I’m writing this from the balcony of our Rome hotel. And by Rome, I kind of mean New York City.
And by balcony, I sort of mean living room.
Yes. We’re home. Not that anyone cares with that attention hogging Michael Phelps around.
We spent our last night in Rome, gorging on heavenly pasta.
We even gave the girls a quick peak at the Roman Colosseum.
“Dylan, this is one of the most famous buildings in the world,” I explained.
“Is it new?” she responded.
“Oh no. Very very old. It dates back to – Well, it’s super old,” I said.
“Do people live here?” Dylan asked.
“No. It was used for shows. Like “Sesame Street Live” only sort of more geared for adults. Adults who dig gladiators,” I explained. I really am so good at this parenting thing.
Then we hailed a cab and told the Italian driver, “The Holiday Inn near the airport.”
And he apparently heard, “Airport.”
Because 25 exhilarating minutes later (holy crap, they really drive THIS-IS-GOING-TO-SHORTEN-MY-LIFE-FAST), we were delivered to Leonardo da Vinci airport… which was totally perfect except that we had no luggage and we were about 14 hours early for our flight.
So we cleared up the confusion, made our way to the Holiday Inn and paid him copious amount of Euros for our little unintended excursion.
The next day, our flight back to New York was 9 hours and 20 minutes.
Our portable DVD player battery ran for 3 hours and 0 minutes.
If you rock at math, you’ll easily understand that we found ourselves with 6 hours and 20 minutes to fill with the kids. I’m not really one to talk to strangers on planes but by the end of the flight, in a desperate attempt to just pass the time, I found myself interrogating the lovely Houston couple next to me about their lives.
But finally we landed. And it really felt good to be home.
Now I hear there has been some kind of big, fancy, international sports competition going on. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? I’m totally going to go check it out. Give me a couple days and I promise I will have resurrected my desperate desire to be a professional gymnast.
Ok. There’s no denying it. This is my last post from Italy.
Well, unless there is some kind of European airline workers’ strike which forces us to savor the delights of this land for a few extra days. Hmm… how do I get one of those started? Please tell me if you know a guy.
Despite the required Italy obsessions (you know… espresso, wine, gelato and orecchiette), Rick, Dylan, Summer and I all have our own individual passions here.
I’m obsessed with watching “Larry Sanders” on DVD. Did you ever catch this HBO show staring Gary Shandling in the 1990s? Nothing Italian about it. It’s a sitcom about a fictitious late night talk show. And it’s completely hilarious. I also watched it when we were in Tuscany a few years back. Apparently, I really really like Gary Shandling on Italian soil.
Rick is crazy about the same thing he loves in the United States… chicken. He found his fave chicken guy in Polignano a Mare and visits him and tasty birds faithfully.
The guy finally asked Rick, “Don’t you have chicken in America?” Or at least that’s what we think he said. Shockingly, our Italian is still a bit rusty.
As for Summer? Well, that girl can’t get enough of Andrea Bocelli. And in particular, this one song, “Con Te Partiro,” which he sang on an episode of Sesame Street. We have it on our iPod and Summer wants it played over and over again. Endlessly. Which I guess is a whole lot better than “The Wiggles” or something.
And Dylan’s obsession? Bringing new fashion trends to Italy, of course. Sure, Europe is usually on the forefront of cutting edge style but there are a few looks I’m sure they haven’t seen. Dylan INSISTED on wearing her pajama bottoms under her sun dresses. Every. Single. Day.
She even brainwashed me because I started calling them leggings.
And well, you can’t look all fancy in your pajama leggings without a proper headband.
And if it’s 10 million gazillion degrees outside (and that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius), you should definitely wear a sweatshirt.
Oh, and make your sister wear one too.
But we are most obsessed with the Southern region of this country. Polignano, we will miss you.
And Summer will especially miss playing with the salad spinner in the bidet.
Oh, come on! You try keeping your kid away from the bidet.
So at this point you may be wondering two things.
First, is Kelcey ever returning to New York City?
And secondly, is the girl ever going to stop rambling about Italian toddlers and Barty-Bart and finally show us some highlights of Southern Italy? And when I say highlights, I’m not talking about my hair – which happens to desperately need some fresh color. Of course, that will have to wait until we are back in the U.S. because despite my adventurous Italian spirit, I would never have the balls to highlight my hair in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language.
I know, I’m such a wimp.
But yes, I am indeed returning to NYC this coming Saturday.
As far as Southern Italy, we’ve taken some awesome day trips… to the magnificent, speedo-filled beaches and also to little towns like Ostuni and Alberobello.
Alberobello is famous in Italy because it’s filled with little dome shaped houses called Trulli.
The guide book says it looks like a Disney flick, and it really is super movie set cute except for all the endless drek. Every few meters, you pass a little dome shaped store selling tons of colorful junk that you definitely don’t need but you absolutely can’t keep your kids away from.
And Italian drek is still drek. So the girls did a lot of whining as we ushered them along, despite my proclamations that THERE IS NO WHINING IN ITALY.
Apparently, there is.
“Wait, I just want to see this for one second,” Dylan cried, talking about the millionth plastic horse attached to the millionth plastic handle.
“It’s the same toy you looked at two minutes ago at that other place,” we would explain. It was futile.
Oh, and you might be wondering one more thing. Well, I’m sure you aren’t but I’ll share anyway… Is Dylan using her portable potty in Italy? Not all that often. She’s predominantly using the plethora of clean, easily accessible bathrooms.
Tell me again do we only have stinky, wretched Starbucks bathrooms in New York?
But Dylan did adamantly refuse to use this one…
You know, the European kind with no seat, no toilet, no nothing but a hole in the ground and two places to put your feet. She opted for her porta potty. I wouldn’t have minded using her porta potty that day, either.
It’s just weird to squat over some hole. And if you have to go number 2, well, my gosh, you need some divine intervention to help you do that.
Dylan and Summer’s absolute fave activity is still running around the piazza at night. Everything feels so safe here, with so many children and families gathering each night to play, socialize and connect.
Of course, we can’t understand a damn word anyone is saying, but it’s still so lovely and sweet.
So my dad has hightailed it out of here.
Actually, I think they had to pry the cappuccino cup out of his hand as he boarded his flight from Rome to New York.
He was sad to go and the girls already miss their Tommy-Tom. Yes, my dad passed over “grandpa”, “gramps” and “pop pop” and instead asked to be called “Tommy -Tom.” At least his real name his Tom. Because if it was Bart, then I might have balked at the request.
It’s definitely not the same around here without our Barty-Bart, I mean Tommy-Tom.
My dad is the kind of guy who travels with bungee cords and a flashlight (you know, just in case). I had a laugh over that until we had an extended black-out in our little Italian town the night AFTER he left. Rick and I used the DVD player (with the Elmo DVD on mute) for light. Yeah, that flashlight would have been totally helpful. Why are parents (ours, not us) so smart like that?
Meanwhile, I am completely fascinated by Italian toddlers. First of all, their Italian is better than mine which sort of irritates me.
Secondly, they are so damn calm. And well behaved. They just chill out in their strollers while my kids tear around the piazza like gelato fueled wind up toys.
Are Italian children just more mellow? Are they drinking wine? Are they depressed? I just can’t figure it out.
And they look so pressed and clean.
My American girls? Grubby, grubby ladies. Happy. But very grungy.
I was hoping little Miss Summer might start to embrace the joys of cleanliness over here.
That girl is not a lover of grooming.
She hates baths. Despises showers. Dislikes hair brushing. Abhors nail clipping. Dreads diaper changing. She’s even protesting her pony tails now.
I know it’s all just a phase but I keep telling her, there are better things to sob over than clean fingernails.
And that’s not the only poignant tidbit I dolled out recently.
I offered these wise words to my girls tonight.
“Never eat anything you find in some random basket.”
Turns out Summer was just munching on some very old fusilli (she found in a random basket). But still, I think it’s sound advice for anyone.
Buon compleanno to my husband Rick who celebrated his 39th birthday this week.
My dad asked for ten candles and well, the very sweet Italian woman who made the cake thought we wanted candles in the shape of a “10” so we pretty much ended up celebrating Rick’s 10th birthday.
A kick arse 10th birthday indeed.
For his gift, I gave Rick an all expense paid trip to Southern Italy, which I thought was very gracious of me. Of course, he may need to chip in a little.
His real present is the endless number of beautiful Italian women, with incredible bodies, prancing around the beaches. A lot of breasts. A lot of exposed bums.
Yeah, it’s my blog. I don’t have to show them.
I’ve started to notice that the Italians (whether skinny, big or in between) are very very comfortable with their bodies. Much more so than Americans. In fact, the Italians barely have a need for clothes at all. I’m starting to feel like a Sandra Dee prude with my one piece and habit of never smoking.
The banana hammocks or marble bags, as Kristen hilariously calls them, are rampant here. Like… um… check out this typical Italian (and I had a plethora of snapshots to choose from).
Yes, he shaves his legs. And his chest too. Can you imagine how long it takes this guy to get ready in the morning?
Umm… no… Rick won’t be wearing one of these tiny weenie bathing suits. But Allison T, thanks for the excellent suggestion.
After our days at the beach…
the girls nap and then we head out to the piazza for the nightlife. And you knew it would happen eventually… a unexpected brush with Italian celebrity. Imagine our delight to stumble upon the great Peppe Voltarelli in concert right here in our little Polignano piazza. And then to score a photo with the singing sensation!
Ok, we don’t know who he is either. But we like him because he sort of looks like the long lost Italian cousin of our LA friend Eric Wasserman.
Lest you think I’m getting too fancy, hanging out with Peppe and men who shave their legs, I just want you to know that it’s not all glamour over here. I had to wash all the kids’ laundry by hand a few days ago which definitely does not remove chocolate gelato stains. Or maybe I needed a washboard or something.
But every day, Rick and I are constantly amazed at the kindness of the Italians, the beauty of this country, the awesomeness of the cappucinos and just how unbelievably tiring it is to travel with young kids.
But it’s a good tired. A very good tired.
mama bird notes
My access to the internet is very slow and very limited here, so my apologies for not reading your blogs while I’m away. I miss them and so look forward to catching up when I return. But I am truly loving your comments.