florence

The Pursuit of Real Gelato

by admin on February 24, 2009

Procrastination…writers block….a touch of the flu….lack of adrenaline..some of the causes for the latest lapse in writings and recipes….but now look what I’ve done….I have such a back log of experiences that I won’t be able to go into them all….should I dive into a few or touch upon a lot?

I did try to write…honestly…..but I made a promise to myself that if I didn’t feel it…I wouldn’t post it.  I finally MADE myself yesterday…..I knew even before I reread it…my heart was not in it….mediocre at best….I couldn’t post it with out a guilty conscience…..

SO…..until I can genuinely discuss the true inspiration and excitement that came from the discovery of the best gelato in Florence then you will just have to wait….to find out how to identify REAL gelato in Italy……home made…..straight from the mouth of a local…..I’ll try to work on it soon
….hmm….maybe another visit is warranted….and I should probably get the larger size….and since it is a few blocks away I should vow to return….every day….until I get the motivation to write…and give you the insiders scoop (sorry)…on what everyone should know about…..GELATO!!!

{ 0 comments }

Kaelin just skipped out the door to meet her new friends for dinner and a sleepover…she met them up the street at Piazza Repubblica….as if she was headed to Main St. in St. Helena…..she has acclimated easily…helps to have english speaking friends and school…but there is something about Kaelin and Florence…she is at home. I have never seen her so carefree…..confident….jovial….She is a great kid and always happy but here…she glows…she has a skip in her step…she comes home everyday with interesting things that have happened or perspectives she hadn’t had before…her World has opened up….already!

Everything is new and exciting…and challenging here….take for instance….school supplies….now we all know how to get school supplies right? Well…not so easy here…there is no Target….and no one seems to know what we are taking about when we ask….for school supplies that is…not Target! :) …yesterday, when Kaelin and I were walking home from our haircuts we passed the numerous cafes and clothing boutiques when Kaelin shouted out..’Mom..school supplies!”..a store about the size of a walk in closet was squashed between a shoe store and a cafe….and they had binders and paper and pens and ink cartridges and planners….not a lot mind you as they had no space….but enough to satisfy Kaelin’s requirements….we were very proud of our find! I’m sure there is store full of supplies somewhere…..but for now we seem to just be feeling our way around the City….and we’re getting there….day by day!

So I think it is safe to say that Kaelin is all set!

{ 0 comments }

Dinner Conversations……

by admin on January 13, 2009

Great dinner….most came from a little cafe on our street… la spada…..they know us there now…K went with me….we stopped at our little market as well…..and then a new hole in the wall to get Em’s mars bar. Don’t know what happened but mid meal Emmy came alive….she was herself again…..talking about funny things at school et al and joking and laughing….such a relief…I enjoy her funny personality…I’ve missed her! She talked about how they had “gym” and had to run the perimeter of the school for 6 minutes…she said they would run and as soon as the teacher would turn her back they would stop…..somethings surpass language barriers.

K thinks she may want to go to college over here….she says we are so isolated in the USA….funny….perspective……but its so different being here…..so many countries are accessible….and all the kids in her school have traveled alot…she learned today that a lot of them are children from military people living in Pisa….about an hour away….:)..she mentioned they may all go to dinner this Sat…..acclimating quickly!

{ 0 comments }

The Language Barrier

by admin on January 13, 2009

We have had a tiresome week so far….. the adjustment is proving difficult for Em…..she is fine with the school and has made friends easily but the language barrier is getting her down…as to be expected…it’s getting me down too! She is used to being a leader…..class clown….and so social….and now she is going to have to take a back seat for a bit…..like her mom and dig deep…..and learn to communicate…..so tomorrow I’m going to one of the language institutes close by and signing myself up for courses and talk to them about the girls too….there is a lady I’ve spoken to who would be great but its another bus trip away….probably not a great option at this point…..it’s funny because people romanticize what we are doing and in truth it is quite difficult….on a lot of levels….the biggest being the language barrier…..it’s a great lesson and we are so dumb as a country not to require our kids to learn languages and study a semester overseas….we are way behind…..

Emmy’s first day went from 8am to 4:30pm…..apparently that is the MF schedule….the other days she gets out at 1pm……they stay in one classroom and have a break and lunch….they provide lunch which Em says is good. That’s a long time to sit in one room and listen to endless chatter that you can not comprehend…..so, keep her in your thoughts….I know she can and will do it and in a few months be fine…..the funny thing is she has French as well in this school…..yikes…can it get much worse than being taught French in Italian?! I’m going to talk to the principle tomorrow to work out an appropriate schedule…maybe I can pull her out early on MF to be tutored…I’m not sure what would be best but I will ask around until I feel good about the conclusion.

Kaelin is cruising…..we went to an Art store to get her supplies last night and it was out of the past…..so crazy……she was in heaven…I didn’t know what most of the stuff was but I know it was pretty intense artsy stuff…powders in big containers stacked on the walls……and funky old disheveled artists behind the counter…..

Things are becoming more norm already….I don’t look up so much in amazement….just appreciation…..food is great…can work wonders on my two burner stove…..

When things get tough I have a place where I can go that feels so familiar and where people speak beautiful english…..the Apple Store! I wanted to hug the guy when he spoke to me in english…..not even an accent! :)

As my Dad would say….tomorrow is another day!

{ 0 comments }

Everyone In School!

by admin on January 11, 2009

So…tomorrow I get left in the dust :) the girls are insisting on going it alone…..and Chris is on their side……so….they will leave at 7:15am….walk up to our local spot and buy their lunch….and then walk to their bus stop…..K will kick Emmy off the stop before she gets off and then Em will hike up the 60+ steps to her school……and K will journey on to hers……Chris will leave by taxi for the airport before they do so then it will be me……..I’m excited and a bit nervous…..but interested to see what time by myself feels like…..I will miss Chris like crazy but know that I must appreciate every moment of this journey for myself…and the girls……and so relieved that he will be loving the dogs. Dogs are everywhere here…all sizes…even pitbulls…..they are just part of life…they take them in bars, restaurants, dept stores……so cool! I’m hoping we can rent a dog for six months! :) Kaelin even said that she would walk the dog every day if we got one….ha! sounds familiar…I told her as soon as she has friends the dog would be in my lap! :)

Did a bit of shopping today for Emmy’s uniform……blue slacks and a sweater that covers her up…. she actually seemed excited……I’ll take a picture of both of them tomorrow and send it to you. She also finally got a big jacket…..had to twist her arm but am relieved she is now warm! Apparently sales are regulated…..they all have sales twice a year…and it’s dictated by the City….these sales are for the whole month of Jan and they are HUGE……emmy’s slacks were 17 euro….and her “brand name” jacket was 115 euro……would have been $300 in the states….and there are a million stores…..so we are going to have fun this month…..the studio was a good compromise! :)

Becoming locals in our neighborhood with all of our little markets and bars….they are much more friendly and willing to help us with our Italian……

The weather was BEAUTIFUL today…about 44…..funny how its all perspective….heard its hot there…..at this point I can’t even imagine….I’m just thankful that I only need a turtleneck on in the house! :)

{ 0 comments }

First Day Of International School In Italy

by admin on January 7, 2009

I am so tired that I wouldn’t do today justice if I explained it now…..but then again…I should give it a try.

Alarm went off at 6am….that was after Chris woke me up about 4 times during the night to check the time because he was worried the alarm wouldn’t go off…Kaelin got right into the shower in our freezing cold apt as the utilities are shut off from midnight to 6am…no choice…..I then got up to find Emily….my sleeper…bright and shiney at the computer…..when I asked what she was doing she said…talking to everyone…it’s only 9pm at home!!

I couldn’t bear to take a shower as I was cold and exhausted but I pulled myself together none the less….in a turtleneck I had worn three times before…… I did do my best knowing I could not embarrass K on her first day! It was raining and of course, we didn’t have any umbrellas but found tons of stylish ones outside our door…..Chris, K and I left Emmy at the computer at 7am, timing was Chris’ request…. as we did not want to be late……school starts at 8am. We walked up two blocks to the piazza to get the taxi and K and I convinced Chris that we would be WAY too early and look like idiots….so, we wandered into a cafe and went up to the bar and ordered espressos….the three of us drank our espressos with the locals and then wandered down the block to find a place where they sell food….I realized I had not packed her a lunch :) ….so K picked out a prosciutto and brie sandwich, some chips and water and off we went to find a taxi. We got to the school in no time….I think my Dad would have called it 7 minutes…and after the cabbie almost killed us with his premature left turn into the drive of the school….we got out….Chris stayed behind as k and I walked up the long drive. I was in my heels so it was not an easy walk in the rain….as we approached the gate that we had seen a note on previously that identified the school…we noticed it was open…..game on!….as I walked up the drive Kaelin stopped and insisted that this was not the right place…it was not open….I assured her that an open gate was a good sign…she crept behind….all the way claiming….mom..this doesn’t look like a school….this doesn’t look like the pictures….there is no one here….although I agreed with her secretly …I showed no signs of weakness…..even when we came to the crossroad to take the winding road or the straight path to the huge pink villa through the olive trees…..this is not it K exclaimed….that is NOT the school…..I knew too inside that it was not the school but I began the steps up the path….olive trees will not lead us astray! …she followed behind very cautiously……as my doubts became stronger…I continued up step by step….hoping for a sign at the top…..but none….NO signs…..I knew this had to be it and I knew I could not let her see me sweat so I continued as if I had gone there before myself…..and then, I turned a corner..and there it stood…on the TOP of the hill…..an amazing beautiful farmhouse with a huge tower…..here it is I exclaimed….not knowing really if that was it but as K bought into it then so did I ….and then we say a child being dropped off …aha…we made it……where is the office Mom…are the next panicked words I heard…..Mom….how do we know where to go…..I confidently went to the first door I saw and opened it…..this way K…..again not knowing where the hell I was….to my great relief there was a lovely English woman who must have seen the look on my face because she immediately exclaimed….ah…a new student perhaps?…..we smiled and introduced ourselves…she knew of K and was very welcoming….she said the Dean would be down in a bit but the heater was broken and they were trying desperately to fix it…..although I had never read nor seen any Harry Potter novels…..at that point…I felt as if I were in one….I wanted to stay and meet the Dean but I knew this was Kaelin’s deal…..she needed to handle it…..so SHE gave me a big hug and off we went…..our separate ways…..

Side note….as we were walking up the path I asked her if she was nervous…..she said….no…not nervous…just weird….I pointed out that ya….you are going to your first day….at a new school…in a foreign country….espresso at a bar before school….prosciutto and brie sandwich in your lunch….and your Mom walking you to high school…….all that combined….you should feel a bit weird…..as we continued to walk in a bit of silence…I said, K…and she said..ya…and I said ….soak it all in…soak it ALL in……she smiled and we continued in silence.

I will write more detail later but so you don’t worry we got a GREAT deal on a studio in the same building we are in until Jan. 31…..it is small but very european and nice…and as I told the girls…..we can either live in one room together and take advantage of the sales this weekend….or get a bigger place and stay home…….they chose the studio! :)

No school for EM yet but closer….meeting the nuns tomorrow….the school is right down the street from K…..you go through a gate and wind up a path to again….a villa on the hill…..not bad! Talked to an Italian tutor today for both girls…she said Emmy will be speaking great Italian within a few months if she is in an Italian school….we will have her tutored 2 days a week at first but the lady thought she wouldn’t need anymore within a few months….hard to believe!

I’ll fill you in on more tomorrow.

{ 0 comments }

There Is No Sun In Tuscany Today

January 7, 2009

what a day….will write it all later but we are headed out to eat….haven’t had a moment to think today but the conclusions are much to celebrate….between school meetings, drop offs, pick ups, bus ride practices, rain, freezing cold, wet ugg boots and pants, and apt shopping….I am BEAT…..but I am VERY thankful….will fill you [...]

Read the full article →

Oil And Vinegar On Every Italian Table

January 5, 2009

Thank you so much for your emails supporting our journey to Italy. It was our largest response ever! I continue to receive emails every day….and they are so encouraging…and have really meant a lot as we have had crazy days since touching ground in Florence…it is quite an experience which I will write more about [...]

Read the full article →

Italians Take Their Holidays Seriously!

January 4, 2009

Wow…things have been crazy….it’s been so hard to get anything done because everyone is on Holiday forever around here….and our internet has been down for over a day…..finally back! The time change is still messing with us as well…our sleeping is way off…..it’s really cold too so we finally figured out today that we need [...]

Read the full article →

Our First Day In Florence

January 1, 2009

Arriving in a foreign country where you intend to live is much different then arriving on vacation….we have tasks to do…..we have so much to do in the 10 days that Chris will be with us….our goal is to have a home, schools set, kids set, cell phones, a gym, knowledge of the bus lines….as [...]

Read the full article →