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, August 01, 2006
We Did Arrive and It is Real!
We entered our new home and greeting us everywhere—in the kitchen, under the bed, in the toilet, in the bathtub—everywhere— were balloons of all shapes and sizes.. And—they held messages—Ciao, Casey; Welcome, Benvenuti, and more—others were decorated with faces and designs. As Camilla had intended, Casey was enchanted and we felt most welcome. She had prepared a perfect beginning from an 8 year old to an 8 year old—the one she had been waiting to meet for months. And—it was the perfect ice breaker for the two of them as they began thumping each other, communicating in the common language of giggles and laughter.
So we are now here in our apartment in the vineyards of Greve in Chianti and it is lovely—even though we have been so, so busy getting settled in—too much to do right at the beginning and it is very, very hot!!
Our trip over went perfectly in all aspects—except that Casey decided not to sleep on the plane and ended up being awake 30 hours with just one small hour of sleep—not surprisingly, he slept almost 13 hours when he finally hit his bed in our new home.
Each of our connections worked as it was scheduled—no frantic last minute rushes through airports to meet the next plane, etc. We had real concerns about being over the limit with carry-ons on the last leg with Lufthansa City Line—we clearly had too many pieces and each one weighed well over the limit. But—again prayer was answered. I spoke to the gate attendant in Frankfurt whom either took a liking to us or pity on us—whichever. “Don’t worry—I’m the one who will be boarding you so there won’t be any problem.” Then the plane was only about half full and so there was plenty of overhead space for all we had. This was when Casey finally fell asleep for the hour or so between Frankfurt and Firenze.
In Firenze we were oh, so happy to see each of our 7 large duffels spin out on the baggage carousel. We had arrived! Pushing 4 carts piled high with luggage, we navigated our way out of the luggage retrieval area and there was Alessandro-our wonderful landlord--waiting for us. A perfect ending to a seamless trip—a promising beginning for our new adventure.
Outside he had his company van and our new-to-us car—a 2001 Megane station wagon. Between the two, all our belongings found corners in which to fit—plus the three of us, Alessandro and Bernice, Alessandro’s older daughter. We hit the road!
We finally wound our way through the Viticcio vineyard to our new home in Tuscany. And—there was Camilla, waiting for Casey. As soon as the balloon greeting ran its course for a while, the two of them went running off to make real their long distance friendship of many months. Soon they were in the pool, splashing and laughing as children do. In fact, two days later they still seem to fully enjoy and understand each other in some mystical way that belongs only to the young.
Monday night, Nicoletta prepared a delicious welcome dinner—bruschetta, a wonderful lemon chicken, vegetables, salad and gelato—it was a simple gastronomic treat absolutely affirming my goal of learning to cook italiano from Nicoletta. The problem being that my other goal is to lose weight—so maybe I will cook and not eat—do you think?
We finally hit the beds around 10 o’clock—31 hours after getting out of bed in San Diego. Nicely, we slept well, all of us seeming to totally avoid jet lag. We are now on night three and well acclimated to the new time zone.
(Since we are not yet on line, you will be reading this installment days after the fact but, at least the adventure will have had a beginning!)
Coming: Part II-The First Days and Nights