Leaving is Such Sweet Sorrow

We are in our last two days of living the Italian dream! And it has been an amazing journey. We are going home with some great memories and wonderful experiences! Instead of words, I thought it would be fun to just post some of our most favorite pictures which represent some of our favorite memories! Just be glad Im not making you sit through a night of looking at 500 slides!

Tiber River Times

We are in our last week of this amazing adventure that began April 16th! Actually it began a few years back when Randy began to share that he hoped one day to just come to Italy and spend a few months living and just soak up as much Italian life as possible!

Last July while sitting on the beach in Newport, CA, we began to seriously plan that dream. We had just had a most wonderful evening at the Rose Bowl with some of our favorite people watching fireworks and of course sharing great food while laughing and making a great July 4th memory! So as we sat, watching waves roll in and listening to children running and laughing as the water splashed around them, it was then that we knew that it was time! Each season of our lives has allowed us different experiences that we can now look back and see Gods Hand of growth, faithfulness and yes, sometimes chastisements through different happenings.

If you read my posts regularly, you probably see a pattern in what I write! It tends to circle around God! It is so hard to express how I feel about Him but I will try! God is, God was and God always will be! He is our Creator, our Sustainer and Our hope! Because of Him, we live and breathe! So when I think about all that He has not only allowed, but provided for us, it is with great thankfulness that we know He put this dream (or desire) in our hearts for a reason! Do we know all the reasons yet, that He has lead us to every location we have stayed? No, and we might not ever this side of Heaven!

As we are in an apartment across the street by the Tiber River, it might be for the simple reason that we met the gracious host and her husband to just share a thankful heart of her going out of her way to bring us the key clear across town! Maybe it was for me to see precious ladies sitting on a half brick wall outside a little grocery with their little roll carts full of groceries, probably sharing neighborhood gossip or what had been going on in their lives this week! As I walked by them it was such a beautiful reminder of how even the simplest life can be full of laughter and great moments! I want to remember that as we return to a place and life that can easily become very hurried and not quite so simple! Maybe the events, some that we would not have wanted, were for the testing of our faith or dependence on Him! There have been days when I think both of us would have packed up and headed back home, but we didnt have a home to go to! It was in those difficult days of missing family and friends or difficult circumstances that our time with the Lord got a little more attention. All i know is that both Randy and I have learned more of what God wants to be to us!

In our times of everything going wonderful, and exactly as planned, it showed us that it is in those times, that we need to draw closer to the Great God who has given graciously to us so so many wonderful gifts, of special days that included worshipping with other believers here in Rome and Florence, hearing beautiful church bells, eyes that looked upon the most beautiful blue green clear water, ancient partial walls that protected towns from invading troops, artistically painted frescos in churches hundreds of years old! From the meeting of a young women serving us breakfast on Randys birthday and telling me that we were different from most folks who she served, to listening to gorgeous music by the 3 Italian Tenors; both of these rank just as high in my memories!

No, we dont know the reasons we have been allowed this experience! But we do know that we will be forever grateful for His Hand of protection and provision that we have experienced here in Italy! God is not bound to borders nor race! May God be praised for His goodness, no matter the location, no matter the memory!

As the Tiber River flows so smoothly by, may we be….”Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace 
Over all victorious in its bright increase 
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day 
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way”

Italian Life Sounds

Here we are enjoying another day at the water! We love the breeze that blows off the bay and the shade that is made by the turquoise and blue stripped umbrella between our deck chairs.

As we sit and read or nap, there are precious sounds that come from the water! Sounds of kids, who have apparently left all their cell phones at home and are playing ball in the water! The sounds of moms yelling “dont go any further out” as kids continue to jump and splash out further and further!

Just this morning as we opened the door to the street below our balcony, we heard a baby cry and a young mom trying “in Italian” to console the young girl.

In the evenings, as people stroll the Corso, musicians are playing guitars, violins, lariots or singing, we sit on benches along the boulevard and just people watch. It has been so amazing to just hear the sounds of their everyday life. Some are yelling to shop owners as they walk by! Others see a neighbor and stop to visit. We have seen women yelling down to the street below their home to familiar faces!

Today is one of those days when i sit and think about some of the things i will miss most about Italy, when we leave to go home in a few weeks! As i wrote in a previous post, of course we will miss the beauty of Italy, the simplistic lifestyle and of course the wonderful food, but the sounds which we have come to love will be one of the things I miss the most! And how can i leave the bell chimes? We have been so fortunate to stay in places that not only can we hear the bells, but watch them as well! That has blessed my socks off!

it is the sounds that make everyday life so interesting. That is one thing I hope to change when we move back to Dallas. It has always been so easy to drive in the garage from the ally, close the garage door and separate ourselves from the world! And…as some days we all need this alone time, it is going to be hard not to fall back in that routine! But as we settle into our new place, I hope that I remember just how alive we both felt as we watched and listened to the sounds of Italy and allow ourselves to slurp our spaghetti ever once in awhile or just go sit outside an ice cream parlor and listen to the sounds of Dallas. As we sat today in our chairs watching and listening to the families here, we began to talk to the couple next to us. They are from Plano, TX and are here with their twin girls! We began to converse about so many memories which we will take home. We have agreed that if we forget everything we have done or seen as we get older, may we never forget the sounds that have come to echo in our hearts! Tonight, Randy is treating us to go hear the 3 Tenors here at the opera house. It is the 3 Tenors of Italy who sing all the famous songs of Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Carreras! Sounds of music which will be forever a memory of our time here in Sorrento! From the men who jumped on the train hoping their music would bring them a few dollars to the opera stars this evening…..each will hold a special place in our hearts!

  • Italy…a land of beauty, history and so much more! So thankful for the memories!

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Italy By The Sea

Here we are in beautiful Sorrento. What a most gorgeous place of rest and calm. After spending a month in Rome, where we were truly able to immerse ourselves in the everyday life of a Roman, we are enjoying the tranquility of the water, the ability to walk in ally sized cobblestone paths without tour groups! Each little ally takes us deeper into the heart of Sorrento! The storefronts full of everything lemon. The bistros vie for your attention, each promising us a experience of homemade pasta,snd fresh fish, all with a wave of hand of invite and a broad smile. We had quite an experience two nights ago. As we strolled (yes we can stroll here, as the crowds are non existent at this point) in search of where to have dinner, Randy could tell his medication was nearing its time of effect! When this happens (for those of you who do not know us personally, he has Parkinsons) his balance gets off and until he gets meds into his system, it is hard for him to walk! As we stood there for me to dig out the meds from my purse, a man from one of the booths came out and brought out a chair for Randy. A lady from the store across the way also came over to help Randy sit down. Because they could see me handing over some medicine to Randy, the man (Bruno) went to get a cup of lemonade and the lady stayed with me until Bruno returned. I explained the situation and Bruno told Randy to sit there as long as he needed! Because the meds take about 15 min before they take effect, I stood there while a couple from UK walked by. They had known Bruno 20 years and come back every year to Sorrento. They began showing us pictures of an island they had toured the day before! By this time Randy is fine so we ask Bruno where we should have dinner! He said he would take us to one of his favorite places, no tourist he says! As we begin to walk, he grabs Randys arm and tells him to lean on him and walks us to the restaurant. He left his place of business to do this. No one else was in his store to take care of it. When we got to the restaurant, he introduced us to the owner and his wife who had just married last month. He told them to take good care of us….and that they did! Immediately they brought us a glass of champagne and an appetizer of a broccoli/polenta/parmesean cheese paste with bread. We were not charged for any of that. When we walked back by to thank him, he was so gracious. The following day as we walked down the same street, the lady who had come over to help us, waved us over to ask Randy how he was and told us she was very glad he looked much better! We are just so thankful for God faithfulness of putting sweet people in our paths!

After such a sweet experience that evening, last evening found me in a, well, let me begin! For two nights there have been about 100 Ferraris in town. They are parked up Corao Italia where our apartment is located. So we enjoy the cool evenings of walking and looking at all the expensive cars that Randy dreams about! Well, last night we were walking home after dinner when I remembered that we needed to stop and buy Cokes and Bottles of tea! I told Randy he could just keep looking at the cars and dreaming and i would go into the little wine shop for our drinks. The money I had in my purse allowed me to buy 2 teas/2 cokes. The guy ask me if i needed a bag, but thrifty me, not wanting to pay for an extra bag told him i would just use the bag that i had with me. It was a little bag which held a linen shirt i had just bought after dinner on our way back home. All 4 drinks fit and I’m all set to go home when all of a sudden the handle on the bag tore and the drinks scattered! Of course you know where they landed! They rolled under the $500,000 car that was parked right there. Randy is off looking so there i am crawling under the car to retrieve my drinks. As I’m trying to stretch my arm to grab one of them before it rolls further under, I realize I’m on my stomach with my legs sticking out from under this elegant car. I hear a lady say “Mame, can you reach it or do you need me to help?” As i rolled myself out from the car, it was then I realized that i had to use the car for support to be able to stand up! These cars were not to be touched! But thank goodness, i escaped arrest and quickly walked to our door as Randy walks up and says,” where were you? I’ve been looking for you! I pointed to the car and said,”you really dont want to know”

Today we are in lounge chairs out by the water! Ferry boats cruise by taking folks to Capri as we conjure up the nerve to walk down the steps to the beautiful clear water. Yes, the time here will allow us to rest up for heading back to Rome to welcome some of our kids. Maybe Sorrento is one of those places God created to give us just a little glimpse of what Heaven might be like!

Vinegar Questions

As Guido and I continue our time here in Italy (has been two months already) we have been so fortunate to live in the communities where life goes on as normal! Because of this privilege, we have noticed several things that just makes us wonder! We have a saying in our house “well, that will be a vinegar question” when we get to Heaven! We say that because we happened to notice many moons ago that when you look at the ingredients in the back of a vinegar bottle it says, and i quote, “vinegar”! Nothing more! So we still dont ever know what vinegar really is! So we know that one day when we sit at the banquet table in Heaven, we will hopefully get that question answered. But for now, we have gathered up more vinegar questions from Italy.

1. Why do eggs have to be refrigerated in USA but here they are just stacked on a shelf in the grocery store! Not refrigerated at all! Do the chickens here have built in fridges?

2. How do the dogs and cats here seem to live long and very happy lives eating dog and cat food from the grocery store and not have a Pets Mart anywhere around? How do they live without doggie day cares and salons?

3. Do the Chinese folks here not know about chop sticks? We have been in 3 Chinese restaurants and have never seen one chop stick yet!

4. Apparently, Italians do not understand that bread and butter go together! Have never seen a bit of butter in any restaurant yet. Just lots of olive oil! We have also never seen any bottle of salad dressing other than olive oil in stores or restaurants! Do they really live w/o blue cheese dressing on a wedge salad?

5. There are no donut shops in Italy. What do policemen eat while on stakeouts?

6. There are no Starbucks! How do they go through the winter with no pumpkin spice lattes or Chi Tea extra hot, no whip, no water, sugar free?

7. We have never seen one fire truck yet! Or any fire stations! Do they not have fires and if not, where do all the little first graders go for field trips?

8. No matter the age or size of person, we have noticed that everytime (which is all the time) we see a huge pizza pie ordered, the person eats the entire pie! ALWAYS! Is it bad luck if you dont? So maybe thats why we have so much trouble finding buses and bus stations. I simply cannot eat the whole thing!

9. No one has screens on doors or windows yet we have never seen a bug fly in. Maybe flies and mosquitoes are not allowed to cross the ocean from America. Guess their little wings cant fly that far!

10. How do ladies in Italy cook casseroles without Campbells soups of Jello pudding? What would u take to family reunions or church dinners with these two items?

11. We have not seen any church here that has a disco ball, music director that plays guitar or praise team! How do they sing?

These are our vinegar questions we have ready! Since we have 4 more weeks left, we hope some of our questions might be answered but if not, we sure hope that we can come back next year to see if we can find out some of the answers!

Roaming Around Rome

It has been swirling around in my head for several days of how to write and describe what I am thinking! As our time here in Rome continues, there is so much that I want to write about but so much of it is feelings rather than experiences!

Maybe if I begin with a few comparisons it will help! Rome is not Florence! When we arrived in Florence, my heart was just so full of seeing all the beauty of the bridges, the art, the hills over looking the city itself! The small winding allys they call streets were magical to me! It felt like we were in a place separated from the real world that nothing could penetrate! Beautiful views from every restaurant we stopped. Gelateria after Gelateria where beautiful mounds of colored gelato called our names! We would ride buses around just in awe of gorgeous duomos and museums of the most amazing art and sculptures! The countryside where we ventured just brought into focus more of the magical country of Italy! Hilltop towns where we walked through, feeling like we were in a fantasy world! Yes that was Florence!

Then the train brought us to Rome! We felt excited to be in the Eternal City! All Roads lead to Rome….but as i looked around, all i wanted was to be on a road back to Florence! We began to get out with the crowds of people to see all the places that people come to Rome to see….the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the Alter of the Fatherland, the Colosseum, Vatican and of course the Sistene Chapel! As we had been in Rome some years back, none of these places were new to us but was so nice to see again. As the days went by we began to get comfortable with the buses and metro! Now we were beginning to venture out to new neighborhoods that we had read about!

As one week turned into two, we were becoming more and more familiar with the grand city of Rome! We spent an afternoon on bus number #916, riding it full circle! It took almost 3 hours. We became concerned as the bus left our familiar area and headed out to a part of town that was way out of our part of town. When the bus came to a station and just stopped, i walked to the front of the bus and showed him on our map the station that we hoped the bus would return to. He nodded that it would. After about 15 min he turns the bus key on and off we go. 31 stops later, the bus driver , opens his door to the drivers seat, steps out in the aisle and motions to Randy and I that in one more stop we will be home! All the bus passengers just look at us and wonder why he did that. Of all the buses we have been in the last 7 weeks, that was the sweetest gesture! It was then that i began to think about Rome and the wonderful feelings that have been so difficult to write about! A few nights ago, as we walked to a restaurant a few blocks away, I had told Randy that I wished I could just turn the video on as we walked to capture the things i have come to love about Rome! Because every neighborhood has everything that they need, it seems that some of the folks just stay in their neighborhood and never venture out to far. As we walk down the street we see some of the same ones every evening. There is a man who sits downstairs with a precious beagle and talks to everyone who walks by. The doorman or our apartment bldg stands and greets us, using the little amount of English he knows. He had helped direct us to different metro stations and told us about different buses.

The grocery store (there are two within a block) now know us and smile and greet us as they carry on conversations with the others in line. Everyone knows the others that are in the stores. Ladies tie up their precious dogs outside the store while they shop and no one takes them. The store has bowls of water out for the pets. We sit outside across the street to have a afternoon coffee (well i have tea) and a pastry. People walk by and stop and talk to the people they know. We noticed that when we were there a couple days ago, that 6 or 7 tables outside just enjoying the afternoon, there was not one person on their phones. They were talking to each other.

As ladies hang out their weekly laundry, they converse with each other from their respective balconies! It has been such an eye opener to me of how precious people truly are. I just hung out laundry listening to the church bells ringing. Each day of walking to stores/restaurants has given us interaction with people that maybe dont speak our language nor do we speak theirs, but it is so easy to see their hears because of their actions! No matter the place, it is the people who make our journeys worthwhile!

Yes, we have loved the art, the beauty of the ruins, the churches and of course the food! But the hardest thing we leave behind is the way of life here! So simple, yet so sincere! We have fallen in love with Rome, but the reasons are so varied, it will just need to be written in my heart because it is not possible to put into words!

Blessings From Above (and Sometimes in Bags)

Today began with great expectations of finding our way back to Rome Bapt Church. We had moved to a different part of Rome last weekend and had not yet learned how to get to church via bus/metro. But this week, we were ready and had our bus route all written out with a map of how to walk to church once we got off the bus! So off we went feeling so sure of our day. We would go to church, walk back to Spanish Steps, have lunch someplace new and head home where we would rest a while then head out to go to mass at 5 at St Peters Basilica. After all we are in Rome and we have to at least try to see the Pope!

Well, bus #881 was just a few min late in getting to our bus stop but we were proud as peacocks because we have learned that happens so we had given ourselves plenty of time for late buses. No problem…we get bus #92 and hop off after 9 stops and proceed to walk over to bus stop #2 where our little bus app tells us to jump on bus #881 We look at the bus stop name and its not what is on our little bus map. Randy says he bets that the bus stop that is on the street across the way must be the bus stop we need, so off we go walking across two streets to hopefully catch bus #881! We made it across and open our app to see when it is scheduled to come. It says one hour! We dont have an hour! We only have 30 min before church starts. So we look at each other and say “lets walk back over to the other bus stop and see if any of those schedules say they will get us close to any of the bus stations we are familiar with”! So we go walking across the street back to where the bus let us off! After looking at all 4 bus routes at this stop we decide that if we take bus #916 it will get us close. So we wait and wait and wait. Apparently if had just been there when we had walked across the street. So 30 min later we take our “tired of standing feet” onto bus 916. We ride to a bus stop we are familiar with and get off thinking we are close to the church. We get off and “refresh” our location on our Italian google phone only to find out we are still 2 miles from church. It is now 11 and we have missed church so we start walking. We now are hot, tired and hungry. We walk by a church when Randy says “lets at least go inside, and can sit and cool off all the while get to experience an Italian mass! So we proceed to walk in. Words cannot describe the beauty of this neighborhood church. We were both just in awe of what we saw. For Some reason i thought of Susie Hawkins and the class she had taught us of women in centuries past that was used of God for His purpose. The paintings in this church were just truly beautiful, Some of women, others of Jesus and saints! Maybe women that were significant in the Catholic church but the gold was breathtaking.

As we sat there for a few minutes before the Priest closed the service i could not help but notice the reverence of the congregation. The wonderful pipe organ music was so elegant and melodious! Had not heard music like that in so long! Also how everyone was dressed. There were no bare shoulders, no shorts, no short dresses! The men and young boys were dressed in suits. Out of maybe 300-400 people i was the only one in capris. Ladies wore dresses or pant suits. Some wore hats and gloves but everyone was dressed so lovely and smart that it made me once again stop and think about America and how lax we have become in teaching our kids honor and respect for God and His church. Yes i know that our religions do not agree in so many ways theologically, but i loved the reverence that was in that church today. Many children were there but not one ran around the church. The families hugged other families. They stood around and visited with others and the feeling of closeness was felt!

We walked out talking about how good it was to just sit in quiet reverence and pray and realized that God was honored there today. Maybe not in the same way we were expecting but we knew we had been in the house of God. We left with a sense of wondering if maybe, we tend to forget sometimes in our modern churches that we have focused so much on grace and forgiveness, that we have forgotten to also practice reverence for God and worship Him in Holiness and respect.

The pictures you see here are of this beautiful neighborhood church which is not even listed in churches you should see when in Rome. So you can imagine if this one is not listed what the ones listed will look like!

Apparently The Lord felt like we needed a little pick me up after getting so frustrated today at the bus schedules that we just could not make work today so he gave us this:

We found Old El Paso chips, flour tortillas, old El Paso salsa and refried beans. God is good all the time! All the time God is Good!

Catholic churches and chips! We thank God for the big and the small blessings!

Princess at the Piazza

We did it!!! We broke away from pasta tonight and found a little Chinese restaurant around the corner which we walked to for sweet & sour chicken! I had told Randy this morning that I just could not look another pizza or pasta noodle in the face!

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we sat in the apartment in Orlando saying “what? us get tired of pizza and spaghetti? Never! We could eat it everyday for a year, we love it so much!” We lasted 6 weeks before gaging at the site of fettuccini or parmesan cheese pizza! We would give half our retirement right now for chips and salsa from our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Dallas!

You might be thinking, well well, the honeymoon is over! And in some aspects you are right! The glamour and excitement wears a little thin as we step into yet another pizza joint (they arent pizzerias at the piazzas to us anymore but pizza joints…you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!)

And because we actually dont know one more word of Italian than we did when we stepped off the plane, we just order the same old margarita pizza or spaghetti Bolognese because they are the only words on the menu we know!

My whole life i have been told that i talk fast but i dont hold a candle to the folks here! I talk like Gomer Pile compared to them.

Just this morning we were out on the balcony bringing in the clothes we had left out on the dryer racks from yesterday. It had rained, so they were still damp. All of a sudden I hear a lady talking very loudly and look over the railing to see what was going on down on the street when i happen to glance over across the street and see an older Italian lady leaning out her window waving and smiling at me! I tried to use hand motions to try to tell her i didnt speak Italian when she finally just laughs and backs away from the window. This will keep me up all night. Was she trying to tell me that laundry is only suppose to be hung out on certain days? Or was she trying to tell me she liked some of my clothes that i had hanging out there? Maybe i shouldnt waste my time hanging clothes out this week because it is suppose to rain everyday! Guess I will never know as she talked so fast I didnt even have time to try to grab my phone with my “translate Italian to english app”

Some hints from us to anyone that is thinking of coming over here for an extended time. To prepare yourself for some of the distinct differences of living in the USA, practice taking a shower in a phone booth all the while trying to shave your legs!

Go to your neighborhood bar and sit in the middle of a group of men that smoke. Get your lungs use to the smoke before coming to Italy! Guido has already told me that the Doctor is going to be so excited to see my cholesterol down (surely it is down after eating no meat or chocolate cake or Hershey bars for 6 weeks) significantly only to tell me i now have the lungs of someone who has smoked for 25 years.

Leave most of the cutsie clothes at home you were thinking of bringing! Instead pack bags of ice, cartons of Dr Pepper, peanut butter crackers, bags of chips and jars of salsa! Trust me on this!

Dont get me wrong, we are having such a great time seeing so many wonderful buildings, churches and statues! But right now they would look so much better while walking along the piazzas with a taco or burrito in my hand, rather than a gelato!

Tomorrow, when we go to Piazza Novana for dinner, we will be once again, order more pasta! Or maybe we will throw caution to the wind and just point to a menu item, hoping it doesnt have anchovies or tripe in it! After all, we are in Rome and want to do what the Romans do! Just wish they liked enchiladas and Dr Peppers!

Italian Inventions

We have now been in Italy for almost 6 weeks. And it has been glorious! Ok…Maybe a few days were just ok more than glorious because it rained more days than we anticipated. But because we have rainy days to fill with reading, playing cards and watching Netflix, we are so thankful that we dont feel that we have to go someplace everyday. It is in those rainy days that we do laundry and get caught up on emails and of course, the blog! Today is one of those days.

The other day i began to compile a list of so many things i love about Italy but also a list of the things i miss about The good ole USA!

There is of course, family and friends we miss alot! But two things i miss so so much is just “ice” and a garbage disposal! We had brought some ice trays from home with us to use because i remembered how hard they are to find here. But i forgot them in Florence! So we are back to hunting down an ice cube tray. Today it dawned on me that the inventor of the clothes dryer might very well have been an Italian lady. I put up the drying rack this morning out on the balcony to hang laundry to dry, and it dawned on me that now, Randy was not going to be the only one who knew what size my panties were! By 10 am, the entire apartment neighborhood that looks directly at us would know how truly big my Sears big girl panties were! As i tried to hang them between his shirts and tidy whites (hoping it would make mine look smaller) a lady from next door came out on her balcony. I smiled and said caio, and she smiled back as she watched me continue to hang up our “personals”. It was then and there that i decided to go find the Rome mall and run into Victorias Secrets and buy the laciest and smallest panties i could find to hang outside. I will start hanging my real size ones inside over the backs of breakfast chairs to dry from now on! I do not want people that dont even know my name to know more about the size of my undergarments than my husband! We had a dryer in Florence so all i used the clothes line for was our shirts, blouses and pants! I felt like Cinderella in those days out hanging clothes, singing loudly on the beautiful sunny days and never gave it a thought as to what i would do if I didnt have a dryer! Well, we now know! Trust me. If I was single in Italy and didnt have a dryer, you would never see my unmentionables hanging outside. Mr Right might be living right across the road and be able to see what he was in for and decide that maybe Matcho Dot. Como didnt get it right!

After my incident last weekend on the bus, I have decided to pack away my white capris until we are back in cars and not using the bus system. It was the first sunny day we had had in a few days so i decided to get out of my black and gray uniform. It was a day of sunshine and gelato and i was going to celebrate by wearing some new white capris i had bought in Orlando before heading to Italy. It was also a day that I was feeling chipper about loosing a few pounds from all the walking we had been doing! I opted for a new blouse that didnt cover up my entire rear end. After all, it had been a couple weeks since i had worn anything spring like and it felt good to wear a brightly covered top that matched how i felt that day. So off we go to catch the bus. We were excited to be trying a new bus route and knew that we would be seeing all new streets. We board the bus and i insert my ticket in the machine. I look back to see that the bus is almost full and know i will be standing until a seat becomes available when i hear Randy say,”TGirl” i turn around with my back to the rest of the bus and see that Randy has dropped his ticket on the floor before validating it. Well he has to hold on with one hand and had his cane in the other so i know that he needs me to get the ticket off the floor. As i bend over to retrieve it, the bus takes off and I loose my balance and end up with my rear in the air. And i have on my white capris that make me look even bigger. If I had been wearing my black ones maybe there might not have been so much snickering coming from the passengers! All i know is that for 30 min i had to stand up with everyone looking at me and probably thinking “whoa, maybe she needs to stay away from the pasta dishes”! Randy felt so badly that he said “lets get off and go into McDonalds and have a frappachino”. So off the bus we went in search of a coffee to take my mind off my embarrassing moment. When we walked in he went to order as I went off to find the ladies room. Walking in I found that the lady before me had not flushed the toilet so I decided to do that before I pottied. If you have traveled here to this country you know that the flush buttons are usually on the wall behind the toilets. As I pushed it, the entire cover fell into the toilet. Since there were others still waiting to use the bathroom i couldnt just leave it so i closed my eyes (why did i feel like that would not make it as germy) and pulled the cover out so it wouldn’t stop it up. I laid it on the floor and came out trying to explain to the line of Italian ladies waiting that it was now broken. But they didnt understand. So now i had ladies in McDonalds walking by me staring at me wondering why after i went in the bathroom, it had to be closed down!

This was all the humiliation i could handle for one day. I told randy i just wanted to go home (by taxi) and wash my hands in pure bleach water and bring in my undies from the balcony and pull the curtains and watch High Seas on Netflix!

Maybe after today an Italian lady might invent a lever to flush commodes that wont fall off the wall!

The Wonderful Italian Diet

We had been to the doctor in Orlando before flying off to Italy! Yes…we had heard what the dr said! If it is animal based…stay away! If it is plant based….eat with great taste!

It was hard to think like that knowing we were headed to the land of pancetta, parmesan, and gelato! Did the Doctor realize that he was causing me possible high blood pressure trying to resist all the great Italian delicacies? Yes, if I followed his advice my cholesterol would probably go down, but now I was so high strung trying to stay away from all the foods we were coming to Italy for!

Well…we showed him! Ok maybe we arent showing him but we certainly have figured out how to have our cake and gelato too!

The last several days we have noticed that we dont even have to unzip our pants to pull them off. They slide down on their own! WHAT? We are in Italy for Heavens sake! How can this be? Do people really come here and loose weight? Well Guido and I are living proof that it happens! Here is our story!

It all began April 18th when we landed in Florence for a month. We had just arrived from Rome where we had stayed for two days trying to adjust to the 8 hr time change!

Our taxi delivered us to the door of the apartment that we would call home for the next month! The host greeted us and unlocked the front door to the building! We saw a group of stairs leading to another door that was in front of us…..no problem, there were just 5 stairs. We are old but no problem, 5 little stairs are nothing. Even with our 5 bags. Then the second door is opened snd there before us are more stairs! Randy looks at me and says, “did you check with the listing page to be sure there is an elevator?” Oopsie! No didnt do that! Laura, our host says, ” no worries, it is just on 4 th floor!” What….we have to climb up to 4th floor every time we come home! And carry groceries up 4 flights of stairs! But we need one hand to hold on to the hand railing so we dont fall and break a hip or ankle! This is crazy!

We began the ascent! Im proud to tell you that we made that first trip up in less than 10 min. We kept having to stop and catch our breath at each landing. Laura had felt sorry for us and told us to leave the bags and she would have her brother bring them up. If she had not done that i was ready to admit defeat and tell her to just shoot me. There was no way neither of us would be able to carry the bags up! As Laura was showing us the apartment and everything we needed to know I ask her if there was a hospital near by in case we had a heart attack climbing up! She laughed and said,”oh you are funny, you will get use to them by the second day!” Apparently she didnt realize what she was saying to Ms Butter Queen who has butter running through her veins

After she left us to get settled, Guido just looked at me and shook his head! He said, “lets sit down right now and, after our breathing returns to normal, check our other places we have reserved for the next two months and be sure that if they are higher than the ground floor that there is an elevator! Should we actually not die from a heart attack this month and be able to continue on i dont want to push our luck by moving to another place without an elevator!” After all, we both had read somewhere that hearts only have so many beats before they give out. And right now, ours was using up alot of those allotted beats!

Well Laura was right. By the end of two weeks, we didnt collapse by the time we got up to the second floor. By 3 weeks we didnt have to stop after 3 floors and have a nap before going on up to the 4 th! And my oh my, by the 4 th week, we were able to climb all the way up to the 4 th before our hearts beat out of our chest! Then we left for Rome! Just when we were getting this stair climbing down!

We looked back over the 4 weeks in Florence and realized why we had lost weight. Not only had we exercised but we had eaten less than we even dreamed. By the time we would come home from sigh seeing and exploring, we would just look at each other and one of us would say, “lets just eat soup or toast tonight, i just dont have the energy to make one more trip up the stairs today!”

And that my sweet traveling friends who are dreaming of coming to Italy but afraid that you will come here only to go back home a size larger is a fool proof way to loose weight when here! Oh…one (or two) more secrets to loosing weight! When out exploring a favorite town here, just order off the menu with pride! Try to make the food servers think you know Italian! I got cocky and ordered a pizza thinking that the word acciughe was a cheese! It wasnt. There before me sat a pizza filled with all the cutest little anchovies you have seem! I tried to pick them off and eat the pizza but i just could not. Ended up having breadsticks for dinner.

And last tip is this! When you know that you are allergic to milk, do not buy the statement “oh everything in Italy is different. Not as much processing and you probably wont have problems with the milk there!” So i went on a gelato spree! Guess i went a little over board having gelato 3 times in 3 days. I wont bore you with the details but lets just say that i probably lost a couple pounds that week alone!

So there you have it! The medical advice you must have to loose weight in Italy!

The walking alone burns so many calories that you can have a plate of pasta without guilt. Taking the subway in Rome is hard on your knees snd Lots of stairs going down and up but the calories burned allowed us to enjoy a dish of cacio peppe, my new favorite dish! And yes, i know what it is now ( pasta with cheese, pepper and pasta water) and can actually pronounce it….with a Southern draw!

You might not recognize us when we get back to Texas! We are almost skin and bones now! But we are going to really try hard the next two months to put some of our weight back on . We are only staying in bldgs with “lifts” and riding the buses! We dont want to scare our friends and family into thinking we have lost too much weight. So we are eating as much as possible….because we are just that type of people….caring, giving and thoughtful of others! Arrivederci