Other dreams, other suns

This post from my old Transfiguring Mirror blog is the way our life changed, taking us to Italy:

I should confess here that I’ve started another blog. It was an innocent endeavor originally, but it’s somehow suddenly taken over our life . . . And now we have just bought one-way tickets to Italy. We leave March 26.

How DID this happen? We’re not quite sure ourselves. Or, as Joseph Smith put it, “I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself.” We’ve been telling our friends and family for a couple of years now that we’re planning to move to Italy. Whether anyone actually believed us, I’m not too sure. I often had the impression of being humored in a childish fantasy when I mentioned it to people. We decided, as noted in my Casteluzzo blog, that the coming October would be the time. But we didn’t want to tell people. It was too far away. I did start telling them that our move to Italy was imminent. It’s very easy to make that sound like a joke, though. October was the very earliest we thought it could work. It was a good time for the business. Our housing contract was up in October. It seemed logical. But it was evidently not soon enough. We already surmise that if we had been on track, we would have moved to Italy at the end of 2006, and not to Vancouver. So by that calculation, we’re at least a year late.

In any event, last Monday Tony woke at 3:30 in the morning to the familiar sound of thumping from above. Our upstairs neighbors had always been a little eccentric – the main audible manifestation being what appeared as a curious penchant for moving furniture all night most nights. However, this particular early morning, Tony felt a distinct impression that something was very wrong (this after a similar incident, in which I had awoken early in the morning with the distinct impression that we should invite the man upstairs to listen to the missionaries in our house on a certain date and time about a week later as they presented a message on “how we can feel the love of God more fully in our lives.” He agreed, but canceled at the last moment, looking as if he were haunted). Accordingly, Tony went upstairs and knocked on the door, quietly at first, and then more loudly. Finally, after knocking on and off for a half hour, he rang the doorbell. Mr. Underhill (not his real name) opened the door immediately. Tony said he needed to come in and talk, but Mr. Underhill refused. After trying a few more times, he came back downstairs.

We talked about it over breakfast, and he decided to go back up. In the meantime, we had discovered that Mr. Underhill was a former Marine drill sergeant with a serious physio-psychological disorder causing extreme instability. Tony said that if he banged three times on the floor, I should call 911. He gained admittance this time, and after an anxious hour for me, descended, very much disturbed. Mr. Underhill was abusing his mother at least emotionally, and Tony was almost sure, physically as well. He admitted that most of the thumps were her “falling” a lot. She had a lot of bruises. Even more upsetting, Mr. Underhill brought up the possibility of his mother dying in nearly every sentence. It would be a blessing, he declared, admitting also to making repeated offers to help her legally commit suicide. “She will die in this apartment within the year,” he further declared. During the conversation, he was angry and attempted to intimidate Tony, at one point throwing his half-finished bottle of soda on the floor (I heard the crash, and waited nervously for two more). Finally, he ushered Tony to the door.

Tony came home, and we determined to call the police. Then we left our apartment with our children, feeling unsafe under Mr. Underhill, especially after the confrontation. While the police were upstairs interviewing Mr. Underhill, we packed up some stuff and got in our car. We didn’t know where we’d go, but we had decided by this point that there was no way we were going to live under this person any more, especially after having put ourselves in the awkward position of calling the police on him (the police determined he was not an immediate threat to anyone, and left it to the elderly abuse division to follow up).

So, driving around that day and the next (after being put up for the night by some kind friends), we considered our options. The apartment complex was understanding, and offered to waive the lease-break fee. We could stay put (not an option, actually. We didn’t feel safe). We could move to another apartment complex in the area. Finally, Tony and I confessed to each other what had been our first thought upon realizing we would have to move: move to Italy! In a crazy way, it actually made sense. Here was our chance to move to Italy within the month.

So here we are in a hotel in San Diego, making Amish Baked Oatmeal (our favorite breakfast) in the toaster oven. And in just under four weeks, we’ll be touching down in Turin.

2 thoughts on “Other dreams, other suns

  • November 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Oh, silly me. I didn’t realize I never even explained about the packing job. Tony went back alone and packed up the whole house (all the while expecting the crazy ex-Marine to come barreling down the stairs or let himself down with grappling hooks from his balcony to ours.). So he did end up packing most things. Just not the pots and pans 🙁

  • November 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    wait so you couldnt go back and get any of your things out of the apartment? not sure why you just left them all behind unless they wouldnt fit in your car? Thats real nice the apt let you break your lease!


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