27 February 2007

Not sick anymore

How can I be sick with a view like this?? Yes this is viewed outside my window. I am very lucky!

25 February 2007

Mio Zio Dave

Mio Zio came to Firenze on Friday. I had him join us for a lovely dinner catered by my lovely friend Michelangelo at his lovely trattoria Lorenzaccio on Piazza della Signoria. My favorite Piazza in Firenze. :-) We started out with meats and cheese plate of proscuitto, salami, spicy salami, and formaggio. Then Giuseppe brought out a plate of bruschetta. THEN we ordered our own main course. Dave had a spaghetti with aglio, olio, and peperocini. I had pizza prosciutto. The wine was overflowing the table with delight and humor. Many stories were told and many friends made closer. Carlos, the Brazilian(i like to call him), chatted with Dave for 25 minutes about his life, his family, and how he was introduced into my life.

"Is she an amazing girl?' Carlos said, looking at me with a hand on my shoulder.

"Yes she is." Dave replied with a smile.

We ended up at Michael Collins later that night to see the band, Last Minute Dirty Band play.
Dave was so excited to hear an band that sings in a perfect English accent, and they were Italian. :-)

By midnight, Dave wanted to head on home so Daniella and I drew him a very badly drawn map. He is like ok...if I get lost I will call. Little did he know(and also because I was drinking) I forgot that I didn't get service down in the basement of MC. Opps.

The next morning I woke up later than I wanted to, and so did Dave. "I woke up at 10, I haven't woken up that late in a long time." He said when I finally arrived at his hotel after 12:30pm. He told me the story of him getting lost finding his hotel over lunch at La Guelfa Grotta. I felt so bad, because he called both Daniella and I.

Over lunch, we talked and connected at a different level, which was great. Being my uncle and godfather I was always strongly connected to him. But after that lunch I felt more connected to my uncle. I enjoyed the walk we took to Piazzale Michelangelo and the thoughts we had once we got the top of Firenze, looking down on the gorgeous site that is my home.

We walked back down having a feeling of triumph that we worked off our lunch and had moments I never thought I would have with him. All in all, it was probably the best time I have EVER had with my Uncle Dave. The Uncle that always made us, cousins, laugh historically about absolutely everything. The Uncle that always brought humor to the dinner table at family occasions. The Uncle who has always been there whenever you needed to chat.

As I walked him to the train station, He kept telling me his thoughts about bringing his family here. I was like please do!! I love to have visitors.
"You should, this is your city and now you can show it off." He said.

I hope to see him again in Italia with my Zia Katie, and cugini, Josh, Tara, and Jordan.

A presto

23 February 2007

Prima volta guidare...

Yesterday was the first time I picked up the girls with V's car. It was a great accomplishment for me. As I turned the corner of the small street where the school lies, a HUGE truck was in reverse trying to get out of the small street and eventually make it to the main road where the stoplight is. I said to myself, ok Katie where is a good place to manuever this car? Ok I wish I was a little more calm, but I was fine. I stalled just once trying to back up and then pull in on the left side of the road where it was clear. I paralleled parked and waited as the huge, ginormous truck backed up behind me. As I pulled out, I thought, well it is just that easy. To be calm, know how to work the car, it was just fine.

As I reached the schools, I found a perfect spot to park, away from the hustle and bustle of the Italian mothers, on the other side of Maria's school. I then sat and waited, read my book, and called my Dad to tell him I made it once again. "So proud of you," he said. Made me feel once again, that I really can conquer anything if I put my mind to it. Nothing can stop me. I truly believe that.

So as I walked the girls to the car, strapped then in, and we were on our way home, approx. 15 minutes. I made the green light at the hill I always stall on so I felt great about that. The hill is very hard to work through but I hope as I drive more and more I will eventually conquer that hill. It is like my Everest, to say the least or the most in my case. That hill consists of 4 different stoplights with 4 different roads that have certain ways to turn and drive through. Each light goes off one at a time for each different direction. It is nothing like Walkup Ave and Rte 176 in Crystal Lake(my town). This is a very complicated intersection. Anyways once I conquer this hill without stalling, I will let you all know.

Ok enough about driving and intersections, sorry to bore you. These past few days I have been under the weather. I think because of the constant change in weather, it is 65 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next. I haven't been out in awhile which is fine with me. I can't go out every night, that is not my style anymore. No longer am I a 21 year old 'let's get drunk all the time' type of woman. I like staying in and going to bed at like 10 and waking up feeling refreshed. It is a great feeling being refreshed for a new day.

Oh I have another visitor this weekend, my Uncle Dave is in town tonight I believe, and is staying until Sunday I believe. We are going to hang out all Saturday, day and night. It will be great to introduce him to all my friends and take him a nice authentic Italian ristorante or trattoria. It shall be a fun fino settimana!!

21 February 2007

My Masters, My Reasons

I spoke with my friend Daniella last night about NYU masters program of Italian Studies that she is involved in. She explained how the woman that is her advisor is the director of this new and improved program. It is a very small program and she is open to letting people with different backgrounds of bachelors in this program because it is so small. I asked is she was easy to work with and kind to her, and she told me that she is very intimidating at first because she is a scholar. She has published many books and have received many awards for her work. She considers this program her baby, so she is willing to let someone into her program that has the potential and the experience.

So Daniella is going to give me her email so I can contact her and perhaps meet with her.


I really am in awe of this. How could this have happened so perfectly or not? I mean how I just randomly met Daniella thru Michelangelo, 'Katie she speaks fluent Italian', he said to me one random night. And by that weekend we met and started talking.

What a Citta!!! I love you Firenze, my love! How do you always know what to say? You have a way with words and pointing me in the right direction. How do you do that? I think you are MARVELOUS!! You are my baby, and I hope we never part ways. Mwahhh!!! Bacione!!

As my Mom always says, 'Everything happens for a reason'. And I believe there is reason I was sent to this family to care for their children. There is a reason why met Tina, tango is a powerful tool, and it sucks y0u in. She opened my eyes to a different perspective of Italia and life. There is a reason I bought my Nana and Papa tickets to Italy. She has a passion just like me, I feel it is for her a wonderful gift to see her brothers and go back to a time where her life was much different and in some ways better. It brings her back to her heritage, back to her parents, grandparents, traditions, and most importantly BREAD! :-) There is a reason why I found my 2 friends Theresa and Becca. One is working here as an engineer and needed to make more friends outside of work. We did just that. Now my friends ask where Theresa is. Becca is a young girl taking on a big challenge of living with a family that is very demanding. She is a beginner to the Italian life as well. So I helped her meet people and show her the ropes. Great girls! There is a reason Simone is there for me and always making sure I am being the best I can be! He has gotten me into Yoga, expressing myself more, and just more importantly being myself. He is a gift. He is a sweetheart and am grateful he is a still a great friend. There is a reason I remember everything that happens in my life. Michelangelo said it is because I write down my thoughts, yes I believe so, and also I think it is because this experiences in my life are unforgettable. Nothing is the same. Nothing is a repeat. So I must remember it because I know the next year there will be new experiences to remember and reminisce about.

There is a reason I thought about my Niece Addy last night, I think she was thinking about me. And also miss her very much. She is getting bigger every day and I love to see the pictures that my sister has taken. I believe there will be over 2,000 pictures of that adorable girl by the year's end. Maybe more.

There is a reason I am here. In Italy. In Firenze. In my heart and soul lies strength, determination, and perseverance. I refuse to change that about myself. I like myself that way. Taking on challenges, moving on from my mistakes, and becoming stronger from them, that is very important to me and about me. Even though being here is hard on my family and me, I feel that if I wasn't here I would be the evolving soul I am today. I wouldn't be happy. I wouldn't feel complete. Although this isn't a place I will live forever. There are too many people I will miss if I left forever. But again, who knows. I leave that in God's hands. In any case, that is neither here or there. The present awaits for Katie to mold herself into who I will become for future endeavors.

There is always a reason, if you feel you need to explain those reasons it will help you know who you are and why you are who you are. I love that.

a presto
love you mom, dad, jenny, jay, emmy, bry, addy, nana, and papa. thanks for letting me be ME....always.

18 February 2007

My Weekend with Pifi and Elena

I spent the weekend at the Grossi estate up the in hills a little past Porta Romana. I was in charge, in COMPLETE charge, on Friday night while i nonni went to a party. I helped them eat, (well Goelle cooked) and I FINALLY successfully changed Maria. OK ok ok...she was screaming a bit....but once I was done....she was happy as a clam. I put them to bed without a peep and I cuddled up with my ibook and enjoyed the wireless internet. Yeah I am a dork. I watched a few of my favorite shows that are on an english website. It is fabulous!

That night I talked to my good friend Joanne from the UK. She was very helpful and encouraging. She keeps telling me how determined I am and that I can do anything.

She said, "Katie I think you can do anything and if you want to go to school, you should pursue it." She is a great friend.

On Saturday night, I was free. So Pifi dropped me off by Porta Romana to make the hike to the centro. I really wanted to walk anyways. I walked hmmm with each step, thinking to myself, here I am again, on my own, in my favorite citta. If I want to do a Graduate Program here, I think I should. If I find a program I am happy with I should just do it. It is what I want to do. And coincidence enough, I met a girl here from NYU and is actually doing her Masters in Italian Studies. And a big motivator to absorb the energy around her is that she is fluent in Italian....lucky girl.

Back to this past weekend...I ended up going to Prato meeting my friend Leon and his bf to see his bf play in his 80s band. It was really great to get out of the citta. Then Sunday was very relaxing, I watched the girls until about 12ish and headed down to V house to finish laundry and take a nap. It was great to have an afternoon of laziness. Sunday morning, Elena told me that is was terrible yesterday after I left.

"They didn't want to change?" I asked.
"No, It took me a half an hour to calm Carolina down, because she didn't know where you went." She said. "You have made quite an impression on them."

I couldn't believe it. Even the kids from my summer camp I worked at, never got that upset. Crazy how much of an impression I have made on these girls.

I ended up coming back to the Grossi's at about 7ish to watch the girls for a couple hours while i Nonni went to see an exhibit on the San Lorenzo Chiesa. Apparently Michelangelo drew up these drawings on how he was going to redo the Facade of San Lorenzo but unfortunately he died before he could start it. So last night they projected this picture of what the Facade will look like if someone would create it now. Pifi said there is many debates on how they willpay for it, who will create it, and how it will effect the Florentines. It will be up to the Mayor of Florence to make the final decision. And because this is Florence, Pifi says, everyone must put their two sense in to say it is good or bad for the citta. I have yet to see this Facade, I hope to see a picture of it or something.

14 February 2007

Last days in Firenze and Italia....

Tina, my dear friend, is leaving Italy on Friday. To start a new adventure in Buenos Aires and her love of Tango will be there as well. She is a great spirit and friend, fast friends we became. It was so nice that I got to see her once more before she left Italia. I am so happy for her and her passions of love and TANGO!!!

I wish you the best, sempre, Tina, You will always know where I am, Hope to see you this summer my sweet!!!

Ciao Bellina!!!

11 February 2007

All is well, all is calm

Things sure have done a 360 here a casa. V has been very nice to me and grateful to being able to leave the house without crying children at the door begging her to stay. I successfully put both adorable girls to bed last night. YIPPPPPEEEE!!!!!

I have attained the momentum to move on from the past week of stress and worrying, and I know NOW I am capable of achieving the goal I set for myself before I left Chicago.

I feel that this moment, right now, has given me the strength and courage to prevail and head towards other important goals I have set for myself here. (Thanks MOM and DAD and NANA and PAPA!!! And of course the passed souls that have impacted me even though I can no longer see them, BOPPA, MUZ, NONNA, and GREAT GRANPA!!!!)

In more ways than not, I feel their presence when I am walking in the centro of Firenze and also just sitting on a train to Perugia. I know you are there, Boppa. If any of this talk scares you (JAY), I am sorry, but I have a six sense( I see dead people) that is a sense/feeling that isn't scary to me, but uplifting, and comforting, that I still have those important people still in my life even though they have gone to heaven, or Florida. :-)

Anyways....enough of the spooky spirit talk, If anyone is ever in Firenze on a Sunday night, or starting this week it will be on Thurdays, please join me and my friends sing our hearts out in a night of Karaoke. It is a night not to be missed!

a presto

08 February 2007

Rough Day

Today is better than yesterday. I got a good night's sleep and I feel like I am actually applying myself more than before in helping around the house. V caught me off guard yesterday morning when she said that I wasn't helping enough. In a way I believe she was right but again I feel like I am trying to consume a whole lot on what she wants me to do. Now I think I have got it.

I am pulling together all the strength I have to work my little butt off. All I can do is the best I can. Wish me luck!

I am very lucky to have the friends I have, if I didn't I don't know how I could survive here. As my sister said last night "if you leave or give up, than you won't be happy." Exactly! I am not one that gives up or comes crawling back to normality. I constantly like to be challenged and if it is doing things I don't normally do like folding laundry (doing it well) or dusting (yeah I don't do that at home) or keeping my room tidy and making my bed (that NEVER happens at home, right Mom?). In order to show myself and prove to myself "I can do this", then in my mind there is nothing I CAN'T do.

As my Dad used to say to me in college, "Katie, you will always prevail overall."

I constantly say that to myself to build the confidence I need to accommodate living with a family that is not my own. Thus the challenge continues....

06 February 2007

I can honestly say...I am an Italian Driver!

This afternoon, I drove to and from the school. AND had only one stall (it wasn't on a hill either.) YEAH FOR ME!!! V said I could pick Maria up with the car but I think I will drive a few more times to be more sure of myself and the car. Complimenti per me!!!!!!!!

Stop speaking Inglese back to me!!!

I went to JJ Cathedral yesterday instead of going to class. It was a long weekend and I needed a day for myself. I decided I like JJ during the day because it is not as crowded and it quiet. I greeted Yvonne and Dany with a "Ciao and Buon Giorno" and then sat down to do my homework I didn't do. I worked on the verb tenses and looking up the verbs I use the most so I work them into my speaking Italian.

Dany then snuck up behind me looking at what I am doing, "I am really trying to learn." I said with a nervous look.

"Why don't you speak Italian more?" He asked, like I haven't been trying.

"Tu, Lapo, e Raul parlano sempre inglese con me!!!" I hate that! I speak Italian(or broken Italian and English) and they reply in INGLESE!!!!!!! And that is why my Italian will never get better.

"Ok sempre parlano Italiano con te!" he said with a smile.

Finally, someone will listen to me. NO MORE INGLESE FOR ME!!!! SEMPRE ITALIANO!!!!

05 February 2007

Tina and Katerina.....I love it, I love it, I love it!

We are sexy ladies.....One in Firenze, one on her way to Buenos Aires with Perugia still resting in her heart. Let's all wish this fabulous soul the best. Cheers!

Perugia, Boot Gals and all

Perugia is a bellissima citta. I went this weekend to visit a great friend, Tina. She and I had a fabulous time. She showed me all the culture and the places she frequents for espresso, vino, and of course Tango. I danced Tango, and I loved it!! She has got me hooked. I hope to find the Tango community here in Firenze because I think it is a great way of meeting new people and dancing the passionate dance of Tango. I love it, I love it, I love it(as Katie throws her leg up in the air).

On Saturday, we went to about 6 different Enotecas, it was sooo great to enjoy good conversation, vino, and the atmosphere. I found a great connection with Tina and hope the connection stays alive when she makes the trip over to Buenos Aires. She is great.

Here is the link to my weekend away in Perugia: http://picasaweb.google.com/tinaferrari/KatieSVisitToPerugia

I went to Karaoke last night and who did I see but Iacopo! The picture above is of Pitto, Lapo, and Iacopo in the middle. He was very drunk. But I was so glad to see him again!!! I was mad Francesca wasn't there. She would have belted out some lovely song, I love her. I can't wait to see her. Francesca if you can hear me, I am coming to Bologna as soon as I can. :-)
Francesca is Iacopo's girlfriend, if you haven't guessed. I met her the last summer I was here. She is so genuine and has a luminous soul. I love to hear her sing, she is amazing!!

Well today, I decided to take the day off from school because, 1, I didn't do my homework, 2, I'm tired, 3, I wanted to upload these pictures.

Then I will be picking up the girls at school today and who knows where we will head off to this afternoon. V is going to Naples with her sister and I am in charge tonight until Guido comes home around 7pm tonight. Should be a great challenge to conquer!

02 February 2007

1 month in...

It is February and I am feeling more and more comfortable with my new life here. From driving, to helping V with laundry and dishes, to speaking Italian to my friends(well going back and forth to english sometimes). It feels great!! I can't wait to see how this month pans out.

Today I am traveling the 2 hours by train to visit Tina in Perugia. Should be a great time because she is taking to me all the great places and sites Perugia has to offer.

I will post some pictures of our adventures when I return!!

Domani e l'altro giorno!

a presto