seventeen, but what the heck!

So far my menu is: Bruschetta and pecorino cheese as the antipasti, then panzanella (tomato/bread salad), farro with tomatoes, and a bean and tuna salad. Remember, I was trying to keep it simple for me, and also somewhat light, since it’s getting hot. I have a chocolate cake recipe that I cut out of the Louisville Courier Journal while we were there in May, and I’ve been waiting for a large group to try this out! I guess I more than got my wish! I may have to make a second dessert just to be sure there’s enough! Market day tomorrow will be a busy day!

Wednesday afternoon, Post GTG…..

Well everyone has gone, and it worked out just fine. Judith wasn’t able to come because she had dental problems, but Bob and Rosemary were able to hitch a ride with Kellee.

Alice and Lucca didn’t make it, nor did Wendy. Mary arrived without her husband, who was working on their new pool……next gtg at their house! In the end we had a total of twelve people and enough food for twice that many!

Because of the large number of people, we moved the picnic to the small park across the street from our house. There’s already a picnic table and a few benches, so Art assembled the round plastic table we have in the garage and brought out the extra chairs.

The park is shady where the tables were, and the ground is fairly level. I sat bottles of water in cold water in our small cooler to keep it cool. We had a nice breeze all afternoon long, and even though it was very hot in the sun, sitting in the park was quite enjoyable.

The food was good…the salads were light and refreshing, and Kellee was kind enough to bring a pasta salad with meat and cheese. I wasn’t very i9mpressed with the chocolate cake I made….not that it was bad, but it seemed like a lot of work, and in the end I’d just as soon have a pan of brownies. Oh well, that’s another recipe tried and discarded.

It was so great for everyone to be able to put faces to names and to hear each other’s stories. Mary told us about a great store near Todi that we need to check out, and shared pool supply information with Larry and Shelly. Anna and Ramon were able to hear different opinions on moving here, and to learn about some different areas.

I’m sure that we’ll all keep in touch. Some of us are here full time, some only part time. Some of us have been here for several years, while Kellee just arrived a few weeks ago and Anna and Ramon are still in the planning stages. It’s so nice to be able to pool our resources! Even bad experiences provide useful information about what NOT to do!

Thanks to Larry for instigating this wonderful afternoon!


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