Most of this week was spent house hunting. It’s tough. I’m learning the differences between what is priority (safety–blah), and preference (an orchard!).
This Thursday I had an all-day appointment with Giuseppe, who took me to see nine houses! Despite the fact that Giuseppe speaks English very well, the language barrier took a while to get used to. He asked me what I did and why I chose my career path…to which he then started calling me “Spin Doctor.” “I am NOT!” I chided back. He laughed and said, “No no no that’s good–that’s a compliment! You sell refrigerators to eskimos!”
I’m blaming it on the language barrier.
Soon after, we arrived at the first house in Trecastagni, a long distance from base. The landlord was just the cutest little old man. Standing about five feet on his tippy toes, he firmly shook my hand and welcomed me with a loud, “Buongiorno!” His smile was contagious; his eyes twinkling, quite like my own father’s; his caterpillar eyebrows gently covered the tips of his eyes, like a perfectly draped valance. I think that house made the top of my list just because of the little old Italian man.
By the time this weekend rolled around, I had seen 14 houses…and really liked approximately 0%. Which basically just meant I needed to reevaluate my priorities and preferences. So I did. Friday evening, Trenton and I were picked up by Gaitano, a local real estate agent and local national on base. He took us to see one house that we really liked, BUT, I just had an indescribably bad feeling about the landlord. I fell asleep that night wondering what the right next move would be.
My girlfriend from the Mag, Stephanie, and I planned a wonderful excursion for Saturday morning. If by wonderful, she dragged me to the gym for two hours and taught me how to work the machine things that are absolutely terrifying. After the gym, we drove to the Catania fish market and grabbed a quick lunch in a little store right outside the fish market. The smell of fish permeated the air as we grazed over roasted vegetables and fresh pane.
After the market, we found some delectable gelato and granita, and enjoyed the sharp coldness of our desserts on the sunny walk home.
Later that evening, Gaitano picked up the three of us to take us to Nicolosi to see Stephanie’s new house! From there, he thought I might be interested in a little villa in Trecastagni. So we went.
And, you guys, it’s bella! Even more importantly, it has a lemon tree! And fig tree! And white and red cherry trees! And orange trees!
I love it and the landlords are just the sweetest little couple. They were very worried about us liking the house, which wasn’t a problem at all!
There’s still a lot to think about. How far it is to and from work; whether or not the bus will run out that way; if I can work the gas stove and oven without exploding the place…a lot to process, but I’m feeling MUCH better about the housing process and options!
Later that evening, we went to a sweet little Italian restaurant, Ristorante Pizzeria Il Covo Di Carani Armando, in Misterbianco to celebrate!
Unfortunately, it was extremely late…okay okay like after 8:00p.m. and we nearly fell asleep in our food!
Today, Sunday, Trenton and met up with Christy and Dianna to go to a little French home goods store. After that we went to downtown Catania and had MASSIVE burgers. Then…we braved Ikea. Holy cow. The good news is that I bought a good amount of orange and green themed things to make my office a little brighter and more welcoming.
Tonight, Stephanie and I made the salmon we bought earlier this weekend from the fish market, paired with a blood orange and sweet onion salad, lettuce wraps with chives, roka, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cubes, and grilled vegetables; for dessert, we paired a Gambino rosé with strawberries and plain Greek yogurt.
Delightful! The food here makes breaking bread together so easy. We (the three of us) decided that we will have a family dinner every Sunday, which makes sense since Stephanie is a pescatarian and we plan to get fresh fish every Saturday at a fish market.
With that, my friends, it’s late and tomorrow is another week of adventure. Allow me to leave you with this: