Settling In

It’s taken longer to settle in this trip.  Our first week was filled with just trying to get things back to normal.  And yes – we’re STILL finding problems as a result of being robbed.

The latest is Alan’s laptop.  Anyone who knows him knows that he takes meticulous care of everything.  So it was a real mystery why the corner of his laptop was chipped and the lid wouldn’t close properly.  Then the proverbial light bulb (energy-saving warm florescent, of course) went off over his head and he remembered that it was in the garment bag that was ¼ of the way out the window when we got back to the car.  Obviously, in trying to force the bag out of the window, the thieves had knocked the laptop against the window frame…..probably more than once, considering the damage and the fact that it was inside a padded computer case which was inside the padded garment bag.  The computer still works, but it’s just not pristine any longer.

This might not look like a very big chip to you, but to Alan, it's HUGE.

And anyone who has known me for more than about an hour will not find it surprising that I still cry whenever I think of Orson’s ashes.  If I cry at dog food commercials, you can just imagine how many tears I will shed over Orsie’s loss.

However, once the robbery-related tasks were finished, it was time to try to get back in the flow of normal life here.  The fact is that life in a medieval town doesn’t change much.  Oh sure – there were big changes when the Romans took over from the Etruscans, but that was a couple of millennia ago and since that time, things have sort of evolved slowly.

The big news for us is that they changed the direction of traffic in the piazza in front of our building.  AND they added legal parking spaces.  This isn’t nearly as good as it sounds.  They’ve only made 7 legal spaces in an area that could hold at least 20 illegal cars, and then, showing an incredible lack of foresight, they installed metal pylons to blocked off the other areas that could have been useful.  Even worse – you have to pay for the legal spots.  If you’re even the least bit shocked to learn that those metal pylons have done nothing to keep people from parking in the piazza, then you haven’t been paying attention to my blogs.  All it’s done is make the driving space down the middle a bit more narrow – something Italians can easily deal with.

And speaking of parking – the abandoned lot on the other side of town is now open after 3 or 4 years of sitting idle while the various government entities argued over who owned the land.  However, the word I hear is that it’s not very popular because the Orvietani believe it’s not structurally sound.  Of course, “structurally sound” in a town with buildings 1,000 years old could mean they expect it will last only 100 or so.  I’m sure we’ll learn MUCH more about this in the coming months.

We look out on the courtyard of a convent, and while we were gone, they cut down the large mimosa tree.  Last year they seriously (and serious in this case means by at least 75%) pruned a fig tree, which was good because it had grown so tall that the only creatures to enjoy the fruit were the birds.  But this year’s mimosa was totally demolished.  The positive result is that we can now see just a little sliver of the hills that surround the town.  On the negative side, in addition to no longer having the lively yellow blooms to welcome early Spring, is the fact that we can now see that they’ve been throwing whatever they didn’t want under the tree for years.  Let’s just say it’s not a pretty sight.

The mimosa tree was always the first thing to bloom in early Spring. The fig hadn't even thought about leaves, and notice how tall it was.

All the left-overs became visible when they cut down the mimosa. The heavily pruned fig tree seems to like its new-found freedom, though.

Do you think that little sliver of hill between the tree and window qualifies as "a countryside view"?

Our mailbox was full of stuff – the only mildly important thing being a notice from the comune saying it was going to fine us an unreasonable amount of money if we didn’t get our census form back to them by February 29th, which was a month prior to our arrival.  To show how much Italy has changed in the past few years, they offered an English website (as well as ones in other languages) that clearly explained the questions, so we could easily fill out the questionnaire.  When we tried to turn it in the first time, it was unfortunately at an “inconvenient” time — meaning when the people were on a smoking break — so we had to return another day, but there was no scolding for our tardiness.  One woman carefully went over our form, and we were pleased that we only answered 2 questions incorrectly.  We felt like school kids who got 98’s on the make-up quiz we had to take because we were home with a cold when the real test was given.  The woman seemed just as pleased as we were that we’d done so well.  We were then passed along to another woman who proclaimed us good citizens of the town and let us leave with clear consciences.

We also got some mysterious gas bills for the period we weren’t here.  How naive was I to think our gas problems might be over?  But this week was not the week to put on my Nancy Drew hat and try to figure out what they had done.  I’m not sure next week will be, either.  Maybe early May.

There have been a few changes with shops around town, but not many.  We’ve managed to hit most of our favorite restaurants and are happy all the good things we dreamt about while in the US are still on their menus.  Alan’s happy he made it back in time for punterella and agretti season.

Of course, the best part of being back is seeing all the people we’d missed.  But that’s the way it is wherever you are.  You can have great food, beautiful scenery and even a good parking spot – but the most important thing is getting together with friends…catching up on their lives…. making plans for the future. No thief can cloud the joy of having those people in your life.

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3 thoughts on “Settling In

  1. Hadn’t one of the trees grown to block your view of the tower? Is there a chance that the mimosa will send up a shoot and begin to race the fig for air space again?

    • The view-blocker is still there and grows at a rate of at least 6 ft per year. If anyone comes near it with a chain saw, it grabs it from them and chases them back in the convent. And just because it has more room now hasn’t made it any more attractive.

  2. Hate to see any tree go, but yes, I’d say that qualifies as a countryside view, temporary though it may be. Glad things are settling down for you both. Thanks for a very nice post!

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