Friday, September 10, 2010

Our Town-In Reality and Dream

Where we live--Santa Domenica Talao
Guido and I were at the Comune offices to collect our Carte d'Identita (Identity Cards and certification of Residency). Maria showed us the paper form she had typed up and asked if it was correct. I noticed that she had my place of birth as Illinois--the state (as on my Passport) rather than Palatine, the town, as I knew they wanted.  Guido was not happy with me for pointing out that it was not correct--but I was warned to make certain there were no discrepancies for a bureaucrat to notice later. We have been a long road to Residency. Nevertheless, we had our cards the next day:

The front and back covers of our Carte.  Americans take note--
You need your Permesso first and must keep it up to date.
This card allows you to get health coverage, own a car, etc.
I spent my first 18 years in Palatine, then never lived anywhere permanently until we moved to Oregon and bought Rainshadow Farm 22 years later.  We lived in Oregon on the farm for 20 of our most productive years.  We were busy both at work and on the farm.  I lived my dream to have a greenhouse and nursery--at least on a small scale.  Most of the time we were on the farm we believed we would stay there until death--the "forever" people refer to when hanging on to their illusions. We didn't realize that sometimes life changes your illusions. It turned out Doug was tired of farming--all the work.  I was tired of fighting life in the desert--making it bloom. It happened quickly but for good. I remember that Doug was first to blow up our farm idyll. I resented him for that for awhile--as I'm a woman who needs a dream.  We took a trip to Italy in 2005 and somehow a new dream emerged rather unexpectedly.

Most people assume that we live here in order to travel all over Italy and Europe. Lots of expats do just that. People are always asking us where we have gone since they last saw us. Yes, we will take trips short and long, but they are not our purpose here.  We are not trying to cram in all the places we can see and find.  We are trying to know and be known to our new town and to the people around us, as naturally as possible.  There is no rush, there is no preconceived goal. We are traveling by living here in our town in a quality way that can't be reproduced in a quick trip to anywhere.  First the people:

Some processions happen by day
But we are learning that nearly everything happens after 9PM

At least the landscape allows us morning types to enjoy it while the Italians sleep. We get up and have our coffee and watch the changing sky then catch up with it again at cocktail hour (we have learned more rituals here but keep our own too):

Close-up of Stromboli from our terrazzo
So we are trying to earn our stripes as residents of this place. We will never be natives, but we can be at home here with all that it can come to mean to us.


  1. Congratulations on getting your id cards. As I think you know we had some adventures renewing ours recently when we moved house.

  2. Yes, congrats on the ID cards! I'm curious about your town and the hours they keep; do people not still tend to their land there? Here we have apes whizzing by on our little street when it's still dark out in the problem for us since we have chores too, of course ;)

  3. Thanks LLM,
    I'd have to guess numbers but it's safe to say that the people here who get up to tend the land early are as little as 2%, most are retired, there are very few younger folks with farms who live in the village. We are not experts yet, but it's very very quiet in the morning and very lively at night. One ape goes out early next door but he works in construction. Our town doesn't stir til about 730 or 8 but it's not usual for them to stay up past midnight, kids and all. Still a feat as far as I'm concerned. Couldn't do it on a regular basis.



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