Sunday, February 05, 2006


We’ve spent the last couple of days with our news neighbors, the newest expats-in-training, Damon and his father Virgil. They’ve bought one of the small houses alongside the church, and directly behind our house, on the other side of the park. Although the house is in Virgil’s name, it’s really Damon’s inheritance, to be shared with his sister. How nice for everyone to be able to enjoy it sooner rather than later!

We first learned that we had new neighbors from the Expats in Italy message board. Damon had posted a message entitled “New part-time expats in Umbria” so of course I took a look. After reading that they had bought a small house in San Venanzo I had a feeling that I knew the house they had bought and sent off a reply offering our help if they needed or wanted it.

Damon responded and gave me some background on his family as well. His father Virgil had been born to Italian parents who had immigrated to Argentina. Later the family moved to Philadelphia, which is where Virgil was born. Because Virgil’s parents never renounced their Italian citizenship, Virgil was entitled to dual citizenship.

Although the family now lives in Canada, they’ve visited Europe often, and at one point thought they would end up living in France. With Italian heritage?! From what I gathered, Damon’s sister has worked all over the world , and when she had to come to Rome for business, suggested that they meet with the intention of finding a house.

After looking in many areas, Umbria was the area that won their hearts, even though Vigil’s family was from Molise. They liked the calm feeling of Umbria, and they found a small two bedroom house in San Venanzo that was livable.

Once home, Damon searched the internet and stumbled across our blog….granted, when you Google “San Venanzo” there isn’t a lot of information! After reading some of our stories about searching for a house and what things were most important to us, they felt as if we were of like minds. Once I contacted them, we arranged to meet here in San Venanzo….they planned to stay in their new home as soon as the papers were signed!

I guess some day our luck will run out and we’ll meet some new expats that we just don’t like, but for now our record remains intact….we REALLY, REALLY liked both Damon and Virgil! What nice guys! We had so much fun with them, showing them around San Venanzo, introducing them to Fabio at the Post Office, and to Mauro for when they decide to do a bit of remodeling.

Of course you know we took them to Ternana’s, not once but twice! Unfortunately Stefania’s is closed in January, but we showed them where it is for the next visit. We also took them to the furniture store in Marsciano where they bought frames and mattresses….air mattresses are nice, but still not as nice as a real bed!

We were all pleasantly surprised when we were told that the mattresses could be delivered bright and early the next morning! What a stroke of luck!
We then took them to the “Tre Prezzi” (Three prices) store for some sheets. Combined with the blankets we had loaned them and the ones they had with them, they were in business!

We later made a trip to Collestrada for a heated mattress pad to help combat the cold nights. Although the weather was beautiful and sunny while they were here, it still gets REALLY cold at night, and the small heater they’d bought just wasn’t quite enough to keep the chill away.

Combined with the things they’d bought at IKEA, they now have a good start on a livable vacation spot. Virgil and his wife hope to return this spring, and because they’re retired they could stay for longer periods that Damon and his family.

Because we liked Virgil and Damon so much, and because they told us about the rest of their family, we’re really excited to meet everyone else. Virgil’s wife sounds like someone I’d really like to get to know, and Damon’s wife puts chocolate right at the top of the food pyramid, so what does that tell you? Oh, and Damon also has a son who’s just a year younger than Nicholas….now if we could just convince my daughter to let Nicholas fly over here by himself, the two boys could hang out together!

Damon speaks some French, but little Italian, so I encouraged him to start studying. I think his background in French will help, but it’s still quite a task. Virgil does speak Italian, and I’m sure the longer he stays in Italy the better he’ll get.

Anyway, we were quite sad to see them leave on Saturday, and look forward to their return. I think one of the reasons we get along so well with all these other expats is because we all “get it”. We don’t have to apologize or explain….they know how we feel because they feel the same way. It’s comforting to be with people who feel the same and have been through the same trials and tribulations in getting here.


At 2/05/2006 11:24:00 PM , Blogger Jane said...

Hi, Barb--love your writing--always fun to read. With your Our Pictures link, something weird happens. First, I got a message that Pesonal Photo albums was not enabled (ST). So, I signed on to ST and then when I clicked your "Our Pictures" my ST albums displayed. Am I doing somthing wrong or is there a link problem?

At 2/06/2006 11:49:00 PM , Blogger chefmichael said...

In your post you state:

Muslims apparently believe it is their duty to kill all infidels. They celebrate violence and kill while shouting “God is great”. It seems that almost any offense is punishable by death. There is no freedom of speech in the Muslim world as evidenced by the worldwide demonstrations against a Danish newspaper.

This by no means sums up the muslim religion. You are quoting by the news you watch! I am guessing you do not watch enough FOX news! Have you yet to meet a Muslim TURK that feels this way? Yes, I belive religion has to be carefully contemplated, but I feel your all out stance about muslims is wrong. I am a practicing Catholic that is learning about all religions and thier impact on out world. Trust me, your opinion of Muslims is incorrect. We just see too much of the negative on the boob tube.

At 2/07/2006 06:26:00 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

I am really confused by the comment about Foxnews. I have seen Muslims on Foxnews and they were treated with very little respect not allowed to finish their points,cut off in the middle of sentences etc. etc. While watching the head of the American Muslim ASS. try to get the commentator to listen he said "This is why more muslims don't come on Foxnews" Foxnews is very conservative and certainly no friend to the Muslim community. And I was speakin in general terms. The world IS being torn apart by religion. And when time after time you see thousands of Muslims chanting death to America, death to this, death to that, it would seem death is the answer to everything. If there are moderate Muslims where are they and why are they allowing their religion to be taken over by the most radical muslims. And you commented on the wrong post.


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