Time to do an update on doings in Umbertide. Normal every day errands like grocery shopping can be more interesting here. This day I was shopping with a Monk, he had a jacket over his robes but still had his sandals plus a warm wool hat. I saw he was perusing the toilet paper…because even a Monk needs toilet paper I guess.

We also ordered another pallet of pellets for our stufa. While I was standing next to the checkout window I noticed this ad for poultry. You get 10 one day old chicks if you buy a 20 kg bag of feed.

Sunday, friends who have moved away were back and we were invited to join them for lunch at Calagrana. Of course we accepted and were so happy to be a part of the looooong table of about 20. I knew nearly everyone there so it was like a big family event. Much fun and good food.

All my gifted bulbs are coming up. I don’t know what these are but they are the earliest bloomers. Such a pretty deep purple. I cut back all the ferns and I could see the furry fiddleheads all curled up ready to grow. I weeded all my beds (Jill 😁). Those weeds just keep coming back but they look good now. And I added four bags of soil to the bed with the olive tree which had a lot of settling and I could see the olive tree roots. I hope it is happier now. I did all the final preparations for spring in the gardens. Brushing off my hands for a job well done!

I ordered some tomato seeds from a website with hundreds of heirloom varieties. And I bought some trays to start the seedlings. I haven’t ever tried this before. I always just bought plants. I wanted some different varieties and they just don’t have a lot of variety of types here. We shall see if this was a lesson in futility!

I have been very busy up on the terrace this week other than the gardens since we had a really nice day yesterday. Mostly we have had a lot of rain just about every day. After the construction, of which much took place outside, the surfaces were covered in cement dust.

Then I scrubbed all the pavers on the floor of the terrazzo. You could hardly see the color of them through the dust. I’m sure there is still dust there but they are much better. I also washed off all the chairs which were filthy and the table top and all counter surfaces and around the fireplace and oven. What a mess. And a lot of work. I still have another half of it to do but it may need to wait a bit.

The reason for the wait is an upcoming trip next week. What exotic place will we be visiting this time, you ask? Well it is the United States. Yep. We have not been back for five years. So it truly will be an “exotic” place. I think we may be in for culture shock.

It is not a “for fun” trip. We are finally going to empty our storage facility which has become quite expensive. Much work. It is important that I am successful but I’m feeling pretty good about it now.

My local cousin has a friend who will take my antiques. Sadly no one in our family wanted them and I don’t want to ship them. I have some new stuff which I will give away for free on the FreeCycle network. What I want to keep will be shipped over with an international shipper. They will help with inventory and valuation. A person can ship their own household goods over here duty free for one year. Obviously I am far beyond this time so I have to play customs duty of 34% of the value. It kind of stinks I have to do this with my own used stuff. I will need to look into every box and be sure I want to send. The cost of shipping plus duty makes me want to limit the amounts. Thing is, I left my favorite things there. I assumed I’d move back. It is the biggest mistake I made when we moved here to keep it in storage. Things I don’t want will be donated and finally I’ve got an appointment with NOVA Junk to come pick up all that is left.

I am bringing some really big suitcases. I will put some things into them like my paintings and art that I own (that will fit) and also all my Christmas ornaments. I will wrap well in bubble wrap and hope for the best! I also have silverware. I’m thinking of bringing that in my carry-on. I read the TSA webpage and it “should” be allowed but as we all know, the TSA agent makes the decisions. Makes me nervous. I will also, naturally, be doing a shopping trip for some things I use here. Stuff that is expensive or not of the quality I like, or just can’t be found here. OTC drugs, vitamins, aluminum foil, hominy, canned hot peppers, chili powder, chocolate chips, pecans. Not much really.

I will be pretty busy and a little stressed (ya think?) but I will feel much better when I am done. I have not made any plans for social things during this time because I don’t know my schedule. I am sorry I won’t be able to see my friends. We will see family who live nearby for a meal sometime.

I will be writing about my impressions of the U.S. I know I am in for sticker shock big time. But I am also very interested to see what things I notice, that make an impression with my new eyes. It should be interesting. Stay tuned! 📺

23 thoughts on “Doings

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hey PJ! I’m happy you’re here too! It is really just my journal…pretty basic, but it is a record of our life here!

  2. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Kerry, yes! We all bring things we miss or can’t get here. Since I moved I have found most things. But the things I listed either are very expensive or non existent here. If you have a favorite mix, salad dressing, stuff like that you may want to bring a stash. Then any guests that come will bring you things as well. Happy search!

  3. Kerry

    Fascinating to me what is and isn’t available there as we begin to look at areas for retirement in Italy. Pecans! Heavy duty foil! Funny what wouldn’t have occurred to me. I have a feeling when we do head over I’m going to have a suitcase with certain spices, vitamins, and other food stuffs and such.

  4. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Doug, thanks! I had heard you’re supposed to leave the leaves for a while. I will do so!

  5. Doug

    Those are Iris reticulata. After they bloom, make sure you leave the grasslike foliage until it naturally yellows. If you cut it off beforehand, you’ll be stealing the plant’s energy to produce a bloom next spring.

  6. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Louann, we do not have a Lidl nearby. There are some a good drive away. I am particular about some things like chili powder. I get mine from specialty places in the U.S. I also like heavy duty aluminum foil which I can only find in the US. I buy the flimsy stuff here to use for many things but when you need heavy duty, you need heavy duty! Costco would be nice but I’m not a member anymore. I’ll get the things at the grocery there. I know emptying the storage will take a bit of work. I am about as organized as I can be so I know I will get it done. We have made the decision to remain here til we die. There is nothing in the U.S. I want. And the only thing we can do about the elections is get out there and vote as if your life depended on it because it may really be true. I sure will vote. Anyway thanks for the comment.

  7. Louann

    Hi Nancy! What an exhausting project you have ahead of you! We had to do the same thing last year, moving from a big house to one half the size. It was so hard to give away my antiques from my grandmother and mom, especially a gorgeous upright grand piano! But no one wants them now, likely because people move frequently and want lighter weight furniture. I am very surprised at the items of food you say you can’t get in Umbertide. Don’t you have a Lidil nearby? They have pecans, foil, jarred hot peppers, chocolate chips, chili powder etc, as they have a “foreign food” aisle with specialty items. We go back to the U. S. twice a year and I do bring back chocolate chips as a big bag from Costco will last me a year and convenient large bottles of vanilla and almond extract for making my biscotti! I wish you all the energy to attack your project. I feel so fortunate to have a home in both countries. You will find so many (too many) conveniences in the U.S. but lacking in interest and culture. To be honest, the U.S. takes the cake in natural beauty with its gorgeous mountains and rivers etc.. but Italy wins for cultural interest. We hope to keep our Italian home for as long as we can still travel (we are in our 70’s) but eventually will need to stay in the
    U.S. That will be a very sad day as we love Italy. The political chaos in the U.S. is dreadful and frightening. We can’t fathom what is happening other than to think there is a cult leader that has indoctrinated and brainwashed his followers with the help of FOX entertainment news! He is a pathological liar, a criminal, and a rapist who exhibits grandiosity and if he gets elected, it will change our country forever. We are very worried and hope it doesn’t happen. Safe travels!! Love your blog.

  8. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Diana, so tiny though. Not like the big regular iris’ – I do love that purple and the delicate insides.

  9. Nancy Hampton Post author

    And yes, I’m embarrassed for my country too. And sad for it. I certainly wouldn’t like being next door,but to be honest, what the U.S. does affects the whole world, we should all worry. 😔

  10. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hey Liz, I will look up Siberian Iris. I am sure my friend Jill can tell me since she gave them to me 🙂 if I don’t carry on the silverware I don’t know how I’ll get it home. I wouldn’t want to check it. I suppose I can send in my shipment but even that is not safe. When we moved here I had a bowl stolen from my crate. Oh well. Must think about it. I do know corkscrews are not allowed. Spoons and forks are. It is the knives I worry about.

  11. liz

    The plants look like Siberian Iris. You will have fun with your big terrace garden. I would advise against the silverware in your carry on. Last trip we had, they took a silly plastic corkscrew from us, and it had been on like 20 trips with us; not a problem. They also took a cigar cutter (very tiny thing) from Mark, because it looked like a bullet? Again, we have travelled with these things before, so, you are depending on the mood of the customs guy/girl. You are coming back to Trump world. Personally, I am so embarrassed for the U.S. and wish they weren’t so close to Canada.

  12. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Gail, I will but I want to wait until it is delivered which will be a month or two. Then we will know the whole story.

  13. Gail Taub (romaaddie on FB)

    Safe Travels✈️ sad to leave things you love. Will you share who you will be shipping with? As we all trust you so much a recommendation would be great.

  14. Luis A Sanchez

    I love reading your prose. Nice, simple,clear, and to the point. I wish you a nice trip.

  15. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Matt, the monk was pretty amusing. Especially the TP. Ordinary things. Thanks for not saying “home”. It isn’t really, anymore.

  16. Matthew Daub

    What a beautiful post; so much to take in! First was a good laugh over the monk and his TP, and then the thought of you raising chickens on your terrace . . . sounds like too good a deal to pass up. Your info about the customs duty would be very helpful for anyone planning a move. Wishing you a productive visit back to the US . . . notice I did not say home.

Feel the need to comment? You can do it here!