Saturday, October 6, 2007

Nicolas in Italy.

Nicolas is here, but he is not here yet. He goes to an international school where everything is taught in English; he also has Spanish classes everyday, but he has only one lesson a week of Italian. All his friends speak English, and they share similar interests. The way I see it, he lives in a little bubble where everything is similar to what he lost (his Californian life). So, what is a mother to do? She must pop the bubble! Well, kind of... We have signed him up for the local soccer team, where many of the kids from the town play. Nicolas doesn't like to go to practice, and he has used many excuses to get out of it! He hurts, he is sick, he is tired, he has a sore throat, and so on. He got away with it a couple of times (he was really sick!) but the third time I said that nothing was going to stop us from going... well, it rained -not our usual Californian drizzle- it poured! But I had to be true to my word, so I got him in the car, and we drove down to the field (if there is no grass, just dirt, is it still called a field?). I was thinking that there was not going to be a practice under those conditions. It was cold and miserable! NO, calcio (soccer) is not going to stop because of some silly rainstorm! Nico stayed and he had a good time!!! His Italian is improving and I also get a chance to meet other Italian parents and pop my own bubble!

Nicolas is in heaven as far as the food goes. He will always find something in the menu that he likes -usually some kind of pasta- and he eats with gusto. The way we see it, we have to visit as many restaurants as churches, it is all about the satisfaction of our inner tourist! and by this I mean our stomach! We like pizzerias a lot. You can have a complete meal on top of that heavenly thin crust; and the ingredients are as varied as Italy. Restaurants do not cater to children in any particular way, since they are expected to know how to sit at a table, eat properly, and have decent conversations with the people around them. We are working on all three aspects with Nico! He now eats his pizza with fork and knife, and he keeps his mouth clean at all times!!!! We need more work on the subject of talking with us -his parents!- for a full meal. We have spotted kids playing chest while waiting for their meal to arrive! We are not even trying this yet!
Italy is not a place where you will find adventure parks and roller coaster rides, but it has so many different things to offer. We do a lot of driving, and the roads provide as much excitement as California Screaming! Nicolas seems to enjoy all the sightseeing. Of course, if you go to visit the Duomo in Milan with a 10 year old, you MUST visit the roof of the church, and please, do not take the elevator. Hiking up the narrow steps to discover a wonderland of statues and gargoyles while looking down on the city bellow is a wonderful adventure. So, we always find a way to get Nico in the mood for culture. Like when we visited the Botero exhibition in Milan, we asked him to find a Colombian flag in a painting, and that had him entertained until we arrived to the room showing the Abu Grab paintings... let's just say that he was shocked!

Other times we just enjoy some good old fun. We ride our bicycles around the lake and get soaked when a storm starts out of nowhere, or we go to the lake for a day in the sun and some swimming (no longer the case, since it is cold now), or we go for a walk and get some gelato on the way back. Nicolas is enjoying the change of pace, even though it means he is no longer in California with his friends. He misses them so much!

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