This past weekend, the neighbors gathered like they do a least a few times a year, only this time it was the bittersweet celebration wishing us well on our way to Uzbekistan. Our little community is like no other we’ve ever lived in before. No where else have either of us felt so at home since living overseas. It’s a family atmosphere, and one we’ll miss very much when we leave.
Reminiscent of a neighborhood block party, but more intimate, everyone contributes something to feast. As the only foreigners, we always try to bring something quintessentially American, which is always a big success. This time, we made pigs-in-a-blanket. Hebrew National hot-dogs, wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent rolls. We made 24, and they were gone in 10 minutes!
Neri and Alberto hosted the event on their big patio adjacent to the communal courtyard of our housing complex. They contributed (by special order) home-made pizza with prosciutto and porcini, my absolute favorite. Three tables were set up lengthwise, and several people contributed chairs so everyone could have a place to sit.
As this was our last dinner with the neighbors, we also decided to break out the good wine. We brought out a magnum (1.5 liter) of 2000 Serge Mathieu Champagne Brut Millésimé which was gifted to me when I moved back to Italy in 2010 from Bahrain. Naturally, the Italy departure dinner seemed an appropriate time to share. We also brought out a bottle of Villa Crine Amarone, and eventually a Ripasso as well!
I shared a piccolo discorso (short speech) about how much Alicia and I have enjoyed being a part of the community. After six years living in Italy and tragically still not fluent in Italian our neighbor Anna translated as I spoke in English. It was difficult to hold back the tears. From welcoming me home three years ago when I moved in, to stringing ribbons up when Alicia and I came home from our wedding, our neighbors show us time and again what being neighborly is all about. Sharing meals, having parties, looking out for each other, It’s been a great place to live.
Fortunately, the speech did not end the evening on a sad note, and we all joined about 20 million other Italians in watching Barcelona beat Juventus 3-1 on a TV set up on the patio. Sad result for Juventus, but a great evening had by all. Memories that will last a lifetime.