One adventure ends and another begins!

April 28, 2010

We were all up this morning at 4am – it’s hard to sleep when your body feels like it is 10am! 

Maria went back to West Perry Middle School this morning to teach seventh grade.  Her students and fellow teachers welcomed her with streamers, balloons, and welcome back messages all over her chalkboard!

Both Nicholas’ and Thomas’ classes cheered when they arrived in school today.  They each made a grand entrance after school began because we had to wait for the re-registration process to be completed.  Poor Thomas had to take  a one hour state standardized test today, and his tests continue all week.  But they were excited to see their friends after being away for so long.

After finishing with the process of getting the boys back to school today, I found myself missing the short walk to a coffee bar, getting a gelato, listening to the random ringing of church bells, having colorful money, and hearing people speak italian.  But then I also found myself in awe of the wide open fields of grass, huge parking spaces, american music on the radio, our clothes dryer, and the beautiful view from our back porch.  So it is good to be home, but I will always miss Florence.   

Our experience in Florence was just simply amazing, and we appreciate all of you who followed us the last three months – especially Mom, Sal, Tim, Heidi, Nancy, Amy, John, Chris, Anita and we are flattered that there are so many others! You are all going to have to find something else to read every morning!

So we decided to start another blog – The Einolfs in the USA – It won’t be an everyday blog – our life here just isn’t that exciting!  But subscribe to it, so you get an email when we post something.  Or just check it from time to time!  This way you’ll know what the Einolf Family is up to!

Ciao tutti!


We’re Home!

April 27, 2010

We made it home safe and sound!  Our flights were all on time, and we left Dulles Airport around 2:30pm.  We had to rent a car to get home, and nothing like getting your first driving experience in three months immediately on the 495 beltway around Washington D.C.  I did make one wrong turn on the highway… much to the delight of my passengers.

Our neighbors, the Greiss Family, did a wonderful job keeping an eye on our house while we were gone!  You should see our stack of mail!  I am too tired to upload a picture of it right now.

So here are a couple “pictures of the day” for you.

Here is Paris from the air – no volcanic ash messing up the view.  You can see all the roads leading to the Arc di Triomphe at the bottom right of the picture.


Can you see the Eiffel Tower in this next one? 

And finally – here is what home looked like this afternoon – 121 Fieldstone Drive!  Our pear tree out front was damaged last fall in a wind storm, and it looks like spring didn’t help much… 

So one more blog post tomorrow!  The boys go back to school to share all of their wonderful stories of Florence with their classmates!  And a special thank you to all of you who followed our travels in Italy!  So check it one more time!

Last Day in Florence!

April 26, 2010

We spent our last day in Florence touring the city, and we said a tearful goodbye to our good friend, Amy!  We also had our last dinner with a bunch of the Mount students at Casalinga.  It was a beautiful sunny day here – the perfect day for our final tour of the city.

We started with the church at San Lorenzo.  It has an interesting facade, and it is beautiful inside.

Here is the courtyard next to the church.  You can see the tip of the Duomo. 

Then we walked to Florence’s Bapistry which is next to the Duomo.  We hadn’t been in it yet, so we looked at the beautiful mosaics inside.

Then we walked back to Santo Spirito by going over the Ponte Vecchio.  One last picture with Amy!

In Santo Spirito, there was an art class drawing the church. 

After saying goodbye to Amy, we decided to be tourists on our last afternoon!  We took a ride on the double-decker sightseeing bus we’ve seen just about every day for the last three months.   

It became a trip down memory lane for us, as we passed all of our favorite sights around the city!

Here is Santa Croce…

And the view from Piazzale Michelangelo…

And one of the many frescoes on a building in Florence…

And this final picture was not posed.  Nicholas and Thomas are walking back to our hotel today arm in arm.  It’s like they are walking off into the sunset at the end of this incredible journey! 

So tomorrow morning we are getting up at 4am to catch a 5am taxi to the airport.  We have a 7:15am flight to Paris from Florence (Air France 5049).  And then we catch a 10:35am flight from Paris (Air France 028) that lands in Dulles at 12:25pm (EDT).  So we should be home by dinnertime tomorrow.  We are sad to leave, and yet also excited to see our friends and family back in the U.S.

I promise to let you know when we make it home as soon as I can!  The blog will continue for at least another day!

We’re illegal!

April 25, 2010

Today marks our 91st day in Italy which means we are now here illegally.  Visitors to the European Union may stay up to 90 days without a visa.  We don’t have visas.  Oh well, deport us!

Today is also a national holiday in Italy.  It is Liberation Day.  On April 25, 1945, Allied forces liberated Italy from fascist control.  So I guess today would not be an appropriate day to arrest some Americans staying in Italy illegally!

But to be safe, we spent the day with Avvocato Giovanni Marchese.  (Avvocato is the title for a lawyer in Italy.)  Giovanni is a criminal defense attorney, so if the carabinieri came looking for us we knew Avvocato Marchese would be on the case!

It was the last time we would be able to get Nicholas and Thomas together with Gabriele and Caterina before we leave.  We do think we will actually be going home on Tuesday!  One student made it home on a flight yesterday, and four are in the air somewhere over the Atlantic as I write this.

We had a wonderful brunch with the Marcheses.  They even surprised me with a birthday cake and a beautiful scarf as a gift.  This coming Thursday is my birthday, and I almost got to celebrate it in Italy!  (Instead, I’ll be eating a hot dog on a baseball field at Thomas’ game on Thursday – assuming we’re not jet-lagged!)

Here are Nicholas and Thomas with Gabrielle and Caterina:

Caterina always does a wonderful prayer for us, and I finally got a videotape of it.  You’ve got to watch this – she is so cute!

Then we were treated to a puppet show by Caterina and Thomas.  (Nicholas and Gabriele joined in later!)

One blessing about our extended time in Italy was the extra time we were able to spend with the Marchese Family.  We are going to miss them a lot!

We moved out of Via delle Caldaie, 2

April 24, 2010

We had to move out of our apartment today at Via delle Caldaie, 2.  (House numbers come after the street names here in Italy.)  There are new tenants coming in tomorrow, so we left this morning to allow the owners the afternoon to prepare it for them.  We moved about one building away to the Palazzo Guagagni which is the small hotel where my family stayed back in February.  In fact, we are in the same room that Maria’s mom and my sister, Heidi, shared.

My students came to our rescue and helped us move!  So I didn’t have to make eight trips up and down our stairs with the suitcases and bags.  The hotel is up 117 steps (we counted them back in February), but thankfully there is an elevator.

So here we are in our apartment for the last time.  We will miss our second home in Italy where we lived for three months! 

Note that Thomas is dressed in his summer soccer game outfit for Club Sportivo Firenze.  He had another game today.  All the boys wear either this outfit or a sweatsuit to and from the soccer club on game day.  They get their uniform for the game in the locker room from their coaches. 

Here is the group of students that helped us move this morning at the bottom of our steps!

I videotaped them coming out of our door and dragging our suitcases down the street.  You get a sense of the busy life on our street.  A motorcycle passes, numerous people walk by, and a bicycle tries to get by.  You also see some graffiti on the wall next to our place – it looks rather shabby, but it’s amazing how we don’t even notice it anymore.  Florence is a really beautiful place, and we are going to miss it!

Once we got to the hotel, I also videotaped the view from the terrace.  You first see the building we used to live in and the street below where we just dragged the suitcases in the previous video.  Then I panned across the Santo Spirito Piazza and ended looking at the Santo Spirito church:

We then had lunch at Ricchi’s in the Santo Spirito Piazza.  Ricchi’s has an interior room with over a hundred pictures of what the plain facade of the Santo Spirito church could look like.

Then we went to what should be Thomas’ final soccer match at Club Sportivo Firenze.  Here are the students who came to the game:

Here is Thomas warming up:

And the teams waving to the crowd at the start of the game:

Thomas’ team ended up winning 3-2.  Thomas scored the first C.S. Firenze goal!!!  His teammate, Claudio, ripped a shot that the goalie somehow managed to save.  The ball rebounded right to Thomas who poked the ball into the net.  It tied the score 1-1.  Then Claudio took over and scored two impressive goals.  The other team got a second goal, and they put a lot of pressure on C.S. Firenze.  Yet Thomas’ team prevailed – here they are sliding into the goal to celebrate the victory!