Friday, December 17, 2010


As the snow slowly falls here, I cannot help but think of the happiness my little bambini from scuola are experiencing right now. I bet they are bursting at the seams to get outside and play. It reminds me that I have yet to tell you, I have been teaching at the local elementary school! My friend, Mariangela, kindly asked if I would be available to come to her 4th grade class every so often to talk about English. This got my head spinning, of course, and based on my Chic Girls collection of paintings on canvas, we came up with a program that involves Art, Anatomy, Literature, and English. I now go to the school every two weeks or so to give a little of my time, and hope that the students get a little out of it!

We started out the class with anatomy and parts of the human body in English accompanied with how to draw a face complete with practice drawings of the head, neck, shoulders, and rounding out with the face and hair. The excitement was contagious that first day. The smiles were so big, I wanted to take them all home with me.

The next session happened to fall on Thanksgiving, so I decided, still with anatomy as our theme, that we would use our hands and feet to make turkeys! They were so happy to get a little messy with paint and brushes and learn a bit about an American tradition.

Then we moved onto the big stuff...the main part of our project...the self portrait. We took pictures of each child and challenged them to draw themselves based on the photo. Look at how great they are doing...I am so proud! We will be continuing throughout the school year with painting and storytelling and I cannot wait to see what they will do next! Don't worry, I will be sure to share the finished product with you.

To round out our last class of 2010...we read Twas the Night Before Christmas in English and then sang every verse of Jingle Bells. As the bell rang, 15 little Italians ran out of class chanting "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" really doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


We have been celebrating around here. Anyone who knows me knows I am out of my head for birthdays. Well, at least for MY birthday! As far back as I can remember, I have celebrated not only the day, but usually the week, and sometimes even the entire month of December. Yes, I exaggerate and I don't care who knows it!

This past week continued my tradition of exploiting my birthday and now a year passing of our health we celebrated...tanto...troppo! We began the week with a day trip to the province of Asti to attend the Fiera del Bue Grasso...the festival of the fat ox. Seven of us piled in and drove up through the snow to Northern Italy. What a gorgeous trip...we wound through the coast roads of Toscana and Liguria to end up in Piemonte.

Even though the sun hid from us the entire day, the colors of the architecture and landscape contrasted brilliantly against the snow and fog. We ate and drank amongst the locals at the Sagra del Bollito, a feast of strange and wonderful delicacies. Can you imagine, the menu included, among other things, a version of raw tartar of ox (which most ate like a hamburger), crowns and innards of a rooster, and boiled tongue and head of the ox served with salsa verde. I bravely ate everything...cannot say I enjoyed it all, but I sure am proud of myself for being adventurous.

We continued the week taking time for languid walks through the woods and fields with the puppies, attending a gift regalo expo, decorating the live Christmas tree, pizza with friends (because it is not a celebration without pizza!), a delicious Italo-Americano dinner in a beautiful home high on a hill, and the icing on the celebration cake...a surprise birthday dinner party at a Mexican restaurant. Yes people, you can take the girl out of America and drop her in Italy, but please don't mess with her love of Mexican.

Grazie mille to all of my lovely friends here in Italy and from afar that contributed to this year's festeggiamenti. What a week...I so cannot wait until next year...I am already planning. Gosh, I am a lucky lucky girl to have all I do and all of you in my life.
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