living it italy

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!

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A Catholic School in Florence

by admin on January 9, 2009

Met with the Head Mother yesterday at the catholic school in Florence….she was actually very laid back…..she looked a bit like yoda and was in full dress with a cross that “50cent” et al would have died for! Emmy liked her…she was funny….”got it”…and the Mother said she didn’t know Emily but thought she probably was a very strong girl……and a leader….she asked Emmy for confirmation and em shyly smiled…I agreed. She also told her that it would be up to her as to how she would do…she said she has had kids in her situation learn nothing and others speaking good Italian at the end….she asked Em if she felt that it would be frustrating or exciting….Em said exciting…and she said very good…you will do very well then. It was really cute and the Mother seemed to get the drill….she first asked me if Em was here to learn or just to get by so we could escape on weekends and see the countryside….ha…I guess there are two programs of education here. I obviously told her that she was here to learn.
I was also impressed because she said she did not want Emily to make up her mind until she came to school on Monday and Tuesday….she said if she liked it then she could officially enroll….

Funny thing is when I asked her about tuition she hesitated and rocked back and forth for a bit…..I could see the bubble over her head….ah american kid…..sister at international school….living on via della spada….and that cherry red vespa that I need……ah…..for you the price is 450 euro/month

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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.

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Our First Day In Florence

by admin on 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 soon as we touched ground there was no time for jet lag….game on!

January 1….Describing Day 1 in Florence

Busy day and am now hitting the sack……we are still trying to figure out our internet connection so it will probably be hit or miss til we are settled. The girls had TOTAL jet lag…slept from noon on….just tucked them in from the couch to the bed! Chris and I walked the entire City today and tried to find the international school….we were out for close to 4 hours walking…..brought back some hot chestnuts for the girls……but they were still sleeping! :) The funny thing is when I left I said that I wished they were going to walk with us…..they said Mom, we just want to watch a movie and rest…..we do this when we are vacation from school….and I said ya I know but that is when we are at home…..and they both said, in unisom…..ya mom but we ARE home! :) I just laughed and realized oh yea….we have plenty of time to explore! ….the girls said they would be ready to rock tomorrow…..we will see!

New Years was great….very LOUD and we watched the fireworks from the Arno River….a bit surreal…between jet lag and the reality of where we are…I’m not sure how much I absorbed…but it was amazing!

I look forward to settling in a neighborhood that isn’t in the middle of it all…..a little peace outside my window will feel good…..as right now there is not much in my head!

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You Will Not Believe This!

by admin on December 31, 2008

YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS…..I STILL CAN’T..

when I traveled with K and Em here many years ago….I think they were 5 and 7ish……we spent two days in Florence…..I was walking them down a street and looked in a bar where there were many people having a good time……and I remember thinking how fun that looked and having a bittersweet feeling of where my life was at that time…..I then bought a jacket in a boutique a few doors down for a ton of money ….and I remember thinking that I shouldn’t do it but it had “life” and an arrow pointing forward on it….I bought it as a symbol to myself….that was a great trip but also tough…my first time out of the country and a lot of uncertainty in my life at the time….new life with the girls….new business…new home…new career…in the Napa Valley….I hold great memories from it but also bittersweet…..

Important to note : I had NO clue nor could have taken you to that boutique nor that bar if you would have asked….I couldn’t have even described them to you.

Are you ready for this?!

Fast forward to this journey…first day…..Our taxi dropped us off at our apartment and we settled in. Chris and I then went out to explore..turned left out the front door and began to soak it all in…I walked no more then two doors down and looked in at the jovial sounds coming from the Bar….I stopped…..and immediately knew….this was THE bar….and I looked across the street….and there was the boutique…..NO JOKE….We went into the bar and had a drink…I told Chris the story and we toasted…..because nothing in life is a coincidence. I knew at that point that this journey was a gift…and to enjoy it to its fullest….no matter what the days ahead may bring!

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