Friday, October 13, 2006

TOUGH CHOICES!

It’s hard for us to compare our days in Italy with our days in the states because we were never retired while living in the states. The one thing I’m sure of is that we’d probably be spending more money if we were retired in the states, simply because we’d be bombarded with more ads for more stuff and all those “too good to pass up” deals would so easily accessible.

Now I’m not really much of a shopper, but I do have my moments. I don’t care much for clothes or shoes or purses, don’t blow the budget on the latest cosmetics, jewelry or beauty treatments, but set me loose in a kitchen/household store or a home improvement/garden center and things can get wild!

Anyway, the point is that here in Italy not only are the sales less frequent, but often the stores are so far from us that we don’t even see the ads unless we’re already at the store. As for price comparisons, forget it. In the states I’d just get out the Sunday paper, compare the Target ad, the Kmart ad, see if Bed, Bath and Beyond had anything I needed, see who had coupons or rebates and make my selections. If I was looking for something specific I might have to wait several weeks, but eventually whatever it was I wanted would be on sale somewhere.

Also here in Italy every day is more or less the same for us, and there’s no Sunday paper to peruse, so shopping gets done whenever the mood strikes…usually for a specific item, like when we set out to buy a carpet runner the other day.

Here in Italy we let each day plan itself. We try to listen to an Italian lesson each day. We check email and do our banking online. We watch the NBC nightly news that Art tapes each night. After that, it’s anyone’s guess what might happen.

If it’s cool and damp doing laundry can take the better part of the day, possibly more than one day. If I’m baking bread or pasta or have some kitchen project going, that might be the better part of the day for me. Art can happily pass the day studying Italian or watching baseball (usually taped from the night before) and dozing on and off in between.

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This past week I’ve been trying to get the garden and the orto cleaned up for the winter. The weather has been so beautiful, and I want to get everything ready before the rain starts. Once the rain starts it could go on for long periods of time, and I don’t want to be at the mercy of the weather.

Yesterday we pulled up the last of the tomato plants and the plan for today was to drive up to the farm where Adamo’s nephew works, get some manure and dig it into the garden. Other than cleaning out the pots that hold the last of the annuals, this would complete the winterizing of the garden….always a relief.

And so this morning Art was getting dressed and I was checking the email when the phone rang. I thought maybe it might be Giacomo, telling us the latest news about Nedra’s apartment.

Surprisingly, it was Jill! Knowing that she and Larry were supposed to be leaving Italy tomorrow, I assumed they were calling to say goodbye. But no! Jill told me they'd decided to stay a few more days in Italy. Today they were on their way to Montefalco and called to see if we’d like to join them.

Of course it wasn’t a difficult decision….shovel manure or have a nice day in Montefalco with Jill, Larry and Daniela? We agreed to meet in Marsciano. Jill had made a salad and we threw together some tuna sandwiches, grabbed a couple of chocolate bars, some water and were out the door!

Montefalco was somewhere Jill and Larry had always wanted to visit but they’d just never made it there. The day was perfect for a drive, so we took the back way, through Piedicolle, past San Terenziano and up to the “balcony of Umbria”. Although it wasn’t as clear as it was yesterday, just to have the sun shining made the drive very enjoyable.

Once in Montefalco we walked down to the edge of town. From here we could see Assisi, Spello and Trevi, as well as the valley the spread out in front of us.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch and Daniela enjoyed the freedom of being released from her stroller.

Daniela took a short nap, Jill checked her email in an internet café and we left Montefalco to hit a few wineries. Larry had a five liter jug in the back of the car, and we knew just the place to have it filled.

First we stopped at the Scacciadiavoli winery (074 237 1210) for a taste and a few bottle of their delicious Montefalco Rosso. After that we headed to Bastardo to the tiny Cantina di Giano in San Sabino (074 290 426) to fill up Larry’s jug.

Unfortunately the cantina was out of red wine, and of course the new wine is still on the vine! We decided to take a different route back to Marsciano and to stop at the new winery we’d visited during the cantine Aperti in May. It’s located just off the E45, right next to the Parco del Sole, but I can’t remember the name of the winery or find any information.

Larry not only found some wine to fill his jug but also took some great photos….the people at the winery filled up a huge wine glass and Larry took pictures of this huge glass next to a bottle of the wine. I can’t wait to see how the pictures turn out.

By this time it was getting late, so of course we stopped at Nestor’s for a pizza. Mara was so excited to see Daniela again….having a beautiful baby in Italy is a sure way to make friends, and Daniela seems to have enjoyed every minute of it. We’ve never seen her cranky, and she always has a smile on her face.

After our dinner it was time to say goodbye to Jill, Larry and Daniela….again. We’d said goodbye the last time we saw them a few weeks ago, and are so glad they decided to stay a few extra days. They had such beautiful weather during their month-long stay and with any luck they’ll be back again next summer. Of course we’ll keep in touch via email, and Jill always keeps us up-top-date with lots of pictures of Daniela.

Tomorrow we’ll make our trip to get the manure, and the garden will be ready for winter. Being retired means our schedule is always flexible enough to make time for friends!

3 Comments :

At 10/13/2006 08:53:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely life! I'm the same kind of shopper...show me a garden shop or a cookware shop and I'm a goner. When I die my family will find closets full of dishes, pots, etc., and wonder what the hell was she thinking. Oh well, that's my enjoyment in this short life. And, about the manure...I'll take the chance to get away with friends any day. Thanks for the daydream material...I think someday, with a little luck, living in Italy just might be a reality for me and my husband.

Linda

 
At 10/14/2006 12:59:00 PM , Anonymous ART said...

We too think we have a wonderful life, as a matter of fact I tell Barbara all the time we live in paradise. She worries about money and she pays the bills so I understand when she worries but I'm the glass half full person and she's the glass half empty kind of person. But again we are in paradise and we know it.
Come on over. Ciao Art

 
At 10/15/2006 09:29:00 AM , Anonymous Candice said...

Oh, Linda, we are exactly alike. When are you moving to Umbria? Husband and I read Barb everyday, she's our inspiration, and we plan to move later in the year.

We have bought a little borgo not far from Orvieto so we can be close to Rome. And several of our friends are interested in setting up vacation apartments once the restoration is done. The borgo should accomodate 7 or 8 nice sized apartments.


From all I have observed on this board and seen first hand in the area, soon there will be more American English than Italian heard in the little towns of Umbria.

I just hope the Starbucks and Walmarts don't follow us over.

 

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