Italy, June 14th, evening

We arrived in Venice today and Gary was waiting for us! He rented the cutest little European-style car. It took about an hour to get back to his apartment. Lots of cornfields around here. Lots & lots. Not as big as the ones in Illinois, but it never occurred to me that there’d be cornfields in Italy at all, so seeing so many is surprising. Gary said one day he decided to go out and buy an ear of corn to eat and he couldn’t find any anywhere. He mentioned his trouble to his friends Hutch and Camilla. “You won’t find corn around here,” Camilla said. “What do you mean?” he asked. “There are cornfields everywhere.” Well, it turns out that corn is what they feed to their animals.

There are lots of beautiful vineyards too, for miles and miles. And Gary’s apartment is magnificent! Even better than I anticipated. It’s enormous with wood and tile floors, and lots of windows with gauzy curtains that hang to the floor. All of the windows have beautiful wooden shutters. The place is just really terrific. He took us to the base today and we met the nicest, young man from Minnesota. He’s been in Italy for a month and came here from Greenland. He’s not used to the heat and the dorms don’t have air conditioning, so that can’t be too pleasant. He called Gary “sir” in every other sentence and was as sweet as can be.

Another great thing about Gary’s apartment: You can hear the bells ringing at a Catholic Church that is not even a block away (you can see it from Gary’s front porch). They ring every hour at night and every hour and 1/2 hour during the day. Sometimes they play a little song.

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