God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Non Sequiturs

Cars, Dryers, Tacos and the FBI

One would think that moving some place (even Italy) for just a year would be easy, just pack some clothes, leave and buy whatever else is needed when you get there. No way! The problem is that so many of the things that need addressing are the same as if for a longer stay—once taken care of they are in place--the first year is the adjustment year--so just about the time you experience a somewhat sense of knowing what you are doing and having the basics in place, it is time to repack and come home--so maybe we need a five year plan!??! In fact, that is exactly what some friends of mine in Firenze (Florence) have decided to do now that they are approaching the end of their first year.

But first, an update:
The long awaited FBI report came back and, you will be happy to learn, we are upstanding citizens with no arrest record. Why it took 11 weeks for this to be determined I am not sure--unless the e-mails I have sent to Bush make us suspect or is that paranoia without cause? Anyway, the report consists of the original fingerprints we sent with a little, teeny stamp on the back saying "No Arre
st Record."

We now have our signed, sealed and delivered rent contract--it arrived DHL yesterday. Or course, it is in italian--as well it should be--so one more time my friend in Chiocchio will read it over to make sure there are no surprises. Our landlord, Alessandro, is a class act and so I am sure that there will be none. We very much look forward to the friendship we expect to nurture with him, his wife Nicoletta and adorable Camilla.

Side Bar:

Aren't these two just made for each other? A perfect match for a friendship.

Although Casey has no glass in his glasses, he regularly polishes them. It is rather funny to watch this process!

The two of them have a great cyberspace conversations going. Camilla is studying inglese and Casey is studying italiano so they will at least be able to count in each other's language!

As far as I can determine, all that we need for our awaited but dreaded trip to the LA Consulate is in place--passports, marriage certificate, Casey's birth certificate, court orders-- translated and apostilled, plane itinerary, extra passport pictures, proof of health insurance, letters of intent, FBI report, the rent contract, proof of adequate financial resources and income, and Schengen visa applications (standard for EU countries.) In addition we have notorized pictures of Ken and I to prove we are the guardians identified in court documents. With all this, one would think that getting the visas would be a snap; however, I am absolutely confident that Sandra, the great and powerful visa guardian, will find something array or missing which will require a second day traveling to and from Los Angeles. This preparation is made that much more difficult by the fact that the LA Consulate continues to shroud what is needed in secrecy.

As of now, we are in a quandry as when to take the bull by the horns and do this. Our choices are now so that we have the visa in place for our March trip or in April in time for our July 30 move. Explaining why this dilemma exists would be too difficult and complex and boring--suffice it to say that it revolves around the best, surest and most convenient way to obtain a car. As you can see, nothing about doing this is turning out to be free of complications.

Now--why tacos and dryers. Well, because life in Italia will not be life in Southern California, where, in spite of non-stop sunshine (at least that is what the Chamber of Commerce promotes), we do not own clotheslines and clothes pins and dryers are considered a basic household necessity and because our standard, required comfort food is tacos, rellanoes, enchilades and chimichangas. In Italy, clothespins and clotheslines are the standard--dryers are the exception--even in winter when the snow is on the ground and temperature hovers around 17 degrees. During these months you use drying racks set up throughout the house. My friend Rita calls it the land of perpetual laundry.

And then--more importantly and the greatest deprivation to face in the land of marvelous food, exceptional vino, unparallel art, exquisite landscapes and fascinating people will be withdrawal from Mexican cuisine. People assure me we can find ingredients--real and substitutes--for tacos, and more, but, we who live here, know that is not possible. You can't even get the real stuff in Texas which thrives on some awful variation called Tex-Mex.

So--we are beginning now to prepare ourselves for these disruptions to life as we know it. I am pretty sure we will survive to tell about it but it will be rough!

So, our request--if you are coming to Italy--bring corn tortillas, good salsa or chilis so that I can make some and chedder cheese (which can not be found there.)

Molto, Grazie!


Mama of Many said...

You can purchase the "Casa Fiesta" brand of corn tortillas, salsa, and green chilies at Iliopesca, Metro,Esselungas, and some Ipercoops.Those are all around the Florence area. We lived two years in San Donato in Poggio and made frequent trips to Greve in Chianti.We will be moving in January 2007, if the purchase goes through,outside of Castiglion Fiorentino (about 7km from Cortona, an hour and 10 minutes from Firenze).I wish our paths could have crossed. We have four grown children, and our two younger sons are 6 and 8- looking a whole lot like your Casey.We lived in Italy from 1984-1996 and then in Greece from 2001-2003. We love to travel and have been blessed with the chance to live from May-November in Italy and the remainder of the year back here in Tennessee. I hope your adventure is a wonderful one. I would not trade our adventures with our children for anything--though the vision of racks of clothes in the winter is one I'd like to forget...we did finally purchase a dryer which heats your clothes and draws the water out of them, making your own distilled water. It wasn't ideal, but it beat the tons of laundry hanging everywhere.Best wishes, Kim

Jane said...

Kim, if you check back here--I tried to go your blog but the link does not work for some reason. Was hoping to gt your e-mail address. Jane

Mama of Many said...

Jane, I haven't had time to create one yet...maybe soon. Life keeps getting in the way.My e-mail is kimberlyedwards6@yahoo.com.I look forward to hearing from you.Kim

Mama of Many said...

Jane, I forgot to mention this when I looked through your site. My oldest son is currently teaching English in Wuhan, China. I really enjoyed your pictures from your visit. We'd love to visit there one day. He's spent the past six weeks travelling in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. He has really fallen in love with the people. I have no doubt that all the travelling he did as a child has resulted in a young man who thoroughly enjoys new experiences in foreign lands.Kim

Valerie said...

Jane, I'm bringing green chile seeds to grow my own salsa patch. I'm sure we can give you some of our harvest!