The Things I Never Blogged About Italy, Part I

And yet I did write them down. Just not here. Well, this is long overdue… here goes:

3/07

So it’s 17:57 now and we’re on our second flight. […] they’re turning on the movies in a bit, guess what’s on…. Twilight? Great, just great […] So last night, I didn’t get to see Kim, but I got to hang with Gabe and Matt one last time… […] Tita Cynthia and Tita Miemie came over for dinner, and that was all really fun, we had a laugh, and went over some last minute stuff, and we got around to talking about Junix and Judd and babies and all the things the mommy circle talks about… food, especially =) They left the house at about 22:30ish… […]  Glo called […] skipping on to… past Mass and Confession… ah, the fish fry. So we met up with the Nadermans at about 4:30, Nate and Michelle ended up not coming because Michelle had car trouble? so I told them I’d be back in May for a week and we could all chill then… I hope. So Fish Fry… was ok, typical fish fry; I was more interested in the discussion, Uncle Eric was telling us all about Brazil and stuff, sounded scary, and Mum was going on about how she didn’t want Dad going around there alone… so he was telling us about baseball games and taxi rides and guns being waved around etc. etc. etc. After we ate, we began the Stations of the Cross… […] Kim Kim called

3/09

[…] I’m not going to change the time on my computer… haha. It says it’s 14:03, but it’s actually 19:05. Oh, and my computer is still on daylight savings, isn’t it? Shouldn’t it be 13:05 there? Heh bleh. Anyway…

No, I’m not currently online. I can’t get on. I have no idea when I’ll be able to get on. But the only internet here is dial-up and the only way to get on is through Dad’s work service, meaning a) I can’t get online on my laptop, and b) we can only get on when Dad’s laptop is here. Meaning not while he’s at work. Oh man, […] …haha. I’m going insane =) […] internet was sooooooo slow, I couldn’t respond to anyone’s email or wall posts, so I had to content myself with changing my status and leaving it at that, it was the only thing I could enter without locking up IE. *sigh* So I’m typing this up on notepad for when I’ll be able to get on… when the heck is that gonna be… I can’t help typing ‘haha’s, it’s like they slip out to indicate how tired and out of sorts I am. […]

It helps to be listening to a CD that’s for when I’m feeling down… ’cause it’s gonna be the future soon and when my heart is breaking I can close my eyes and it’s already here?

Honestly, though, I don’t mean to make it sound like I’ve been miserable… because I haven’t been. I think it’s just that I’ve completely exhausted myself with taking delight in this and that blah blah blah… do you ever do that? I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but I did wake up in the morning and put a smile on my face and tried to look for the silver lining in everything, and it’s easy when the sun is shining and we’re all fresh and ready to explore… and a storm came as the sun went down and I just… lost it. Night is when I wallow in… whatever it is I’m wallowing in. Is there any good in attempting to define it?

Oh but goodness, enough of that, I want to tell you all our adventures… and heavens we’ve certainly had plenty of adventures already! or I have, at least, if I’m going by everything I’m discovering, personally… geeze, I don’t know where to begin! It’s as if it would be as sacrilegious to go *in* order as it would be to go *out* of it… haha, I don’t know how to explain! but bear with me, will you […]

I can’t possibly pick up with where I left off typing two days ago on the plane. I’ll go back to that once I’ve covered everything that’s happened since we got here… […]

So we arrived in Italy at about 7:20 AM, the sun was shining brightly, and it was 46 degrees outside. We actually didn’t have any trouble getting out, getting our luggage, etc. The trouble came when we reached the car.

The car is… well, it’s a van. But… cars are small in Italy. As in they seriously look like toys, that’s been one of the things that’s been amusing me as we drive around. Anyway, the point is… lemme try and describe this. So you’ve got the front of the car, it’s a stick shift, and the leg room… let’s give about 10 inches between the edge of the bottom of my seat (I’m in the front) and where the leg room ends, because my shin is up against the bottom edge of the glove compartment (that is inaccurately named and everybody knows it… haha sorry I’m listening to Death Cab at present). Second row, three seats, I’d give about a foot of leg room, Nino’s carseat is in the middle, it’s facing backwards, of course, and it’s slap up against the shoulders of the two front seats, so it’s held in place very securely, but that should give you an idea of how close the middle row is to the front. Then two seats in the back and I’d estimate about seven inches between their seats, they’re actually the lucky ones because Daddy scooted their seats as far back as they could go, which, yeah, gives them more leg room than the rest of us, about a foot and a half, I’d say, BUT he did scoot them back so that they could have bags at their feet, because… when their seats are set as far back as they’ll go, the depth of the trunk is a scant foot. Not. even. kidding. So… if you can imagine this… and imagine that we were asked to pack for seven people for two months? […]

Basically, Daddy originally told us we were limited to two huge suitcases… for ALL seven of us. He explained that we wouldn’t have room for more in the car. Heh… well… we pushed that.. because we had no concept of how small the car actually was. So now that I’ve described the car and all the leg room… here’s what we actually ended up bringing, probably very much against Daddy’s better judgment — The two huge suitcases were in the back, upright, and slap against Migi and Yena’s seats. I’d estimate them to be about… 8″x a little less than 2′ x a little less than 3′. So you put those in the back, and there’s probably less than six inches between them. In between Migi and Yena’s seat is Mommy’s laptop bag, so that’s slim enough to fit there. My laptop bag is even slimmer, and that fits, halfway in between the two suitcases in the back and halfway between the kids seats, with Mommy’s laptop bag in front of it. Red suitcase which is about 8″ x 1.5′ x almost 2′ is in Yena’s supposed leg-room area, black suitcase about 8″ x 1.5′ x over 2′ is in Migi’s supposed leg-room area. Yellow karate bag, about 15″ x 15″ x over 3ish?’ on top of Mommy’s and my laptop bags, and intruding on Migi’s and Yena’s seating room. Oh and Yena has a carseat, btw… so, anyway, there was that. And then there was the blue bag that was roughly 15″ x 15″ x 3′ that went on top of the yellow bag and was in danger of sliding onto either Migi or Yena’s laps. Except that Migi had his backpack on his lap and Yena had… something… on her lap, a backpack I guess, I can’t remember which one. Paco had his backpack on his lap, and Daddy’s laptop backpack in his supposed leg-room area. Nino’s in the middle and it’s crucial for Mommy to have leg room and not have anything on her lap in case she has to take Nino out. So Mommy’s backpack is in between mine and Daddy’s seats, and Yena’s backpack is on my lap. Everyone’s coats are stacked either in the leg-area in front of Nino’s seat which he thankfully does not need, and on top of Mommy’s backpack in between mine and Daddy’s seats.

Uhm… there was one more backpack and I can’t remember where Daddy stuffed it.

So… we were packed… as neatly and almost as tightly as sardines in a can :D can you imagine, and it was a two hour drive to Pescara because we arrived in Rome and we were going all the way from one side of Italy to the other, across the boot, coast to coast. So out came the Garmin and we had a scare because it took forEVER figuring out that we were NOT in Ohio anymore!! Luckily, Daddy had a fair idea of how to get from Rome to Pescara because he’s made that trip several times before. Oh did I mention it was stick shift? Yes, I’m pretty sure I did. Anyway, as soon as we were all in the van… we got out of that darned parking building, and out into the SUNLIGHT!!! and it was past 10 AM by this time. But oh, […] there was a smile on my face as soon as Daddy started driving because you can *see* the pleasure on his face, he *loves* driving stick shift, and whenever I can actually *see* how happy Daddy is? it’s hard to not be smiling, too. I’ve asked many times before, but I always like to hear him say how stick shift takes more skill and gives him more control.

The bright bright sun greeted us as we got on the highway and then it really *hit* us that we were in another country… because of the crazy drivers!!!!!! The cars being typically much smaller, so were the darned lanes!! rotfl. It must be bad, because Mum and Dad were talking and comparing it to driving in Manila. Sheesh! No signals, motorcycles weaving in and out of cars, CARS weaving in and out of cars, PLUS the thinner lanes, AND the smaller cars, it was LITERALLY bumper-to-bumper in some areas, it was CRAZY, but Daddy was going… FAST! or maybe it was just the smaller lanes and smaller cars that made it feel like that, hahaha, I bet you’ll do the math and laugh and say he wasn’t going any faster than at home… oh no, wait, I just did the math. He WAS going faster. He was going 150 km/h at some point, I know… highest speed limit we hit was 130 but he was passing xD at least Daddy signals… hahahahaha, oh man, that was just too much fun.

The tunnels are super!!!! They’re SO DARK and they currrrve, so you can’t see the end for ages after you first enter it. Mother found them creepy. I thought they were super cool. The mountains… oh man, […] we’d be coming ’round a curve, and slowwwwly the snow-capped mountains come into view right in front of us… and the grass! If Mum hadn’t been the first to say something, I would’ve kept my mouth shut and cast it up to my imagination, but she asked if the grass seemed… well, different, to me, and I was like YEAH! It’s like this… lime-green. Like not sick lime-green, but a rich lime-green… IOW, it just seemed brighter?? oh but then further along it definitely wasn’t PA anymore, because we passed those towns with the huge buildings on the very edge of the cliffs and Mum was like WHOA I would NOT want to live up there, and I was like well I would!!! Oh, and it’s so weirdddd, because there are those snow-capped mountains… oh, and we passed so many olive groves, too, btw… but there were *palm trees.* Those two just.. don’t mix! in my mind, hahaha. But there were palm trees all over at the airport, and… oh, but I’ll get to that later.

I took a nap, we were at a gas station when I woke up and Daddy handed me a sandwich. I was feeling sort of crappy, my neck hurt from whatever position I’d slid into while sleeping, and I took the sandwhich and felt like there was no way I’d be able to take more than a few bites, I was so tired. […] that sandwich was at least 8 inches with prosciutto, and the slices of mozzarella were 1/3 inch thick, no kidding… “Mum… the cheese… is that 1/4 inch? 1/3?” “1/3 inch.” “But how is not… like… *heavy*???” “It’s fresh mozzarella, Ais.” […] it’s like… not *bland*, that is a very bad word to use, but it’s moist and light and… unlike *anything* I’ve ever tasted. Mum says there’s a Pinoy equivalent that’s saltier. But this was *not* salty, it hasn’t a taste that I can describe, not salty or sweet or milky or… geeze, I don’t know! and it’s so laughably frustrating to not be able to describe it! but it was *heavenly.* And I finished that sandwich. I was shocked at myself =) I guess I was hungrier than I thought. Too tired to realize it until I was practically done with it, I guess. But goodness, that cheered me up. *1/3 inch slices!* And there were more than enough to span the length and width of the baguette, so that there was at least an inch and a half total of cheese hanging out at the ends. It was such the insanely perfect combination of *lack* of describable tasteful cheese, very salty super thin slices of prosciutto, and thick crusty french baguette. That sandwich was *luxurious.*

We were roughly 15 k from the exit, so we weren’t that far… we soon reached the hotel, thank you Garmin xP it was extremely helpful once it finally figured out that we were overseas… sheesh. […]

So when I got to the hotel room, I lay down on my designated couch and was completely dead to the world for some hours :D

Dad woke me up because we were off to dinner. We gave ourselves two hours, but there was traffic and we ended up not making it to Mass. Darn. Good thing we went on Friday, although that technically does *not* count, but… oh dear.

So first we went to the mall and the food court was not open yet. Yeah, it doesn’t open for dinner until 7:30, and we were there at 5:30ish? Blehhh. So then Daddy took us to this other mallish type place where he’s gone before for meals, and we ended up having pizza. […] The foccacia that I had was AMAZING! It just… it wasn’t heavy at all, it was *filling* but not *heavy* and I found that I still had room for gelato afterwards. Yum yum yum yum YUM. We went grocery shopping first, in the same place, that was a lot of fun, I won’t elaborate beyond that Mother was having the hardest time deciding what to get because there was *so much* that she wanted to check out… hahahaha. Oh foodies. We started talking about how much fun we’d have if Devin ended up visiting in the summer.

EVENTUALLY we left, after groceries and gelatos. OH MAN GELATOS. I mean, it’s been five years since I had one, I’d forgotten how totally amazing they are compared to ice cream. Honestly, there IS a difference… […]

This is the land where guys are the ones who need lessons on dressing modestly. Not that I ever went for the pants-falling-off, but this is worse, this is the land where the fashion of dudes is… TIGHT PANTS. I mean, seriously, I can deal with my own gender needing self-respect lessons, but this. is. ridiculous. It makes me feel… eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when I see them! and they’re all over!! It’s. Not. RIGHT! And the GUYS are the ones with fur trim on their hoods… YUCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they’re… they’re.. too… EFFEMINATE! Bleaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhhhh. So sorRY to Tita Fides, but while Italian guys are *swoon* they don’t dress decently and that makes them lose major points. Urrrrghhh *shudder shake shake shudder* And of course when I noticed it, the first thing I thought of was Matt and the post-PreCon pickup lines conversation… bah!

So enough about effeminate Italian dudes.

Although Mother thinks I’m not being fair to them — something about she’d rather have a guy that dressed effeminate and acted manly than… well. The other way around. Ok ok, so I have to agree, but while I *do* honestly think some guys can pull of the earring thing, I’m *bothered* when the pants are tight enough that one can very clearly make out the boot rim underneath. […]

I didn’t get to go on the computer at all yesterday. I fell asleep as soon as we got back, I woke up in the middle of rosary and they’d totally rearranged the furniture while I was asleep.

So our room. Daddy and Mommy and Nino sleep in the bedroom, the rest of us have a bed each out here in what is supposedly the living room area. The beds are the same size as the couch, which is what I got. The couch can’t possibly be longer than 6.5′ and I’d say 2.5′ wide? And those are the beds also; Mum and Dad have two of these beds side by side. So us kids have the couch and three beds side by side, it makes for a pretty long cool bed, but I can’t get over the fact that I my head’s smack dab in the middle of the pillow and my feet are pushing against the armrest, […] Lol. So then there’s the dining area and the balcony and the stove and ref and sink that’s all in the closet… haha, yeah. I should take pictures, the room is an.. octagon? I can’t tell because of the walls that separate the main area (living room [bedroom]/dining area/kitchen) from the bedroom and bathroom. Well first of all the hotel itself is an octagon. It’s a fairly big room, probably about one-and-a-half of Mum and Dad’s master bedroom at home, and I’m sure it just feels smaller because the ceiling is lower.

I haven’t been out on the balcony yet, I’ve been sleeping too much… haha.

So today… we woke up at 11! The blinds were down and we didn’t know what time it was. I remember we had the same problem five years back… the shutters were closed and they seriously shut out ALL light so I honestly thought it was night and then Papa threw open the shutters and I couldn’t see for a while for blinking. Same story this morning… Daddy pulled the grate open and I threw the covers over my head because the light hurt. So we went out after having a sort of breakfast from what we went shopping for the night before, and then we went out to eat at some other mallish place. They’ve got lots of these mallish places that are super supermarkets plus mallish type storesishes. Kinda like Cinci Mills with Biggs inside. Haha idk how to explain.

So we did more grocery shopping today, last night’s shopping was really just for breakfast today, so we went shopping today for the next three days. We also found the Church of St. Catherine of Sienna, which I took as a good sign that it’s the same as Unc’s Church in PA… anyway. we also visited the place that we’re moving into on Saturday. Oh, yeah. Daddy doesn’t wanna stay here in the hotel for two months, so we’re checking out the apartment in Francavilla al Mare tomorrow, we could only look at the outside today, but that’s ok. It looked lovely, I’m very optimistic. Except for the internet part, I gathered that we still won’t have internet at the actual apartment, and we’ll still have to hunt for internet cafes. I’m… haha. not thrilled about that part. Oh well.

So today… I said I’d get to this part later. Driving around, I felt like Pescara has a bit of so many different places that I’ve been to and lived in…. except Cinci. *sigh* God’s really pulling me out, isn’t He?

The mountains are a touch of PA, the palm trees and highways are touch of AZ, the beach a touch of Cali, the crazy streets/drivers like the Pinas, the city-feeling like MO… I’m thankful that the city feeling is balanced out by the beach in front and the mountains behind… as in, literally […] Francavilla is facing the sea, as in the Adriatic’s it’s right across the street, and the mountains are behind us, farther away, of course, but close enough to make me feel at home… I always felt at home in the mountains.

It’s also a weird mix of hardship and luxury. Like… like the car is small and the middle windows are the old roll-down kind (which doesn’t make any sense to me when the front windows are automatic? lol) and it’s stick-shift and we each have to do our own laundry by hand and hang them outside or in front of the heater to dry and we’re literally living out of suitcases… and yet at the same time, there’s that feeling of luxury with the huge stores and the amazing selection ([…] imagine Jungle Jim’s with aisles where BOTH sides are dedicated to cheese and ONLY cheese, and then a whole aisle that’s dedicated to pasta and ONLY pasta, it’s pasta HEAVEN, and baguettes that are some 3, 4? feet long) and the crazy delicious food there’s no such thing as a bad meal here and that feeling of freedom and having nothing to do but look around and explore and observe and enjoy the beach and journal and sketch and listen to music and lie around and sleep and laugh and talk and make jokes and play with Nino and just… enjoy life. No ties… just a handful of limiations like no internet… but goodness. It’s a crazy mix, and I guess it all balances out…

I wrote in my journal that I already feel that bond re-forming… the one between me and my siblings that we lost when we moved back to Cinci. We just… don’t have anything or anybody but each other. And it’s something to get used to… but it’s fine this way.

OH so there was one thing I wanted to tell you about […] maybe I’ve been living with my eyes wide closed, but have you ever seen a crane game that’s as big as a small room? As in the crane could pick up something bigger than Nino, and what was inside were stuffed toys bigger than Nino, and the actual case was about… oh, I’d estimate a box about 7, 8 feet square? I laughed to myself as I imagined the YFCers… I could picture us Sisters crowding around it and wondering what it would be like inside and taking pictures…

So NOW going back to where I left off typing on the plane… Kim had called while I was on the phone with Devin, and I felt bad that we were going to the Kraimers but not dropping by the CLS but Dad said we didn’t have time and that we had about three or four more hours of packing and cleaning to do. (Really? Low estimate, then.)

I was thankful to see Gabe and Matt… Matt called while we were on our way to the Kraimers, I guess he got my message from the night before, he was calling to ask if I’d be coming, and then he asked for directions… haha. He was already on the highway… oh typical Matt. And then he beat us there! They were watching HSM3, but Matt suggested we go over to the couch so that we could talk without disturbing things and then we had another one of our unloads, he told me about Kairos and stuff, and he asked how things were with packing and mental preparation, etc. etc. and eventually Gabe came and then the three of us sat around and talked and they wrote up a list of things for me to do before coming back from Italy. One of them was learn how to fly and I was like “so if I die attempting any of these can I sue you guys” and Gabe goes “no, because… it was written by Paolo!” and he wrote ‘written by Paolo’ at the top. Rotfl. They really went out of their way to make it a good last household for us, I think, and I was thankful and happy… there were no tears, only laughs. Oh and we had a pillow fight. Well… more like me hitting the boys with pillows. xD Typical me?

And then Saturday… we were still packing down to the last minute, seriously. Dad announced that we were leaving in 10 minutes and we ran around the house locking doors and wiping counters and we just… got out of that house and… well.

We checked in Nino and Yena’s carseats, the four suitcases and two bags, and we had to carry… five backpacks and two laptop bags and Nino, of course. There was a stopover and I can’t remember where because I was so tired and hot, oh yes it was burning like 70 degrees wherever it was that we were and poor Nino was in such a bad mood because he was so hot, and THEN we were the last ones to board the plane because they didn’t issue us a ticket for Nino in Dayton because he was a lap child, but then they told us for international flights he needed a ticket ANYway even though he didn’t have a seat, so we were held up and I had to be the one to dance him around because no one else could get him to be quiet (they call me magic-touch Ate because I inherited Papa’s touch with babies) and we FINALLY got on the plane… […]

3/10

Wowww it’s the TENTH day of March. Fourteen more days ’till I’m what the 4realers call ‘legal’? Hahaha.

[…] Nino-boy is so tabachoy!!! And he smiles a lot and laughs sometimes — does he actually know what he’s doing, though? rotfl — and he likes to have conversations… as in, he initiates conversation and he responds continuously… sometimes for as long as 10, 15 minutes. He keeps ‘talking’ until either a) he bores himself to sleep, or b) he gets fussy and wants to be picked up and danced around. It’s so funny when he bores himself to sleep!!! It doesn’t happen when we’re talking to him, it’s more like when he’s staring at and talking to a pillow or the sky or his guardian angel or the blanket… and then all of a sudden… we’ll look at him… and he’s asleep. It’s hilarious.

So we went to Francavilla again today, got to go inside the apartment this time, they settled everything, and we’re moving in on Saturday, I’m so hyper. It’s HUGE […]! I mean, compared to what I was expecting… my gosh. Well, it *is* an apartment… but my concept of that was like a two bedroom type thing… but oh man! the pics don’t do it justice, and the video isn’t even close. I tried to get it all… ok so let me try and describe this. There’s the central hall. One end of the hall opens up into the dining room/ sala. It’s not as long as our sala, but it’s wider. So standing with your back to the sala, you look down the hallway. Immediately on your left is the foyer area, then the linen closet, then the laundry area, then the bathroom. At the end of the hall is the door to the boys’ bedroom. Starting back at the end of the hallway you’re standing at, on your right is the kitchen, then the master bedroom, then the girls’ bedroom. The balcony turns two corners and circles half the apartment; there are doors onto the balcony from all three bedrooms, the kitchen, and the dining room. The ceiling is higher, I’d estimate 12′? 14′? It’s absolutely beautiful, I’m so happy. And I found out today that Mama and Papa AND Tito Nato and Tita Dolly are coming mid-April. There are four couches in the dining/sala, and two of them are sofa beds.

Lol everything is still smaller, though. Seriously, this is the land of small *things* and tall *people* and big *food.* How does that work out? But anyway, it’s so amusing, I feel like this is toyland, and the highways feel like a roller coaster, it’s so funny… the master bed in the apartment is bigger than a full, but smaller than a queen. I guess the beds are about the length of a twin, but no way are they anywhere as wide. EEEEEEEEEE we have a Miele!!! er, the dishwasher; it would’ve been too much to hope for a Miele stove. Haha let me explain… waaaaayyyyyy back, when we were house-hunting in PA after we’d been living in a duplex for nearly three years, Mum got into this appliance frenzy, in particular the stove. After all, we’re avid bakers, and we were hoping to have a house built. That dream didn’t die when we moved here to Cinci, we tried for it again, but that didn’t work out… Anyway, the point is, I remember looking at sooooo many different stoves because we wanted a really GOOD one, so we looked at Mieles… laCanches… I remember when Tita Mema got a laCanche we went WOOOOOOOOOOO… we got pretty crazyyy. I remember there was one time we spent three hours just looking at *countertops.* We wanted granite countertops. Hem, anyway, so when Mum saw that we have a Miele dishwasher, when we’ve wanted SOMEthing Miele for, what 5 years now??? we got pretty hyper, the two of us… and an Electrolux stove, I will be SO HAPPY to be cooking over an open flame… haha. But it’s still small! The dishwasher, stove, and ref, I’d say the width is about 2/3 of the typical in the US, and the stove and dishwasher (and counters, obviously) don’t even come up to my waist […] This is a kitchen for hobbits =) But then the ref is taller than our ref at home. Oh goodness […] this really is a crazy adventure…

OH! and I forgot to tell you about this yesterday… across the street… are… like… hobbit holes! Honestly! When I saw them I was like MOM THEY’RE GIANT HOBBIT HOLES!!!!!!!! rotflwtime. That’s what they look like to me!! I gotta take pics.

So after we’d gone over the apartment and expressed our major hyperness to Dad etc. etc. we went grocery shopping again because Mother tried cooking last night on the stove in this hotel and… heh forget the stove. Let’s say it took… what… three? four? hours for the kanin to be done. As in Mum had had the stove on for at least 20 minutes and she could still touch the pan, it took FOR.EVER. to heat up. So our meal was stretccchhhhhhed out because the pan was small and the stove was slow and thus she was cooking probably about 1/4 of a fillet at a time, and I think there were two? three? fillets to be cooked. I mean, hey, it tasted great!!! but… we ate in *small* servings. Like oh time to eat, we each get a few bites, ok wait again, half hour later, more bites, ppl! and then half hour later, more bites! and… yeah. Until we were all full… probably two or three hours later. And we ended up having all bread, nobody ate rice because the rice wasn’t done until after all the fish was cooked (and eaten) and we’d already said rosary and Dad was already asleep. SO ANYWAY yes, we went shopping again, because Mum decided very practically to save all the decent cooking for when we’ve moved to the apartment, and we’ll just make do with sandwich stuff while we’re still here in the hotel.

So I think I told you about all the bags we brought, but I forgot to tell you that no, the issue is not clothes. I mean, that’s an issue, too, I’ll elaborate in a minute, but the REAL problem were the BOOKS. I mean, c’mon, these kids aren’t off school for a year, no way!!! so the issue was all the books. Honestly, all of our clothes are in the two huge suitcases. All the other bags are all the books and papers and electronics that we need. Oh so the clothes. […] Mum started it. She took her clothes and tried to cut it down to 1/3rd of a suitcase for the whole two months, and so she wrote down all the different outfits she could make out of what she had brought. I ended up doing the same for me and Yena. HAH I count my work as a major accomplishment — Yena had 16 pieces out of which she could make over 50 outfits, I wrote down all the combinations, lalala. Oh did I mention that I didn’t bring sleeping clothes? Yeah. So what happens is, shower every day. If I shower at night, then I wash the clothes I wore all day and I sleep in the clothes I’ll be wearing tomorrow. If I shower in the morning, then I sleep in the clothes I wore all day the day before and wash them in the morning. See, that was the original plan for all of us, but I think I’m the only one who actually followed it. Oh, and Paco, yeah, I don’t think Paco packed sleeping clothes either. Oh, and Nino’s just all the same, sleeping, waking, whatever… hahaha. But I think everyone else broke on that one and decided they needed sleeping clothes. Whatever. But really, when we did a dry-run of packing a couple weeks before we left, Mum and Dad said no one was bringing sleeping clothes. Idk why that changed.

SO YES we had lunch out again and went shopping and then we came home and I took a very short nap while the kids ate and changed shoes, and then we went to the beach, which is just behind the hotel, so we walked. It’s not very warm yet here… at certain times of day (around noon) I’ve been able to go without my coat, but I still have to wear my hoodie; it’s windy. So the kids went and got my feet wet but I only went so far as to go barefoot in the sand. It *was* lovely… very windy and I was shivering a bit initially but I soon got used to it… and I’m looking forward to walking on the beach for at least a bit every day. We probably stayed outside for about fifteen, twenty minutes. There were patches of warm sand and I hunted for them with my feet… I pulled out my laptop as soon as we got back. […] yesterday, I tried to respond to someone’s email and I lost my reply because it was so slow and locked up… although, I think at night it’s slower than during the day. […] we still won’t have internet at the apartment… so what I told you guys was totally true. I have no idea how I’m gonna get online… I’m sure there’s internet cafes somewhere… but we definitely do not have internet at the actual apartment, and Dad says he’s not sure how to get it. Haha […] I will NEVER take high-speed wireless for granted EVER again… and I get mad when it locks up… but I can’t even get a dial-up connection that doesn’t put me at risk of losing my drafts here! Oh goodness… we’ve all been so spoiled in the US […] … how do these people live without internet? and I mean it’s not just because we’re not permanent residents here — I’ve been made to understand that here, like in the Philippines, it’s very rare that people have DSL at home, it’s really all wifi hotspots… Ahhh I guess it’s just something I’ll have to get used to… […]

3/11

[…] Today’s not going so badly. Daddy’s at work and his laptop with him, so no internet for us since he left at about 10 this morning, but I’ve been having a good time. Breakfast was simple, bread and butter and plum preserves and water, and there’s no toaster, mind, but it was good. Nino started fussing about the time I finished breakfast, so I took him and honestly he was asleep within five minutes. So I napped with him for a bit, and when he woke up he decided he wanted to talk and play superman, so we talked and played superman =) Mum took him after a while and I took a shower and did my laundry and when I came out, the kids were playing outside on the balcony and Mum was on her laptop. I played with Nino some more, and then I saw that Yena had the colored pencils out, so I decided to join in.

It’s been ages since I drew just for the sake of drawing… probably at least eight months. I was never good at that. Once in a while I’ll end up with something I’m actually proud of, like this one time I drew this hand reaching for a unicorn horn that was dripping blood. Mother was disturbed by it, she asked if there was something wrong and if there was something I wasn’t telling her so on so forth blah blah blah I think it was about that time that I stopped showing her my poetry, too. Rotfl. That must’ve been… three? four years ago, I guess. The point is, I’m no good at it. So here I was trying to figure out what to draw… I didn’t know where to start. So I put on some music and let it guide me.

Uhm… well, lunch and Nino made me take breaks, so let’s go over lunch real quick. The stove was being its typical slow self, so I didn’t have lunch till 2… even though I started cooking at like… who knows. Haha. But I did end up having a delicious omelette, I’m very proud of it, it had mushrooms and some meat I just randomly picked out at the store, don’t ask me what it is, I just looked at the label and I can’t decide which part is telling me what it actually *is*?? … Yeah. But it’s a lunch meat type thing, thinly sliced, blah blah blah. I tore it into pieces for the omelette. And then I had artichoke hearts and more bread and butter and water. :P I was proud of being patient enough with the stove to make such a delicious lunch for myself. Hahaha.

So then back to drawing, I decided to choose just one colored pencil and do the rest in regular pencil (no *don’t* expect me to use artists’ terms, like I know what those are, what do they call a regular no. 2 pencil? bah), so I chose ‘Scarlet Lake,’ and ended up with a bloody picture =) Typical me. So… no hummingbirds… let me see. I drew a bloody unicorn horn and little people being forcibly separated and one of them is bleeding and a heart being targeted and shot and falling and bleeding and two clocks that basically are supposed to show the whole minutes-feel-like-hours/hours-feel-like-days/days-feel-like-lifetimes whatever thingy and a coffin and someone whistling and… oh, I dunno. A bunch of nonsense. And then a dagger stabbing imagination, and imagination bleeding music onto a piano, and the bloody music drips down off the keys, and the piano is overgrown with vines, and the vines hold down a single key (oh, it’s an F, don’t ask me why, I only noticed that right now), and the note feeds the imagination that was being stabbed, so it comes full circle. Uhm… yeah. I’m so weird. Or maybe it was the music. I should try a different playlist, maybe… ?

Mum and Paco and Nino are sleeping Migi and Yena are outside and I’m here on my laptop… except I think I’ll go back to drawing. No, I’m done with the bloody viney pianney, I’ve exhausted my blood-lust. I think I’ll go with blue or green next…

16:53 THE MUSIC VIDEO OF LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR II IS ON. … yeah. Mommy and Yena were switching channels and I was on my laptop going through old pics to kill time and then they changed the channel and I was like HEY I KNOW THAT SONG and then… […] Mum changed the channel again.

[…] it can’t have been more than three minutes later and the music video of Lovebug is on. […]

So I shut down my laptop earlier because Mum wanted me to take Nino, and he was asleep again within 10 minutes of dancing around. Hmm… we must’ve napped for about 2 hours, he only woke up when the kids started pillow fighting on the beds next to us. IOW I didn’t get to pull out another colored pencil. I think I’ll do that now. This dominant color thing is addictive.

22:51 […] I haven’t had that much fun with colored pencils in years. I actually used up three separate pages in the sketchbook Mum got me three years ago or something like that.

So we went out for dinner again. I think one thing I’ve failed to mention is that we are totally disregarding our allergies at present. I’ve had more eggs and nuts and dairy these past few days than I’ve had in God knows how long. Bad bad me, but I’m not breaking out, none of us are. Mum honestly thinks it’s possible that we’re not reacting because of the difference in environment.

[…] when we first arrived here at the hotel, we discovered that their elevators are very small. Uhm… so we all crowded in and we’re literally all squeezed together and Mum was like what’s the limit of number of persons that are supposed to be on this thing? and Dad looks around and he finds the sign and he reads… oh. 6. Whoops. Hahaha so every time we get in the elevator we laugh because we exceed the persona limit. Oh well! xD It’s so much fun being so many people… especially when grocery shopping, seven of us walking around in a group. At the airport Mummy laughed and said, “Daddy and his posse.” Muaha. Well we *are* Daddy’s entourage, aren’t we? So much fun… Ahhhh I need to go take my medicine! whoops. […]

3/12

So I haven’t been online in probably some 30 hours? but I’m not bothered at all. So I discovered that Evanescence and colored pencils do *not* work. Either that or I’m simply incapable of putting down on paper the DISTORTION that I *feel* when I listen to Missing, Going Under, Everybody’s Fool, Haunted, Tourniquet, Imaginary… I think that was as far as I got on my playlist before I just decided it was *dead.* Maybe I should draw a vampire or something. Blaaahhhh. First I tried just listening and writing down the words that I thought were most expressive… missing, cry, absence, unimportant, insignificant, sacrifice, die, love, alone, bleed, dream, screaming, deceiving, defeated, falling, blurring, broken, lies, never, shame, fooled, stare, wonder, mask, hide, lost, betrayed… she uses so many deliciously expressive words, that didn’t work; I had 79 words by the time my playlist reached My Last Breath. So then I tried closing my eyes and writing down the pictures that came to mind and then drawing those one by one but that didn’t work, either. I wrote down ‘rainclouds’ and ’empty bed’ and ‘half asleep’ and ‘tears’ and ‘dagger’ and ‘blood’ and ‘heart’… bah! I give up on Evanescence and colored pencils. Haha, I am so exasperated with my lack of drawing skills.

22:08 “Ate’s just doodling and she comes up with the coolest stuff. I wish I could draw like that.” – Paco. What?????? Weird. He thinks my first one, the one with imagination being stabbed, is the best one out of everything yet. Everything = seven so far. Oh and I figured out that I was trying too hard with Evanescence. I was making it complicated. So I went with something simple and it turned out better than I thought it would. […] So we’re packing everything tomorrow, because we need to be at Francavilla al Mare early early on Saturday morning. Haha I just realized I won’t know when I’ll have internet again after tomorrow? […]

3/13

11:38 […] Mother’s asleep in the bedroom, and us five kids are out here on our four beds lined up. Haha. Paco’s on his bed, Migi’s on his, Yena’s on hers, and Nino’s here sleeping beside me on my bed. Mum asked me to take him because he was waking up and then she went back to sleep, but he was only half awake when I picked him up, so he went back to sleep in a jiffy so I put him down after a while… He seems to sleep even more soundly when the rest of us are being noisy around him. He’s quite used to the noise, it almost seems as if he’s more secure with it. So funny. I think he’s used to his carseat now, too; he almost always goes to sleep when he’s put in it. Ahaha Nino just moved and now he’s sleeping with his elbow resting on the bed and his arm sticking up. The kids were fighting over him yesterday, as usual, and Mum yells, “Will you guys ever stop fighting over him??” and I was sitting on the bed near her and I go, in an undertone, “No, because it’s been seven years.” It’s true. When we had Yena, the boys were too small and too busy with each other to fight with me over taking care of her. So a lot of the babysitting really fell to me. But now that we’re all actually old enough to be left alone with Nino — with restrictions for the younger ones; they’re not allowed to walk around with him, they’re only allowed to pick him up if they’re sitting in the middle of the bed — of course the younger ones fight over him. Haha when Mom hands him to one person, the others are already yelling, “I call next!” it’s so funny. So Mother asked me yesterday if it had hit me that we were here in Italy. I’m like, uhm, YEAH? expressing my amusement, not anger, mind. And then she said she didn’t think it had actually hit her yet. Oh Mum. […]

3/14

13:26 So today seems to be going well. […]

3/15

[…]  So I’ve been trying to find a connection here since last night. Eh, no good =) Oh well. So I can’t get away from the CFc here, it seems. There’s lots of ‘Matt’ and ‘Miel’ and ‘Gabriel’ and ‘Paolo’ streets and theaters and food and who knows what.

[…] rice NEVER tasted so good as it did yesterday =) I said, “Mum, when we go back in May, we should bring back all the things we’ve discovered we don’t actually need, and in its place, we bring rice.”

20:41 So we had our first party today (haha like we’re gonna have more?), I guess you could say it was a housewarming, the day after we get here!

3/16

13:28 […] it’s a Monday again. […]

Hmm… I feel like all the pieces are in place again. Well… not all. But most. Now that we’re here in the apartment, it feels like… well, regular life. Cleaning the kitchen, vaccuming the sala and dining, doing the laundry, sleeping with Nino, cooking meals, having a schedule, so on.

So we moved in on Saturday, we had hamburgers for lunch, and rice and lechon for dinner. ‘Course, it’s still not pinoy lechon, and nothing beats pinoy lechon, right? =) but it was close enough. So then Saturday afternoon, we were about to go out shopping after having watched disc 2 of RotK extended, and we were closing all the grates before leaving, but Daddy spotted someone from work out walking and yelled to them from the balcony. Rotfl. So then he invited them inside and they — Mr. and Mrs. Nepa — stayed and chatted for a couple hours. They’re very nice, but the sun was already down by the time we left the house, and… Daddy had invited them to dinner the next day. He called up two other people and invited them as well. Haha. Ok… so… yeah. we went shopping.

Sunday morning, the kids asked to be woken up at 6, I said 7, and we left for Mass at 7:15. The rosary begins at 7:30, Mass at 8, pG for Latina Christiana =) I was able to follow the rosary, and I also recognized the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We had our Roman Missal, and they have a new pamphlet for every week, I guess, so I was following the readings in both Italian and English and Mum and I were talking afterwards, we were able to tell where we were at times based on our knowledge of Latin, so that was fun and exciting in its own way. We went shopping again directly after Mass, because our shopping the previous night had been cut short by Nino being hungry and fussy.

When we got home, we had a yummy yummy lunch — pasta — and then Mum and Dad and Paco took a nap while Yena and Migi and I amused ourselves inside and outside. Then Yena came and called me, Mother wanted me. She wanted to sleep but Nino refused to sleep, so I took him. Well, I danced him around for a bit, I was getting sleepy myself, but he refused to sleep. So I put him down na nakadapa sa kama and he wore himself out — he doesn’t creep in a straight line, yet, more like he turns himself in circles, it’s really funny, and he rolls from his stomach to his back, but he can’t roll the other way yet — and when he started to cry, I tried to dance him again, but he was being stubborn. So I put him in the moby and took him outside and he seemed to quiet down, but then he started fussing as soon as we got inside, so I took off the moby and picked him up and… that crazy little boy was dead to the world in five minutes. Sheeeeesh. Haha. He didn’t even wake up when I moved him from one arm to the other so that I could lie him down on the bed with his head on my arm instead of having him dapa on my chest because he’s getting so taba that he tends to roll off now and if he’s high enough on my shoulder his little fist punches at my neck sometimes because he still keeps his elbows tucked in a lot and he won’t reach ’round my neck but rather he’s got his fist right at my throat when we’re sleeping and it’s hard to breathe. So the little boy let me sleep for a bit, and when he woke up, he was hungry, so I gave him to Mum and went back to sleep. I didn’t wake up again till 5 and the guests were coming at 6. Everyone else was busy, but it seems nobody thought to wake me to help. But no one minded that I slept so long. So I spent the rest of the hour cooking and cleaning.

So the guests came and we had very interesting conversation, but none significant enough that I feel the need to relate here. Still, it wasn’t small talk, thank God =) and they left at nearly 9 PM. So we did our family journal and Catechism and Italian vocab and then we went to sleep and I got up at 8 this morning and the day’s been going well.

3/17

So yesterday… I thought the day went well.. the kids fought some, but it wasn’t anything major […] me trying to relax by cleaning the kitchen and singing whatever I thought of, which was like three or four songs over and over and over again […]

Both yesterday and today, we took nice long walks outside, explored the neighborhood, we made it pretty far, several blocks. Mum took down all the shops and restaurants etc. It was pretty chilly, but we had our coats and Nino was well wrapped up, and it was wonderful to be out in the fresh air.

Oh, Mummum woke me up last night to take Nino for a bit, and I was dancing him in front of the mirror because I was watching his eyes and waiting for them to close. Mommy came over and she said that if I could imagine, I was dancing myself around. “See, that’s exactly what you looked like.” Haha. Because Nino looks so like me, or at least he did at first, he’s less so now.

Mum gave him a bath today, and he didn’t cry at all, but he looked as if he would, it was so funny.

So I’m still waiting for internet access. […]

21:42 It’s early yet, but I’m dead tired. […]

That’s three days in a row the kids broke me =) and broke me *hard.* The first night, we were laughing over nothing. Absolutely nothing. As in someone was laughing and it made me laugh and me laughing made the kids laugh and we kept laughing till my stomach hurt and Migi was behind me on the couch we were both lying down and I fell off onto the tile floor and lay laughing. The second night, we were playing a game I haven’t played in years, we just call it ‘dots”, and Migi spotted something Paco and I both failed to spot and ended up almost winning, but the point is, when he made his move, Paco and I were both yelling and I was laughing over Paco being so exasperated with himself for missing it. This third night, we played three sets of Animal Master, the whole family. Mom and I won the first set, Yena and Paco the second, Migi and Mom the third. I was laughing because of Daddy’s face, it’s the first time he’s played it with us, and he was laughing so hard. It’s rare to see Daddy laughing like that.

Then there was us talking about the times that Migi and Yena both lost consciousness as toddlers.

Mom: Nagising, tapos nahimatay ulit —
Migi: I died??

Rotflwtime. Oh and Mother let Nino lick a posicle. Twice. He was licking his lips, it was so funny.

3/18

I think we’re going out for dinner. It was actually warm enough that I went outside and danced Nino around in the sunlight on the balcony until he fell asleep. I discovered that at about 2ish, a bunch of students come walking past. At least, I assume they’re students because of the backpacks [and headphones/earphones] and how a bunch come all around the same time. Uncle Eric arrived yesterday =) so I think we’re meeting up with him tonight. Mmm a few hours ago, we had an art lesson here in the girls’ room, and it was a nice hour, nobody fighting, and everyone sketching away in the afternoon sun.

3/19

[…] I think it’s the first cloudy day since we moved into the apartment, but that’s ok; I’m busy being tickled pink over my breakfast that’s sitting on a plate next to my laptop here on my bed. […] last night we got a tub of fresh mozarella. Siguro mga five inches in diameter and just as tall. That’s some 25 bucks over there. Here? 4.99. Well, Euro, but still?! So here I am, feasting on my second sandwich and groaning over the thought of someday having to learn to live without it again. I’m having it for *breakfast* […] when there I suppose we would never dream of having at around for anything but extra special occassions. And the Nutella!! which is Italians’ peanut butter, if not *butter*, it’s so pathetically insanely cheap. Wait till I post pics of the tub we got last night for 1.something.

Speaking of which, still no internet, haven’t checked my email since Friday. Ah well.

But seriously, I’m *squealing* [inside, not aloud; everyone’s still asleep] over the shopping last night. Well, over the mozarella really, but hey. Oh and I found skirtssssss yesterday and I’m going crazzyyyyy ’cause they’re both ankle length and sooo much fun to twirrrlllll around in and they. were. ridiculously. mura. and I’m wearing one now.

[…] We didn’t meet up with anyone last night, but Dad said we’ll eat out with Uncle Eric deff sometime this weekend. Fun funn.

22:42 […] It RAINED today.

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2 comments

  1. i’m glad you did this :) reading it was almost reliving it all.

    “Mother was disturbed by it, she asked if there was something wrong and if there was something I wasn’t telling her so on so forth blah blah blah I think it was about that time that I stopped showing her my poetry, too. Rotfl. ”

    buahaha.

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