Sunday, February 22, 2015

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Italian Lessons

I am living proof that the best way to learn a foreign language is to experience the culture first hand.  Spencer and I spent 5 weeks in Italy this past summer. It was an incredible adventure.  Hearing and speaking Italian everyday was invaluable.  But when our trip ended I feared Spencer would lose his love and desire to keep learning the Italian language. I'm happy to report, he has not.  Since I home school Spencer I am able to include Italian lessons in his daily curriculum. We first started with Rosetta Stone, but it proved too confusing for Spencer. Then I found the key to success. Spencer now uses the Duolingo app, vocabulary cards, and a workbook that is suitable for his age. This educational trio has catapulted Italian to his favorite school subject. In a perfect world I would enroll Spencer and I in a language school in Lucca, but that's not yet in the cards. I look forward to the day Spencer gets another chance to practice what he's learned in Italy. Until then, we will help each other learn this beautiful language together.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Not adjusting well

Tonight a family member in Italy needed me to resend her a picture she had accidentally deleted. It was of my son Spencer and her dog, Daisy.  The camera flash made Daisy look more like Cujo. I can't help but laugh every time I look at that photo. But trying to find it was torture. I had to go back and look through most of my vacation pictures before I found it. It made me realize how much trouble I'm having adjusting to life back in the States. I've been home 3 weeks and I'm more convinced than ever, I left a good chunk of my soul in Italy. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be home with all of my kids, but they've all been to Italy. They all love it and understand where I'm coming from. In 2 years we are hoping everything works out and we are able to call Italy home. Until then, I will continue to torture myself looking back at our amazing vacation pictures, making lots of home made pasta and dreaming of La Dolce Vita.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Home one week, tears and traditions

Spencer and I have now been home one week. I am not ashamed to say I have cried on several occasions,  mostly for missing my husband,  partly for missing Maiori,  and partly for missing my Italian traditions.
After 5 weeks of morning cappuccinos and crossaints I find myself trying to keep the tradition alive. But of course my cappuccinos don't come close to the Rosy Bar & Cafe's in Maiori.  I did bring home a macchinetta from Italy,  and while it does make a mean coffee, I'm having trouble adjusting to life without my Italian cappuccino.  After a few days home I caved and switched back to my iced latte.   One night a couple of weeks ago Gregg and I watched an Italian cooking show. The host made fresh ravioli. Last night I pulled out my pasta maker and got to work. I made a lemon ricotta ravioli. The kitchen was completely destroyed,  but I have to admit my ravioli was awesome. I made a homemade ciabatta two days ago and used it to slop up the sauce from my ravioli dinner. After 5 weeks in Italy most people would be sick of pastas, but not me. I made enough dough yesterday to feed an army.
I know it will be years before I return to Italy,  unless I win the lottery. But since I don't play, I'll just have to keep my favorite Italian traditions going on here at home until I can hopefully someday call Italy, home.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The long road home

Spencer and I woke up Wednesday in Milan, Italy and went to bed in Carmel,  Indiana. It was a long day of travel. I have to admit I shed a few tears upon leaving Italy. But we had a nice surprise to start our journey. The Captain of our long haul flight came out to the boarding area and gave all of the kids, wings. Spencer loved the attention from our Captain and loved his wings. It took us two separate flights to get home. We were blessed with no delays.
The car service I hired to get us home surprised us with a limo again. I had only paid for a small town car. Great ending to our travels.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Goodbye my home away from home

This morning Spencer and I said goodbye to Maiori, Italy.  We spent almost a month in this Amalfi Coast town. It truly was our home away from home. We woke up at 6:30 to a thunderous sound, fireworks launched from the church. It was to signal one month until the Assumption. And I was worried about over sleeping. The owners of Albergo Riviera made sure breakfast was ready early for us. Spencer had a crossaint fresh out of the oven. We said our goodbyes then headed over to my favorite coffee shop. I had my usual 2 cappuccinos,  but treated myself to a Nutella crossaint. I will miss the Rosy Bar Cafe. Not only for the best coffee in the world,  but for the lovely ladies who put up with my not so perfect Italian. Spencer and I then grabbed some fresh bread for home made sandwiches. I didn't want to risk starving on the 5 hour train ride to Milan. We opted for the Italo train this journey. It's owned by a private company. We are in Prima class this time. It only cost a few more Euros than premium second class on TrenItalia. As I write this post we are traveling at high speed to Milan.  So far I'm very happy with the service on this train.
It's been a fantastic five weeks. I've loved every second and will miss our family friends,  and new friends we made in Maiori. But my heart will bring us home again.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hidden treasures in plain sight

Last night we ventured to the top of Maiori to a medieval castle. Built around 800 A.D. it is the only castle along the Amalfi Coast that was never conquered. We arrived about 6:30 pm but found the gates locked, despite a closing time of 7 pm. I guess the worker figured no one would spend a Friday night visiting the castle. So we tried a walk along a very small path on the outside, only to be turned back by heavy vegetation and steep inclines. Since we had an 8 year old and a dog with us we didn't want to take any chances. We were disappointed that we couldn't get inside, but the views from the top still made this a fantastic trip.