Ostuni, Monday, 08:15 pm
I am sitting in my favorite spot in the house: the cozy velvet green sofa. It first was a kind of grayish beige–that kind of fresh beige that becomes dirty after too many people sit on it. A very nice lady, Federica, upholstered the two comfortable seats.
Yesterday we went to an Italian movie, perfetti sconosciuti (perfect strangers), to upgrade my Italian a bit. It was hilarious: great content, sharp dialogue, perfect acting, amusing twists. It was about seven friends having a dinner party and, as a game, they decided to put all cell-phones on the table to prove they trusted one another. Many secrets rose to the surface, and the evening ended in a bitter fight. A must-see, if you ever get the chance. Also a perfect subject to discuss among friends, with a glass of wine, or Italian dinner (as we did yesterday in la Filosofia – delicious food by the way!), afterwards.
Today in the early morning, driving through rain and mist, hubbie managed to drop me on time at the airport. At 1:30 pm I landed in Brindisi, under a shiny Puglian sky. Hopeful and patient I waited in line at the car rental office. I ordered a Fiat cinque cento, as I always do but never get. I always hope for the old iconic model but usually get the renewed ugly version. This time they handed me a shiny (hurts the eyes) red Hyundai, that looked like a covered wheelchair. But once I was on the road, I was happy: on one side the glistering silver green olive trees, on my other side ongoing hedges of oleanders (and it did manage to go much faster than a wheelchair).
Stopped at the supermarket, the Ipersimply, where “La spesa che non ti pesa”, free translation: the groceries that don’t cost too much. I go there for the simple reason that there is not a lot of choice of markets open at siesta-time.
Do you see these wires spoiling the view of our lovely front yard? Any idea what their purpose is? Right. Electricity. Conclusion: it is a pity that they’re in the middle of the trees, but at least we have electricity.
This is what you would logically think. But not in Puglia. Electricity is being delivered by the one and only Enel! Or, put differently, electricity is being delivered when Enel is in the mood.
Let me explain. We signed a new contract with Enel soon after buying our house. Since we don’t have a house number, we had the bills sent to Francesca, who tends to the house with her husband William. The two other options we suggested, sending the bills via email or even sending them the old-fashioned way through the regular mail to our home address, were refused.
This worked pretty well for a while. As soon as Francesca received a new bill, she would scan it and e-mail it to us. Until December. The contractor was in the middle of building our kitchen when the electricity stopped. Simply stopped. After inquiry Enel answered they blocked us off because we didn’t pay the last two bills. We didn’t receive any! Reply: it is your responsibility when the invoices get lost, you should have guessed there were bills somewhere.
So I paid those bills (all of a sudden they could e-mail me these invoices) the moment I received them. This was end of December. Problem solved, I assumed. Not in Puglia. The bureaucratic rollercoaster jumpstarted:
A few weeks ago we – three friends and I – hopped on a train to Brussels. It was an exceptional (for Belgium) clear blue day. We had tons of time to catch up on the train, thanks to the perfectly organized railroad system in our tiny country. It gives you so much more time than you need to go from A to B.
More than ready for our first coffee after arriving at Central Station. My friend knew the perfect spot: the instrument museum at the Kunstberg. The beautifully restored Art Nouveau building is a masterpiece by itself.
We took the old elevator to the top floor. While nibbling our carrot cake (I admit, first goal was coffee, but we couldn’t resist the cake), we enjoyed the view over our capital.
Then off to the exhibition, only a few blocks further, in the buildings of ING bank: Guggenheim, Full Abstraction. It shows the evolution of the art scene from surrealism to abstract art on both sides of the ocean, with pieces Solomon R. Guggenheim and Peggy Guggenheim collected. Unfortunately, this is a temporary exhibition, it ends this weekend (February 12th). So rush, or if you get a chance to see this collection elsewhere, or can visit one of the Guggenheim museums (Bilbao, Venice and of course New-York), don’t hesitate.
The painting you see here is one of my favorites: “Summer” by A. Gorky. A few other artists of this exhibition: Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder.
Do you sometimes have the feeling you met someone for a reason? Some encounters really make my day. And at my age – some days I feel old, other times young, yes, keep on guessing! – I have had the luck to have met so many interesting people. They all have their own stories, and I love to listen to them.
I will also share memories and daily anecdotes. When the kids were little, I started a diary with their small and big adventures and achievements. They received it when they turned eighteen. I will use the diary in this category and take you back to the past.
Photo by Marie Bouly Photography
I first wanted to call this category interior design, but that seemed too common. And yet, in my opinion, “design” sounded too chic. I just want to inspire you by showing how some changes can create a totally different look. I am an addict of interior magazines, but I feel a house should never be just a copy of that magazine. It is so much fun to just mix and match and find out your personal style. Mixing different styles in a way that all seems to match is not easy. I love it though, the eclectic style. But what is most important in the end is that you and your family feel at ease, comfortable and happy! That’s how I finally came up with this title.
Plus, interior happiness also refers to me being an introvert. I am very grateful I have a warm, big family and a lot of sweet friends, with whom I love to spend time. But, I also need quiet time, me-time to be in balance and truly happy. So I will also share good books I have read, movies I’ve seen, and exhibitions that I found worth visiting.