Changing house

8 May
In Italian we say cambiamo casa: we are changing house versus the colloquial American “moving.” I like it. The Italian verb muovere is used for lots of things from “moved to tears” and taking legal action, to a dog wagging its tail, but never for the process of going to a new residence, hence changing house. Ric and I have been very busy changing house and thus there have been no posts to GoodDayRome and few to Our Weekly Pizza.
External view at Via di Villa Emiliani. You can see my head in the window to the left of the balcony.
External view at Via di Villa Emiliani. You can see my head in the window to the left of the balcony.
Some of you may not know, but we are retiring later this month and staying in Rome: the plan is to remain here for two years to travel and enjoy before returning to Portland, Oregon. We had to leave our lovely apartment on Via di Villa Emiliani because it was provided by the Embassy and a new diplomat is arriving soon. Last October we embarked on a search for new place (that alone will be a future subject as it was a process unlike in the U.S.) and May 2 we picked up the keys.
We have continued to shed stuff. We started to downsize in 2003 when we left our large home in Lake Oswego for condo life in NW Portland. We continued when we moved to Rome as our embassy-provided apartment was almost half the size of the condo. The new apartment is furnished, although we chose to bring a few pieces along, and as we will be paying to store anything we send back to the U.S., we wanted to send only those items we most cherish: Ric’s collectible trains, some family heirlooms, art, and so on. No sense paying storage for two years for a set of flatware that cost $130.00 10 years ago. We retained for use in Rome things that make us comfortable: our own linens, some kitchen utensils, wineglasses, espresso cups, our Nespresso machine (of course!) and so on. (The “furnished” rental apartment has two wineglasses. Seriously?)
 Our embassy community is a great outlet for selling furniture and we were able to unload sell almost everything we needed to: bed, desk, table and chairs, various cabinets, excess luggage, small appliances, etc. There are several churches involved in refugee relief and the local Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Within the Walls, was able to take some things and referred me to another large relief organization that picked up dishes and other kitchen items we no longer need. When we get back to Portland my 13-year-old plates can be replaced.
Then there are the things that it is hard to find a “home” for. They might be disposable or unwanted by us, but they might be treasures to someone else. A “garage sale” is unheard of, so we carefully set these items out by the curb to see if anyone would claim them. If they are still there in a couple of hours, we take the next step and put them in the trash. There are people who make a life out of “picking” and no doubt some of their treasures end up at Porta Portese, and there are neighbors who will claim a watering can, flowerpot or lamp.
The train tables-- two-of-four -- momentarily used to stack things before moving.
The train tables– two-of-four — momentarily used to stack things before moving.
Ric had some hobby tables he used for his trains. They fit in the category of things-not-worth-storing-for-two-years, so we set one out in the street one day, and voila! it was gone in less than two hours. So a few days later we set out another one. Whoosh! It vanished while we went to the market. There were still two left and we figured we’d use the same magic act to make them disappear; However, in talking to our portiere who was claiming some garage shelving we wanted to give away, Ric said we should ask him if he was interested in the other two hobby tables. So we invited Emilio up to see them. Oh yes, he wanted them! At his casa al mare he has three storage units and can use the shelving for beach umbrellas, chaise lounges, gardening equipment, and all the paraphernalia one has at a beach house. Or he can put them at his son’s house. But, he wondered, did we set one of these units out the other day? Because Emilio was the
Items left curbside are retrieved by people who can use them.
Items left curbside are retrieved by people who can use them.
person who claimed it off the curb! He is, in his own words, un conservatore, a person who keeps stuff.
Changing house in a city full of apartments with tiny elevators is fascinating. Balconies and windows become entry-and-exit points for boxes and furnishings. The team rolled in with a small truck (easy to maneuver in the narrow streets) and a lift vehicle that provided an outdoor elevator. In less than 4 1/2 hours they boxed or wrapped everything for the new apartment and loaded it on the truck. By 4:00PM they had everything inside the new one. At each end the portiere (building superintendent) supervised the process. A second morning was devoted to packing up the items for storage in the U.S. Click on any photo for a slideshow and larger view. 


So as I write this it is early Friday morning. We are still not completely unpacked. The bedroom and bath are organized, but the kitchen is still in boxes and while most of the electronics are hooked up, the guest-bedroom-office is a dumping ground to be sorted out. We have 10 days before the first guest arrives so we need to kick into high gear. And we still have 7 days of work left before we retire.
So we are establishing “Base Camp Barton” where the cats will reside while Ric and I travel, and many cat sitters have been lined up for the coming months. More later….

17 Responses to “Changing house”

  1. Grier May 17, 2015 at 23:28 #

    Congratulations on your retirement! You will love it. Looking forward to reading about your future travels.


    • gooddayrome May 18, 2015 at 16:28 #

      Thank you Grier. I will try to keep up. Planning a post on the new digs soon, now that the last box has been opened, emptied and recycled. Yes!!


  2. Susan May 13, 2015 at 20:50 #

    Best of luck, life and health in your new “home!” Really enjoyed your descriptions of “changing house!” Thanks for sharing…..


  3. Marcia Kakiuchi May 12, 2015 at 02:06 #

    I absolutely loved your description of moving, downsizing, ‘unloading’ things. And how they came and packed everything up for your move. I bet you’ll really like your new place (and so will the cats!).


    • gooddayrome May 12, 2015 at 03:39 #

      CIao Marcia! The cats have forgiven us for moving them as they now have a terrace for lounging that gets morning sun. I will write about the new place soon. We are definitely out of the American Embassy “bubble” and living local now!


  4. Will McAllister May 8, 2015 at 17:45 #

    As always, an excellent post. Congrats on your successful move! Where are you located in Rome now? Gracia and I are planning a transatlantic next Spring with a few days in Rome. I will definitely contact you when our plans are complete – it will be fun to see you and Ric again. BTW, take a look at Gracia’s last post – she has a short bit at the end about refugees we stopped to help last Fall.


    • gooddayrome May 8, 2015 at 18:58 #

      Thanks Will. I did see Gracia’s post! Fascinating! We are still in Parioli, as we like the quartiere so much. No sense moving across town. We will look forward to seeing you in August in Seattle and next spring in Rome!


  5. Sydney Paredes May 8, 2015 at 16:42 #

    Housewarming love your way! You write so well that reading about packing and unpacking is fun and interesting.


    • gooddayrome May 8, 2015 at 17:23 #

      Thank you!!! Some day perhaps you will come and see us!


  6. mvaden1948 May 8, 2015 at 16:14 #

    They have the same “lift” machinery for moving in Venice….but it arrives on a boat rather than a truck. I’ve seen a couple of them in my various meanderings around the city and I’m sure if my dream to live there comes true I’ll be employing their services.
    Happy new home! If I had the money for a ticket I’d offer to come cat sit….oh, wait, I’d have to pay someone to take care of mine….cat that is.


    • gooddayrome May 8, 2015 at 17:24 #

      How fun to imagine it done by boat! You should try for free cat sitters next time you travel!


      • mvaden1948 May 8, 2015 at 18:05 #

        Thanks for the tip on sitters. I checked out a local organization my last trip to Venice in December 2013 and they all either wanted a ton of money ($20 for 30 minutes to come feed and scoop the box) or one response was really creepy about staying in my apartment….figured either the place would be trashed or I wouldn’t be able to get her out. I finally talked to a coworker and he did a perfect job (paid him) and on weekends brought his two little girls to play with my cat. A good time was had by both cat and girls.
        I’ll check out your suggestion.
        As you know….everything in Venice is done by boat….they even barge in a truck with the mammogram machine!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Maarja May 8, 2015 at 07:19 #

    Felicitations for your “change of house”…wish JC and I could bring you a housewarming gift!! Maybe next trip. Also…happy retirement!


    • gooddayrome May 8, 2015 at 08:32 #

      Merci! We have 7 days left at work, which will seem easy after the work of moving!!! Hope to see you in August in Portland, unless you pass this way. Baci!



  1. From Rome to Home  | gooddayrome - February 25, 2017

    […] make a household complete, but you can’t sit on them nor eat off them. We also had a few boxes shipped from Italy at great expense; mostly clothes, some household items we cherished and could not […]


  2. Stuff | gooddayrome - October 2, 2016

    […] will go to Roman recycling: the street, where the pickers will claim it in about 65 seconds. (See Changing House from May […]


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