One thing we have learned from living in Italy is the value of flexibility. Through our various and sundry experiences with la burocrazia, holiday schedules, seemingly-arbitrary store hours and various other interruptions, we’ve come to realize that any schedule that we may have tried to keep for the day can be wiped away in an instant. Therefore, it’s usually better to keep things as loosely-planned as possible to avoid not only disappointment but outright frustration. As Americans, this goes against the grain of everything we were taught and adhered to in our former lives, where appointments were to be diligently kept and days planned out accordingly. Here it’s just not feasible.
Such was the case this week. As I mentioned in the previous post, I have a lot to do: research, writing, correspondence, marketing, not to mention the stuff of normal daily life. We knew that our friends Giorgio and Francesca had been considering a visit, though had not fixed any set dates. When they heard about the gigantic Festa del Fritto Misto to be held for four fat-filled days in the centro storico of Ascoli Piceno, Giorgio immediately timed the visit to coincide with that. For Giorgio, all things must revolve around food. Va bene; I’ll work around that, sending them off to the festa and suchlike activities, thought I. As if.
They are wonderful people; we love them dearly. They are incredible friends who are, in fact, like family to us. And so we just accept that part of their collective character as a couple is to create a whirlwind wherever they go. Schedule? Beh. While saying, “just do what you need to, we’ll be fine” in one breath, they are saying, “we’d like visit Loreto,” and “our friends Lilli and Franco want to meet up with all of us at the festa” in the next breath.
Since they were here for just a couple of days we decided to be flexible and go with the flow, rather than offend or not spend time with them. They have a taken a liking to Ascoli but want to see it with us; they want us to show them the town and direct them to our favorite spots. They want to see it through our experiences, which is very sweet. So my piles grew aswork got shoved aside and we enjoyed the compagnia of our Italian “famiglia” instead. In doing so we also learned something about our own city…but that is a story for next time. In Italy, flexibility is an important virtue, but one that will present rewards in the process.