Sunday, November 22, 2009

The 10 Day Challenge
We have 10 days to find an apartment in Lucca, sign a lease, show the lease so that we can register T at school, and get a codice fiscale.

We are staying at our home away from home Fattoria Colleverde in Matraia.  K's best friend in Lucca, Massimo, runs the enotecta/wine and olive oil store there.  Piero & Massimo have given us the most encouragement about moving, or "the project," as Piero calls it.  And we have spent two years since that fateful dinner with Piero, Massimo and Sandra when they said why wait until T is in college to come here if you want to so badly? If you come sooner, she can learn the language and the culture and it will be much easier for her...  Little did you know we would walk away from the table, stroll through the vineyards, look into each others' eyes and say "let's do it!"  Move, that is.  So we spent two years collecting documents and boring our friends back home and our families, none of whom really believed us.

The first thing we are doing is teaming up with four different real estate agents.  We must have seen at least forty apartments in the four days, and in the end we are going with Punto Affitto and Franca, although it was down to the apartment she showed us and a beautiful other choice shown by Susanna at Reale Immobiliare.

The runner up has the most amazing frescoes and looks like a Mary Poppins at the carousel come to life moment.  But the rooms are rectangular and there isn't much privacy and the bathrooms are up a set of steps to nowhere and F at six foot three can't stand up in there.

The apartment we chose won T's heart because she would have an upstairs all to herself with a mansard roof and a lounge and everything.  F loves the huge eat-in kitchen, and K has dreams of the chandelier and canopy bed she's always dreamed of in the bedroom. Plus a huge Buddha mural in the living room

I loved both landlords, as well.  But Sig. Paoletti has such a sweet face and we like his son.  He seems like he takes pride in all of the work he put into the place and is even willing to let us keep the wood furniture he made with his own hands.  K was moved by the sight of a baby pigeon in the nest in the kitchen window box and told Sig. Paoletti that it was a good omen. Then Massimo and haggled with everybody and got the rent for this huge duplex taken down to 750 euros a month, so much less than what we pay for a one bedroom in Brooklyn.

We took the lease to the school and even though the preside/principal wasn't there, the head administrator in the office told us she would take our paper work and that we didn't even have to come back in January because she would file everything for us during registration time. Score! To T's embarrassment I added a bunch of newspaper articles about her and a DVD of her black belt test in tae kwon do.

Then we went to the commune office in Guamo, took a number, waited and waited, and, with help from the nice lady at the front desk whose daughter will also be starting at T's new school Carducci in the Fall, got a nice gentleman to grant us our codice fiscale which we need to sign the lease officially.

Every Italian we know here, plus some new friends who are an American-French couple with two girls and a boy are shocked that we got it all done.  The jet lag pills Jim Sparandeo gave K made all the difference.  More on him later, but he is K's go to person.

The point is we got it all done and are heading back to NY to wait for March 31 when we can finally ask the Consulate for our visas!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mixing it Up
Brash and exuberantly, epically pop, VV Brown is from Northampton, England. A successful songwriter under the pseudonym "Geeki," VV is now stepping forward with a fantastic new album "Traveling Like Light" which was released here last Friday. Channelling a big '60s-ish funk soul sound, she is the current remixers delight.

Shark in the Water -- Zombie Disco Squad remix

Shark in the Water (Acoustic Live)

Her Website

Buy VV Brown at Amazon

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Timber Timbre is from somewhere quite near the North Pole. Which somehow makes it seem redundant that they were nominated for the Polaris Music Prize (some Canadian thing--I had never heard of it either). Simple and quiet, somewhat haunting, the songs have that poised on the edge of havoc feel that Cris Whitley used to capture so well.

They play at Joe's Pub on the 20th.

Demon Host

Live at the Stone House Festival

Their Website
and MySpace

Buy the mp3s at Amazon

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Breaking Out
The polyglot, omnivorous talents of Florence + the Machine are perhaps frighteningly amazing. You might hear a few gazillion echos: Siouxie, Lydia Lunch, Deborah Iyall, Chrissie Hynde, Polly Jean (oops going to give up my age with that list I think). Alluringly epic, with outsize irony (though in a charming way utterly sincere), Florence Welch spans genres effortlessly. She has already broken huge in England, and was just on Letterman. So anyway, I like her quite a bit--hope I've been clear on that.

Ghosts (Demo)

The Drumming Song (Live)

Her Website
and MySpace

Buy Florence + the Machine at Amazon