Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fame at Last!

I know, you've been hearing cricket noises around the Pinon Tree lately.  Sorry about that.  I've been a bit occupied becoming a TV star.

Yeah, okay.  Stardom may be too strong a word, but I've had microphone wires down my back and a bulky, professional video camera in my face for the past week, which sure goes a long way to making one feel like a star.  A film crew from House Hunters International, the popular show that airs on HGTV, was here to follow us around and tape our story.

I watched the show a few times while we were in the States but didn't realize just how popular it is until I posted on Facebook that we'd be participating.  Everyone of my acquaintance wrote to say that they are absolutely fanatical for that show.  That's really cool to hear.  You will be able to get an up-close glimpse of our town and our friends, and of course our little casa.  I think they even managed to get our kitty into one scene.

We clumped around the village and showed the crew the beauties of our area.  They are fantastic guys, and the whole town welcomed them warmly and made them feel like part of the place.  Friends even threw a barbecue one night.  Then it was off to our former home of Ascoli Piceno for some more filming and fun, where they got to taste arrosticini and enjoy a street party after the filming wrapped up.

I have to say it was a really fun experience.  I have no delusions of becoming the next Audrey Hepburn, but I had a great time hamming it up in front of the camera, and the guys were relaxed and fun to hang out with.  The tapes have been sent off for editing and I'll keep you posted about an air date.  Meanwhile, you can enjoy a little taste in my Flip video.  And if you're looking for an actress in southern Italy, have your people call my people.  I'm ready for more fame and filming.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sweet Little Gifts

Our little casa is a bit off the main path, so to speak.  It's not on a street as Americans would think of one.  To get here you have to walk a stone pedestrian lane - which is considered a sort of main artery despite the lack of vehicular traffic.  But then you go under an arch, down some steps, under another archway, down more steps, and you basically dead-end where our terrazzo opens up to the sun and view.  It's encircled on three sides by buildings yet it feels sort of secluded.  Anyone coming down here has to be coming for a reason - to see us.

The openness of the view to the hills and mountains, coupled with the sound of the sheep bells and the chirpy birds, almost makes it feel like it's in the country. Because of that, during my first weeks here, I felt like the place was hidden away and was surprised when the first person came knocking on my door.  It was a neighbor bearing produce and I was mightly surprised yet pleased.  Since then, several people have come a'knocking, some to ask for English lessons, others to bring us gifts of home-grown or home-made goods.  None go unappreciated, I can tell you.

This week, though, we got some sweet little gifts.  Several of my students completed their catechism and were confirmed.  Such an occasion warrants a party, of course (we were invited to two).  And a party for such an occasion means bombonieri, pretty little packages of party favors filled with confetti, the sugared almond candies we like so much.  Since Italians like bling and style, the bombonieri are always as pretty as the treats they contain.  One even came with a little sachet of potpourri tied to the top. 

We had no sooner broken into those goodies when Sandro came by with a bowlful of cherries and a sack of strawberries.  Fresh-picked and still warm from the field.  I made shortcake for the berries and have nearly polished off the cherries.

Whenever someone rang our doorbell in Virginia, it was almost always a salesman or someone looking for donation.  Here they knock on my door bearing fruits and candies - how sweet it is!