Internet was down for a day...

We sure have plenty of tomatoes (pomodori) to last through our remaining eight days of cooking before we leave to travel to Africa. Yesterday, I had none and today, we have more than we can use.  After Santina left this morning, I discovered this glass bowl filled with tomatoes in the kitchen.  With the substantial batch Lisa picked for us yesterday in the steep yard, we're well stocked with tomatoes. 
It's amazing how lost we are without the Internet, bringing to mind our dependency on technology to assist us through our days.  Would we ever have ventured out on this year's long journey?  I doubt it.

Tom is more wrapped up in being able to get online these days than I. Other than writing and posting photos here, banking and paying credit card bills and responding to email, hours of being online is less important to me.

My interest began to lessen after leaving Minnesota on Halloween last year, after spending 8 to 10 hours a day for nearly a year researching our upcoming travels, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. In the future, I'm sure I'll enjoy it again as the time nears to arrange the next leg of our journey.

For Tom, he busies himself looking up possible future cruises, reading stock information, managing our inventory and reading an endless array of email from old friends; some political, some funny, some disgusting and heartwarming, only a few of which he shares with me.  I don't care to read passed along jokes and stories unless they really touch a nerve.  Tom knows which are worth sharing with me.

Most of my email consists of family and friends, readers asking questions or making comments or statements from various financial institutions.  With little junk mail these days, after unsubscribing on 100's of sites, each email I receive warrants reviewing.

Yesterday while literally cut off from the world with Internet, we played Gin, read our books on our phones and watched the few news channels we're able to receive in English on the outdated TV. 

Need I say again that Tom is slaying me at Gin?  Always priding myself on being a competent Gin player, I've suffered greatly in his hands (literally and figuratively).  I can't stand to lose!  He's so ahead of me at this point that I can't possibly catch up.  Thoughtfully, he's agreed to start a new tally when we arrive in Kenya which hopefully will begin on our upcoming flight, providing we'll be able to sit next to one another. (We'll find out on the 26th when we call as instructed).

Yesterday, I packed a little, disposing of no less than 25 pounds of stuff I'm willing to say goodbye to, much to my surprise.  We'll give it to our "people" here to keep for themselves, to donate or to share with their family and friends.  Tom will do the same over the weekend.  The rest? We've decided to pay the excess baggage fees and be done with it.  After all, we 've spent so little money while in Italy, our budget's slush fund is overflowing in the $100's.

Yesterday, in perusing the budget, I determined that the cost of food in Italy has been the lowest anywhere.  Choosing the finest ingredients, much organic, we've spent an average of $22 per day during the 75 days in Boveglio. In the US, we usually spent anywhere from $800 to $900 per month at the grocery store, again seldom dining out.

We'd budgeted $30.66 a day for the time in Italy including dining out.  This difference, to our benefit, should cover the excess baggage fees.  The savings are a result of not dining out and the excellent prices on food in Italy.  For groceries alone, we spent from $100 to $200 per month less than in the US.

With the distance traveling on the steep winding road without guardrails, the time it takes to reach any restaurants, along with my food restrictions inspired us to dine in.  Enjoying each of our homemade meals caused us to realize how impractical it would have been to dine out in Italy, based on the high carb pasta, grains, starches, sugar and bread that comprise most meals in restaurants. 

In Kenya, based on the restaurant menus we've been able to find online, the food is more "continental" consisting of a portion of meat, fish or poultry, vegetables and salads, all easier for us to enjoy.  Of course, we'll leave out the potatoes or starchy side dishes, breads and desserts.  We shall see how that goes, reporting back as to what we'll soon discover.

At this point, we're ready to move on.  Oddly, we don't feel as if we're going on yet another vacation as we prepare to head to a new location.  Long ago, we anticipated that we'd experience the giddy excitement of an upcoming vacation.  With the experience of the potential for unknown events, we feel a bit anxious in getting the traveling part completed. 

Leaving on September 1st (with one overnight at a hotel in Venice) and scheduled to arrive to our house in Kenya around 6:00 am on September 3rd, it's a very long haul. 

Traveling at night has always been hard for me, unable to sleep well sitting up while despising the feeling of lack of sleep as we must maneuver through three separate flights over 17 plus hours.  It will be equally trying when we leave Kenya almost three months later to go to South Africa and again, three months later to fly to Morocco, all very long overnight flights.  There's no need to think about that at this point.
 
Reminding myself that this is the life we chose and that, once we're settled these thoughts will waft away, allowing us the total immersion into our new lives in a new location.

This morning when Santina arrived to clean the house for the second to last time, I wrote the following in English to translate into Italian in Google Translate:

"Thank you so much for such a wonderful job you have done for us. Your kindness will stay in our minds and hearts forever. Next Friday will be the last time and then we will say goodbye."

This translates in Italian to:

"Grazie mille per un lavoro meraviglioso che hai fatto per noi. La tua gentilezza rimarrà nella mente e nel cuore per sempre. Venerdì prossimo sarà l'ultima volta e poi ci dirà addio."

She read my note while leaning over my computer at the kitchen table, smiling from ear to ear.  When done she placed her fingers to her lips for a kiss to toss through the air to me.  I caught it, immediately returning it to her. 

As she left today and each past week we've kissed goodbye, one cheek, then the other with a heartfelt, "arrivederci" wishing we could speak to understand one another. 

Yesterday, when the produce truck hadn't arrived at its usual 3:30 time and place, I was frustrating wondering where I'd get tomatoes for our planned Mexican dinner this weekend.  I'd bought a few at the grocery store on Wednesday which we've since used.  What was I thinking only buying a few tomatoes when I knew we'd need more? 

Would we have to forego tomatoes or once again make the 70 minute round trip up and down the treacherous mountain roads?

As I looked around the parking lot for the truck I ran into Lisa, the wife of the delightful owner pair of Lisa and Luca, as she spoke to a neighbor.  Noticing my inquisitive look, she approached me inquiring as to my dilemma.  Asking her where I could get a few tomatoes (pomodoro) nearby since ours on the patio have yet to mature.

Grabbing my hand she steered me to the backyard, asking me "quanti?" for "how many?"  I held up my fingers for "two" while saying "due," Italian for two.  She shrugged her shoulders, looking at me raising her eyebrows, asking "due?"
(Only two?)  I shrugged holding up four fingers while saying "quattro,"  sensing she thought I was foolish for asking for only two. (As it turned out many of the tomatoes were rather small.  No wonder she flinched at my request for only two or four).

At this point I knew she was to find us tomatoes in the massive garden down several tiers which I hadn't yet tackled with the uneven steps and no handrail.  I handed her the cloth bag I still had in my hands when hoping to buy the tomatoes from the now missing produce truck.

Off she went (she's 35 years younger than I) flying down the uneven steep steps to return minutes later with a bounty of ripe tomatoes nearly filling my bag.  I couldn't have said "grazie" with more enthusiasm.  Here again, I wished we could have somehow carried on a conversation.  Her warmth and thoughtful demeanor left me longing to understand her.

Lisa and Luca couldn't have been more helpful during our time in Boveglio, responsive and kind.  They've literally jumped to our every need.  Of course, we've never attempted to take advantage in any manner, as in my request for such a small number of tomatoes or our inquiry to stay one more night beyond our contract (for which they refused to accept payment when we offered to pay on multiple occasions).  So gracious, they have been!  Most assuredly, we'll be leaving five star reviews on their listing in Homeaway.

Our two missing boxes of prescriptions haven't arrived.  The company has agreed to replace them at no charge sending them to our mailing service in Nevada.  When we can receive mail somewhere down the road, the mailing service will forward them to us.  For now, we have an ample supply for the next 10 to 11 months.

Late yesterday afternoon, almost 24 hours later, the Internet signal returned.  Almost time to make dinner while still entrenched in a fierce game of Gin, I decided to wait until today to write.  Yes, he won again! 

Stay tuned folks.  Thanks for reading our mindless drivel.  Hopefully soon, we'll take it up a notch or two when we arrive in Kenya. 

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