So, Italian school’s choose one week in Winter known as “white week” meaning “go and ski week”. This is not a holiday officially but a necessity for those of us Europeans who have to put up with snow capped mountains every year. So as a family of “two shoes”, myself excluded, we thought we should obey the rules imposed by the nuns, pack our ski gear and head north. Naturally we had to head to Austria at some point as this little country will always hold a piece of my heart. Here was the perfect opportunity to show it off to my family and to show off my German linguistic skills. I was recommended Bad Kleinkirchheim by a Austrian friend who said it was great for many reasons, these included not far from the boarder of Italy, excellent skiing and thermal pools, based at bottom of the slopes -schon!. Well apart from never being able to pronounce the actual name of the willage, it did not disappoint. Stunning place, family friendly – wunderbar!! Day 1 we woke up to snow, dumping snow. I have actually never experienced snow like it before, it was so heavy and thick and it didn’t ease for 2 days, just amazing! Being a fair weather skier I decided that the perfect place to go in such extreme conditions was the thermal springs and spa baths. Tony and the girls being “braver” than I decided to tackle the slopes and go skiing instead. So off I went for a day of pampering and relaxation. As I checked in with reception and was heading through the doors she announced “you realise it is nude”. ” Oh yes, of course” I said, feeling sick in the stomach and proceeded to put my belongings included my cossie into the assigned locker. What she didn’t announce was the next surprise of the day, that it was unisex. Well I was the “brave” one that day…let’s just say it was a day I will never forget. I saw many sights to entertain me for years, even though I kept my gaze down and never looked anyone in the eye. I spent 4 long hours there and although there were many times I feel very uncomfortable and scared, having the outdoor pool to myself for 20 minutes with snow falling on my head in a winter wonderland was an experience I will always treasure. The rest of the week was spent skiing together and it was just great. The girls had lessons in the morning and we all hooked up for lunch and afternoon skiing. They were skiing like pro’s by the end of the week and I was finding it hard to keep up with both of them. We were lucky to have our new Irish friends “the Brady’s” join us for the week, so most nights were spent with them trying to source those Austrian delicacies I remembered so fondly. Sadly they were not often found, not sure if it was just a lack of good restaurants in this particular ski town or if my taste buds when I was 22 were overcome by a love of Jagermeister. Who would know….but I am determined to return to Austria again soon and give eating another go. All in all fantastic week, sehr gut!!!
Before the imminent and very sad departure of our dear, dear friends, the Elders, Nicola insisted that we spent the weekend in Napoli and Pompeii. Sim and I were adamant that we wanted to see Venezia.
Nic was stronger than us, very persuasive and so passionate, so we caved and all jumped on the train for Italy’s South.Mama Mia!!! Are we happy we did!! Nic was spot on, what a town!!! A completely different world and experience to the wealthy, organised (for Italy anyway) and clean North. The south has almost a North African feel to it. It’s cheaper, busier, bustling, very dodgy and bloody good fun.
After arriving, Nic, our local guide, took us on an hilarious walk, meander through the Neapolitan backstreets searching for L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, www.damichele.net.
This, of course, is the pizza joint made even more famous by that toothy Hollywood starlet in Eat, Pray Love.
The place is worth seeing just for what goes on in there. There are two types of pizza only, Margarita and Marinrara. So, why there is a waiter just for the pizza and one just for the drinks is beyond even Italian logic, especially as the only drinks are beer, water and sprite…get ‘em in, get ‘em out. By the way, the pizza?? Maybe a 6 out of ten? Overly cheesy, sloppy and quite oily, still soooo much laughter!
Pompeii was…amazing!!! we all loved our day there, and spent hours wandering, looking and taking photos, an incredible experience for the Kingos and the Elders!
By the way, check out the dodgy local hood who followed us around, seedy looking bloke, very Napoli. Actually, he even scared the locals. How he pulled the hot chick in the red leather dress is anyone’s guess? Money, power, mafioso…
They do remind us of Jay and Gloria!
This place still makes me laugh, every day.Jemima took a nasty tumble at her dance class last night, resulting in a very large and painful lump on her foot. With our first ski trip only three weeks away and her ice-skating birthday party only two weeks away, we took her to the local hospital as a precaution.
The waiting part was no different to home, except she was the youngest by 80 years!
After an x-ray, consult with the doctor I nervously waited for the bill. I shouldnt have been nervous, it was 10 Euros. I looked at the bill with relief and curiosity as I found i can pay it at the Post Office (OK), the local bank (OK), and ATM (really??) or, the best of all, at any tobacconist!!!
Yes, pay your hospital bill while picking up a carton of durries!! LOVE ITALY!
So, I have been at school for 8 weeks now. My school is called Sacre Cuore… Sacred Heart! It is quite a drive with now red autumn trees but soon will be empty winter trees! Over in Florence or Italy I am known to be in year 6 which here is something they call Scuola Media… Middle School. Year 6 is what we call Prima Media… First year of middle school. Being in year 6 is exactly like being in high school= Heavy Bags, lots of homework, different teachers for different classes, and about 1000 books on my shelves! Which together all my books take up a whole shelf and a bit of my desk. CRAZY!
When I first started school it was absolute torture. It is like going to Australia and not speaking english! It is not very easy at all. But now I understand how the school works more and can translate quite a lot! I can translate homework, easy short stories and from time to time sentences. I definitely use translate for stuff 24/7 except for french and english of course!
SUBJECTS I LIKE (MATERIE IO PIACE): Technical Drawing (tecnica), English (inglsese), French (francese), Grammar (grammatica), Sport (ginnastica), Music (musica), Art (arte)
SUBJECTS I DON’T LIKE (MATERIE IO NON PIACE): History (storia), greek mythology (epica), geography (geografia), maths (aritmetica), geometry (geometria), science (scienze), comprehension (antologia), fiction (narrativa), tecnology (tecnologia), church (santa messa)
You all have heard of my best friend here Jazzy Elder, well I stayed with her for one night while my parents were in Roma! We decided to go on a little walk after school on Wednesday. Jazzy walked to my school after we had both had half days and picked me up. Then, we walked all the way to her school to meet Uncle Jimmy. On the way we put music on from Jazzy’s phone and had to turn it down every time we went past somebody. They still heard it though, and looked at us like we were some hippies who happen to be wearing uniforms.
Once we arrived at Jazzy’s school Uncle Jim gave us both 20 euro each and some extra money for Jazzy’s credit for her phone, but we didn’t really use it for that! So we walked a long way to a place called Piazale Michelangelo where we got a delicious gelato. Piazale Michelangelo is the wonderful place where you can see the entire Florence. We sat on some steps and just enjoyed our gelato. After, that we spent the rest of the afternoon just went to shops and bought some cool stuff. We even went to the Hard Rock Cafe and had a milkshake, we even got showed to the bar to sit! How funny! We had a great time shopping in Florence all alone to the time where we got picked up by Nicola, Jazzy’s mum.
FUNNEST DAY EVER!
No matter where the Kingos are, we LOVE the Roosters. Grand final day was spent from 10am in the Fiddlers Elbow, downtown Firenze with Uncle Dave and Aunty Ruth. Generous support, in the form of Guiness, was given by Jim and Rory. Awesome fun, awesome game.
Wonderfully topped off by our fellow Chook loving friends the MacCallums who so very kindly sent us our PREMIERS 2013 tees…bloody legends!
So, in Italy, Jemima has gone into year 6, which is the beginning of high (middle) school here.A big enough jump without doing it all in Italian! Mima being Mima, she has translated her schedule into English!
On Tuesdays and Fridays she has her long days, and they are LONG! She is there from 8am to 4.30pm, very full on, very tiring.
We do her homework together with the help of Google. Doing Italian grammar has been “interesting”.
Mostly Mima does the homework herself, even if she doesn’t understand it all. She is not loving school, but is going, trying and not complaining at all, very strong, very cool for us!
Check little Vi’s class schedule! Year 2 and she is learning French, Science, Geography and History…in Italian!!! WOW!
So cool, so proud. Her teacher told me this morning, “Violet, molto brava! Molto brava!!”
Our first week or so at the girls school has been…interesting, firstly from a logistics point of view. From entering the school from the road, you wind up four rather tight turns to the school car park, a real snake-like driveway, narrow and two way, of course!
One you successfully negotiate this part, let’s hope we always do, you arrive at the car park at the entrance of the school building. Back home there would be security guards, high visibility vests, and OH & S signs all over the place…in fact, when there are kids at school, there is no way a car would be allowed in any part of the school grounds! Not in Italy!
In a space of maybe 200 square metres, there would be around 60 or so cars coming and going in all directions, at all speeds, hands in the air, abuse being spat out, hectic, and hilarious. In amongst all the cars are hundreds of kids of all ages, weaving in and out, oblivious to the chaos surrounding them, doing their best to get to class, while the parents try their best not to kill any of them.
Yes, madness, Italian madness.
If that is not enough, then, yesterday at pick up, the garbage truck turned up!! It stopped, parked at the top of the drive, the two drivers got out, sparked up a durry and waited for all the cars to leave. The only thing slowing the departure of all the cars was the bloody truck!
today I had the best day ever! It was fabulous! I am in year two at Sacre Cuore in Florence.
My teacher’s name is Stefania. She wears glasses, has brown hair and a pointy nose.
She is very nice to me and really funny, even if I don’t really understand what she is saying!
I sit next to Joshua, he’s from England, and Keen, she is from the U.S.A, they are so nice and they speak English!
My best friend is Holland, he is from Texas and we have very good times together! Also, Holland is allergic to pollen, that rhymes!
Today was my first day in the cafeteria. I had Pasta Pomodoro for entree, then nuggets and chips. For dessert i had two small tubs of ice cream, one extra from Keen!
Two days a week I go from 8am to 4pm and then I can go home at 1pm three other days. But, i love school so I asked mum if i can stay longer.
Today, my teacher left the class room and then MR.MUSIC MAN came in! We sang songs with him in Italian and English, it was so fun.
Then I had sport. We played a game called statues and it was sooooo fun!
My school also has horses, dogs (cute little puppies), sheep, cows, chickens, geese and goats! So different to Avalon!