Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday (still in Florence)

Monday AM

I am very thankful for three rather American things this morning: Excedrin, my stretchy yoga band, and my iPod. I awoke with very definite beginnings of a headache but it is just about gone now due to medication, stretching, and the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack.

Today we are going to make a few stops in Scandicci, have lunch with David and Debbie W, then spend the afternoon/evening with Julie W and her family. We are going to visit a medieval town not far from here -- can't remember the name -- but it will be a good opportunity to take pictures.

I keep thinking about how much Grandmother would have loved to be here and see this. She was such a lover of learning and new experiences. I am thankful for having that example, and I hope that a small part of me communicates that same love to my children and others in my life.

What is life for if not for living fully?

Monday PM

If a day can be perfect, this one was. After some errands in Scandicci -- almost 15 euro for postcard stamps and two bus tickets! -- we had lunch with David, Debbie, Rosa, and Rosa's granddaughter Esther. Rosa has become rather famous in Searcy because of her years of cooking for the Bible School. Lunch was wonderful -- absolutely wonderful! -- and it was good to spend some time with David and Debbie. David has learned enough Italian to tease little Esther and she loved the attention. He is such a good man; reminds me of his father.

Esther and Debbie also had a language connection. Esther showed us all that she had learned the Italian alphabet in sign language. From my rusty memory, most of it seemed the same as ASL, but there were a few differences toward the end of the alphabet.

After lunch, Julie W picked us up and we drove to San Gimignano for the afternoon. It is an 11th century city that is still lived but also has beautiful little gift shops. We spent about 3 hours walking up and down the ancient hilly roads and looking out over the Tuscan countryside. I took so many pictures, but I don't know if any of them captured the beauty of the place. Julie treated us to gelato from a shop that has won worldwide contests. Their chocolate is said to be the "world's best," and it just might be!

Weather is clear: lower 50's with a brisk wind. I'm glad I threw in my turtleneck at the last minute.

After our time in San Gimignano, we went to Julie's house for supper. Another amazing meal! Julie's husband Luigi is from southern Italy and she prepared foods from that area -- a wonderful combination of eggplant, potatoes, bell pepper, and tomatoes, bread with olive oil, three kinds of cheese, and a wonderful dessert. Delicioso!

Julie's children -- M,D, and J -- are beautiful children with open hearts. It was easy to see the love between Julie, Luigi, and their children.

A wonderful, wonderful day.

Tomorrow we will be in transit again as we move to the convent in Florence. I think Sheila is looking forward to the quiet, but I have enjoyed the hustle and bustle around here and at Julie's. What an experience, though, to stay at a convent! I have visions of the Sound of Music!

There are too many pictures from this day to include them here, but they are available in this online album.


Stephanie said...

What would life be like without an ipod? I shudder to imagine . . .

Sheila said...

This is fun, reading your thoughts about our trip.

Is this all stuff you wrote while there, or are you writing it looking back on it? Just curious.