Chit Chat - An Email to a Friend

The first week in Italy was a whirl wind. We literally were running around like crazy – trying to get the 3 needed legal papers (of which, I only have one – the tax one! So, I can pay taxes but that’ it) and apartment contract taken care of. We also did a lot of ordering for the house. Appliances, furniture… it was crazy. I spent $17,000+ in a week. It was very heavy and there wasn’t any alone time. Also, I wasn’t wearing my motion sickness patches, which made me feel like I was on the verge of yuckiness as we drove from store to store. You think that going on a shopping spree would be so fun. I wish I could have just spread it out over two months instead of just a few days. I got to the point where I was like, “Angie – just pick out the… I don’t care.” Matt and Angie had fun vicariously picking things out for me. Electronics when to Matt. Household things like an iron went to Angie. My one big mistake was that my fridge isn’t self de-frosting. Oh, well.
We all did dishes together. I got misc. sets of white/cream/off-white dishes so I can mix and match them. I bought 16 place settings, but my intention is to slowly add more. With the table on the balcony, I can sit 20 easily. The dishes range from super modern to really feminine “tea party”… I even got some that look old – like they’ve been used for centuries. Very fun. I’m doing the same thing with my wine glasses and espresso cups. For the espresso cups I’m picking up white and glass ones. And just when I find one that’s interesting I buy it.
We did wait a couple of weeks to order my kitchen cabinets. I’m so thankful! It was very overwhelming to do that. Spending that kind of money was crazy… and I think there’s an act of permanence in buying cabinets that I had to emotionally sift through. And, just making those choices. How many small drawers compared to big ones do I really need? I do wish I had bought one more cabinet, but I had already gone over my budget by $400! Oh, well.
After I ordered my kitchen, I finished ordering the rest of my furniture. There are a few little pieces I eventually want to get. I would like a little dresser or closet for the guest room, an armoire for the entry way, bookshelves or a buffet for the dining room. And I haven’t gotten anything for the walls. At all! So, that can just happen as I find things. I’d like lamps and a ceiling fan and little homey things, of course.
For my den/office, I bought an L shaped couch with an ottoman. The ottoman can fit in the L part of the couch to make a double bed! How fun is that? I have a double bed for the guest room, but this is for reading and then can be for guests if it needs to be. The whole couch lifts up and has storage underneath. Instead of a traditional desk, I got a big long table. I house-sat one week last spring, and I loved being able to really spread everything out so that I could see it all. And, when I start having small Bible studies, I envision them in this room. I want it to be cozy, where my dining room will be more formal. I bought three low dressers for storage in there. My printer and the normal “office” things will sit on them.
The dining room will have a couch and two chairs. I wasn’t planning on getting a couch, but it was on major sale and was cheaper than getting two more chairs. The set is fake-black leather, and really modern. It’s tiny. Not very deep. The chairs are kind of barrel chairs. I actually didn’t sit in the couch because it was on a shelf thing on the wall.
Right now I still only have my dining room table and bedroom stuff. I can’t wait to see how everything else is going to fit! Everything except two kitchen stools should be here by the end of August. Right now I have a little plastic out-door end table and my ironing board without its cover as my kitchen cabinets.
Actually, I have been so blessed! There are two closets in my apartment. Most apartments don’t have any. One I’m using as a broom/coat closet. And the other one is a walk in with shelves. Shelves and shelves and shelves. So, everything I brought can fit in them! It makes me laugh to walk in there. Need a pot or a pan? Need an envelope? Need an Excedrin? Need a book? Need shoes? Need a hammer? Need a trash bag? That’s where you go.
In my kitchen, I had the counter top extend a little past the lower cabinets so two people can sit there. It’s at the end by the French doors.
OK. I cannot tell you how much I love my silly French doors. The wood on them is in bad need of a paint job, which just makes them feel so old and romantic and quaint. Right now I don’t have curtains on them… I don’t know if I could stand not seeing them!
Speaking of paint! Yikes. This house is desperate for a paint job. Apparently, using radiators puts a black film on the walls. So, you can see every where the last people had anything on the walls. Nasty. Plus, their teenager wrote on the walls. It’s actually kind of funny. She labeled things: the outlet, the light, the wall… as if she knew a non-Italian speaker was going to live there next! There is crayon on the ceiling in the hallway. I have no idea how that got there. The bathroom paint is literally flaking off. Yuck. But, I am too lazy to do it myself and I’m absolutely horrible at it. And I have to wait for the cashola if I want to hire someone! Although, it would be wise of me to do it now before I get furniture. Oh, well!
Anyway… back to the first few weeks of being here. After I was here for a week and a day, the gas and water and electricity were turned on and I couldn’t wait to move in. At that point I had my kitchen appliances, an air mattress, a fan and one lamp. The stove wasn’t hooked up and the bathroom continually flooded. And I loved it! Eventually the plumber came, electrician came, and the blessed delivery men who brought my bed and table.
It took me three weeks to really clean this house. It was dirty. Really dirty. So, just now do I feel like things are clean, although, I still feel like I need to wash all the walls. I’m thinking about getting a huge dust mop and just attack the walls. Hmmm…
I have been working like crazy. Long, long days. I was emotionally, mentally and physically drained. Last Friday at noon I went to take a nap. And really didn’t get out of bed until Sunday morning. 36 hours in bed. At first I thought it was a little bug. But, I really think it had to do with low iron and a lot to do with just being exhausted. Since then, I’ve felt back to me! In fact, I feel normal like I felt when I lived in Haiti. I need routine and calmness and organization.
This week has been really special for me. I’ve been deliberately slow. Even in mopping the floors or writing or riding my bike. Slow down, I keep telling myself. School starts next Monday and this week is a re-newel week for me. Breathe. Enjoy. Rest.
I’ve loved, loved, loved cooking here. I tried my hand at canning. I made salsa and a chicken tortilla soup. Only one of my soup jars didn’t “take”. Which, I was glad for, because by the end, I wanted to eat some of the soup, but didn’t want to open a jar that had sealed!


Dena said…
April, I'm so glad to have found your blog. I'm enjoying reading about your life in Italy (and living vicariously through you). We'll be excited to hear how things progress!

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