We arrived home last night from Sicily and now it is time to prepare in earnest for our trip back to the states. It is not going to be easy to leave; this experience has been the most amazing thing we've done so far in our lives (besides our children of course!)
We headed for Sicily on the 15th a bit tired from Jessica's visit and a bit stressed out over another issue. We were having a little problem retrieving the deposit we paid to our "agent" when we arrived here in Vietri. It's part of a longer story, but to try to summarize, we stopped working with our "agent" (a Brit, not an Italian) when we discovered that he was skimming a bit of our rent money off the top to keep for himself, unbeknownst to us at the time. The fact was apparently news to our landlords too because in January, when they discovered this little scheme he was perpetrating, together with a local guy, they put the kabosh on their plans and told us we would in the future, pay them directly, reducing our rent. We confronted said "agent" and after a few unpleasant email communications, he stopped writing. The landlady said she had the deposit, misunderstanding that we were not talking about the last month's rent, which we also paid up front, but an additional month, as "desosit."
At the beginning of March when we asked her about it she denied having any further monies and thus began our very stressful attempt to get them back. We are at the moment expecting the agent to transfer our deposit to a PayPal account, which our son Chris will then withdraw and hold for us. We are hoping we can trust this guy to follow through, but to tell you the truth we are not so confident about it. We'll see. We hope that he proves us wrong and does what he said he would do and we can leave with all well that ends well. This has unfortunately caused us a bit of grief and been the only really negative experience we have had in Italy, with dishonest people.
We have been spending a good deal of time also, arranging for our return to the states, having started several weeks before Jessica's arrival. The sale of the car went more smoothly than we ever could have anticipated, thanks to the help of our neighbors, Martine, Piero and their son Herve. We have already sent a few more boxes home, due to arrive after our return. We have arranged for our things from storage to be delivered to our new home in Milford, Delaware and for the cleaning of our carpets and touch up to the paint on the walls, as needed. We've researched phone companies and Internet providers and arranged for a car to pick us up at the airport in Philadelphia and deposit us at a hotel where we will spend our first night home in the U.S. We plan to rent a car in Milford until we can purchase one. Shirley, the agent who has managed the rental of our home there has kindly offered to lend us a portable mattress so that we can actually move into our own place and not have to stay in a hotel beyond that first night, until our things arrive anywhere from the 7th to the 11th of April. We figure we can just use paper plates etc and eat take out for a few days, rather than spending a lot of money on a hotel room. (the "live cheap" attitude must continue!)
We anticipate these next ten days to be very full indeed as we decide what we can fit in our suitcases, what we will ship and what we will need to leave behind or give to our neighbors or charity. Bob started getting a bad cold in Sicily and I have insisted he take some time to completely rest and not worry about doing any packing or preparing until he feels better. I'm slamming down vitamins and drinking juice and trying not to catch what he has!
We still hope we can make it to a few more ceramics lessons before we go home and I still want to buy a few more pieces of ceramica as mementos of our time here in Vietri. You would think I would have done this by now but I always have trouble shopping when there are too many choices and with Vietri chock full of ceramics shops, I just couldn't decide before now what I wanted to get. Whatever we buy will be shipped home since there will not be room in our suitcases, limited as we are now by reduced maximum luggage weights permitted on airplanes.
I hope to write again before we leave, just to say arrivederci and summarize things. If that doesn't happen, I will certainly do it when we get back to the states. We have so much on our minds now as this departure date looms in front of us. We have so many mixed emotions about leaving. It has been incredible to be here. We've had so many wonderful experiences and a few not so wonderful but all in all we are thrilled that we did this. That we had a dream and made it happen. We have learned more than I believe we even realize in this moment. It is a time we will always treasure and be proud of for as long as we live.
For now, we are still here,
Rosemary & Robert