We sent a postcard from Venice to our landlords/neighbors in Binghamton. Our landlords are an older couple in their 70s who suffer from the same condition that many people around here seem to suffer from: even though they have some cash to spend on travel, they cannot imagine going someplace as exotically crazy as, say, Italy. Las Vegas? "It's our favorite place! We've been four times." Sacramento to visit the niece? "Several times." Cooperstown (an hour away) for the long weekend? "Absolutely." I think they even drove to Ohio over the holidays to visit family.
But, between this trip to Italy and the trip to London last year, they think we are borderline wacky that we'd go so far away. Heck, you'd need a passport!
The best, though, is what happened a couple days ago. I got a call at work from the landlady, which usually means she has been cooking at her church (yes, the same Slovak church where she was baptized and where she got married 50 years ago and still calls Bingo every Thursday night). The food she offers us is usually pretty weird stuff, by Los Angeles standards- stuffed cabbage or stuffed peppers. I've always liked that stuff and John seems to finally be coming around to it.
Anyway, this time she caught me off guard a little bit and almost caught me: "Annie, you remember the buchta (I have no idea how to spell it, but that's what it sounds like) I gave you at Christmastime?" The "buchta" was some apricot and/or nut loaf that was wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil and plastic bags and went DIRECTLY into the freezer, where they still rest quietly. We were too scared to open them.
"Which one did you like the better, the apricot or the nut?" UH-OH! Busted. I stammered and thought quickly- John hates nuts, let me see, "The apricot, of course." I replied. "OK, well I've got another loaf for you- and it's a big one!" Great. Can't wait. Our freezer will be full of freakin' buchta by the time we're ready to leave here. It's so yukky sounding I don't even want to bring it to someone else's house- too much like the fruitcake that gets passed around.
The icing on the cake: When I ventured next door to collect my latest instalment of "buchta," the neighbors told me that the POSTMAN ASKED "Who is in Venice???" I'm surprised it didn't make the local paper: "Local couple ventures to foreign land!"
p.s. In all fairness, we ventured into the apricot buchta over the weekend, and it wasn't bad at all- kind of a loaf of bread with the jam already wrapped up inside it!