Getting outside

Yesterday, the kids and I spent a big chunk of the day outside in our garden. We are not allowed to go for a walk on the street, but if we are in the confines of our property, it is allowed to be outside. We live on a large plot of land, my in-laws have a large garden that the grow fresh vegetables year round in. In the garden, the kids have a swing and a toy kitchen.

The kids ran up and down the driveway, played on the swing and helped their nonna pick fresh broccoli in the morning. In the afternoon, we we back outside and they ran more and chatted with our neighbors’ kids from their balcony. It really changed the feeling of the day by just getting outside.

Today the weather is good so we will go outside again. The kids also worked on their “school books” yesterday and we drew the butterflies we saw in the garden.

I am still upset about not being paid until “school starts again”. I decided yesterday to continue to give my students homework though, in the very least it’s something for me to do. The government passed legislation that all contracted employees will receive 80% of their salary for these two months, backed by the government. At least I know that March and April won’t be lost. I will continue to work for my students and remain calm about the lack of February salary.  In this period, we all should all work to help each other out, I can continue my dedication to my students.

Today I’m going to make flatbreads with the kids and possibly head out to the supermarket later on since Umberto is working from home today. I will also be interviewing with KSDK Channel 5 in St.Louis this evening, so I will have another interview aired.


Have a great Wednesday.

Cabin Fever is setting in

We’ve now passed a week in quarantine, cabin fever is setting in a bit. Yesterday was a hard day emotionally. I have been waiting for my February salary (in Italy, like most of Europe, we are paid once a month). Usually we are paid the 10th of the month, but nothing has come. We were told it would be late and probably partial (without a good reason, the parents paid for the school for February). I asked yesterday when we could expect it and was told not until the school opened and the parents paid again. It’s completely illegal. When will the school open? They said the the third of April, but who knows if that is true? So besides being locking the house yesterday, I had to deal with this mentally and put me and Umberto in a very frustrated, angry mood.

Today is a new day, we are going to figure out what we can do about this missed paycheck. We are fine, financially but obviously this still makes us angry.

Kids playing on the terrace in their pajamas.


Besides that, the day passed as all days do in quarantine. I left around 7 to go the pharmacy and bread shop to get some fresh air and some thing we needed from the pharmacy. It was good to get out of the house for a minute, even in a mask and not talking to anyone while I was out.

Have a good Tuesday and try to keep busy and remember this too will pass.

The Days Pass

The days are passing by, we are starting to get a bit restless but what can we do? Cases seem to continue to skyrocket in Italy, the peak is expected to be in April. We still have a long time to wait.

In the meantime, I have been applying to online teaching jobs to have something to do as well make some money. I have no idea if I will be paid for this month that we aren’t going to school. In theory, yes, we should though I work at a private school but they receive money from the government as well. I also have undetermined contract which means I should be paid no matter what. I am not even sure if if, when, and how much I will be paid for February,  a month I worked entirely. So yes, Americans, you are not the only one struggling economically. Luckily, my husband has a good job we’ll be OK, but that is not for everyone.


Morning view from the balcony
On our small swing set on the balcony
Tutto Andra Bene



Besides that, we are fine. Yesterday we passed a lot of the day playing on the balcony and working on “school work”. I try to distance myself from the news as much as possible during the day. I also try to not allow the children to have too much screen time and encourage them to play with their toys.

Here’s to another day passing in quarantine. Until tomorrow.

First Time Out

Yesterday, I went for the first time since the quarantine has begun to the supermarket. Umberto was home to stay with the kids so I wanted to experience for myself, life outside my house.  I walked to the local supermarket to get some fresh air, since we are no longer allowed to take a walk for leisure. I left around 4 pm. When I arrived at the supermarket there was a small line out front, an employee working calling out numbers and a machine to take numbers. I took my number and took my place a meter away from the other people waiting outside.

After 10 minutes my number was called and I went in. The supermarket was stocked pretty well, a little less than normal on a Saturday at 4 but nothing like photos I’ve seen of supermarkets in the US with no toilet paper. The fruits and vegetables were completely stocked as was meat. Cheese was a little scarce as was fresh bread. Everyone was told to keep a meter’s distance from each other. To pay, we had to wait until the person was finished checking out before walking up to the register.

When I left, there was a much longer wait to come in than when I arrived around 5 pm.  I also saw more people than I thought I would see out and about, no children though. There were a few people on their bikes and a few people walking.

Besides the supermarket, we spent a lot of time on the balcony in the morning. The kids brought some of their toys outside and played. In the evening, it was a little rainy but Raffi and I still went outside to play on the small swing set we have on the balcony. Later in the evening we colored a rainbow to hang outside on the balcony that says “Tutto andra bene” (everything will be OK), children around the country are drawing these and hanging them outside their homes.

Cheese out of stock
Playing with Raffi later in the evening on the balcony

Day in the life, quarentine edition.

We’ve adjusted to a routine since the quarantine has started. The kids surprisingly, have not complained much about not going anywhere.I am also very surprised of how I’ve taken it mentally. Usually, I am a someone who loves to go out and do things. I usually do not like to be at home for long periods of time. Now though with no option of going anywhere, except a long lined supermarket, I have accepted that we have to stay at home. Luckily, we do not live in the center of a big city and have a small garden that the kids can go play in. We also have a large balcony that wraps around our entire apartment, giving us plenty of “outside” space. There is also a large terrace above us that the gives more outside space. There isn’t a feeling of being “closed in” because we are high on the third floor and can look out into fields, the mountains and cities far in the distance.



The morning starts around 8, I try to wake up a little before the kids, shower and get dressed. The usually wake up between 8:30-9:30. We eat breakfast, do the laundry for the day, clean up the kitchen and then they play or we read a few books. During this time, I try to get a 30-40 yoga practice in, usually with Raffi jumping on my back most of the time. At some point during the late morning, Felicity and I sit down to do “work”, we practice writing letters and numbers. Raffi and I review shapes. They color in their “school books”. After that, they usually play outside on the balcony until it’s time to make lunch.

After lunch, I let them have screen time. They don’t nap and I use this time as “quiet time.” Usually, I study for the Italian driver’s license exam (I can drive on my American one, but only for a small amount time). After quiet time, we work on a craft or coloring in their coloring books (me in my adult coloring book I bought specifically for this period). Then it’s their snack, sometimes we make cake for snack.

After snack, I try to get them outside another time, even downstairs in the garden for an hour. We come inside, they take a bath and play some more. Around 7:00 or 7:30, I start making dinner. At this point, I put a cartoon on Netflix on the TV for the kids. We eat dinner as a family usually around 8. The kids are in bed shortly after dinner, between 9-9:30.

I know it’s later than the normal American hours, but this is Italy, and it’s very typical here. I also prefer a little later morning and some quiet time in the morning for myself.

Have a good Saturday!

Day Three, Quarantine.

We had no “restrictions” last night but the governor issued a statement that the military police will now be patrolling the streets. I don’t see any of this since our house is off the main road and we have no traffic near us. My husband said the streets were empty and there police patrolling when he came home last night.

It’s hard to imagine how we can stay inside for another three weeks staying inside without contact from the outside world. We will get through this, us as parents must be strong for the kids.

Third day of quarantine passed a little harder than other days. The kids seemed to be getting some cabin fever. Though it is officially only the third day of quarantine, we have been home for 10 days. Yesterday we watched a lot of movies and colored.

Until tomorrow everyone.

Day Two of Quarantine

Every evening it seems that there is a new update to the quarantine rules. The number of cases in Italy went up by 2,313 cases yesterday. Obviously, the effects of the quarantine aren’t showing yet, its too early. Last night, the president issued a decree that from this morning stores (exceptions: pharmacies, supermarkets, and tabbacco kiosks), bars (in Italy “bars” are coffee bars, usually these are the center of a town- people come to get a coffee, a croissant at breakfast, to meet up with a friends, pick up a snack for their kids, etc…), restaurants, pizzerias, and hair salons are closed. This is in addition to gyms, spas, sports centers, that have already been closed. Restaurants and pizzerias were originally allowed to be open until 6 pm.

The president said there is still the option for the restaurants to deliver food but our state’s (Campania) governor issued a statement yesterday afternoon that even that would be closed.

It’s still surreal. The WHO declared this outbreak finally a “pandemic” yesterday. Once again, I beg you, those of you in different countries, please take this seriously.  Stop organizing nights out with friends, restaurant dinners, parties, stop taking your kids to indoor playground, urge your local governments to close schools. A small amount of time of staying completely inside versus a pandemic that never ends.

Read the accounts of doctors in Northern Italy, there are no more hospital beds, there isn’t even enough respirators. Not possible in the USA? Think again. It’ll be worse. The US has one big problem in front of them, that us in Italy do not face: INSURANCE. We are guaranteed free health care and though our hospitals may not be shiny and new like they are in the US the WHO has listed Italy as the second best healthcare in the world. In normal times, our hospitals function with the same standards of the US, but its free.

So what have we been doing inside all of this time? Umberto still goes to work, but that will change by Friday or Monday and he will work from home from that point. The kids and I have been baking and cooking a lot, playing on the balcony, playing with new toys Grandma sent us, coloring, doing art projects and reading. The days pass, they are boring but we are healthy and that’s all that matters.



Italy is on lock down.

As of yesterday morning, Italy is on lock down. What does that mean for us who live here?

We are not allowed to leave our homes except for work, medical emergencies (you must call your doctor first and in most cases he/she will come to your house) or to go the supermarket or pharmacy. You may only go to the supermarket or pharmacy in your town. All restaurants close at 6, they are only open to help people who are working during the day. In the supermarket or pharmacy, you must keep a meter’s distance from other people.

It’s very surreal. It’s something you’ve always heard about in theory but now it’s actually happened. I believe it’s something that needed to be done. March 8th, Italy has 2,000 new cases in one day. The 9th is when the country was told we would all be put in quarantine.

My family has left the house twice in the past week, we went to my daughter’s music class last Wednesday when schools were still open (all closed that evening by a national decree) and to a doctor’s appointment Monday evening. My husband still goes to work but he’s said there’s police on the highway entrances and exits. He’s also gone out once to the supermarket while we stayed home. Not having the opportunity to be able to go to a friend’s, to get a coffee, to go out to dinner is tough. Even the hair salons are closed, we’re all going to look a little rough for the wear when this quarantine is over!

Mentally, we have to stay positive and calm. There’s nothing we can do about it but get through it.

Please keep us in your thoughts, we are fine. We are healthy. There are a lot of people who are not though. The hospitals in the North are overflowing with patients, hard decisions about who can live and who will be left to die are made. Young people are on respirators too, not just old people. Americans need to take this seriously, it’s going to happen there too. It already has, there is 1,000 cases. Take it seriously now, avoid social interactions NOW so it doesn’t spread like wildfire to a point that the entire country is in quarantine and doctors must make decisions about who can live and who can die.

COVID19, the continuation

All schools in Italy are now closed until the 16th, nearly two weeks of a national closure and in total nearly 3 weeks that my school hasn’t been in session. The situation continues to get worse. I am trying to keep the kids at home all day now and away from any place that there is a large amount of people. The number of people on the streets seemed less yesterday, except for the majority of people I saw out and about were older, who are at the most risk. They are also the most stubborn I’ve learned. I’m not very worried for myself but more for the older generation, which plays a huge part in Italian society. I am also worried for my kids, it hasn’t struck many kids, but a few have tested positive. It’s such an unknown that I would be terribly worried if my kids got it.

The kids and I will continue today with trying to do some “preschool at home”.  Raffi is a little more difficult to concentrate on doing anything, but obviously, he’s only three. I want to start some Montessori activities as well that he might do better with. Yesterday they were both tired and neither even wanted to go outside to play, we spent the day reading,  playing with legos and playing dress up.

Have a good Thursday!



Open, Close.

We have been having a crazy two weeks. Coronavirus has overtaken every aspect of life in Italy, nothing seems to make sense anymore, school closes, school opens. School has closed twice in the middle of the night and then was threatned to open again for the next morning but only decided in the middle of the night. It never opened (yet). Italy really fails on this. Decisions are not taken seriously. Mandates are not taken seriously. People can fall easily to bribes despite the consideration of others.

For the moment, we are home. I’m trying to keep the kids as safe as possible, keeping them inside, near them home if we go out or avoiding areas where there may be a lot of people. Yesterday we worked on possibles, worked on some “school” work (letters and shapes), read books and played as much as possible. My biggest struggle is to keep them away from electronics for these days on end where going out isn’t the best idea. Luckily, they have each other to play with.

Have a good Wednesday!