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Our first few days

We've been off the grid since we arrived in Italy, hence the lack of any blog updates. Scusate.

It's been a nice if ultimately frustrating first few days here at Agriturismo Montepiano in Montàsola. We're about an hour and a half outside of Rome, yet we couldn't be in more of a different world.

The town is in a stunning location, a tiny, ancient hilltop castle/village with awesome views. The town itself is a true slice of Italian life. Aside from Letizia, our helpful proprietor, literally no one here speaks English. If I couldn't speak Italian, we'd be utterly helpless here. (Of course, if I couldn't speak Italian, we probably wouldn't be here at all.)

Staying here for three days has been extremely interesting. We booked our apartment thinking that we'd have the opportunity to get a sense to live like an Italian. Boy, have we. Montàsola is tiny. One restaurant, one bar, a post office, a pharmacy, a minuscule grocery store, a hundred or so residents, and...us.

We—and especially Evan (the resident biondo, "blondie")—stand out here. Every evening, four to six residents congregate on the nearest bench to discuss the day's happenings (including, I imagine, the strange Americans that insist on dining before 9 pm).

Montàsola seems more movie setting than active town. There's next to nothing to do except stroll around and watch the locals living their daily lives. Because there's so little activity here, Evan practically has the run of the place, and he's had a great time climbing the steep hills and steps, running through the piazzette with his bubbles to blow.

At the same time, two days ago we probably exhausted everything there is to do in town. And because of the combination of jet lag, Evan's general toddler-ness, and his toothache (more on this in a moment), we aren't really able to stray too far from our home base. Which means essentially that we can't go anywhere, because there's not much nearby either. The closest town, Casperia, is nearly 15 minutes away. It's only slightly larger than Montasola—it has a gas station, a few bars, a tabaccheria, and a restaurant.

Our two-bedroom apartment, La Terrazza, is reasonably sized and comes with views worth every penny. But it lacks air conditioning, which has been a big problem at night because it's been so warm. Also making it impossible to sleep is the pack of dogs that live, unseen, below our apartment and bark in tandem at regular intervals throughout the night.

Another challenge has been Evan, who in addition to being highly jet lagged, seems to be getting his molars in. We really thought we were done with teething. He's been constantly complaining about his teeth hurting, and it's even keeping him up at night. With the combination of the heat, our canine neighbors, and Evan's crying, we probably woke up 5 times each last night. It's been difficult. We hope it gets easier soon.

Our most memorable meal so far has been at the nearest restaurant, steps away from our apartment...Quello che c'è, c'è (what is, is). (They say they're franchising in New York, but I'm taking that with a large grain of salt.) Outstanding collection of antipasti, an excellent pappardelle with wild boar, good wine, and fantastic biscotti to finish the meal. Of course, by that time Evan had had more than enough of sitting, so Janene got to enjoy hers in our apartment an hour or so later.

By the time this is posted, we'll be in our next apartment, Borgo Iesolana, in Bucine. Back soon.

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