Monday, June 9, 2008

Our very own casa

This week was an exciting week for my husband and I. After six months of living in hotels and serviced apartments in three different countries we finally had our immigration paperwork finalised and moved into our new permanent home in Florence.

Admittedly it has been wonderful not to pick up a vacuum cleaner or change bedding for over half a year. I don't care how lazy this sounds but if I ever became insanely rich, I would hire a permanent cleaner (oh what the heck and a hairdresser and a massuese) in an instant.
However, three months into living in Florence, we were still feeling very unsettled into our new country and didn't feel like we had a home of our own to rest our pasta filled tummies in each night.

I had two criteria when searching for an apartment. One of them was that the interior had to be modern and minimalistic and was strictly not to include any frilly curtains or wallpaper. After a very depressing search where I decided no one shared our love for minimalism in central Florence, we finally found something that fit.

The second criteria this home had to have was that it had to be in a safe suburb. We were assured how peaceful this area was but no one warned me about the daily danger lurking right in front of our door. Yes, that's right...I didn't notice that we are now living in front of a pizzeria. No, not one of those dodgy ones that you walk past quickly and wonder about how much salmonella is breeding under that counter. No, this pizzeria just happens to be one of the best in Florence. See, there are two things that I have no control or willpower over. One is tiramisu and another is pizza. The pizzeria which I gaze at dreamily from my window does both superbly. Damn! We have been here one week and so far four visits there.

In Australia, when you rent a property from someone it is unlikely you will meet the owner and you deal only with the agent. In this case, the owner wanted to meet us. I liked Senor P. straight away (let's call him that). Effortlessly fashionable and wearing a silk scarf, he immediately and unashamedly eyed us up and down a few times. I have learnt that Italians have no problem with staring at you and do not try to hide whether they like/dislike what you are wearing and they even sometimes will make suggestions on improvements. I had a perfect stranger stop me recently and tell me my blouse was very cute. But then I have also had someone recently tell me I look very tired - the comment that every girl is dying to hear.

Senor P's very first question to us was 'how long have you been married and do you have children?' I thought of his custom furniture in our home-to-be and assured him we don't have any members in our family that would scratch it. But that was not his concern. He was concerned that at my ripe old age of 30 we didn't have children and sincerely encouraged us to start making them in Florence!

Senor P. went on to show us his apartment which was all completely decorated by him - we didn't realise he was a famous interior decorator who had designed the interior of Wanda Ferragamo's house. I was impressed and thought it best to keep quiet our plans of buying extra 'common' Ikea furniture to mix in with his custom peices.

He then led us to our beautiful private courtyard (a rarity in inner Florence) where his gardener smiled warmly at us as he was busily manicuring a magnificent topiary tree. Senor P. then lovingly introduced each plant to us and at this point, I thought it best not to mention that nearly every plant I have ever owned has died. Even a cactus. I do flowers in a vase and that's it. I wrote down the gardener's name and assured him we would be calling regularly. In turn, the gardener gave me the name of his grandson who works at the offending pizzeria and can sell me the best salami and cheese in Florence. Note taken again. This pizzeria would not be good for my thighs.

Next we were taken to meet our neighbour in the same building. I was sure the Italians wouldn't understand my giggling but I couldn't help it as he introduced himself as Lucca and wait for it...he lives on the second floor (sing it people!).

On our first night in our new home, Jason slept soundly but I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking about how my life had changed so much in the last six months. Even if I could sleep that night, I'm not sure I could have even dreamt up all these experiences that we've been through, both good and bad. I felt relaxed and happy in our new home and finally I drifted off to sleep.

Note about the photo on this post: Luckily my husband and I don't fight much. But one recurring argument we have is about my Nutella addiction, in particular me eating it out of a jar with a spoon in front of the TV. I say 'delicious' and he says 'heart attack by the time you are 35'. Anyway, imagine my delight when I saw this in a supermarket - a water pitcher size jar full of Nutella. I'm talking about 1000 grams of pure heaven. I immediately put it in my trolley but by the time we got to the check out it had miraculously disappeared. Prime suspect: party pooper husband.


Ryno said...

Hi Mon / Jay,

After dutifully reading every one of your posts, thought it was high time I replied....

Great to hear that you made it into you own place. All the more reason for us to plan a trip down for a weekend of gelato, pizza and red wine.... can pay you back with cheese, canals and red windows :)

Speak soon - Ryno

Jason and Melissa said...

being a fellow Nutella addict, I'm sure you're quite familiar with Nutella Day, right?

What i wouldn't give to have the gianormous pot of Nutella!

Mike said...

What a great blog Mon. I have spoken with the airline company and because of fuel shortages they need you to stop eating pizza and nutella. Apparently they can't carry that much weight. I agree with Jason. Death by food. Enjoy

Anonymous said...


Nutella and Peanut Butter are strictly to be eaten with a bread...hehe. Marti always says that I'm gross.......
Viv xx

erin :: the olive notes said...

HAHA!!! Love this about the Nutella. It would have been opposite with Chris and I...he'd be sneaking the jar in the cart and I'd be taking it out :)

Anonymous said...

Monika, you probably don't need it but I have one Nutella recipe in my repertoire.

Nuttella Panini
Two slices of Italian Bread
Spread both with Nutella
Layer slices of best quality Brie Cheese onto one slice, top with fresh basil leaves and then with the other slice of bread to make a sandwich. Toast on Panini maker until brie is melted and Nutella is hot and oozing.
PS this is not a diet recipe
Love Rhonda

Texas Espresso said...

ooo I can't wait to see pics of your apartment! it sounds lovely AND strategically located. lol

man, I wish we had those huge jars of nutella. I'm with you, just give me a spoon!

Monika said...

Well I didn't know there was so many other Nutella addicts...i don't know some of you but immediately I know you are good people!!!! And thank you for the recipe (and Nutella day link!)which will be tried!

Ryno, I was wondering where you had go too! Big hugs!

Eryn said...

can we be friends and eat jars of nutella with a spoon in front of the TV together?

a jar that size would have a shelf life in my kitchen of no more than 4 days....I eat it shamefully, always off a spoon!

my husband and i LOVE florence, we just got back a little less than a month ago. we were married there and then traveled down south for a few weeks!

what is the pizzeria called? you're lucky to have found a good one in florence as it's a city that doesn't boast the best pizza by any means :-)