30 April 2007

Rainy Day

Today I felt like a kid jumping in the puddles on this rainy day. All of a sudden in the centro of Firenze it started pouring. Good thing I was inside Michael Collins having a beer and a grand ole chicken sandwich. Even though it was raining, and the fact I had to ride my bike home in the pouring rain, I was having a a great time. I was splashing thru puddles and found myself giggling out loud as if I was 7 years old again. Here is a picture of my fun rainy day in Firenze, because I have been off these few days, I feel I have the time to goof off and become childlike again. I was soaked when I arrived home. But it was gosh darn fun!! :-)

28 April 2007

The Importance of Greeting

I have found having a group of guys as my friends my entire life, in every stage of my life has impacted me very much. Let me explain...

My boys from high school were always asking me questions about how to ask out so and so for the homecoming dance, where to take their soon to be gf for dinner, and what kind of present should I get her for her bday/christmas. I always gave them honest answers and helpful advice in going forth to pursue such a catch. On the other hand Katie has rarely been taken out on a proper date in her young life. So the advice I was given was just on what I think should happen.

Fast forward to my guy friends in College. They were more like drinking buddies, we never really talked about each other's love life, if any. Alas my senior year I had a group of guys(whom I'll never forget) that were the greatest. They were, Lucas, Johnny, Beej, and Kugs. They always wanted me around when the MN wild hockey team was playing cuz apparently I was 'good luck'. I loved just going to their place in the New village and just being there. We never had or would talk constantly, I would just sit and talk about the game or about the upcoming weekend. The only time I felt like I was giving advice was when my friend Lucas(who was very conscious about his looks when venturing to Winona Bars) asked me which shirt he should wear when we go out. I'm like, "well sweetie, all look pretty good." Then he asked me what pants will go with the shirt he picked out, "that looks fine." I said feeling as though I was talking with a gf. Anyways, my point is, I rarely have an issue with my guy friends are in tow. They understand me and I understand them. No worries, no feelings are ever hurt, they are just there and comfortable to be around.

And NOW the present, My italian friends are bit the same and a bit different. My boys are older, remains to be seen, but they are. Because they are older, I think they need more attention as if they were the runt in a puppy litter. As I am a believer that all men want/need attention from women, however I do believe as they get older they are lacking that specific attention that they want. Meaning they want to feel attractive, funny, charming, kind, and most of all... available. Alas, I know all this, I still refuse to treat them with as much attention as they seem to want. Why? Well, of course my friends are attractive Italian, Brazilian, and Mexican men, I am still in the stage in my life/mindset that I feel that they don't need it. Of course I let my boys know when I like that shirt or a new haircut, e poi basta.

I guess to get back to the point of my post, The Importance of Greeting. Anyone, I believe likes to be greeted when arriving at any location. For my friends, I lack in greeting them when I arrive at the Ristorante in which they are working. These days they have working very hard and are very tired and crabby when I see them there. So in other words, even though they seem crabby and not happy, why not shoot them a smile and a 'Buona Giornata'. That is all they want. Just to be noticed and maybe for one second your smile can cheer up the rest of their hard-working day.

So try it, when and if you see someone(friend or not) at a store or a place of business, why not shoot them a smile and a Have a nice day'. All anyone wants to is be noticed at any stage of their day and brought back from their routine with a smiling face! It helps make the world go around. Sending SMILES to all my friends in the BLOG WORLD!!!!

:-) :-) :-) :-)
a presto

27 April 2007

Funny thing happened when driving in Firenze...

So yesterday I thought it would be a better idea to pick the girls via l'automobile. BAD IDEA!! In the current mindset I was in it turned out to be a bad idea. The rest should make you all laugh or what to laugh at me(if you know how I am when I am nervous). It's pretty funny.

Anyways, I got them in the car, alas my first mistake, make sure Maria has a chu chou aka pacifier. Couldn't find it while I was driving like a mad woman to get home as soon as possible so she would stop the whining and screaming in the car "CHU CHOU....VOGLIO CHU CHOU!!!!!!!!!"

I went to my happy place and just breathed in and out. When it came to my next challenged to find a parking spot outside the house and park it well. Easier said then done, at least with a manual car it was difficult. I can parallel park at home fine, with an automatic. Dunque, however, I found a parking spot, ECCOLO!!!!!

As I persue the parking spot I realize I am parking horribly. The girls are asking me all these questions and saying "HO FAME, VADO A CASA, DOVE LA MAMMA???"

At this point my head is screaming "AHHHHHHHHHH SHUT UP!!" But alas my face was saying....ok the say, "Che cazzo, Che cazzo facendo katie??" Wait...it gets better....then I realize I am now holding up traffic with a GRANDE bus waiting for me to park. So picture this, I have children in the car, asking me random questions(in italian), I have almost dented the car in front of me and now I have a FUCKIN bus waiting for me to park a normal parking job. I decide to get out of the way and try another one. I first, stall 2 times in front of the bus feeling like I am some sort of a comedic actor on stage. HAHA!!! So I finally get out of the way and make my way around the block to try again. As I am driving this way, Carolina says "You are stupido." WOW.....I just went back to my happy place and ignored them and parked, horribly, but I parked the damn car. Wasn't that hilarious!!!???

I really thought about it as I was coming up the elevator with the child that called me stupid and thought, 'yes katie that was a hilarious situation I just put myself thru. Don't let this ruin the time I am with the kids. I might as well just create it into something HILARIOUS invece something horrible.' So I did.... V said nothing about the horrible park job so I was like, whatever(a common American saying for who the fuck cares). I decided at that moment I will never, ok maybe not never, but not when I return to buy a stick shift car. I feel more comfortable with my 'boring automatic car' as V once said, 'what is this cruise control thing you have, that isn't driving.' Whatever V, that is driving in the States.

26 April 2007

Living instead of Thinking

For me, ora, I need to stop thinking. I need to think about where I am and where I have been to be able to be in this beautiful country. I have found myself way too often in my head instead of in a book, speaking italian, in the citta. I have become the thinker I always turn into when I find I need a change in my life. Although thinking is a good activity to do when you decide which way are you going to drive to work, what will you eat for dinner, should I have a coffee before class AND after to stay awake today. Now these are perfectly normal things to think about throughout ones day. Alas I have become the girl who cried 'home' instead of wolf. HA!

Not that I really think (see I am thinking again) home is where all my problems will be solved, but it is a comfort zone, a place that I can think about ME again, and where (obviously) my family is. Yes, I know what you are all thinking(now you guys are thinking HA) 'Katie what is wrong with you? or You are in Italy, stop thinking about home!' OK one, I understand that this is what I like to call 'crazy talk' but come on, being successful in ones life doesn't mean to run away from the people that are your biggest supporters, your family. Not saying I did, but you know what I mean, I came here to get clarity on if and when I would ever seriously want to live here and make a life for myself. Also speaking and learning more italian is another big goal. So what is next?

Well one step is to start living here and stop thinking about things I can't change or create for myself because I'm not in Chicago. Numero due, sit back and enjoy this ride in which I mean my amazing, self-started life here in Firenze.

Done and done, I am going to live day by day, waking up with a smile on my face and a song in my heart (Laundry time, laundry time, everyone knows how fun laundry is.....). So here I go....

24 April 2007


Here are a few Spring Fotos I have taken these days.
Great nite picture! I always seem to get one of these.
The Duomo peaking thru. I saw this view as I was walking home Sunday afternoon. Gorgeous!
San Minato Chiese sitting high like a nobleman on it's terrace looking down on the Fiorentini.
The green is all around now. Everywhere I look I see flowers and matching green grass and trees.
Did I mention I love taking pictures with Lamposts? I love it!!
The cloud behind the Duomo looks like some kind canvas for it. Bellissimo!
Taken from the north end of the Arno, along the bridge leading to Piazza Donatello. You get a great view of the entire length of the river.

I have heard more than once that I am a pretty good Photographer. I don't always to toot my own horn but I think I am a pretty good one. Another option I can explore while in route to my career.

20 April 2007

Life Lessons

Too many times I have thought about what is wrong with this job and rarely have taken anything good from this job and how it has effected my personality and way of thinking. Here are a few Life lessons I have written down one day on my way to pick up the girls. These are good traits I hope to hang on to once I leave here.

Life Lesson #1
Being able to accept peoples' attitudes around you without letting their attitude impact your own.

Life Lesson #2
Being able to choose my OWN attitude for each day and help impact other's attitudes by my smile and cheerful expression.

Life Lesson #3
Try not to rush through a goal. Understand that their is more to having just ONE goal than many little ones at one time. Try to give it your all whenever in the process of achieving ONE goal at a time.

Life Lesson #4
Make every activity a fun one. As if you were a child playing games with onself.(ok this one is more about how I make doing laundry here a game, IT'S LAUNDRY TIME WHOOOPEEE!!!)

Life Lesson #5
Enjoy each moment you have wherever you are in this world. Who knows if you will ever experience a journey like that again, Savor each moment!

Life Lesson #6
Try something new at least once in your life. If not you will never know what you could have done. Take a chance on your potential of being something completely different.

Life Lesson #7
Compliment the beauty around you. Let it be a friend, a loved one, or a piece of art. Let it be known that they are "exceptionally gorgeous today."

Life Lesson #8
Don't assume you failed to achieve a goal because you didn't achieve it in the allotted time. No goal has a set amount of time to complete it. You set that farce within yourself.

Life Lesson #9
It is funny how much you need family when you are away from it. Even though you think you can be without it, once it's out of reach, you want to have it even more. Call your mom and DAD!

Life Lesson # 10
Realize that everything happens for a reason. Even if it a bad something, it usually all turns out in the end. Everything that has unfolded badly has always made me stronger in the end.

Just a few things I have learned being here and living my life in Crystal Lake, IL.

You may agree or you may not, but in the end, for me, they are definite thoughts that have made me who I am today. I am growing, learning, and understanding my life better each day I am on this earth. I think, in a nutshell, that is what it means to truly find who you are inside and out. I am not saying you should to analyze everything in your life. But just the thoughts that you normally have, I think can impact how you look at the world around you. If you truly know who you are then you need not to worry about what others think or how a goal should change your life. Just Live, I say. The rest will fall into place.

16 April 2007

"The Au pair That Knew Too Much"

This is a story of an young girl who decided to one day open her heart to a family in Italy and help with their adorable little girls. Both were very attached to the mother in which was the plan for the au pair to make them comfortable with the surroundings while in her company. The father was a traveling salesman that worked many hours and was frequently away on trips. Leaving the family of three alone with this young smart girl to assist in the daily living of their Italian life.

The catch phrase of the younger one has become "ecco faccio" after everything she completed in playtime. The older child became more and more comfortable with the young girl in that she spoke more english with her than when the she first arrived in the household. How fabulous! This is exactly what the mother wanted. Yippppeee!!!

Although her primary job was to take care of the girls, teach them english, and play with them. She also cleaned the girls room and kitchen and the main rooms when needed to be tidied up.

This got to be a regular job and the young girl got used to the pressure to keep things tidy. Then the day came when the mother would become frustrated with her own life and take a portion of that out on the young girl who knew too much about life than to be treated in a certain way. That was both rude and without reason. Never uttered an apology once from the treatment given to the young girl who knew too much.

In the end the young girl realizes her life in Italy does not need to contain this family of frustration and pure dissatisfication of the her work. Her work in life is to find happiness in the path she has chosen for herself. The au pair that knew too much lives on in Italy until the time is spent and when she must return to her roots and concentrate again on herself and her goals in life. Please don't worry about the young girl, she knows her role in this play and will play her best part ever to please the audience aforementioned.

To be continued....

Thanks to Tina once again!

13 April 2007

This one is for you Nana

I love this picture!! I took it in the park near our house. Are they cute???
Carolina wearing her normal pjs with Nana's pjs, and of course, her tutu. So cute!!!

10 April 2007

Wish I had my mom's sense of spirit...

V approached me today and told me that she thinks I am "crabby" and was disappointed from my performance on Sunday at her Aunt's house. She thought I could have played tag or ran away with her girls, when they were attached to her hip. Ok yes, I was a bit melancholy but again I hate when she puts this blame on me when she is the one who has a bad attitude at times.

Anyway, that segwayed into my answer to her previous question a few days prior, "speaking of leaving, You can start looking for someone else for September. I have other plans in mind for me."

That sparked the conversation of NYU, and if and when I would start, blah blah blah.

Ok well au pairing isn't for everyone but I am sure I am giving it my all. I do enjoy being with the girls but when they are attached to their mother it is difficult to draw their attention. It so doesn't help to be told on and on again that 'you are disappointing me'. I am going to try to suck it up for 4 more months and have a smile on my face constantly even when being yelled at or scorned. What else can I do? I am who I am, and apparently I need to be happy constantly, like her(sarcastic tone). Which leads me to say, I wish I had my Mom's sense of spirit and love for life. Even when I am down on my luck at home, I have my mom to snap me out of it. Well i still have her but she is speaking thru the computer and/or the phone. It helps, but being around crabby people can not help the situation.

Anyway, so who knows again what will happen. But this weekend I am going to spend it with V and the girls in the country home just to get away from the city and try to be the chipper happy self I can be. No matter what. I am going to push thru these next few months and see where they take me. Like my favorite professor and friend once said:

"I think the royal road to achieving genuine satisfaction in life is going the Bloody hard way."

perche no??

07 April 2007


These days have been many times or not, time for reflection. Good reflection, meaning that I have previously let you all know that I have a choice to make about staying with the family I am working for. I have decided that I am going to leave my post as the "best nanny in the world". I feel that my time there has been well overdue. So my clarity in this decision is of all the things I could not do if I want to stay here. I will list them:

1. I could not work in a bar or ristorante.
2. I could not work as a tour guide (a previous goal I thought I could achieve)
3. I could not work as a nanny again
4. I could not not work
5. I could not work in the tourism industry
6. I could not be a dancer of any kind to pay the bills(a tango dancer i could be if they paid well) :-) that was for Tina.
7. I refuse to feel that I need to explain my actions to anyone that thinks I'm insane.

So like my friend Tina explained to me, just because I am leaving her home doesn't mean I am leaving Italy. I can find another place to live if needed to. Sure I have friends that would allow if I want to. But I feel I should find my own place if I could afford it. Anyways, my decision to leave the family I have lived with for over 3mos, for me, doesn't mean I have failed in staying here. It means I know I can't be a nanny, forever. It means I have scratched out another job I will never do again.

In a sense I feel I have found clarity. Because I am not completely clear on my upcoming months, I am sure I am still doing the right thing for me. My life, again, is my life. I wish to stop thinking about this because it is throwing me off when I am around my friends here. All I have been thinking about since my grandparents left, was my family. I have been completely obsessed with going home. But not really wanting to. But just cuz it is an easy way out of this situation, ya know? I feel if I leave as soon as my time is done with this family, then that would make me a failure. Even though being home would be nice, but then I would still have to ask the question "what will I do now?"

04 April 2007

Thinking about the future...

Yesterday V asked me to let her know if I want to stay after September becuz if not she needs to start looking for new au pair from September on. WOW! I haven't thought about leaving since...oh last week...haha. That is because my Nana and Papa were here, brought me back to my roots.

Anyway, I am thinking...well...if I leave in September I will not be achieving my goal of staying here a year OR becoming more comfortable with the Italian language. On the other hand, I still haven't heard from the Professor from NYU about the Master's program. Given the option to go home is always an option I can take or will take. As I found out the last time I was here for only 3 mos and I was ready to change my ticket and come home. Of all the times I wanted to run from my family and my job, I always had the feeling of coming home someday. I love living here in Florence, but in order for me to stay past September I need to find an actual job outside of being an au pair. Been there, done that. I doubt I could do this again. Once is enough. Like all my experiences, I like to try it once and if I don't like it...bye bye. Find something better Katie, or different. That is why getting my Masters sounds good and not, because I know my attention span. But I still want to fulfill my goal of learning and speaking italian fully. That is still a HUGE goal for me.

Anyway, I guess I will finish this thought on a later date.

a presto

01 April 2007

Nana and Papa Visit

The time with my grandparents came and went. Rather fast. It was a chance of a lifetime. I enjoyed myself so much, it seems such a surreal experience.

I arrived in Milano with an anticipating attitude in seeing my nana and papa, and cugina Alina. We planned this whole trip out for them. It was something for Nana.

I met Alina outside the train station and then we were off to Bellano. Bellano is a small little village on the lakeside of Lago di Como. On the way to Bellano, there was incredible scenes that comes from living on a Lake. Gorgeous cliffs, houses way far up that brings you to think, 'How does one get up there?' It was fabulous. Although Alina and i Nonni were very tired from the trip, I tried to keep them all in high spirits until it was bedtime.

As we arrive to Bellano I looked out for my Zio Lorenzo. THERE HE IS!!! We made our way thru the station and up to the platform to greet him. It was a great feeling to see him again. He is a great man!

We drove up to his Flat on the Lake, up a winding curvy road and ended at a gated garage of some kind. Alina and I look at each other with the look of "WOW". We enter into his gorgeous Flat on the lake and I immediately run out to the Terrace. Of course after hugging and meeting for the first time my Uncle Frank and Aunt Rossetta.

The times we had around the dinner, lunch, and breakfast table are memorable and also a little disturbing (ie the lesbian talk) but all in all the trip was once in a lifetime. To have all of those family members in one place reminising on times in the country of Italia and times in Ledbury.

Going to Farneta was an experience that moved me so much. There was so much of Nana's history and our heritage in that little town. Even though there was snow on the ground, I was still sweating with the anticipation of finding Francesco Iori's name on a memorial in the middle of the town. He was Nana's Uncle that died when he was 18 in WWI. I took many videos of our experiences during this trip that I am posting on youtube and will attach a link to this blog. So you all can enjoy the 20 second videos...sorry my camera doesn't have much memory.

I wish I could have brought Nana and Papa to many different places in Florence. But the limited time we had was the downfall, it was still a blast! Papa bought one thing, an Italia hat.
"It was only 6 euro!" Papa said to Nana
"Well that is all you get to buy." Nana said to Papa.

Oh my it was great to have this experience and chance to show Nana and Papa my citta!!

I will post the videos asap. The pictures are all downloaded if you click on my Picasa pictures.

ciao for now, thanks to Alina for getting the car and driving. Thanks to Nana and Papa for being the best Grandparents I could ask for!! Love you all...miss you more!!

a presto