As summer comes to an end, I’m looking back on the year so far. Casa La Pace had a terrific spring and summer. As I remember this year’s guests, it is a mix of old and young, but each fascinating in his/her own way. I can honestly say we were sad at each departure.
* An old schoolmate. Rita had already been here once, bringing along a nephew. This time she treated her niece, a lovely girl who was open to new adventures.
* A couple from central Arkansas and his sister from Kansas. Husband and wife were recently retired and we were delighted to learn of so many friends in common. Janet is also retired (from the postal service) and is also a very talented artist. She honored us by giving us a few pieces she created in our courtyard.
* 4 ‘crazy’ ladies who had been long-time friends. They filled the house with more laughter than we’ve ever had before.
* Another 4 ladies from central Arkansas, wealthier than our average clientele. One owns a car dealership and another used to own a golf course. But they were as sweet and interesting as any of our other guests.
* 2 single ladies, one who celebrated her 70th birthday with us and the other a retired newspaper owner. Judith is passionate about criminal justice reform. Kitty has promised to write a profile of Casa La Pace.
* Relatives of a neighbor. They were with his sister most of the time, so we didn’t get to spend much time with them. Breakfast was our opportunity to learn more about this young couple from a different region of Italy.
* Father and wife, daughter and husband, all from Arkansas, but none from the Little Rock area. All 4 had fascinating stories and I felt like we just scratched the surface, even though they were with us for a full week.
* 20-something couple from Louisiana (soon to be Texas). I got to know them better during our day trip to Firenze. How surprised was I to their response to my query of what they were listening to on their shared earphones: not the latest pop or country hit, but a podcast from NPR!
* A German and his family. Pepper and I met Bernd when we lived in Colorado. It was wonderful to catch up on his life from when he was a young, eager college student and meet Isabelle and their two adorable children. It was a memorable week and I was on the verge of tears when they left.
* Arkansas girl and her former-exchange student friend from Germany. Abbie and Pascale remind me that spending more time with ‘the younger generation’ is a wonderful way to sweep away the negative perceptions that I can allow to develop.
* 7 ladies, 5 older and 2 younger, from Mississippi. They found us through our great friends David Taliaferro and Norma. They now have a terrific story that could be entitled ‘the delights and dangers of Italian train travel’.
* A redhead and his wife, recently retired, who sail during their vacations. They made a brief visit to Casa La Pace on their way home from a sailing adventure in the Seychelles.
* Our dear friends from S Florida. This is Bernie and Toni’s 3rd visit to Casa La Pace and definitely the most satisfying (for me, anyway). More generous and loving friends you won’t find.
* 5 Italians from Toscana and Emiglia-Romagna, in Ghivizzano because of their common passion for vintage motorcycles. Their days were preprogrammed, so we hardly got to see them. But they’ve all promised to return to Casa La Pace for a longer visit.
* An Arkansas family who, at the same time as our move to Italy, they moved to Mexico for three years. Katherine and Mike, Matthew and Russell were a marvelous, fascinating group. We are honored that they included us in their month-long travels throughout France, Italy, and Spain.
We are excited that September, October, and November will bring a fresh wave of guests. I’m looking forward to reflecting on them at year-end.