Thursday, August 26, 2010

September I'll Remember....

I feel almost like a real local - the man at the forno (bread bakery) sold me bread on credit (I had only a big bill, not that I went shopping with no cash!), and the green grocer knows what I want before I open my mouth (almost always "5 peaches: 2 yellow, 3 white and a bunch of grapes"). I also make it a point to have a quick chat in our real estate agent's office as Albertina is very sweet and it cracks me up that she tells me more about our business than I know myself (for example, we are getting our driveway paved this weekend and I didn't even think she would know, but she had already told the mailperson not to go up to the house but to drop the mail to her for us to pick up).

September is lingering outside the door, and Ray begins his first day at the International School on the first. I am looking forward to some interesting conversations we will have in the car during our 45 minute commute, and also to having him in the classroom next door. He is going to love the school. I returned to work yesterday and it is lovely to reconnect with colleagues who are now good friends and we will go out for drinks after work tomorrow.

Ray has discovered a new life here in Monzuno. A typical day is helping me with the gardening, a hike on the trails that run along the property line (we had a picnic in a field my last day home), a little soccer practice in the yard, and running through the wet sheets on the clothesline. It's the childhood I hoped he would experience, and so am very happy. He is also enjoying the neighbor's dog, Asia, who comes to visit every day (at dinner time). As for Andrea - after his initial panic attack of moving out of the city - he can't wipe the smile off his face when we sit outside in the evening breezes, while those in Bologna swelter under the oppressive heat and humidity. It is a real slice of what I imagine heaven might be like.

I am a little embarrassed to post our Househunter's show info as I don't know how idiotically we will be portrayed, but here goes: http://www.hgtv.com/house-hunters-international/chris-and-her-husband-andrea-want-to-raise-their-son-in-the-countryside-outside-of-bologna-italy/index.html

Some of the photos below are another Monzuno sunrise (I can't catch the beauty on film), a day in the life of Ray, a Monzuno festa, and the one above is the pre-terrace entrance. We have to figure out what will tolerate the freeze of the winters here. Come see these things firsthand!


video

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dog Days Update

Our neighbor's welcome basket included a bottle of nocino (a wine made from walnuts, not in photo). Fresh picked from her garden, I hope Rita will help me next spring with vegetable and fruit choices to plant. Below is one of her husband's motorcycles, a Ducati. Filippo has a collection that includes many beautiful vintage ones.
I am almost done painting just over half of the walls. We had some of Andrea's furniture delivered from Lugo, and the moving guy, Giorgio, installed it and this Saturday is returning for a BBQ with his wife and four adopted children. We have used him for three moves so we are becoming friends and as he has a hardware and garden shop, is bringing us our new grill (I hope I like it as I really would like a Weber kettle grill but I know he doesn't carry those).
Monzuno sunrise. The weather these days are just gorgeous. When living in Bologna, I discouraged August visits as everything shuts down, but out here there is a festival in a nearby town every night, and the oppressive heat stays in the valley Bologna sits in.












Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One more link...

For those of you who didn't see his post on facebook, Kenji is scoring in magazine write-ups:

http://www.rentedspaces.com/2010/08/03/big-deal-chef-in-a-small-kitchen-10-questions-with-kenji-lopez/

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

some links

I wanted to post some newish links. Andrea has updated the BCSP site and Sky, the student who filmed our househunters audition tape for us, did this very nice intro of the program: http://www.bcsp.unibo.it/index.htm You can imagine how happy Ray was when Alexandra would babysit, and check out Rodolfo on the Internship Profile video on the same page.
Check out Sky's personal experiences of Bologna food at: http://www.skymedia.tv/SKYMEDIA/sky_media.html (my favorite is Cioccolato but listen to the caffeine buzzed guy in Il Caffe)
And then there is Marc, whose blog I still enjoy reading: http://www.marcbologna.blogspot.com/ (and we get an honorable mention again in "Goodbye BCSP")
And of course, if you come visit, Florence is an hour away: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/travel/25hours.html but who needs all that history when you have your own American in Italy stuffing you with ragu and pasta and wine?

We're in. Monzuno Rocks.

From this to this:










We are two weeks into the new place and it has been a long haul. Moving was stressful due to Andrea's last-minute cold feet of moving out of civilization, but he has been won over by the beauty of nature, the peace and quiet (except for the deer calls at night), and the space we have to put all our things (no more washing machine in the bathroom). The best part is having the outdoor space for our plants and for Ray to play. We'll be busy in the spring putting in the 40 lavender plants we have planned for the dry, rocky soil of the area.

Andrea was busy setting up his new (off-limits) office and is counting on some privacy. Ray asks on occassion when we are going back to Bologna, but is starting to understand that this isn't vacation and yesterday during a trip into town, discovered a classmate from Bo who spends time here with his grandparents so they have a play date tomorrow. In addition, friends Harriett and Philippa visited on different occassions with their 3 kids each and it is great to have them play hard and not be underfoot. This is something new for us after years in tiny spaces. We also hiked the trail behind our house with the Hoddells and it was quite beautiful (and challenging, I must admit). I have already seen the truffle hunters behind our house with their dogs, seeking out where the gold is hidden to return in October to collect them at maturity.

This past weekend we were invited to lunch at an agriturismo with Andrea's friends. Their daughter has a restaurant and it is not far from here. See her holding up the Florentine steaks for approval before cooking. I bought a bottle of their wine since it was so delicious, and now that I can actually start storing bottles in the cantina.









Today I will start painting the walls while Andrea takes Ray into Bologna for some errands. The house is still a mess and we are trying to sort out all the stuff - how we fit all this into our little place in Bologna, I will never know but am taking this opportunity to donate many things to a local place. I admit, though, I am loving the kitchen, our neighbor's dog Asia (who joins us for a meal now and then) and the mornings of juice and coffee outdoors while Ray takes a quick swim and sunbathes.













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