Friday, May 31, 2013

Ciao!

Goodnight Sun...

New Blog Series-YCMTSU

My friend Shannon (she's my person here) and I were recently talking about all the craziness we as Americans experience here in Italy that is impossible to describe to anyone, especially someone who has never lived outside of the United States.

She is a frequent blogger also and so we both decided to add a new series to each of our blogs entitled "This Doesn't Happen in America" or as we like to call it between friends, "You Can't Make This Shit Up..." I cannot tell you how many times a day I think these exact thoughts in my head or say them out loud.

Don't get me wrong, living in Europe and Italy can be amazing!  The opportunities and experiences we are having and that are kids are having are life changing.


Making sand castles in Paris 


But for every amazing thing, there seems to be just a little craziness to go along with it....

So, it's here in my own little corner of the blogosphere that I'll try and enlighten you with (or at least share in the humor of) the craziness that is our Life in Italia...

Back in December, when my father had just arrived for Christmas, we noticed that the exhaust fan in our fireplace wasn't working.  We have a giant fireplace in our kitchen--it's one of the things that I liked best about our house when I first saw it.

Our fireplace (before we moved in)


 Keep in mind that Italians actually use their fireplaces for heat because they frequently keep their thermostats set in the 50's.  Gas for heating is VERY, VERY expensive! Without a fireplace, your house would be freezing. When we first moved in back in January of 2012, our downstairs would frequently drop into the high 40's INSIDE.  It is COLD without a fireplace!

This is what it was like the first month we lived in our house....


We contacted Claudio, our landlord, about the exhaust fan not working and he arranged a time for himself and Lucca, the electrician, to come over.  It was a Saturday when they decided to come and I had run out to the market.

When I got home, I had missed them.  I had started to put away the groceries I had bought, when I noticed an empty wine bottle--a big one--and 4 wine glasses sitting on the work table we have in the kitchen....and next to it all was an empty container of fudge that my cousin had sent for Christmas.  Keep in mind, it was barely NOON by this time....

I said some thing to my dad and Steve about who was drinking wine at 10:00 in the morning and Steve laughed and said that when he had asked Claudio if he and Lucca wanted something to drink, Claudio had pointed at the giant wine wrack we have in the corner of our kitchen...and then he went over and PICKED OUT A BOTTLE !



All of this might sound fine up until this point. Claudio, though he doesn't speak a word of English (except for Wednesday, flip flop, and Mercedes--he has one, the other two he learned from me), is the NICEST man and we honestly couldn't ask for a better landlord....I had NO problem with them socializing...

BUT, keep in mind these important facts...

1. It was 10:00 in the morning
2. They had come over to fix something involving ELECTRICITY
3. They had to climb up on the ROOF to do so
4. Italian wine is much, much higher in alcohol content than American wine is--the bottle that they drank was 13% alcohol...
5. They drank the wine BEFORE they climbed on the roof
6. They ate all the fudge... :(

My dad, seeing the humor in the entire situation and not wanting me to miss it, took a picture of the whole thing from my yard...thankfully HE had some sense!






The men on the roof--Steve is in the red shirt, Lucca is to the left and Claudio is in the center



You can see the chimney just peeking out on the corner of the the house. This picture is just to show you HOW high up the roof actually is...


Can you imagine this happening in America?  Honestly, I can't make this shit up....  

If you've enjoyed my new blog series, leave a comment and become a follower!  And as always, don't forget to vote...





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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Marostica-La Partita a Scacchi

Steve and I found out our next duty station was to be Italy in the summer of 2011.  He was in Afghanistan and I was at Ft. Campbell, waiting anxiously for him to return home and for the Army to "tell" us where we were moving next.  We had filled out our "wish list" and had made some "suggestions" that we'd like Europe--preferably "off the beaten path", but we really had NO idea where we were headed to next.  I wanted Norway, Steve wanted pretty much anywhere that would allow him NOT to deploy again in the not so distant future.  We got Italy.

Shocker

Steve called me and told me the big news while I was sitting in the Target parking lot in Clarksville, TN.  I immediately went inside and bought 7 pairs of shoes and an entire cart full of stuff I really probably didn't really need...and then called everyone I could think to tell.

Next, I went home and read everything I could possible read about Italy on the internet in just 24 hours.  I was convinced that by the time we moved to Italy, I would be fluent in Italian...  (if you're a military spouse who moved to a foreign country, you can stop laughing now...you KNOW you did it, too!!!)
AND I came up with a list of MUST-DO'S while we are in Italy.

To start my list of MUST-DO'S, I consulted a lot of other people's MUST-DO'S.  By the time we moved to Italy in December, it was a HUGE list.  But at the top of it was:

 Why Go Italy's 5 Places to Go in Italy in 2012.

I don't know why this list fascinated me so, but it did.

I had no idea how far we were from this Marostica place, but WE WERE GOING!

The idea of this live chess match fascinated me.  I read everything I could about it and googled as many images as I could fine.  I told Steve and anyone else who would listen about it.

Then we moved to Italy and my MUST-DO list kinda got put on the back burner.  Until the summer rolled around and I started to think about the chess match and I started to google again.

It turned out that Marostica, the town with the chess match, was 30 minutes away...and an EASY 30 minutes.  I found out EXACTLY when tickets would go on sale and bought them the minutes that they did...it was like camping out for U2 tickets back when I was in high school...expect...well, it was NOTHING like that...but it felt like it to me!!

I bought awesome tickets for just Steve and I because I figured we deserved a night out without the brats kids, plus we just didn't want to take them it would be late when we got home.

Finally that Saturday night rolled around and it was time to cross something of my ITALIAN MUST-DO list.  I was excited.  Steve was excited! WOOHOO!

We jumped into the Bug and headed to Marostica.

There are about 12 people who live in Marostica and I swear, those 12 people invited EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT THEY HAD EVER BREATHED THE SAME AIR WITH.  The place was packed.

We had no problems finding the place because I've been to Sam's Clubs that are bigger than this entire town--not that that's a bad thing--the town of Marostica is ADORABLE.  We basically just followed the herd of people and there it was, the giant chess board in the middle of the town square.  Awesome.

Here's what it looked like from our seats:

The chess board is made from different colored marble.  The lower castle is at the back of the picture.  You can see the two seating areas where the two players sit while the game is being played.

You can read about the premise of the game and how it started HERE, but I'll give you a brief run down of what I know. Around the year 1454, two noblemen both fell in love with the daughter of the Lord of Marostica.  They planned a duel to determine who would get to marry her.  Not wanting to cause a riff in his townspeople and not wanting to lose either man, the Lord proposed a chess match to determine who would get to marry the daughter.  A table was set up in the square where the two men played the actually game.  A large chess board with really people acting as the chess pieces was nearby so that the townspeople could watch the match as it was played.  The human chess pieces would "mimic" what was happening on the real, small chess board where the two noblemen where actually playing. 

Since that year, the townspeople of Marostica have reenacted the chess match on even number years.  It was pretty amazing and hundreds of people act and perform in the actually play. I would strongly recommend going at night like we did because there was quite a performance involving fireworks and fire that wouldn't be possible to see during the day.  

 The rider signals that the event is about to start and the townspeople are about to arrive


 A flaming arrow was fired from atop the castle to light the fire around the chess board! It was amazing when the archer fired and struck just at the right spot! It was my favorite part!





The precessional took forever! Hundreds of people were involved!








 The second daughter--she would marry the loser (lucky her..)




 The court jester was quite a character...


Lots and lots of flag twirling....



 Blurry photo of the board being set


The princess....

It was an amazing event!  I am so glad that we went!  Sadly, I don't think we'll be here for the next performance, but if we are--we're going AGAIN!!

Don't forget to vote!  Please click below.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Hi There!

I wanted to take this moment on a Wordless Wednesday to beg for followers.  

Here's the thing...I've got a couple of pretty snazzy give-a-ways coming up and only followers will be eligible. 

 It doesn't matter who you are. 

There are no rules for being a follower.  Anyone can be a follower.  

And ANY follower can win....doesn't matter if you know me or not...(random number generator will pick the lucky, lucky, LUCKY winner).  

BUT, you have to be a follower to win...

Don't know how?  Look over on the right hand side for the white "Bloglovin'" button.  

It looks like this.






Click it.

Follow the steps.

(did you do it?)

Yes?  Good job!

OR

Look for something that looks like this...





Type your name in the box where it says "email address".  Be sure to click submit... This is the easiest way...especially if you don't follow a lot of blogs...

And finally, you can look for this....




It's ok to be a follower in this case...and I've given you THREE ways to win prizes!!! WOOHOO!!


Now here's a picture for our NotSo Wordless Wednesday!



This is Big Lew...he's the "one giant Newfoundland" in our story...




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Podere Casanova--The Final Event--A PIZZA Dinner!


On the last night of our wonderful stay at The Podere Casanova, Lisa and her family offered to prepare a traditional Italian pizza dinner for us at the farmhouse.  She and her family had yet to disappoint us, so we were quick to say yes!

We placed our pizza orders inside and when it arrived, everything was as we had expected it to be: delicious! 

But wait, Lisa, Lara, and the rest of their family had a surprise for us! 

They had fired up the brick stone oven outside on the patio and were ready to give the little ones pizza making lessons! It was awesome and a totally authentic experience for us all and the kids had a blast!

Ok, get ready...I took a TON of pictures...(shocker, I know) but I couldn't help it.  The kids looked so adorable in their cute little aprons and hats!

Lisa and Lara's papa showing us the oven where the pizzas cook.  He was the nicest man--so kind and friendly.  I wish I had gotten a better picture of him.  He treated us like family the entire time we were there.



























Trey and Jackson in their chef hats and aprons.  They were both pretty good sports about the whole thing.  I think Trey actually enjoyed it more than he admitted.




























The boys rolling out their dough to make their pizza.


Lisa giving the boys some pizza making tips. 


                                         


The boys using the giant paddles to put their pizzas in the oven. I was surprised at how light weight they were!


 Papa helping Jackson take his pizza out of the oven.



 Preparing their Nutella Pizza!


I LOVE the look on Trey's face!


Delilah was tired and had been reluctant to join in (apparently she was "shy" on that night), but when she saw that there was chocolate involved, she jumped RIGHT in.






She grabbed that pizza torture device and went to town on her dough, like she knew exactly what to do with it. We were all cracking up!


Papa helping her with her pizza.

Waiting for it to cook in the oven


                       
Getting her pizza ready to eat!!


Apparently, it was good...


The whole gang after making pizzas!

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GRAZIE!