Buckling Down in Verduno

Seeing as how it’s two months after Christmas, I figured we better get rid of the holiday theme. Good lord. I feel like I have been absolutely buried under a pile of rocks for the last three months! Sorry I haven’t posted in so long!

Things in Italy are going GREAT! At the beginning of February I switched jobs–not at all happy at the last place I was working. I now run a nine room B&B (agriturismo in Italian) in the same town where I live. It’s wonderful. I love the family I’m working with, they’re a much better fit for me than my last employers. And now that I walk to work, I’m saving 200 euro a month on gas! Ding! The Burlotto family also has a world-renowned winery–that’s their main business, the agriturismo is the secondary. So I’ll be expanding my wine education as well. I’m working on an english version of our website that will be available before the end of the month–so keep your eyes open if want to hear more!

Luca and I are still happily together and have decided to move in together this summer. He’s building an apartment behind where I’m living now. It’s pretty hot, I have to say. There’s a wrought-iron spiral staircase that goes up three floors. The kitchen (which we picked out together) is on the second floor with our new pellet stove.

I know, what you’re thinking: “pellet stove?” Wood here is not as abundant as it is in the US. Because of this, firewood is ridiculously expensive and a little difficult to come by. So we decided to take the more economical route and get a pellet stove instead of a wood burning stove. The pellet stove uses little bits of compressed wood and burns them one at a time. You still see a big flame and it heats very efficiently! I’m a little disappointed that it’s not a real fireplace, but money-wise a fireplace just doesn’t make sense–at least we’ve got the next best thing!

The pellet stove will go in the kitchen, which is also extremely hot. The cabinets are half panna (the color of cream) and half aluminum (the top cabinets are one color and the bottom another, but I can’t remember which is which right now…) I convinced Luca to spend a little extra money on the domestic appliances so I’m excited about cooking in the new cucina! The place I’m in now (Luca’s grandma’s old apartment) doesn’t have a working oven and two of the burners on the stove don’t work. Not exactly optimal conditions for someone as interested as I am in cooking.

So the dining room and kitchen are combined in one room on the second floor. On this floor there’s also our bedroom and a bathroom (with fire engine red tiles!). The ceilings are all wooden beams. The narrowing spiral staircase continues up to a loft–also all in wood with slanting ceilings and a skylight. I think we’re going to make this a living room – office type of space with lots of cabinets for storage.

I have to say, this is one move I’m actually looking forward to. (Now that I’ve successfully managed to consolidate my worldly belongings–everything I own fits into three and a half suitcases–Yeah baby yeah!)

On the personal front, my goal this month is to seriously start exercising again as I am ridiculously out of shape. Blech. Sometimes when I stop and think about what I’ve done this year it baffles me. I freaking moved to another country, learned the language on the fly, found a great new boyfriend who has a wonderful family (they’ve been so helpful, I don’t know what I would do without them!), moved twice, wrote a resume in a foreign language that landed me a great job, and bought a car!

The things I miss the most about living in the United States are you guys and my family. I seriously haven’t found any girlfriends here yet at all. Yeah, when we go out together, I talk to Luca’s friends who are girls, but I haven’t yet really related with an Italian female. The guys are great in terms of starting new friendships. A lot of them are still very connected to the old chauvanistic ways of their fathers and grandfathers. But at least they’re not haughty and bitchy like the girls! Oh well. I’m trying to keep an open mind and not be too stereotypical. Hopefully in the next entry I’ll be able to report that I have a new great girlfriend!

I’m starting a private research project that involves getting familiar with the history of the area. There are so many castles and interesting places to visit. I’m determined to go see them all and really understand what happened in these places’ pasts. Also reviewing nearby restaurants and writing some short stories.

I miss you all desperately!! When are you coming to visit??!! The next time I’m planning a trip home is for Christmas. But I’m hoping to stay in the states for at least a month if not two, so I should have a little time to come visit some of you. Hope you’re all doing well! Hugs and kisses!

Posted by Shira on February 23rd, 2006 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Hi everyone who I have or have not spoken to recently!!! I miss you all so much! I’m sorry I have been a blog pooper. So what have I been up to recently? Working a lot, still working at barnes and noble. Sometimes i love it and sometimes i’m ready to retire. For those who have not heard, I am also recently single. Tom and I broke up about a week before christmas, so I am currently enjoying the single life and time to myself. I’ve been on only two very bad dates so far but it’s kind of cool to be part of the “dating scene” even if it’s the lower part :). The day after the break up I decided to fall (in a rather boring and stupid way) and break my foot. I think I only have to wear the cast for two more weeks. Yay! I went to california a couple weeks ago to visit my sister and I was got to see Dawn and Carrie. We had a great time! So I think that’s all that’s going on with me. I will try to be better and write more. By the way, Shira, i’m so jealous that you’re in italy. I’m watching Under the Tuscan Sun and you are totally her. Anyway, please be well everyone. I miss you all!

Posted by Jen on February 17th, 2006 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Long Time No Talk!

Howdy gals! How the heck are you all? I’ve been getting bits and pieces of information here and there about all of you. I’ve been doing the traveling nurse thing for almost a year now. I drove from NY to California last March to work in Orange County… yes, the “O.C” itself. I really really loved it there. The hospital was great, I made tons of friends, I was able to hang out with Dawn, and the weather was absolutly amazing everyday! I was sad to leave but as a travler I cannot really stay in once place more than a year. So, after 10 months I applied elsewhere and ended up in San Francisco. It’s an amazing city. So different from where I just was. Tons to see and do – that’s what I love! If all goes well with the hospital I may extend here until July I think. Besides that I hate packing and moving! Ha! What a silly job for me to get involved with! So, as you can see, I’m hanging in there. No BF as usual. Decided I’ll be a young old maid. Hahaha… Hey, this is a big city – who knows what can happen. Hope you are doing well. I’ll try to check the entries more often. Drop a line or give me a call anytime. Miss you all!!!
~Laura 🙂

Posted by Laura on February 4th, 2006 | Uncategorized | No Comments »