Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Partying with the ExPats

Last week we got an email from Barb and Art inviting us to join a little get together they were planning for Wednesday with a few of the folks who log on to the ExPats site and are living in Italy. The picnic was to start around noon at their house in San Venanzo, just outside Marciano. Delighted to be included, we checked our bus schedules and were disappointed to see that in the summer, the first bus from Perugia to San Venanzo (stopping in Marciano) wasn't until almost 1pm and wouldn't arrive in San Venanzo until after 2. Not only that, the last bus going back was at 3:15 so it seemed pointless for us to go. Art had even offered to pick us up in Marciano, but still the timing didn't seem to work very well and we felt we had to decline the offer.

As luck would have it, we got an email from Kellee who said she had to drive right past Perugia and would be happy to pick us up and drive us to the gathering! A few text messages and phone conversations later and we were driving out of Perugia on the autostrada headed for the party. There was good lively conversation as we drove, each of us telling our stories - who we are, why we are living in Italy, our backgrounds, our living arrangements in Italy, cities back home, work we do or did etc. And the time passed so quickly we soon found ourselves pulling into San Venanzo and being welcomed by a room full of warm, friendly people in Barb and Art's kitchen! We spent a lovely, lively afternoon sitting in the little park across from their house munching on Barb's delicious spread - toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil, generously sprinkled with salt, amazing cheese from Sardegna dripping in honey for starters, followed by an assortment of summer salads and topped off by Barb's incredible brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Wine flowed as freely as the conversation and we sat around the picnic tables and got to know each other until well into the afternoon.

We are the only ones not owning our own place here and much of the talk centered around finding, buying and restoring a home here in Italy. It was fascinating nonetheless and we enjoyed hearing everyone's story, each as unique and different as they were. One thing we all shared was a love for this beautiful country and the desire to spend as much time here as possible.

Shea and Art told the sweet story of how they met. How she had been widowed and he became her financial advisor. One thing led to another and they found themselves in love, getting married (at a drive-through wedding chapel in Las Vegas), buying a home and renovating it (She carried her sink and stove in pieces on the plane!) and loving their life here in Italy.

Mary (her husband Robert was home supervising the building of a swimming pool on their property) live part of the time in California and part here in Italy. They continue to work, by way of the Internet but seem completely content to divide their time between the two worlds.

Anna and Ramon are searching for a house and everyone shared what they knew about the process and they were so appreciative. We wish them well in their search for the perfect place for them and their dog "Bob."

Shelley and Larry have been coming to Italy for several years, were married in a small village in the Chianti region and have property they rent out here while they are home in Texas working the rest of the year.

We hope to see them again and appreciate Barb and Art's gracious and generous hospitality once again.

Kellee dropped us off in Perugia and we walked home, really exhausted but feeling once again very fortunate for the people we have had the pleasure to meet and for being able to live this dream day after day.

Rosemary & Bob

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