Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Bowels of Winter

The lowpoint of the winter was last week and a teacher at work said there had been a formal study and last Monday was cited as the most depressing day of the year - arriving shortly after the holidays have passed and before the next holiday (and spring) is here. I suppose that depends on one's geographics, but it certainly seems true for me and most everyone in dreary Bologna.

Ray fell off a ladder while Andrea and I were working on setting up the new program office, and here is his first beauty (it really started as a bump on the forehead and moved down to the eye the next day). Three days later, I sprained my ankle by missing a step on our landing. You can imagine how funny I looked as I had a box full of groceries in my hands and we all ended up sprawled all over the balcony then I had to crawl to the phone inside to call Andrea to come home, all the while trying to sound cheery so Ray wouldn't be more upset than he was ("Mommy, what happened? I am going to cry...", he was so frightened). I laugh now, but man, that hurt and it is still swollen ten days later. And don't ask me why I just didn't use my mobile phone and save myself the humiliation of crawling.

On the upside, all of the 36 new students arrived and we were able to pull off the pizza party at home without incident (my ankle didn't get me off the hook) and the new office looks great but will be better when they get the internet installed. Andrea has been doing all his advising from home so the students have to walk up the long hill to get here. I hope no one is complaining. Here Ray and I are at the restaurant, the students crammed into the apartment, and at the restaurant again in first photo of this post.

The local Americans organized a party at a jazz club to watch the Presidential Inauguration live last Tuesday at 6 pm our time, and with my bum ankle and Ray being fried from school, I opted instead to go to my (English) friend Philippa's house across the road to watch it with her (we don't have satellite at home). She was sweet enough to have a chilled bottle of French champagne waiting, and we really enjoyed celebrating. My friend Kathryn (pictured below) told me that at the club, after the event was over, everyone broke into the national anthem which must have been nice to witness. Yesterday at school, the 5th and 6th graders had to analyze Obama's speech and except for the word "less", every other word he used repeatedly was positive. I hope he is able to continue to pull the country together and up.

Ray had a late Christmas visit from Godmother Kathryn who brought him a surgical Shrek head (future doctor?). Yoshi came over for dinner a couple of nights ago laden with gifts. He returned to Bologna after spending Christmas with his family in Japan. He gave us a beautiful calendar and a framed ink print of his local landscape. He also gave us one of those beautiful Japanese fortunes, done in ink calligraphy and wrapped in a red paper ribbon that Ray ripped off, much to Yoshi's chagrin as it is now supposed to be bad luck. Agh, we will see. Discussions of the dream house have not been taken off the table and tossed into the trash...hummm.

Andrea is planning for his trip to the US at the end of March, beginning of April. If anyone is interested in visiting at that time, I would welcome the company. And only five more months before I touch down on American soil. Can' wait.

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