OK, six months passes and I return to Italy for vacation, tour leading and to finish the sale of a lovely piece of agricultural property in Bagnoregio. If you recall, I had completed the first step in the process of the sale by paying a deposit of half the amount of the agreed upon price. The next step was to pay the balance and sign the paperwork, which would put the deed in my name. Sounds simple enough to me, most especially if one speaks fluent Italian (which at that time I did not)! I would spend the better part of a day regretting that “infraction”, if not several others.
Did I mention that the whole family showed up wearing, again, their “Sunday best”? Yes, and it was clean, pressed and vintage mid-century, same as the first meeting. And of course, everyone was talking all at once with instructions for seating, routes, and who knows what else, as I was still struggling to understand Italian. I was fortunate enough to have mama and her sisters in my car, with not word of English between them, shouting louder and louder at me in hopes that I would understand what they were saying by raising their voices ever higher. “Capice? Capice? That, I understood and my answer was continuously, “no, non capisco, mi dispiace”………or in English: “Do you understand? No, I do not understand, sorry. And I’m not even sure that was the correct Italian response!
So needless to say, after trying to navigate the two lane road, find Italian translations in my rattled brain and doubting my decision to own this beautiful two and half acres of farmland, I was a bit frazzled and had a pounding headache when we arrived. But reminding myself I has more than half-way through the process I just kept telling myself it would be over soon. In retrospect, which is always so much more fun to ponder later, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It’s one of those events that sticks out in my memory as an unbelievable piece of theater that could not have been fabricated had someone tried.