Calabria: The Richest and the Poorest - The Pope slams mafia

Bangkok Post article about Pope and mafia in Calabria 10/10/11

While sitting this morning in Bangkok over my daily Bangkok Post briefly checking the WORLD section, my eyes got caught by a report from "Lamezia Terme" ...  

I learn about the Pope visiting Lamezia where he denounced during a Mass the "inhuman" mafia of Calabria, the so called 'Ndrangheta, which is already more powerful than the Sicilian mafia (see article above).
Indeed, there are those very rich mafia families in Calabria on one side and on the other side Calabria is said to be the poorest region of Italy with 27% unemployment. 

These statistics of course do not consider those who happily work "in nero" without ever paying tax. But still there is this gap. Although it is not that visible since this "honorable society" does not show off. 

I wonder what they think about the Pope's speech. Do they bother? They probably all go to church on Sundays. Maybe the mafia is one of the largest employer in the region after all. 

Difficult subject. Comments are most welcome.

no title

For this post I have no title.
Or should I call it "my strangest summer holidays ever" or "lost in renovation"?

Since ten days - this is how long I am now in the South of Italy - I am telling myself, this is only a short phase, we are going to move in soon, tomorrow, maybe, and tomorrow I am telling myself the same thing, we are moving in tomorrow, domani, magnana...

But what do we do in the evening without light in the living room? Or at night in the bathroom? Okay, lets buy lamps. Of course, CC does not want to spend his holidays buying lamps, so we buy all in once... not sure how many dozens we bought in one afternoon – mainly wall lamps (applique).  Is it only our team of electricians or do Italians in general have a passion for wall lamps?

wall lamps for the whole house

Luckily we found a shop similar to IKEA that has quiet a good choice (Semeraro at Lamezia's Due Mare shopping center). Of course we did not only buy lamps. Also adapters, plugs and jacks to harmonize Asian and European lamps and appliances with the two Italian systems of electric plugs we both have spread irregularly all over the house. - And hooks, we also bought lots of hooks and mirrors for six bathrooms...

red bathroom: mirror installed (inherited from mother-in-law),
matching lamp hopefully found
(in this room the camera failures always!)

After the shopping tours, we are now in the phase of installing all the loot. While Angelo is drilling I am sucking the dust with the vacuum cleaner, like an assistant of a dentist. Whenever I have finished dust cleaning a room, new workers appear with something, like installing air conditions or a built-in wardrobe, delivering a wet sofa (it was raining the other day),  a mattress (not wet) and marble sills. Still some wood and ceramic cutting for the flooring downstairs is outstanding -  of course, they promise – they will work outside with closed doors.

seminterrato: kitchen installed, flooring almost completed

Before I get crazy, I escaped with our son to the beach at Pizzo Marina this afternoon.
It was my first time this summer, and it felt so good!

Short excursus: There was this Italian guy at the beach who seemed keen to practice his German with me that he learned 20 years ago in the Ruhrpott.... When he asked me where my husband was, I said that he is working. Where, he asked. At home, I said. At home? He thought not to understand well. But I insisted: at casa, he is installing lamps, I added. - Oh, said the guy, so he is an electrician? I am a bricklayer! And he started to ask more and more questions.... - It was not easy to get rid of him without being impolite. Not sure what kind of reputation German ladies have with some senior Italians. 

Beside my encounter with a slightly annoying admirer, I had a nice and relaxing afternoon at the beach. And I am looking forward to see the progress in the house that happened without me.

BTW, CC said we are moving in tomorrow!!!

black kitten after rain

amazing green sea after rain and wind yesterday

When are we moving in?

When are we moving in? When will be our first night in the house - after all those years of renovation?!

We do not know!
That's what we ask ourselves everyday.....
We could already, almost.

The matresses are there. Even the matress protections. Enough pillows too. Also some sets of lenzoli, bedsheets, for sopra, but not for sotto, the sheets to stretch over the matresses were sold out at Vibo Center yesterday. But we could borrow one... We also have enough glasses and plates, some towels and clothes. Toothpaste, soap, toilet paper... yes, we could already move in. So what are we waiting for?

Maybe for Rosi, to give us a helping hand... the house has still a bit of construction site and lots of fine dust everywhere.

Angelo has been working non-stop in the last days for the flooring of the seminterrato, the basement. The sawing of the wooden panels still causes lots of dust. And the battiscopa, baseboard for the parquet was just ordered yesterday and will arrive next week. It is a ceramic baseboard and it's cutting will cause more fine dust... So, after another deep cleansing of the house - not sure, how many times Rosi cleaned it up yet - we might give it a try ...

After all these years of renovation, one day sooner or later does not count anymore.
We are not in a hurry.
But maybe a bit nervous?

Do we get cold feet???

Moving out of Hotel Mama???

Ha ha! It must be this!

The laundry will not be washed and folded and ready anymore. The table will not be set up and lunch served just in time after coming home from the beach. Food and drinks will not come out of the fridge automatically and the house will not be cleaned by itself. Oh, my...

Okay, just a few more days... let's enjoy Hotel Mama.

Now, I understand more than ever all these young and not so young Italians, and even the so called "mammone", why they stay as long as possible with la mama!

Hotel Mama in Vibo Marina

Blogging Dilemma: When Virtual Visitors Become Real

Is it a dilemma or is it not, when virtual visitors to your blog become real visitors to your life?

It depends. It depends on the intention of your blog and it depends on the visitor. It is not a dilemma when you want to sell something or rent something. And it is also not a dilemma when someone who became a "blogging friend" after a while of emailing back and forward agrees with you to meet in real life.

Yesterday, Angelo sent me an email saying an American couple stopped by and asked if they can see the house. They "knew" it via my blog. He showed them around and they said they will leave a comment on my blog about that visit.

So what would you say? How would you feel, while sitting thousands of miles away?

I can't blame Angelo, he is just proud of showing his work to someone who is interested. Not many visitors in Pizzo anyway at that time of the year. He is open minded and not chicken-hearted like me. And we have not yet had the situation that someone totally stranger would ask permission to have a sneak peak inside.

Then of course, this question suggests itself : "what is the point of blogging about all this ?"

The best thing of blogging about our renovation is, that we are getting some fantastic feedback and valuable input from readers who are interior designer, architects or interested, creative people with great taste and ideas like some family members and friends. Also family and friends are kept updated that way, as the renovation takes ages. Another very important aspect of keeping this blog alive is, that this blog helps us to document the whole work process and to get the best photos, manufacturers, inspirations etc. filed with tags.

My Italian family is very open about my blog. However, my German family does shake their heads about it: What if some crazy guy gets jealous and burns the house down? - While this is a bit exaggerated, a crazy guy might not look up the Internet for potential houses to burn down and travel far ... it might be a neighbour, however, looking for an opportunity to sue us for something.

That's why I am very wary and careful myself. And shy. I have only one blurred picture of myself, no pictures of my son, one picture of my husband from behind and very few from my Italian in-laws. Most personal pictures are from Angelo as he seems okay with seeing his picture and name in cyber space. Actually, I think, he even enjoys it. However, I am very discreet. Very selective with pictures. Very thoughtful with words, information, names and other details. (Did you realize, I did not mention from which US city these visitors came from?)

Of course, Angelo and CC cannot understand that I make all this thinking about this little incident (virtual visitors to my blog becoming real visitors).

So I asked Angelo to handle the next tourists who show up and request a tour of the house, to show them our semiinterrato, the beautiful basement and garden that will be available for rent one day. The upper parts, although not decorated yet, are private. I hope everyone understands and respects my protective reaction. Maybe just in time, before our house becomes a tourist attraction ...