Tag Archives: refugee

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….
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