So there were we thinking we’d learnt the basics of the language and could expand on that over the next few months to learn perfect Italian through a mix of our ipod course and day to day conversations with the Italians. But it’s not that simple of course. Italian campsites not only have pitches for caravans, campers and tents of the ‘stranieri’, many of them also have bungalows (basically permanent caravans with a little wooden building attached) for the ‘permanente’, and the Italians who own these arrive every weekend and usually for a full month in Summer. Being based in Liguria we would be joined regularly by ‘permanente’ from Turin, Milan, Genoa … not a great distance away, but enough … and this is when we learned that our ‘perfect’ (I’m using the word loosely) Italian learned from a book and a listening course was not sufficient . It did not teach us about ‘i dialetti’ (the different dialects).
Tama … our ‘baby girl’ … was put to sleep only a few days after we moved up to the house. At over 20 years old she has been with us practically all of our married life but she never looked more than a few years old with her pink nose and silver tabby fur. We used to call her Benjamin Button as she never seemed to age, so we were obviously very shocked and upset when she finally gave in to her old age. After spending the last two and a half years with us in the caravan as we looked for our new home, our little cat has left a very big hole in our lives … but have lots of wonderful photos and memories to help us remember her.
Well firstly we should be commended for remembering how to pack up a caravan from a pitch – after all its been exactly two years since we last did it! With a forecast for rain, we had emptied our awning over the previous couple of days, taking the bulky items up to the house, and we were then able to take the awning itself down on a dry, but very windy day causing us some fun as we took all the poles out and were basically left with a caravan with a sail. We could have easily tacked and jibed our way around the campsite!
The other day had us starting the important project of installing a water supply – we’ve not given up on the water in our well, but after two separate analyses we’re still battling with ‘batteri’ so have decided to tackle a full empty and clean once we’re up at the house and ‘settled in’.
The Italian language is beautiful … especially when Italians speak it. My vocabulary, whilst pretty large now, still sees me grabbing the dictionary every few minutes to look up a word I’ve heard on the radio or seen on an advertisement on the back of an autobus. And I’ve put the hours in, I really have … when we were still in England and had made the decision to move here to live, we bought the language course on cd, loaded it onto our ipods and listened to it … often … dutifully completing the written vocabulary exercises as well. We also immersed ourselves in all things Italian to enhance our learning potential – I made biscotti, pannacotta and spaghetti carbonara (only eggs, no cream – see I really was learning!) But there’s no real substitute for being ‘on the ground’ here in Italy … and that’s when the real learning started.
Christmas!!!! Yes I am aware that it is only March and we’re only just approaching Easter. And despite there having been a lot of snow up near the house over the last two or three weeks, that’s not the reason I’m in a festive mood. I’ve just made a start on my Christmas shopping list that’s all.
I thought I’d share a little selection of our current reading matter with you – those of you who know us know that whenever there’s something to be done, we like to research everything possible so that we can do the job ourselves … and with a whole house to restore, in another language, we’ve got a lot of bedtime reading to do!
I love my caravan – our apartment on wheels. With there just being the two of us and our little cat, there’s ample room … well, once we’d made the adjustment from living in a four bedroom detached house with three bathrooms! I mean what’s not to love –
We can park up and ‘live’ in beautiful places that we would not be able to afford if we were renting or buying …. and if we decided at any point that we didn’t like the neighbours, we can just hitch up and drive off to somewhere new.
Bearing in mind that I’ve just entered the 21st Century and started blogging, I’m already finding problems, and I’m only around ten blogs in! The problem is commitment. Not to the writing of it – Oh no, that’s the easy part at the moment, you can’t shut me up … I have folders of drafts and ideas bunging up my computer! No the problem is what I’m writing. As every new Blogger no doubt does, I’ve recently gone back over my few posts and astounded myself how many jobs I said we’d get finished on the house, and how many of those we are only just getting started on.
The Italians might moan about the weather as much as we English, but they definitely deal with it a lot better. Take this weekend for example – we’ve had snow. Well at the campsite we’ve had a constant 48 hours of heavy rain with an ‘allerta arancione’ (orange alert) on the digital boards along the coastal road and local rivers flowing at the fullest we’ve seen for over a year, but further inland it’s a different story. We headed up to the house on Sunday morning to see if there was the expected Winter Wonderland, and we weren’t disappointed.