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Although I haven’t had time to blog about it, our Italian angels have been very busy these last eight weeks. Lovely Caterina told us that her father had asked around to see who our new landlords were to be sure they were reputable – how sweet – and yes they are. She is an attorney and he has an important role in his family’s winery in nearby Teramo and gave us a case of wines from his winery as a welcome gift – they were wonderful.

We asked Caterina if she knew someone with a truck and a strong back that we could pay to help us move to our new apartment. She promptly introduced us to Emidio (yes named after Ascoli’s patron saint). He is a muscular attractive entrepreneur, maybe in his early 30’s, who describes himself as a “problem solver” which is surely a great guy to know. He has a company that deals in moving items out for companies going out of business, buying their office furniture, and reselling it to new companies he is helping set up. Oh yes, and he also rents cars and has a shoe outlet in another town. I think he also has several other enterprises but I can’t remember what they are. He delivered boxes and tape, moved us to our new apartment (he lives up the block, how handy) and later rented us a very large panel van to drive to IKEA for one of our major pick-ups. When he came by to retrieve the van, upon our late return at 8:30 that night, he would not let us take our purchases up the stairs without his assistance – what a guy.

Caterina told me I needed to sign up for the recycle program, so she picked me up one day and took me to the recycle facility to register and pick up our organic recycle bin and four different recycle bags. She explained that Ascoli just started recycling a couple years ago (too late in her opinion) but is now proceeding with an Italian passion. Organic is picked up three days a week, non-recyclable the three alternate days each week, plastic and paper/cardboard once per week (except, of course, when they don’t). We must collect our glass and metals and deposit them in the bin on the corner. We are also to keep our used cooking oil and deposit it in the big yellow tanks scattered around the town. I thanked her for offering to be my “teacher” on garbage and trash but I hope there isn’t a test!

When we were ready for plants for our terrace, Caterina offered to pick us up and take us to a nursery outside of town and helped us select and purchase our plants and then coordinated the delivery. She also coordinated our IKEA, Euronics and Mantucci Furniture deliveries since the person on the phone never speaks English. And she never has let us pay for gas. So we now have a lemon tree, two containers of herbs and pots of shrubs strategically placed to block our direct view into the neighbor’s terrace and bathroom window and the bedroom window of another neighbor. They, however, do nothing to mute the sounds.

Due to Caterina and her family being in the restaurant business, none of them could attend the party we were planning to thank our new friends who have been so instrumental in our rapid progress acclimating in Ascoli. So we invited Caterina over to partake of an American breakfast (see Food blog for menu) which she enjoyed thoroughly. She said I am “a good cooker.”

Wonderful for her, and sadly for us, we had to say arrivederci for now to our lovely Caterina as she departed last week for a six-month adventure in Vancouver, Canada. She has traveled there to improve her English and hopefully find more lucrative employment opportunities. Our wish for her is to meet a Canadian angel to guide her and be her friend. During her travels we will miss Caterina very much not only for her invaluable assistance but for her friendship and beautiful smile. Fortunately she has SKYPE and email.

Italian angel Cinzia V. set up our gas and utility service in our name, has helped us set up rent payments through our bank and found someone to translate our marriage license into Italian (that’s a whole other story).

Italian angel Cinzia M. helped me plan our first party and is searching for an Italian teacher for us. She said good schools don’t necessarily mean good teachers. The requirements for a teacher for me are an enormous amount of patience and a good sense of humor. One of Cinzia’s Aussie friends I mentioned meeting a while back, Grace, has also offered to help us. Cinzia M. is so crazy about our blog that she has sent it to everyone she knows and they seem to be sharing it with others. We entered a restaurant the other day and the owner asked us if we were the Americani that wrote the nice review in our blog. We were contacted through the blog by a British couple, Mike and Avril, who split their time between London and Ascoli. They invited us to the opening of his art exhibit being held in the Captain’s Palace. At the opening we were introduced to the Mayor, and he knew who we were! Since we have no baby or dog to facilitate introductions, our blog seems to be acting as a successful substitute.

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