Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First 24 hrs in Italy

"Mama, look they have a special toilet for me", Tessa excitingly yells from the bathroom. "And they have grey toilet paper." She was referring to the bidet, and sure dark grey toilet paper is an interesting choice of color. Tessa is inspecting our AirBnB apartment in a small town north of Milan, which we are renting for our first few days in Italy. We arrived later than expected, but the super nice and welcoming owners of the apartment don't seem to bothered. The century old apartment is completely renovated inside: the charm of high ceilings, and louver windows is preserved. We find biscottis, marmelade, toast and juices ready for us to use. We are all pretty wiped, but Tod and Tessa go out to the little village, and come back with gyros and fries (yep, super healthy) for dinner later.

My last visit to Europe was 9 years ago, when the last of my parents, my dearest father, passed away. I have been longing to go back, especially to share with Tod and Tessa. When an opportunity came up for Tod to do some consulting work for a former client in Italy, we decided it was the right time for the whole family to go.

Our long travel day, starting at 6 PM from SFO, was relatively uneventful. After watching 2 kids movies, Tessa finally fell asleep, well sort of. She tossed and turned, and spread herself over our 3 seats. She managed to get a few hrs in, while Tod and I mostly were awake. It ain't helping if you kid is kicking you in her sleep every 20 min or so. Immigration check in in Dusseldorf was relatively fast. The non-EU citizens- Tessa and I stayed loyal to Tod and joined that lane-  had a laugh when the EU lane was done with their customers, the union workers turned of the light and went home (instead of helping our slower lane). The strong cologne of a few Italian business men joining our flight to Milan is memorable in a bad way. The excellent kwark dessert I had in Dusseldorf was memorable in a good way. I'm planning on having plenty of the latter when we go to the Netherlands in a few days.

Ciao, Ciao for now. I'm sure the church bells, which ring every half hour, will be waking us up at some point. We also need to get in sink again with the siesta hours here, bakery opens early, but then closes from 1 till 4 PM, to stay open till 730PM.

around the corner of our place

gelato for super late breakfast, why not?

small town walking

on our little patio where we had dinner

1st playground in Italy, where our not shy girl joined the soccer game,
tessa ended up playing with the older boys for a good long time

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our summer in Berkeley and preparing for ..... Italy

Our time in Berkeley is going by fast. We enjoy spending time with dear friends, stay in awesome houses (and picked up some ideas for our future home), and Tessa has a blast at her morning preschool. No sailing at all, in fact we have only visited our former home turf, the Berkeley marina, once. Our moving radius seems about 2 to 3 miles from the houses we stay at, and we walk and bike most of the time. Tod is working hard to replenish our travel kitty, this is after all not a vacation but work time. And among other things, I'm busy with planning our next family adventure: going to Europe for about 3 months to play and work, with a home base in Italy.

More details later, for now just some pics of our time in the Bay area. 

camping with papa in backyard for a night

Tilden little farm, our go-to place on Sunday morning. Notice the jacket?
Yep, welcome to Berkeley summer!

we get to stay with the sweetest dogs, and our girl is having a blast

kite festival in Berkeley Marina, this is where they filmed
part of the Kite Runner

the joy to master the monkey bars

another relaxing visit to our friends Mika and Karl in lake Tahoe
( well, except for the traffic then, which is just plain crazy here in the Bay)

and what would we do without our dearest Petra?  So many happy hours,
and here a special treat to Cal Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

picture by Petra

picture by Petra
picture by Petra

Picture at the Young Museum by Petra

catching tadpoles, picture by Petra