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!

Where have we been?

These past two weeks have been crazy in our house. Last week was busy with work, so many things to be done and sick coworkers so I was covering extra hours. Saturday morning we left for Zoomarine in Rome just as the first cases of coronovirus were showing up in Italy.ZooMarine was great! There were shows and rides, the kids really loved it. It’s on a much smaller scale than SeaWorld but we relly enjoyed it. There’s also a big focus on conservation of animals and conservation of the environment. The park is plastic free. The animals are very well taken care of and it doesn’t have that run down zoo feel that you find a lot in Europe.

We spent the day at the park and then headed to our hotel in the evening. We stayed in a small boutique hotel in the town neighboring the park, which was also on the sea. Felicity was tired and wanted to stay back in the room, so Umberto and Raffi went out to walk around the town before dinner. We went to dinner a cute trattoria near the hotel and were so happy to find restaurants opening a little before 7 because the kids were starving! Normally restaurants in Italy don’t open until 7 or later for dinner.Sunday we went to visit the zoo in Rome. It was also a beautiful zoo, very well taken care of. It reminded me a lot of the zoo in St.Louis. Felicity was tired and wasn’t up for all the walking so we didn’t stay for very long. We left around 2 and drove back home to Naples.

 

Monday started the coronovirus panic in Italy. We had school but by 7pm, it was closed for the next week. Tuesday would have been Carnevale celebrations in Italy but almost everything was closed due to the “panic”. We celebrated Felicity’s birthday at home that evening with a chocolate cake with pink buttercream.

We stayed home Tuesday, my friend came over with her kids and the kids played all afternoon. I made the traditional Carnevale lasagna, which turned out so good! We found out school would be reopened Wednesday.

 

Wednesday was work as normal until 10:30pm (!!)when school was cancelled again by the governor for three days due to new cases of the virus in Campania.I took Felicity to a kids’ music class on Wednesday, she said she enjoyed and talked to some of the other kids in the class. I haven’t talked much about what we’ve been struggling with this year, Felicity is having a really hard time at her school. This year she goes to the school which I work at and she hasn’t been doing well there. She doesn’t talk in class ever, her body language is very closed, shy and sad. She never wants to go. It’s really tearing me apart seeing her like this. Her peditrician suggested a group activity to help be more social with Italian speakers, she didn’t like dance and there’s not much else she can at 5, so I am very happy we found this music class and she likes it.Thursday morning I reorganized the kids’ toys and threw away a lot of toys. It was something that needed to be done for a long so I was happy for the time off to do it. In the afternoon we went to the park with a friend.

Have a great Friday!

Let’s move this blog

I own this domain so why am I not using it? I forgot about it? I’m going to be in the process this week, when I get the chance to move piccolostruffolo over here and get everything on this domain.

I want to do a post on “the real Italy”, what Italy is really like, not what tourists see but it will have to wait because this is another crazy busy week at work with parent/teacher conferences, sick coworkers, another holiday to prepare for (Carnevale) and some things going on at home (will get to later, when we have a some answers or solutions).

Today is another long, busy day! Have a good Tuesday!

 

 

Doing what is right for YOU…

In January, I was offered a job, at first I turned it down. I was happy with my job, my job was relatively stress free and I never dreaded going into work, I was “happy” enough. There was one big red flag with my job, I worked evenings. Essentially going to work when my kids got home from preschool. Sometimes when I got home at 9:30 they would be awake, sometimes not. I really missed them, I missed so much of them growing up.

The other job was offered to me again in late May, by this point, I had grown tired of not seeing my kids, of spending my days alone since everyone else was at work. I spent way too much time online shopping, overthinking silly things and needed to hear from my therapist that I need to do what is right for me and not worry about the rest. I went back and forth for a month deciding what to do.One major worry I had was telling my old boss that I leaving, because she did nothing wrong, in fact she is a great person and runs a great school. She was always fair and accommodating. Leaving the school is difficult because it is a job I enjoy, but my kids are my number one priority. Seeing them grow up, eating dinner with them, playing with them in the evening, putting them to bed…this is my number one priority. Being with this all the time this summer has proved that to me and reassured me in my decision. Sure it stressful and tiring but they are number one in a mot.

So with a heavy, sad, and a little stressed heart today is the day I must inform my old job I am not going back. I am so sorry to leave them and I hope they find someone new who is a better fit. I dedicate my yoga practice this morning to finding inner peace and I will once I finally let go of this burden of having to quit that’s been hanging over my shoulders.

What is something you did that is right for you that you had to put a lot of thought into making that decision?

Where is the best place for you?

I am writing this from a play cafe, one of the few places, maybe the only place that I can find time to write without it being 630 am after yoga (exhausted) or after the kids go to sleep (also exhausted). The kids can run around and safely play and I have a moment to write.

I’ve noticed that I have found myself worrying about things here that don’t have the same limits as they do in Italy (or Switzerland…). I’ve worried constantly that my kids shouldn’t be doing something (like playing on something or joking around in a restaurant) to find that its okay, no one cares or maybe even the restaurant staff says “Don’t worry, they are making me happy”. Or in the supermarket when they are laughing in the cart people stop me to say how nice it is to see such happiness.

Somewhere I’ve developed this “don’t do that! Stop!” Attitude towards my kids and it’s hard to let go. I’ve built up a fear, an anxiety that my kids are misbehaving but maybe they are just really being the little tiny kids that they are? Obviously there are rules for their safety and other but they don’t need such strictness and constant saying of “don’t do this, don’t do that”.

I don’t know what I want in my life, I love the opportunities available for families in the US, all the things kids can do but I don’t like the “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality or the constant fast pace people seem to be in.

But then back to Italy, there can be for kids too, children stay up way too late and seem to be in a constant state of sleep deprivation. I don’t have many friends there because I have very little in common with women there, but I at this stage in my life… I’d rather just hang out with my kids or by myself.

Where are you happy? Are you an introvert extrovert?

My happiness in her happy place:

I’ve been meaning to…

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write, forever but time escapes me. After the kids go to bed, I am exhausted, but slowly but surely they are getting on a better schedule. I feel like when we come to America I reset them to the typical American schedule, which I love and once we get back to Italy all hell breaks lose. Hopefully this time the schedule will stick, life changes coming but more on that later.

The kids and I have been taking it all in these weeks in the US. This time they are actually big enough to really enjoy stuff and we have been having so much fun doing things together. I am really on getting the kids to experience things and I love seeing them explore everything new.

The kids have also been trying new foods, which I am so happy for. They are very used to eating Italiam style foods, with pasta and rice only. I really want them to try food from other cultures. So far we’ve only tried typical American dishes (chili and sloppy joes) but they went over well.

Besides the kids, I have taken up a love for hot yoga and have been going almost every day, even at 5:15 in the morning because I love it so much. I hope to keep this early morning yoga tradition when we get back to Italy (but there I will definitely be doing it alone through videos…). Just doing it for one week has made me feel so fit.

My little guy:

Night sky at the town fair:

Summer

Summer has officially begun for us. I finished my last day of work, my students took their Cambridge exams and the next two weeks are English summer camp, and then finally we’re off to the US!

I really do not like the summer though, it is too hot for me and I hate mosquitoes. I would be much happier in a cold environment year round! Yesterday, the kids moved their play kitchen out on the balcony and entertained themselves for a solid two hours before I brought them in to take a nap (with protesting). Both of them slept for a good 2 hours before we had a snack and headed off to see Toy Story 4 at the theater in town. It was cool enough to walk there. I love the old theater in our town, it has old style seats and smaller screens, but it’s inexpensive and the staff is very friendly. The kids loved the movie.

After the movie we headed to the small playground across the street to play for awhile before heading home. Umberto joined us after work at the playground. While walking home we stopped at the ice cream store to take some ice cream home for dessert. Once we got home the kids went right back to playing with their toy kitchen. They were in bed by 11, which is so late in the US but here its perfectly normal. When you live in a place that doesn’t use much a/c, your days function around when it is coolest. Late evenings are very alive, families are out and about in the evening. Children sleep in later, take late afternoon naps and are more active in the evening. Most kids go to bed around 11.

 

 

Kids playing at the playground:

20190628_201133

Che Caldo

We had a brief cooling off period where temperatures were only reaching the low 30’s (celcius) now we are back into the high 30’s or 40. It’s uncomfortably hot during the afternoon. I got both kids down for a nap in the cool comfort of the bedroom. I don’t care how late they stay up. I’ve assimilated into the Southern European culture of late nights and afternoon napping. It’s necessary when it’s so hot and air conditioning is not something widely used. Even if I go to bed at 12 or 1, I always wake up at 7. If I go to bed at 10, I also wake up at 7, so there is not much difference for me to stay up late or not.  Only more coffee the next day.

This is my last week of my “normal” working hours at work before a two week summer camp that I will be working. I’m not not looking forward to doing it, only a bit concerned about how tired I will be, working all day in the sun with kids is exhausting. Its only two weeks though and then we are off to America, finally!

This past weekend we stayed close to home. We only went out Sunday afternoon to try to go to the pool but both that we went were completely full. In the end we went for a drive through the mountains, which was perfect. I forgot to take any pictures but the air was so cool and refreshing. On the way back, we stopped at a nice bar for a snack and coffee. Sunday evening we had a barbecue on my in-laws terrace above our apartment with friends of Umberto. The evening cools down and its bearable to be outside again.

Until tomorrow, namaste.