Bologna is just beautiful these days. We have had day after day of sunshine and temps in the 60s. No one is wearing a coat any longer and I see some neighbors trying to catch their first tan lines of the season (the serious tanners stay brown all year with weekly visits to the salon. Andrea has one under his office and it is busybusybusy.). If I didn't mention it before, most Italians love their tans and it is a big deal here. It depicts good health....I think, until one turns 50 and looks 65. I take Ray's bike to the park when I pick him up from school, and he can ride around for an hour or so before coming home. Here are some pictures of Giardini Margherita where his school is. In the first photo, his school is the dark brown, low building on the right.
Last Friday I had my English co-workers over for an aperitivo which was fun. Ray had two new playmates to share toys with. Dillon is English/Italian and 2, while Ruby is English and one week older than Ray. The adults had a good time tasting some wines while analyzing the recent Manchester game, and admittedly are not as well versed in vino as their Italian counterparts so when Martin started drinking my cooking wine, I didn't try too hard to stop him. I may have them over again while Andrea is in the states, when I can partner the wine with some rice and curry (yum, you say? Beer might be better.).
The week before, James brought the three girls (here they are with Ray) over for dinner as Philippa had to go to London to see her ill mother. James was pretty desperate for something to do with the kids, so it was nice to have him here along with Krissy and Andrea. Krissy is an alumni of Andrea's program and now works for Furla. She promises to get me some sample bags for the new season at a discount. By the way, if you remember the JBrand deal I had, I did receive my JBrand jeans from LA. Pretty nice stuff, I must admit. Wearing them now.
Italians rely a lot on face-to-face communication. Andrea frequently has to go to an office to discuss something or make a transaction or just to learn of some news. When I ask why he can't do it over the phone or internet, he tries to explain how important it is to have a "personal relationship". This was evident when we bought the car. To the salesman, Andrea became "my friend the professor" to everyone who walked into the dealership and I became the "American wife". So it was no surprise that he was a little annoyed when he learned through the computer that we stopped in another dealership and as a result made things a little complicated by acting offended (and asking for more money). After understanding that we were more than willing to walk away from the deal, he couldn't get the car to us fast enough - the end of this month (originally we were to receive it in May). So we will have it in time for our trip to Vienna the week before Easter.
Here are some photos per Paula's request - Ray the painter, Ray as Spiderman and a recent sunrise. Andrea leaves for the US next week and I have my request in for a new camera so hopefully my pictures will be a little more sophisticated. The cost here is about double than in the US. Thanks to Ken for this Canon. As you can see, I have used it well these past five+ years.