Our borrowed home is two blocks from the beach and most of the housing in this area is week-end and vacation homes for residents of Roma who make the hour plus drive or train ride. Our friends, Giorgio and Francesca, have owned this house for more than 20 years and in that time-period have become good friends with many of the other homeowners here. They have been very gracious in introducing us to many of their friends, who in turn have been very welcoming to us, the American foreigners.
We have been invited to the homes of some of these new friends for dinners and it has always been interesting to talk to these locals and to see what their interests are in America. During these visits Valerie is able to converse rather well while I follow the flow of the conversations and can add small bits here and there. They are kind in inviting the foreigners they have only known for a short time.
We are well aware that we are the topic of conversation amongst the local group when they are at the beach during the day, but fortunately we are not self-conscious to take it too personally. We know we may daily embarrass ourselves, so we have learned to tolerate the stares and gossip rather nicely.