How’s everyone else doing?


We’ve been in Italy for just over two months. What’s it like? How are the parents and kids doing? Where’s everyone at?

Max is REALLY getting into learning Italian. He’s sleeping a lot (it’s exhausting to learn a language), but he gets up around 6:30 every morning and does an hour of homework, as well as work after school. He’s constantly practicing around the house and stays late at school every Weds for extra lessons. He was bummed to miss Halloween but planned his entire birthday (12). He didn’t want presents (which is good because the only thing I got him was a sketchbook which Tristan and Ian drew in before I gave it to him). Instead he wanted to play video games. Talk to Gram and Reid on FaceTime. Walk as a family to the Duomo (pictured). Get ice cream and eat cheesecake and soft-shelled tacos. He did get some money from Papa Bob, but he asked me to just put it in his US bank since he doesn’t need anything, all he wants is to spend time with the family and enjoy his experience here. What a kid, right?
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Ian is doing non-stop craft projects. Drawing. Building things out of cardboard. Trying to sell drawings and books on the street corner. He made a cardboard TV and asks us to keep it down so he can hear it playing. He learned how to make homemade salsa (in theory at some point he’ll edit the video), and has been doing more programming. Since we got internet back he’s really gotten back into Khan Academy, which isn’t surprising, all my kids love math.
Tristan is down for whatever. He really needs to take a nap or two a week, but we’re not good at forcing it. That being said he’s still doing well. He’s become quite savvy at Minecraft, I really thought it would be another year before he could turn on the computer, run the app, log into his world, build a house, put tiled patterns on the floor, replace blocks, etc. He loves his school and enjoys talking Italian around the house. Sometimes he even uses real Italian words… although other times it’s just gibberish.
Charlie is pretending she doesn’t enjoy school. Her tutors tell us she smiles and laughs for most of the day, but you wouldn’t know it by the stink she makes. She misses her friends fiercely and has told Christine that she doesn’t want to develop strong friends here because she knows she’s going to leave. Good life lessons in there. As always she loves telling stories and at home she’s usually either crafting or reading. Here she is hollowing out a book to make a secret book box (while I hold the straight-edge). I’m pretty impressed with the ribbon roses she figured out how to make on YouTube last night and curious to see how quickly her Italian friends pick up the things she’s going to teach them…
Christine found a gym. I guess I should say more, but that’s the big thing. She’s enjoying the stress of being in school and doing homework to cram for her class the next day. She’s certainly not fluent she’s able to communicate about just about anything. She’s at the point where she can have half a dozen conversations about vastly different subjects and not exclaim about how she could communicate afterwards. Very cool. She also invited these new oat and peanut butter bars and does the things that “nice” parents are supposed to do. You know, supportive. Patience. Blah blah. All those things that I’m defective with.
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Me – I have gotten roped into a couple of things at work, and I’m happy to help, but what I’m really enjoying is when I hear about the things they don’t rope me into. The things they just tackle, and there’s a lot of them. I feel super proud of them, and also of the kids and Christine. I have had some time to explore some new software. I made the photo above with Affinity Photo (60% Photoshop replacement), I’ve learned Bootstrap and Meteor and used GIT for the first time. I’ve enjoyed photography, but haven’t had much time for it. My allergies aren’t any better (me, Max, and Tristan have all gotten multiple colds and things) so while moving wasn’t a magic wand for that it’s still good to collect data. I’m definitely feeling like I need to sink my teeth into something else. Maybe write a book. Or self-publish the last book I wrote. Or start another company. Or something. I probably have to wait until after the New Year as we have a bit of traveling time scheduled then and I don’t have a lot of free time before then but I’m excited for that, as well as more travel.
Oh yeah, and the “other” member of our family, our Kindles. Me, Charlie, Ian, and Max are each reading at least 500 pages a week. Our Amazon bill is pretty high, but it’s how we relax, and we often share books to that works.