Three weeks to go!!

I feel like two weeks have just up and left my memory, how can it really be only three weeks left for me to have everything ready and organized before we leave for the warm summer air of Italy??

It’s been a bit of a funky week- just when I was getting back into blogging again we get our first ever ‘you have reached full capacity of your Internet usage’. Translation, the boys have been hammering Skype, mine-craft and utube videos about mine-craft! A quick removal of wifi on their devices gives me little comfort as I patiently wait for our usage to boot up again which starts me thinking about Internet usage in Italy.

The boys (mostly Max) will want to stay in touch with Aussie mates more than ever, home schooling will be done via Internet a lot of the time and my daily trolling of websites will chew through the usage…..Hmmm how much will be enough?, how do you ask for meta, mega or whatever they are called bytes in Italian??? This is when I thank the stars Nic’s Italian is 1,000 times better than mine. He’ll be the one navigating the Italian wifi/phone situation….. I need to breath deeply.

I’d love to tell you it’s a walk in the park, the romantic notion of living in another country for a year is sheer bliss, however, I wake up nightly thinking of all the little things I haven’t done yet, things I should of done and the stuff I will need to do once we arrive. Not to mention I have just finished my last Italian lesson and feel like I need another months worth of lessons because the class on ‘phone calls’ wasn’t my best effort….OK I just won’t answer the phone- problem solved!

Sure there will be wonderful strolls along the Arno, delicious gelati, rolling Tuscan hills and beautiful people to gaze at but with a swift shake into reality the day to day life creeps into my memory; shopping with out a car, shopping in another language, scrubbing the many tiles of an Italian house (seriously I have never scrubbed as many tiles as I did when we last lived in Italy, I could feel all the Nonnas eyes on my little apartment making sure I was keeping up with the Jones).

SO, here we are three weeks to go and I have the storage all organised, visas ready, suitcases out blocking the hall because they are so big I can’t fit them in anywhere else and my sun spots burnt off my face ready for the Italian summer! Deep breaths and a few more yoga classes should keep me calm enough to finish everything off here….I just need to stop excepting the last minute teaching/cooking jobs too!

Italian lessons

Taking Italian lessons never really entered my mind the last time we moved to Florence. To be totally honest with you nothing much entered my mind except sleep, Thomas the tank engine, sleep and what can we eat?

It’s quite funny looking back at your life and seeing what was most important to you at that stage. I was a stay-at-home-mum thinking I had to play with my 3-year-old whenever he demanded otherwise I wouldn’t have been a very loving mother (I can hear you all laughing, I know!). In my mind I was thinking…..

‘If I have to push around one more train I think I will go bonkers’ or ‘please dear god, not another light saber battle….geez I wish the baby would wake up so I could have an excuse.’

Going to Italian lessons wasn’t even on the rector scale especially with two young kids and no babysitter, so I blundered through and felt terrible that I couldn’t even put a sentence together when the Nona’s use to come and ask me

a ) are they my children?

b) are they boys or girls? and c) Where are you from?

It took me about two weeks of constant repetition (thank god old people are patient!) before I worked out what they were asking me and it took me another two weeks to remember what to recite back!

I figured there must be an easier way this time, so the boys and I enrolled in a local Italian class a few weeks ago to see if we could familiarise ourselves with a few common Italian words.

Max seems to be enjoying the experience and feels confident he will be fine as he can ‘totally have a conversation…it’s not that hard’ – the kid knows how to say hello, what is your name and a list of animals in Italian, I wish I had his confidence!

Alex and I both struggle with the speaking aspect. We are embarrassed about how we sound and I never seem to say the right word at the right time (I’ll say where instead of how!). To say I’m not much better off than before would be an understatement. Just last week my Italian teacher said she would love to be a fly on the wall watching me in Italy…..I said me too!

Two more weeks of lessons to go, 5 weeks until we fly across the sea and a year to work out the language… never know, by the end of this trip I may even be able to write a small paragraph in Italian but don’t hold your breath.


I think I was thinking about sleep here, not Italian lessons

In the beginning

With winter creeping into the streets of Sydney and the trees losing their leaves, a European summer in a bit over a month sounds very inviting!

Eight years ago I had my second child Alex, he was a brute of a baby weighing in at a hefty 9 pounds 13 ounces and with shoulders on him large enough to crack my coccyx as he came storming out.

This really wouldn’t be getting a mention on my brand new blog if it wasn’t important. You see the reason I am calling this blog- Italy Take Two, is because 6 weeks after giving birth to Alex, almost eight years ago to the day, the family and I packed our bags and headed off to Italy for 8 months. Exciting as it sounds, carrying a bright pink inflatable ring around the streets of Florence so I could actually sit down wasn’t what I had first anticipated for my European life. The fact that I slept seldom and fed frequently also didn’t help me remember much about our first family trip to Italy, so that fact that we get to have another crack at it is almost unbelievable.

Alex is about to turn 8, Max — our eleven year old son– is half way through finishing his last year at primary school and my husband, Nic is about to have the time of his life as a fellow at Villa I Tatti in Florence, where he will spend a glorious year of research, research and more uninterrupted research for his new idea. I on the other hand will be soaking up (and sitting down without any pink aids!!) the sights and sounds of Florence and taking a year sabbatical from the kitchens of Sydney where I usually spend my time working. I have been cooking professionally for the past 25 years and thought it was about time I tried to do something else or maybe learn a new skill.

This blog is about my family’s year abroad: the food we eat, the food we make, the language we try to speak and the real story of what happens when you uproot a typical Australian family and pop them into a new culture and life for a year….this could get interesting so if you have a spare five minutes, take a read and share your thoughts on the madness we are about to create!