An Invitation

We just spent six hours, including a little pool party and outdoor feast, at Milena and Sergio’s.  They are our landlords.  Tonight, they asked us over for dinner.

We arrived at 5:30 at their country home.  It’s a gorgeous, old, renovated house on the top of a hill overlooking all of Perugia.  We spent the first half hour just taking in the view.  Then they invited us to go swimming.  I swear it was the most fun Tom and Ray have had here yet.  Milena and Sergio have a really sweet 10-year-old son named Massimo.  Tom and Ray taught him some American pool games.  But even translating the simple rules of water tag required quite a bit effort among them.

A view of historic Perugia from the pool. We can almost see our apartment in the top center of the city!

After an hour or two, Sergio lit the grill and Milena prepared appetizers.  As Matt and I watched, we made casual observations in broken Italian about the garden, the photos in the kitchen, the olive oil and the barbeque.  Sergio acknowledged that he’s never seen an outdoor gas grill in Italy.  Then we watched him stoke the burning coals with a hair dryer.  He even let Matt try!

While the skewers of sausage, steak, and peppers cooked, we drank prosecco and ate Umbrian cheese with the neighbor’s honey.  Milena offered several types of cured meats and a basket of cheese rolls.  The boys drank San Bitter, a bright red, non-alcoholic aperitif.   (Tom didn’t like it and dumped his glass over the deck, which was absolutely horrifying to Matt and me.)

The kids finished eating an hour or two before the adults, so they went inside to watch TV and play Wii.  And we continued to sit outside as it grew dark and then grew late. We talked about the economic crisis in Italy and how hard it is for Italians to find jobs out of college.  We commented on the difference between real estate markets in America and Italy.  We heard how Sergio and Milena met.  We learned that while Sergio’s profession is an engineer, his passion is astronomy.   They described Massimo’s extra curricular activities including horseback riding and non-competitive soccer.  Later, the kids rejoined us as we ate a typical Perugian dessert called Salame del Re.  A two-liter bottle of coke was passed around and the kids filled their glasses.  Sergio offered banana liquor for us.

In a final act of hospitality, they invited us to go to an outdoor movie with them next Thursday.  Then they escorted us home.  Since today was our first day driving our rental car, they wanted to make sure we found our way back to our apartment.  (I guess it’s technically their apartment.)


4 thoughts on “An Invitation

  1. Gorgeous! What a view. I got a kick out of Tom’s use of the aperitif. (totally see my tom do the same.) The hair dryer technique on the BBQ is crazy. Love to all. sk

  2. So glad we can follow your exploits, and enjoy your year abroad with you. Soon you will feel that normal is Italy and everything else becomes a distant memory. We just returned from our 7 week vacation, skyped with Martha today and are slowly getting into Maui time and farm activity.
    Henri, Martha, Noe and Oscar leave Bayreuth next Friday for Bordeaux where they will vacation with Henri’s Father; they will move into their apartment in Toulouse at the end of August. If you are interested, they have ipad, laptops with them: . They also have two blogs: and

    Have fun and know that the we will follow your adventures from here.

  3. Looks like a wonderful day. So glad Tom and Ray got to interact with a neat kid. Swimming must have been a ball. Dinner and all looked tremendous. So, now you are driving around town. Did not take you long to join the culture. Love, Grandpa John

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