Surprise, surprise!

I picked up my passport yesterday, completed by the Florence U.S. Consulate in just over one week. It’s close enough to walk from our house, and they emailed me when it was ready (they would have sent it in the mail, but I’m not over-fond of the Italian post). Not bad, I’d say. Easier and quicker than doing it in the U.S. Cheaper too. It costs an extra $100 to get it in two weeks in the U.S. Considering all this, I suppose I will forgive them for the fact that my picture is quite blurry. For some incomprehensible reason, they took my perfectly sized photo and blew it up until my head almost fills the whole square. Sigh. I guess I can consider it a glamour shot.

Much more exciting, we stopped by the police headquarters on the way home, and Tony picked up his very own bona fide Italian passport! His picture is also blurry, although the Italians managed to make it blurry without even blowing it up. It’s pathetic, but we were too cheap to get Italian passports for him and the Bobbles before we came to Italy. And we haven’t gotten them for the Bobbles yet. If we wait till Raj has his birthday, it will be valid for five years rather than three. We really can’t keep acquiring new citizenships like this. We’ll be spending all our time renewing passports.

However, now Tony actually needs that Italian passport. We’re practically becoming poster children for the fundamental right to Freedom of Movement Within the EU. We decided last week that we are moving to yet another European country we have never visited. But we’re sure we’ll like it. Really. Hey, we were spot on about loving Italy, right? I guess that brings up the question of why we’d move from Italy. No? The more burning question is where are we moving now? All right, I’ll tell you. We’re moving to Ireland. Yes, the Emerald Isle, the Land of a Thousand Welcomes, Hibernia, The Land of Saints and Scholars . . . shall I go on?

The idea of moving to Ireland had not occurred to me since my romantic adolescence, when I dreamed of a little cottage high on a bluff over the storm-blasted Atlantic coast. But suddenly we find ourselves availing ourselves of that next Ryanair flight I swore I would never take, to land in Dublin next month and set out in search of our own little plot of Celtic bliss. We’ve been spending a lot of time lately on (yes, you heard me right) fantasizing over little cottages that do in fact strongly resemble that adolescent daydream.

We love Firenze, don’t get me wrong, and we are enjoying our time here. In fact, we had a fascinating time last week in the fashion wing at Palazzo Pitti, and we have not yet tasted our fill of gelato (yesterday we had lemon sage gelato, and it was lovely) But our city mouse has really had its fill, and our country mouse is itching to breath some cool, clean country air. And we can’t help shuddering when we picture the streets ten times more choked with tourists all sweating under the sweltering Tuscan sun.

So we’ve turned in our Andrea Boccelli for Danny Boy, and we’re kicking ourselves for not bringing the Bobbles’ adorable Christmas rain boots. And if you’ve already booked tickets to Italy to come visit us, keep them because Italy is worth it without us. And if you haven’t, we understand if you don’t come visit us in Ireland until you’re convinced that we’ll be there a while.

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