Of all the things I feel I’ve gained through having this insane villa project, the most important one has to be a much deeper appreciation of the value of friends. Old friends, good friends, new friends, even just friendliness in general has been a consistent theme since the get-go. People of all stripes, and their willingness to help and cheer and commiserate, have been instrumental not just to our progress, but to the richness of the experience along the way.

Neighbour Dino helping to finish off the bathroom when we needed man-strength.

Heather, who showed Marcia and I such fantastic hospitality although we were total strangers, giving us an impromptu (and delicious) cooking lesson.

My neighbour Monica and her Mom, who run the bar. Monica’s husband Alberto, who has the advantage of machinery as well as muscle, has been so helpful over the years.

Our local grocer, maker of so many scrumptious things, always makes me feel like I’ve come home.

And I can’t leave out Dino’s dog Rudy, who has an instinct for knowing when we’ve pulled out the chaises and have our laps ready for a visitor.

There are lots of others, some of whom I’ve already spoken of and some as yet unsung. Even the unmet help: fellow bloggers who have encouraged me, facebook fans who help me understand just how wonderful an opportunity I have.  They all mean the world to me.  Having a finished villa someday would be lovely. But even if it never gets to completion, having all this warmth and openness sent my way over the journey is even more precious.