Saturday, May 14, 2011

The apartment is done!

The apartment is better than we hoped.  It doesn't photograph as beautiful as it is because I can't give you the sense of the high ceilings, the light and the space.  I love it.  When I walked in, it made me cry to see it finally finished.  I told Manuele that and he said he was so sorry that he wasn't here (Simone, the Milanese man brought us up and in.  He did not cry).  Anyway, Manuele  knew it would make me cry because it made him cry too.  I can just imagine the two of us boohooing away while we checked it out.  Luckily Gary and the Milanese seem to have similar Germanic genes and they agreed that  the apartment is better than we expected.   

Having said that, it would not be everybody's cup of tea.  Besides the 65-- not 82-- stairs, it is noisy.  The back of the apartment faces the river, and the country, so one hears birds, tweeting away 24 hours a day. Italian birds clearly have learned from their host country that silence is not rewarded. The front of the apartment faces the piazza so one hears constant Italian chattering.  I love the combined sounds.  They remind me of life and my place in it.  I feel so happy and balanced here.

Italians, like the birds,  never shut up.  It is amazing.  I think that there probably is a ratio of 1 introvert for every 100 extroverts here.  The men play cards every evening from 4= 6:30.  The average age is about 79.  There are 4 tables on one side of the piazza that shrink down to one loud table at the end...who knows what game they are playing.  They yell at each other and it sounds like they are going to kill each other, but it happens every evening and they all seem to return. The cards aren't like our playing cards.  I need to get down there and see if I can figure out the game, but I have to do it judiciously as this is clearly a "boys only club."

The other side of the piazza at the other cafe has tourists and one group of card playing men.  I imagine that they had a big fight and they were exiled across the piazza.  Who knows the real story.  THere are no women or young men in the piazza.  Both sets of people are working!  The women show up at around 6:00 for the "passagiata" but in this town they are all married, so they mainly show up with their little dogs and greet one another and check each other out.  Or they show up with their baby carriages  and young husband in tow.  The fathers look like they wish they could escape until they look at their babies and then they beam. Italian children are wild.  They are spoiled by everyone.  We were in the grocery store and a little girl was crying for candy, the mother tried to be strict with her and tell her no, the child was of course adorable.  Before you knew it there were 3 different people offering to give her the candy which she quickly gobbled down.  In case you wondered how Italian women got their attitude.   

I think everyone in town has been up to see the apartment, the woman who owns the restaurant below us, the people who own the equipment store.  They all mention the stairs and then say Manuele has done a "bel lavoro" a beautiful piece of work.  The antique furniture that we selected fits in beautifully although it requires patience to open and close the doors and drawers, guess who is not so good at that?  Speaking of drawers, we have none.  My clothes are in a box under the bed. Gary's are neatly folded and properly stored in the armoire.

We are slowly acclimating.  We have not slept through one night.  Jet lag, a new place with new sounds and I think just general excitement wakes us up and 1:00 am.  This morning we finally went to sleep at 5:00 am.  WE will try not to nap today but it will be difficult.  

I was at the grocery store yesterday and ran into Sally our English friend.  I was so shocked to see someone I know that I didn't really see her until she waved her arms and me and yelled "Susan".  She is coming to see the apartment in a little bit.  We have wireless internet that is satellite.  Gary says it is slow but it seems fine to me.  We need to make another trip to Ikea, which you can imagine how that is in Italian.  Maybe next week.

THe weather is sublime.  Warm, blue sky, gentle breezes.  We looked at the apartment next door.  It is definitely feasible.  

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