Florence: One artist's move to Italy

Aug 19th, 2008, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Dear laartista,

Good luck with your jewelry venture. I admire your courage.

I bought a mosaic brooch in Florence when I was 17 (several decades ago). I still have it (the pin on the back fell off so can't wear it). It's a stunning piece. I looked for something like it when I was there in '05, but only saw wall pieces.

I look forward to seeing your pieces.


susan001 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 05:03 PM
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You're ending a post with "oh but there's more." Seriously?? That is so no fair.

gracie04 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 05:04 PM
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Should read: That is so not fair!

gracie04 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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and i thought the bangkok tales were wild....
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 08:20 PM
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As usual, loving your tales. I have a 13 year old Maine Coon so I can relate. This is a cat who chased a skunk into my mother's clothes closet a few years ago. You can imagine what happened next. It took months to get the smell out of the house.
Kristina is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 09:01 PM
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Oh, I'm smiling so much reading this, my face is practically cracking! I've been sooo waiting for you to continue the great adventure you had begun.

I can't tell you the number of times I looked for the "laartista" posts, so disappointed that there were no new ones for the longest time. But at last!

I so admire your spirit - especially the complete change of plans, and the drive to make it work. I can see the movie, too - with Bear in a starring role!

Can't wait for the continued saga. Thank you for the chance for us to live vicariously in your great adventure!

progol is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 10:41 PM
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Hi laartista,

I'm also loving your posts and admiring your courage and wish you the very best with your venture. I can't wait to hear more and see pictures of your art.

I have been to Florence a couple of times and love the place. You absolutely must go to Festival for gelato.... YUM YUM! If you google it you'll come up with write-ups and lots of pictures.

Anyway, good luck
Mischka is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 11:50 PM
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welcome to Firenze.
I moved here in 1984, with a lot less than you brought on vacation.. mmust have been a site!

I am now living in Certaldo, but come into town often for work.
I do market tours of San Lorenzo.

Let me know if you want to meet for coffee or something.
DivinaCucina is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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OMG- can't believe all the kind words. NIce to see so many familiar names. Yes, Divina would love to meet for coffee, in fact anyone in Florence or coming to Florence I want to meet for cafe, seriously!

Before I continue, I just got back from a morning of apartment hunting but that's not what I want to address yet. I think I mentioned the mosquito problem and how they are worse than Thailand. Honestly for almost 2 weeks now, night and day those buggers have been snacking on me. I have spent countless Euros on Off and cortisone creme for the itch and I have Repel and nothing works. Well, seems I did not have the right weapons in my arsenal for this war with the mighty Florentine mosquitos. Now according to one very wise pharmacist here, I have been going about it all wrong, the good news is he set me on the right track ,30 E later.

What I needed was 1)this bottle of a special liquid mix, safe enough even for the children he says. This liquid that you rub on your body is supposed to have some super duper mosquito repeling mojo. I'll take one. THEN I told him how my friend does not get bit at all. Seems she has more yeast than I do so in order to boost up my yeast content ( and hopefully not in the wrong place, otherwise I might need another trip to the Farmacia , OOPS sorry channeled George Carlin for a minute there)2) I need to take 2 B12 tablets everyday, Ok got some of those. Makes sense, Robin is like vitamin queen. And 3) most importantly VAPE plug ins. Like a room deodorizer except the smell can only be detected by the mosquitos. A smell to them the equivalent of the 42nd street subway station on a 98 degree day in the midst of summer. So now ,tonight,I am ready to do battle and win the war that has left me with the unsightly scars of the dreaded mosquito bite. Rant over.

OK so the next day we have a nice breakfast and literally scour the city to find an apartment.The heat was stifling AND this is when we found out that pretty much everything is closed in August especislly the immobiliares. Panic was starting to set in. A few weeks prior Robin had a layover in Pisa. It was then that she met with a few people I had scoped out re: apartments. One service was Universal and Sarah who had been very helpful had shown her an apartment in the Mercato Centrale. Literally in the Market square on Panicali. It was a one bedroom with sofa bed in the living room. Robin said it wasn't huge but brand new and really cute. Since she was just staying 8 days in August she would take the couch. We had been quoted 1050E for the month but asked if they would pro rate it since now it was the 8th and we would move in on the 9th. They came back with a price of 770E to the end of Aug. and most importantly the owner would allow the cat. So many say NO ANIMALI that this was important. With pretty much no prospects and the following Friday being Assumption Day which means whoever wasn't already on vacation was now leaving for vacation, we jumped on it. OK, so NOW we had a place with wifi, tv, no a/c but that was ok with us because Robin said when she saw the apartment it was very hot out but the place stayed cool. OK great. We head back to the pensione to make our 77E deposit via PAYPAL. THEN sARAH CALLS. oopS SHIFT STUCK.

" I am sorry but there has been a mistake there is no wifi or internet". Well, my laptop is my lifeline back to the states and research and this is just awful. " Oh, and the TV antenna is broken and the repairman is on vacation so he can not fix it til Sept. UGH. BUT, the owner will provide you with a DVD player. HMMMM. We really had no choice so we suck it up and plan our move for the next morning.

We told the people at our reception at the pensione about the wifi and they suggested we run right over to a particular Vodaphone office before they too go on vacation Saturday. It was 6:30 pm and they closed at 8 so we jump in a taxi and go there.

Now my Italian sucks and the English at this particular store was worse so this took a while. Seems we had 2 options pay 199E (300 us)upfront for a usb broadband key and the 35 E a month for 100 hrs which is only like 3 hrs a day, which translates to 2 skype calls from my mom. OR sign a 2 year contract with no money down and 30E a month for 300 hr airtime. What to do?Scuzi, una momento, " Robin, conference please". And we step to the side ( even though we were the only ones there)We debate pros and cons and even though we knew we probably weren't going to be in Italy for 2 years, although you never know, we decide to go with the contract. Being on budgets and all seemed like a better deal. If we break it we only have to pay the 199E for the key on the back end so there I sign, pretending like I know exactly what I'm signing. One new vodaphone key later,wait 48 hrs and we are online.

Back to the pensione, and we had been out all day, I felt guilty about Bear. In the roomand AGAIN nowhere to be found. Hadn't eaten or pooped. This time I knew where to find him. So under the bed I look and NO he is not in the boxspring we cut open, he is in the one on the other side, the big bed being made of two twins pushed together. ' Is he there", Robin asks. Yeah, he's there but in the other one! Well, I was not cutting open another box spring. As we both lie there on our stomachs looking at the bulge in the boxspring we decide what if we upend the bed and he comes sliding out? That'll work. So we do just that and bear comes tumbling out. BAD KITTY! Meowwwwwwwwww, he was so unhappy. Would have been better if we had thought of that the night before, prior to grabbing the scissors. Next pix of Bear and move out and in day
laartista is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 06:07 AM
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LMAO_ Faina- Staycation, love that!

OK pix of Bear here

laartista is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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Bear looks much more dignified than I expected....he's not F A T ....just big boned!!

Just to let you know...we're all thinking of you and helping you with good vibes alone the way!!

Thumbs up!!

Bailey is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 07:23 AM
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Witch hazel takes away the itch-old fashioned remedy. Hope you can find it.
Pauvre gatto!
TDudette is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 07:29 AM
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Absolutely loving your report!!!!

SRS is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 10:46 AM
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How funny, Bear looks just like a black and white cat that has been hanging around my sisters apartment. We've been calling him Rudy.

gracie04 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Thanks SRS, Tdudette, will get some witch hazel tomorrow! And Bailey, Yes, he is not FAT just big boned and very dignified, except maybe when in the litter box.

Sat. am move out of the Pension and into Apt. for Aug. day. Maybe too much info here but Bear hadn't gone to the litter since Wed. night in NY. I was getting a bit worried UNTIL the smell that was the alarm clock for both Robin and I. Problem was poor big guy couldn't fit in the cornish hen roaster you couldtell he tried. So like many NY'ers before me with a plastic bag on my hand LOL, sorry so funny, I cleaned up after my pet. Then became the game we call "Smuggle the cat and all evidence of him out of the hotel room".

First, dump all catfood and clean bowls. Bear like his human mom is a bit of a messy marvin when eating so a little sweep up with some postcards. Then the litter roaster, into the garbage bag. But where to put it? Couldn't very well leave it for the chamber maids. I go scouting in the hallway. We had given strict instructions the day before not to have our room cleaned. The maids were cleaning a room down the hall around the corner. A few rooms down from there was parked the " re-stock the room" cart and lying on the floor a quarter filled large black hefty bag. PERFECTO! I run back to the room to tell Robin the plan. As I distract the maids with some questions in a mix of English and Italian she will run to the hefty bag and put our smaller bag of litter in it. Success! Now to get Bear out.

So all the luggage is mine except for a very large carryon and 2 smaller bags. Wouldn't be right to have Robin drag them downstairs while I smuggle him out. In hindsight I think I should have because my pinched nerve has been a horror ever since. We get him back in his carrier which is no small feat. He hadn't had the best experiences in there recently. Then a scarf to cover the sides with the computer bag on same arm in foreground. I tell her to go wait outside for the taxi. Do not stop at reception, wave and book out of there. 4 trips down the elevator that could only fit 1 bag at a time and then down a flight of stairs later,while constantly insisting I need no help from the front desk, we are in the taxi and outta there!
3 Panicali Please.

Mr. Andrea, the owner of the apartment met us there and was very kind to help us up the 2 flights of stairs. One flight is actually a private stairway shared only by another apartment not rented. There is an open air roof above it which is great because turns out the apartment is unbearably hot. Keeping the front door open as well as the windows gives a great cross breeze. The apartment is very cute, all new. The bedroom is huge and beautiful.Lot's of storage space. No box springs, all good there. In both rooms are old arched windows. We do have a washing machine and really cute coffee cups. I would totally recommend this apartment EXCEPT I am exhausted because it is impossible to get sleep. You see, we are located in a covered archway right above the market sellers. My view is of the FagAzzi Polo and Izod shirt guy. Next to him is the levi's for 20E. Good thing I guess if I don't feel like doing laundry I could yell out and ask him to throw up a pair. They're vintage

Every night around 8 pm they all pack up their carts. Clanking and banging. then at around 10:03 pm the street cleaning begins. First, the orange panted guy with a leaf blower and an attitude problem. When he is done ,THE TRUCK, the truck that is so loud that I want to hide under the bed. They finish only to have a second round. Around 5 am sometimes 6 the sellers are back ,clanking and crashing and dragging those carts on the cobblestone to set up for another day. Look I'm used to city noise but this is craziness and no amount of cold tea bags can help my weary eyes. I've been napping.

Once in, we let Bear out and back under the bed he goes. It's all been so traumatic for him. He's doing good now laying on his back with tummy exposed only to be uprooted again in 10 days. We unpack, or I unpack. I had brought things like a french press for coffee and some small art items from my old apartment. From doing the art circuit for so long I have an extensive collection of American Craft, mostly on trade, all into storage along with my art purchases from travel. That really bummed me out. So brought a few with. Brought all toiletries because that stuffs expensive over here. I had unpacked all the bags except the blue litter duffle. I dragged it into the hallway and began one by one emptying my shoes as if I had been to the beach, of litter. Any clothes in there shook out and right into the washing machine. This is when we discovered the washing machine didn't work, no water AND it held my clothes hostage for 2 hours. Finally unpacked we head out to stock the fridge, get some fans and a sim card.

I just looked out the window to see the name of the street lol, it's Via Chaira I think, getting dark out. Well that street leads to I think Nazionale. If you go left it gets you to the station. If you go right it gets you to the Vodaphone shop #2, supermercato AND .99 Euro store. We go to all. At the vOdaphone store we get fans.2 of them 19.99 E each, 3 speed oscillating. I will return there to have Patrizzio help me with my sim card, our internet key and to buy a hair dryer.

Next .99 store for a colander,plastic bins for the bathroom a place mat for bear and a bunch of other crap we don't need.

Supermercato. I couldn't help but think this was not the main place. Turns out I was right. The place we wanted was Conrad, bigger, better, cheaper. I hear there are even better ones, like Standa or Coop.Have yet to see one. I also hear there is a FREE bus to Ikea. We did a pretty large shopping, stocked up the fridge,bought some cheap wine, we are trying not to eat out a lot. Since Robin left I've been using the microwave alot or grabbing a pizza or a gelato.

That night Robin cooked, we made skype calls, checked emails and such.

Next photos of apt., details on my new favorite thing SKYPE and a day to Piazzale Michaelangelo.
laartista is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 11:31 AM
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I am really enjoying your report! I have a 17 lb Maine Coon so it makes it extra fun to read about Bear's adventures.
sherhatfield is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Count me among your new fan club. This is a wonderful report. Bear looks quiet intelligent. In one of the photos he's absolutely smiling. Look forward to your continuing travails and best wishes for a wonderful, fruitful adventure.
mclaurie is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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handsome cat!
suze is online now  
Aug 20th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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how funny, we were almost neighbors!
i just moved from Via Taddea( my windows were on the Piazza del Mercato though). I left after 20 years.. to the countryside!

let me know when you get settled.
DivinaCucina is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 01:11 PM
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Hey tahnks u guys.

Divina -so weird, I was looking on the web the other day for a cooking class, not alot to do before sept.1 and I had bookmarked your website BUT so funny just realised it was the same you posting here. OK I'm going to look more carefully at your site now
laartista is offline  

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