Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A chance encounter with Ivo

Monday, Feb. 21
Much of our time is taken up with commuting to Lucca, going to our lessons, and then engaging in school activities in the afternoon. Today there is no afternoon activity, so we do some grocery shopping. I am able to get an EsseLunga “fidaty” card, similar to what all the grocery stores in America have. It allow us to get discounts on some items and also to build credits towards reduced price special products such as some crystal glasses that we see pictured on a sign in the store. I needed to have my codice fiscale (like a social security number) to fill out the form for my fidaty card, and I still don’t have an actual card with my codice fiscale. However, there is an Italian website that can tell you what your number will be, because it is all based on a formula related to your date of birth, place of birth, etc. Since I know that I will be registered in Pescia, I was able to input my information and get a number, which is almost as good as having the card itself.

Just before dark, we take a walk on our street, via Mattonaia, and go past the long house where we had earlier hoped to rent a room. For the first time since we moved here, we see Ivo Seghieri, whom we had met last spring. He is feeding his chickens, and we are delighted to see him, because of all the older people we met here last year, he was the friendliest and easiest to understand. We talk to him for five minutes and do OK, understanding a large part of what he says, but we are disappointed to find that he doesn’t actually live here. We have seen his car parked here often, but that’s because he has chickens and a garden here. His brother Fabbio, whom we have not met, lives in one of the apartments. Ivo’s wife is visiting their son in Moscow and will be gone for another month, Ivo thinks.

One of the reasons we came to this particular spot was to get to know people like Ivo, and so far we have not made much progress. But we also know that before we can do this, we have to be able to speak the language much better than we do now, so we must be patient and continue on our present course.

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