Sunday, 23 December 2012

Puglian Christmas

Christmas in Puglia is full of traditions and based around the things they hold most dear: family and food and a touch of religion thrown in.

Apparently everyone waits up til midnight on Christmas Eve, then families dress up for a candlelit procession with the youngest child at the front holding the baby Jesus figure which they place in the manger of their nativity scene.

They then asked what we do in uk! Do we have Christmas traditions in uk other than the queens speech?

Friday, 21 December 2012


It rained all day today making the ice rink not such a great choice so we booked into a swanky new restaurant in town.  The food was great, the beer did flow, everyone had a lovely time.

When it came time to pay the bill and I approached with my card, the two gentlemen gave me warm smiles and said I couldn't pay.  Thinking they were joking that a ragazza (girl) shouldn't pay for the whole table I smiled back and said in my stilted Italian that yes I could.  This continued back and forth about them taking my money until my friend pointed to a sign - they couldn't take cards!  Cue major embarrassment thanks to my misunderstanding followed by panic as I count out every last Euro from my shiny bureau de change envelope and don't have enough!  Thankfully someone was able to chip in the last €25 so I didn't end up washing dishes, but lesson learned - smiley, charming Italian men aren't always flirting!

Guess who just bought an Italian house?!

This morning we "did the deed" and it all seemed straight forward. I am fortunate to have a wonderful Italian friend who is also a top lawyer, so the process has not been stressful as I'm sure it must be for most foreigners who buy abroad and must put their faith in strangers.

The only tricky part today was their reading aloud of the 8 page Italian contract. The Italians insist on using all middle names unlike in UK, and I erupted into giggles at their pronunciation of my name! To be fair I have 5 names so it's a mouthful in English also!

This afternoon the plan is festeggiare (to celebrate) with our friends here who have helped make it all happen. I was thinking a nice meal, they have mentioned an ice rink - this could be painful!

Today's the day!

Up early today as my Italian lawyer has told me often that this morning we have to "do the deed" - well, when in Rome...wish me luck!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The night before...

So tomorrow is 21st December 2012 and as well as being the day the world is supposed to end, it is also the day I buy our new home in Italy.  Either way I'll have something to tell you about tomorrow!

I say buy our new home: more accurately, it's the uninhabitable shell that will be our new home.  This blog will share the process of trying to renovate a house in the South of Italy from the South of England, observations of our new Italian life and possibly a few bits and pieces from our old UK life too.

I'm new to the blogging world but getting to this point has raised a few smiles and eyebrows already - making an offer on the house required a 3 hour meeting, the estate agents wink when they say goodbye and the children just can't fathom why I would buy a casa brutta (ugly house) and do lots of work when I could buy something bella - I want to start writing them down.

A few friends say they're envious of us heading to a life in the sun but there are plenty ex-pat nightmare stories out there of how it all went wrong.  Are we totally crazy to leave our comfortable life in Kent or is life what you make it and whatever happens we will find a way to make it work out for the best?  We are about to find out!

Hope you'll share and enjoy the journey!