Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm Baaaack!

I finally returned to Lucca on March 1 after being in the States for two and one-half months. It was dreary and rainy when I arrived in Pisa – but hey – I'm back in Italy!

Ruby and Ginger, my beloved Dachshunds, greeted me at the door enthusiastically and with tons of kisses. It was so good to see them again. I missed them every day I was gone and couldn’t wait to see them again. I could hardly recognize the change in their appearance though. Ruby had been a bit on the large side for a Dachshund and she is now thinner than Ginger was before I left. Ginger is positively svelte. They both resemble other Dachshunds in Italy now.

Daniele, one of my pet sitters, was here when I arrived and explained that he had stopped giving them canned food and fed them the same amount each day. With a regular diet and lots of exercise, they were in great shape physically.

On the other hand, it took Ruby five days to get out of her depression. I think she has been worried that I will leave again. She’s now back to her normal bouncy and loving self.

When I was in the States, I decided that since it is so difficult to find food products in Italy that I would bring things back with me. I brought tons of spices and many types of Mexican food products, including cumin, poultry seasoning, pumpkin pie spices, cheddar cheese, flour and corn tortillas, pinto beans, cinnamon, shortening, pecans, peanut butter, chili powder and chilies.

With all these products now on hand, I made a wonderful Mexican dinner for five of my friends this week and they absolutely loved it. One thing that is consistent between Italians and Mexicans is their love for spicy food. I made Sangria, mushroom quesadillas, homemade cheese enchiladas, beans, rice, and fish tacos. They couldn’t get enough of my hot sauce and loved the fish tacos best (thanks Carole for your help with the recipes).

Other than making dinner, I have spent the week cleaning house, doing laundry, running errands and gathering the documentation for my permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay in Italy). I have a friend at the Questura who helped me bypass the incredibly long lines to apply for the permit and I was in and out of the office today within 15 minutes. Now, I don’t have to worry about being in the country illegally.

It feels so good to be home…