Day 95: Last Day in Italy

20121028-171244.jpgWe got very lucky this morning and were able to see the Statue of David without having to wait in line. Maybe the rain helped, along with the time change and being in line at 9:15 am!!

You’re not allowed to take pictures in the museum, but I was able to take a photo from the bookstore of a modern, Andy Warhol-like, colorful version outside in the courtyard.
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We marveled at the original 14 foot high version situated under a renaissance style dome. We noticed the size of his head and hands, his eyes, the veins in his hands, and his tight hiney! We noticed how smooth the marble was, especially when we compared this finished piece to the unfinished prisoner pieces leading up to David. We imagined being Michaelangelo and the amount of patience he must have had working on David for 3 years. The statue is 504 years old and is still stunning.

The weather turned cold and was very rainy! We found a great restaurant for our last lunch in Italy and everyone enjoyed their pasta, pizza, eggplant parmigiana, pork chop and potatoes!
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We had a very busy few days and I think we’re all ready to head home…just in time for volleyball games and Halloween!!

Day 94: Florence

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We are in Florence today, the place known for the Renaissance and rebirth and “humanism.” I didn’t even have to step off the train to feel “it.”

We took the train from Rome to Florence and had such a pleasant trip. We sat by a great family and shared snacks and toys and conversation. The mother was a Muslim woman, from London, who just relocated to Rome. She is an expat just like me. She was traveling with her two kids and two guinea pigs and husband. She had just celebrated Eid late into the evening last night and was tired. We talked about her holy celebration, helping our children to settle into new locations and finding ways to help them feel comfortable. We talked about religion and peer pressure and discrimination. Our families played together and switched seats to be near one another. We hugged each other when we departed and I think we both felt a connection, even though we didn’t even share our names. There was a human connection, and understanding of what it’s like to be a mother, to raise children with manners and respect and religion and kindness and love, and to show them the world.

Even though we practice different faiths, and dressed very differently, I felt the same way she did. I felt her spirit and kindness and wish more people were like her. And I wish I knew her name. Namaste.

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Day 90: Rome

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It’s been 90 days since we became Expats, and gained this new title. Along with being expats, comes the expectation that we will travel every chance we get… because everybody’s doing it (and because we want to, too)!! And in Holland there is a lot more time off for vacation than in the States, so we’re going Dutch again.

Our first big vacation is to Italy. I have always wanted to see Italy, because my grandma was born in Sicily and I’m half Italian. My dad has never been either, so I wanted to share this with him too. So we are all here for a big, family, European vacation. That’s the good news. Want to hear the bad news?? There has been a stomach virus going around, that lasts for 2-4 days. First Char had it, then Christian had it and last night Juliana got it right in time for our trip. We were debating whether to go or not, but we didn’t buy travelers insurance and we were all filled with anticipation and excitement that we didn’t want to stay home. So we came anyway, and Juliana has been sick all day!! Stuck in the hotel room, waiting to get better. We have taken turns watching her and staying with her but it sure has changed our journey.

The lesson for me (because I’m always trying to learn something new) is that we don’t get to write our own story the way we want it to be. We might have a script and can have expectations and dreams but really, life is out of our control. And when the script changes, can we adapt? I feel like life is constantly about adaptations – some easier than others… Right, girls?

And as for our family story, being sick in Rome really is a high class problem, or let’s be real – it’s not a problem at all,
just an inconvenience and change in plans. I’ll just be thankful for the journey today and for my Mama and Jeff who watched Juliana in shifts, so we all got to see a piece of history and culture. And for Juliana, who has been resting and trying to feel better! I hope the night is good for her, and the rest of us, and that she feels better in the morning.

Namaste.

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