Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Git’er done”–thank you, Larry the Cable Guy

I feel like I lived three months in one day today.

I started out with a bit of depression. Loneliness was creeping in and I started feeling sorry for myself. I wasn’t expecting loneliness to hit so quickly. I’ve only been here for a few days. I think it might have had something to do with the back pain that I’m experiencing. I’m tired of popping these damn pain meds but I have no choice. I guess I was feeling a bit sorry for myself so I allowed my mind to go places it shouldn’t.

Of course, from there it was a short jaunt from depression to loneliness. I began thinking about familiar things from home, things I was missing already. In reading Facebook postings, I saw photos of Oregon and read comments about favorite places. For those of you who know me, you are aware that I’ve always been interested in demographics. The Population Research Center at PSU released the 2014 population estimates for cities and counties. I have been ordering these figures for more than forty years. It’s another weird hobby of mine.

Anyway, as I looked over the different population figures from the different towns my mind wandered to so many memories from these places–Bend, Joseph, Cannon Beach–and of course my hometowns of Canby and Woodburn. I suppose it’s understandable that I would be melancholic. But so soon?

I’m the type of person who likes to get in his car and just drive. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just driven for no other reason than to drive. Why not go to Junction City today? Why not drive to Forest Grove today? It hit me that I cannot do that now. Yet that is a decision I made. Sometimes the ramifications of our decisions don’t really hit us until the act is complete.

Fortunately, I did not remain in a funk for long. The weather has been magnificent since I’ve been here. Last night while I was in bed I heard the rain pounding and the wind blowing. But when I woke up this morning, it was sunny, clear and bright. I sat on one of my patios (I have two) and just allowed the morning sun to warm my face. I tell you, how can anyone remain depressed on a gloriously sunny morning in Italy?

A technical worker who was supposed to come and work on my heating unit didn’t make it. But my apartment manager did. She brought the contract for my apartment. She tried her best to get me to understand but she speaks quite rapidly and that makes it difficult for me to understand. I did make out that “contratto” means “contract”. So at least I got that much. I also noticed my name on the documents. I will look them over tomorrow.

Today I spent more than enough time grocery shopping. I had done some shopping a couple of days ago because the apartment was void of food. Even after returning home and emptying out my bags, the kitchen still seemed woefully empty. So, I went back today and bought bananas, apples, tomatoes, peppers, clementines, bottled water, spices, hand soap, yogurt, cheese and milk. And I learned something.

I learned not to buy so much when you live a quarter mile from a major grocery store and you have no car. I learned that I will buy staples from the corner grocery. And I learned that it helps with this transition to have a kitchen full of food.

That might sound kinda stupid, but it’s true. I guess it’s all part of the nesting mystique. As I gradually get settled into my apartment, it starts to feel more like home. And what is more homey than FOOD? Prior to these purchases, I had been going out to eat all the time. Now I can stay at home and relax with some munchies while watching a DVD on my laptop.

Each day is going to be one step closer to that level of comfort whereby I will feel more at home. I’ve still got a way to go. And while I like to think that I’m not expecting too much too soon, I think that, subconsciously, I still do expect too much.

And as an update on my back problems, I was able to see the chiropractor. He squeezed me in. I had decided to take the bus to his office just to find out exactly where he was located. I was also secretly hoping that he’d see me. Well, he did.

He speaks fluent English. He’s Indian and hails from Britain but worked for a few years in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He has been in Italy for twenty-five years and I think he was a bit excited to have someone with whom he could speak English fluently. Even after twenty-five years, his Italian is not fluent. As a matter of fact, he told me my Italian was perfect!

Anyway, he told me that I will have fifty percent of my ability in a week and all of my ability back in three weeks–just in time for Christmas! That lifted my spirits tremendously.

I still have no dishes. I realized that when I made scrambled eggs with sausage and had to eat it right out of the frying pan. I realized I had no glasses when I went to pour milk. And I have not been able to make coffee because I’m not finding any place where I can get a stovetop espresso maker!!

But I’m not bugged by it. The food has been so reasonable that to me it seems almost ridiculous to cook. I mean, a mouth-watering prosciutto crudo pizza for $6? A glass of white wine for $3.50? Spaghetti for $7 that was an orgasm on a plate?

Considering that I eat very erratically, the Italian life fits me quite well. I’ve noticed as I walk around during the day that few businesses are open on the weekend. A cafe here, gelateria there. But a ristorante? Difficult to find.

And I should know that. I’ve spent enough time in Italy to know that people come out at night. I don’t know if they spend weekend afternoons playing cards, taking naps or doing housework, but they ain’t out on the street, that’s fer sure.

As a matter of fact, Spritz Cafe, where I currently am writing, is filling up. There are people coming and going and the atmosphere is very genial–and boisterous. Yet it doesn’t interrupt my train of thought.

I opted to come back tonight because my apartment is as dull as Adam Sandler. Earlier I spoke with a very nice gentleman here who engaged me in conversation. He apologized for his English; I apologized for my Italian. Turned out that he was a cheese maker and he makes cheese only for this bistro. And his cheese is only from sheep’s milk. Very interesting.

Anyway, he noticed when I came in and asked if I was going to write on my book. I told him I was taking a break. Apparently, I’ve already made an impact as the American writer who has moved to town. But then, it must be obvious as I’m always lugging around my MacBook Pro and tapping out my Anglo words of wisdom.

He asked if I was coming back tonight. I took that as an invitation and told him I would. I have not seen him yet so I hope he shows up. Our conversation was very pleasant. He even taught me to say “mama” properly in Italian.

Now don’t go rollin’ your eyes at me. There truly is a proper way to say “mama”. I always had the accent on the last syllable–“ma-ma’.” He smilingly told me that it must be on the fist syllable–“ma’ ma.” I tell you, I’m going to be bleeding marinara sauce before too long.

Before I close I want to ask my readers, specifically those I don’t know, a question. Are these postings too long? I noticed this one is over thirteen hundred words. Would you prefer that there be fewer and smaller postings? Is anybody out there? I hear from people I know and I receive a notice when I get a new follower but I get few, if any responses, from other readers. I covet your responses.

Other than that, I’m gittin’ her done.



1 thought on “Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Git’er done”–thank you, Larry the Cable Guy

  1. NO, your blogs are NOT to long, I so enjoy reading the written word by BOB!! Sounds as if you are adjusting very nicely, I think you put to much pressure on yourself at first, remember, “DUE TIME” and Yep, keep on keeping!!

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