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MWH finished school last this week :) 

Now on to Portland.

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As a meet-a-versary gift to ourselves, we have enrolled at our local Arthur Murray dance school :)

MWH bought us three introductory lessons as a surprise to me.  How cool is that?  We went in and learned a basic step, the Fox Trot.  Then a waltz.  Then the instructor says that we are going to do a waltz again, only a little faster.  He has to go check the music, he says.  He puts in a new cd and says that he is going to try track 12, he thinks that is the right one.  I wonder why he thinks it is necessary to let us in on the minutae of his music choice.  The music begins to play and I recognize it.  It is track 12 from the Peter Pan sound track, Fairy Dance.  I start to cry.  MWH smiles.  The instructor leaves the room while I give MWH a big teary-eyed hug.  I listen to this song almost every day.

If you haven't seen the movie, you should.  Here is the scene from the movie.  Unfortunately, the music is very low.

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And this is just one more reason why:

Thursday the 26th was supposed to be my graduation day from the Hopkins Master's degree program. If I had been in Baltimore, I would have done the whole walk across the stage wearing a funny hat thing. I completely forgot, but my most wonderful husband did not. He showed up at lab with a gelato cake (no easy feat in the Naples heat!), which was enjoyed by many. Not only that, but he also bought me a massage as a present! I am a HUGE fan of massages. And pedicures. And manicures. And facials. But massages are definitely at the top of the list!! Followed closely by ice cream cake. Yummmm.

Bart, you kick ass. I am the luckiest pixie ever.
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I just made a photo of Bart and I my desktop wallpaper on the shared lab computer. As I was getting ready to log off so that others might use the machine, I was caught gazing at Bart with a stupid smile on my face :) I was then called "ridiculous" by one of my Italian lab mates. "Yes, I am and thank you for noticing," I replied with a huge smile.

I have the most handsome and most wonderful husband in the entire world.
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Why is quattordici Febbraio important you ask? Not only because Catholics celebrate St. Valentine, the priest who performed secret marriages when they were outlawed, but more importantly because that is the day that Bart and Brandie met. We call it our meetaversry. That is true. We have known each other for a full year and a day now. How much our lives have changed. Married, trips to New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Arizona and now here we are living in Naples, Italy. We have new cell phones, but no internet. No cars, but we are proficient at public transit. We don't eat meat regularly, but the pasta is cheap. So is the bread. We should be getting a mattress this week. We had to exchange the one that our landlord, Livio, bought for us because it was just too small for two people, though very nicely sized for one.

Bart and I (mostly Bart) have done, I think, a very good job of ridding the apartment of mold, including the new batch we found last night. I am allergic and have a cough and chest congestion and a stuffy, runny nose since we got there, but today I feel pretty okay. We also got a shower curtain which has made the bathroom smell of plastic, which is no better or worse than the bleach smell it had before, but is much better than the mildew smell it had before that.

Bart is amazing. I have never met another person like him and I am confident that I never will. I am so very glad that he is here with me. I am also very thankful for Michael, the Hoboken-born police officer who works at the questura processing requests for permits to stay in the country. As has been usual, we were misinformed about the requirements for Bart to stay. Michael, however, was wonderful, explaining what we had wrong and why it would be impossible to get him a residency permit. If I were here on a work visa, no problem, but since I am on a study visa, there is no rule addressing this issue and in fact, we were the first case that Michael had ever encountered. There is an agreement between all of the EU countries that addresses this issue, but we are not from an EU country. We told him that we totally understood what he was saying and why it couldn't work, but that I wouldn't be staying in the country without my husband, so what can we do to get around this detail? He went away for a long while. In total, we were at the window for over an hour. When he came back, he had it all figured out. We were very relieved. Currently, Bart is on a tourist visa that is good until May 18th and we should be able to get him permission to stay before then. It looks like he won't have to leave the country and re-enter either! Whew!

I have read on many an expat website that Italians are not friendly. I completely disagree. Everybody here has been nothing but wonderful in helping us get around rules that everybody knows are stupid. I really like it here even though the weather has SUCKED since we arrived.


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