Well, it's official. I live in Italy.
I lugged 3 suitcases, 2 cats, and 11 boxes (shipped) here. The entire contents of my life.
After a long journey getting the cats through customs in Rome and driving south, south, south, we are now settling into our lovely home by the Ionian Sea.
It's been both lovely and surprisingly frustrating this past week. Here's but one example.
Am I On Candid Camera?
The craziness began the first evening. As soon as I'd gotten the cats settled and bought groceries for a few days, I walked the two blocks to the sea. Ciao, bello.
After a delicious float in the sea, I returned home to my boxes. I took off my swimsuit coverup since it was so hot. I opened the front door and Macky the cat chose that moment to dart out. I wasn't ready to let the cats out to explore so I chased after her.
The houses in Calabria are fortresses. They lock easily and you can't just shimmy them open. And there I was, standing in my front yard...in my bikini.
With no other choice, I started ringing the doorbells of my neighbors. My street is a ghost town since it's primarily vacation homes. After three tries, I found success.
I explained to the signora that I couldn't get in my house as I stood there sheepishly trying to cover up my body.
An hour later, her daughter had climbed out her second floor window to try mine (it was locked). She called her dad, who knew someone who knew someone who knew my landlady. He allegedly called her. I waited with the family and two little girls chattered away to me in Italian. It was good practice!
She lent me a towel to cover up and flip flops!
I gave up on my landlady coming and asked the neighbor to drive me to my friend Courtney's house. I was a lot more at ease hanging out with her than the neighbors who probably think I'm pazza (crazy)!
After a couple of hours, my landlady finally showed up and all was well.
I now hide spare keys outside!
If There's a More Difficult Way to Do Something...
Sadly, I have many more examples of the shenanigans that have unfolded since I arrived, but you'll have to wait for another blog post!
I'm quickly learning that my American way of thinking about how things should be done needs to be left behind. There is no rationale for how Italy operates. The only way to survive is to go with the flow.
But It's All Worth It
I've definitely had some stressful (and also, admittedly, hilarious) moments since I arrived, but I try to see the bright side.
I now know my neighbors (and boy, do they know me!). They were kind enough to lend me flip-flops!
At every turn, there's an Italian looking to be helpful. If you ask for directions, not only will they tell you how to get where you're going, they'll even walk you all the way there. Try to get that in America.
Today I got a call. From my postman. Calling to tell me since I wasn't home, he'd put the package inside my gate. Seriously?? I love this place.