Well, although I said I was spreading out the blog on Italy to 3 parts - I decided that the Italians themselves deserved a bit of due diligence.
As we have been living in Switzerland for almost a year now and the best word I can come up with describe the people here is 'sterile'. It is the cleanest, safest place we have ever been and most likely ever will be. The people just do not have a social bone in their body. There is no passion in the food and no laughter in their souls.
When we took this little jaunt to Italy, Ron and I were feeling like a change was imminent. We have not made any friends since we moved here (not from the want of trying) and we felt like perhaps we had lost our touch. We started to question the friendships we had back in the US and wondered if that was ever 'real'. I still hear the echoing laughter of Mary Sue sitting at the bar in Rondo's................I know it was real. I think for a short time, Ron and I have forgotten who we were and how we like to be with people. It was this lovely trip to Italy that jolted us back to reality and made us realise that perhaps we are just in the wrong town.
The first few days in Piemonte, I noticed that the Italian men were behaving a little strange towards the children. Keep in mind, Jack is still having his way with both male and female. All he has to do is climb up on someones lap and they are putty in his hands. But, what I noticed was that these men, wanted to interact with the kids. Play with them, give them toys, tease them feed them, hug them, love them. At first I freaked out (in my own head - not out loud) thinking 'get your hands of my kids slime ball' but it was the most genuine affection I have ever witnessed. This happened everywhere we went. As soon as you went to a grocery store, they would hold the kids hands, giving them sweets or fruit or bread or just attention. They never made preference over one or the other - just loved them. The cooks in the restaurants came to our tables to feed them their dinners and play with them afterwards so we had some moments of peace to enjoy our food. This still amazes me. As we were leaving Italy we stopped at a gas station and the 'full service' guy that ran this place raced into his store and got them some candy - he (for a man this is amazing) must have noticed my look of 'shit, more sugar to make the ride home more fun' and came back a few minutes later with 'sugarless suckers' for them.
As we bundled the kids into the car and headed back home we heard a tearful little Jack state those words that have now changed our world ' Mom, Thwitherland doth not make me berry happy'.....................I cried for most of the 4 hour ride home.
Stay tuned, the winds of change are here,
Signing off for today,