I guess you have to be a Jimmy Buffet fan or the child of a Jimmy Buffet fan to recognize that title. Get ready for a long blog post!
Italy and I are having a lover’s spat. The last time I wrote, we had been to Florence. It feels like that was 3 months ago. It was a little over a WEEK ago. Since then, we have been moving and moving again and moving again. Seriously. If I have to do it again I may start to have a seizure.
We began life in Italy in Hotel Boiardo. It was a very nice eco-hotel with an excellent continental breakfast. The only downside was that we were all stuck in one room together. We love each other very much BUT bedtimes were difficult. It was new, though, and at least someone came and cleaned everyday so I didn’t have to do it! I didn’t have anywhere to cook or prepare food so we were eating out for every meal. I guess I shouldn’t complain about that because we are in Italy and eating out is part of the fun.
Next, we packed up and moved to an agri-tourism hotel/apartment called Brugnolo. We stayed in a really beautiful old farmhouse from the 1800s that had been rehabilitated. There was a tiny kitchen, but a KITCHEN nonetheless! We had a washer and hung our clothes to dry. It was only a one bedroom, though, so we still felt a little crammed. There were fields and orchards and a vineyard as well as a playground for Vance. We were living the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Vance and I walked to the orchard everyday and picked an apple or pear for a snack. The only downside was that we were miles away from EVERYTHING with no Internet (a common theme here in Italy). When you are on vacation with your family, this is a wonderful scenario. When you husband is working, you don’t have a car, and you are stuck with two kids for 11 hours a day, it is not so great. I am so used to walking everywhere in the city that it was a hard transition for all of us.
Our third home away from home was Casa de Grillo, or House of the Cricket. It is a spectacular old building (circa 1725) built into the side of a mountain in Viano. It was converted into four different apartments with loving care by an older gentleman who is my new best friend because he owns a Michelin rated restaurant and a vineyard. But he really is the sweetest old guy. The views were fantastic and it had a nice rustic feel. It was all stone and wood, which has a wonderful aesthetic but is not super great for kids or babies learning to crawl. It was also far away from everything but I had my own car, a Mercedes (only because it was the only automatic car on the lot, not because I am trying to audition to be in an Italian rap video)!
Casa de Grillo is by far the most beautiful place I have ever stayed in, but
- I found four scorpions in the shower. I will never be okay with that.
- With fall comes a thick fog that covers the mountains and makes it impossible to drive.
- There is some sort of animal living in the roof.
- Refer back to numbers 1 and 3.
So we have broken up and are now moving into a smaller apartment within walking distance of downtown Scandiano. Assuming we want to return in January given the current state of scorpions, I mean things, then we will start looking for our permanent apartment soon. Just rip out our Evanston condo and ship it here PLEASE.
In the midst of all of the moving we have done in the past 10 days, we have also had to grapple with homesickness. I think the fact that we don’t have a place of our own yet probably makes it more difficult. Vance has been doing much better, but tends to act out when he gets sad because he doesn’t know how to translate his emotions any other way. I just get a little depressed and grumpy. Caroline probably doesn’t even know she is in Italy which is a good thing. She just thinks the leaves/grass and cheeses taste a bit different. JW has been here so many times that he is used to the culture and language and seems to be dealing with it the best out of everyone.
The good news is that we seem to be on the up and up. We found a beautiful park in Viano teaming with kids and Vance managed to make some friends and play soccer on the soccer field. He scored a few goals which was great! Caroline is moving so much now, pulling up on everything in sight and cutting her second top tooth. She loves the food here (obviously) and does a wiggle that we have named the “pasta dance”. I have been having some ups and downs with the language. Our crate from the U.S. should be arriving soon along with our Italian Language books so we are hoping to pick up where we left off in our studies. The kids and I went into Reggio Emilia today with a friend which really lifted our spirits and I was able to ask a lot of questions about living here. JW has a lot more responsibility here as far as work goes but he is handling it really well. We are all really proud of what he is doing!
That is (almost) all there is to say from here. Hope everyone is happy and healthy! Ciao Ciao!