Thursday, July 22, 2010

US Tour

Sunday marks the beginning of our month-long US tour. It is something of a marathon, making a giant "donut", as my older brother calls it, from Pennsylvania (home) down to South Carolina (vacation), west to Oklahoma (wedding), north to Minnesota (family), east to Indiana (family), and continuing east to arrive back home in Pennsylvania 4 weeks and several thousand miles later. If I counted correctly, we'll be covering eighteen states. Each leg itself will be wonderful, but I'm not too excited about the many hours in the car with two toddlers, champs though they are at travel. But family reunions and weddings are amazing events and not to be missed, so we'll be there, traveling in style in our minivan. :)

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Since being home, we've been thoroughly enjoying the American comforts.  In particular, warm, luxurious showers with silken body wash, fluffy, large towels, shower doors that work, hot water that never seems to run out, and excellent water pressure.  Tall glasses of free ice water.  Big freezers.  Big refrigerators.  Loading up the car in our driveway and going straight to our destination rather than dragging ourselves, our stuff, and our kids to the bus stop, onto the bus, off the bus, onto the train, and then onto another bus, before arriving in ragged condition at our destination.  Mexican food.  Chinese food.  Burgers.  Steaks.  Roast beef.  Cheddar cheese.  Normal milk (not ultra-pasturized).  Orange juice (Italian orange juice is very bitter).  A large washer in my house and a dryer right next to it.  Lots of space, everywhere I look or go.  And hearing English, everywhere (well, except at Walmart, when all I hear is Spanish).

But there are things we miss about Italy and, I'm sure, as the novelty of these comforts and conveniences wears out a bit, there will be even more things.  I miss the cappuccino.  I miss the smell of cappuccino.  I miss hearing the ceramic clink of cappuccino cups from the cafes below our apartment.  I miss our Danish neighbors.  I miss seeing Matt all the time.  I miss always knowing exactly where the kids are.  I miss the delicious and cheap sweet peppers.  I miss the brie, fontina, and edam cheeses.  I miss the wine.    I miss being able to walk everywhere.  I miss the excitment of exploring somewhere new everyday.

So rather than long for what I can't have (everything), I'm vowing to appreciate what I do have.  Oh, and  to use my stovetop moka to bring a little Italy into my American life with a daily cappuccino. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Little video of Cate trying out the "new" Jack-in-the-box. I love how, for the first 3 days she played with it, she reacted this same way every single time she made him pop out. The beauty of being a year and a half old.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Video! Cate in her glory

We've returned! After 20 hours of travel, we were exceedingly glad to arrive safely in York, PA. The kids were surprisingly good, on account of your prayers, I have no doubt, as it was miraculous that we only suffered ten minutes of crying the entire taxi ride, check-in, security, flight, layover, security, flight, baggage claim, and drive. Endless cookies and juice boxes are also a big hit.

We couldn't be happier to be back in the US. It is amazing to have family and friends nearby or just a phone call away. To have a washer and dryer in my own house. To have more than 450 square feet to call our own. To load up a car and go whenever we want, without waiting for a bus that we frantically load, hoping we didn't forget anything or anyone. To eat Mexican, Chinese, and American food. To have a backyard. To have an amazing shower. To know how stuff works. To know how people work. To understand every word spoken to us or around us. The list goes on and on about why we're so glad to be home. Italy was phenomenal and a real adventure full of incredible moments and priceless experiences, but really, there's no place like home.

And with that, we are back to the business of living, American style (although I must confess, I just made a cappuccino in an Italian moka...).

In our little family, both Cate and Dominic are comedians. Dominic is the clever, scheming sort and Cate is the off-the-cuff, body humor sort. Most of you have seen or read stories of Dominic's tricks, but Cate's are much harder to capture. But thanks to our new camera and blessedly high-speed U.S. internet, I've got a little video to share her tricks.