Friday, July 29, 2011

Justin Bieber and tattoos at 5. god help us

Every year we come home for the holidays. I want my children to know their heritage, I want them to be familiar with the culture, their roots, the food and the local expressions. And what better way than to throw them in the deep end with their seven (yes, seven) Marbella based cousins.

Every year they have a blast. Every year their bond grows stronger and I watch them try hard to imitate not only what the cousins say, but how they say it: tone, swear words and whining. True language lessons.

Every year my kids learn one or two things that I wish I could forget to put in the suitcase and leave behind. Last year it was pinching when fighting and the accusation of "lyer!", this year, it's fake tattoos and Justin Bieber songs. My kid is 5 years old people.... god help us

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Amsterdam_on things I'll miss from holland when I am gone 8

For the last two and a half years I've lived 45 minutes from Amsterdam, a city many dream of as the ultimate alternative city. In hind sight I feel I've made good use of it. I've gone there for art shows, for nice dinners, for lazy strolls, queens day or shopping. Here are some pics from my last visit. We met with some friends for lunch, strolled over for coffee (the traditional type) and then to a photo exhibition at FOAM by Anton Corbijn, one of my favourite photographers, (& one I've talked about before). Then more strolling, a bit of shopping, nearly got a tattoo, and then dinner with some other friends.

Monday, July 25, 2011

the fly and the tupperware

I caught M the princess (otherwise known as princess monkey) up on the counter (again) because she was trying to catch a fly with a tupperware.

I told her to please get down before she cracked her skull open, and that there was no way that she could catch the fly because they are too fast.

I took this photo when I realized she had actually caught the fly, was balancing against the window and quietly pondering as to her next step, no so much concerned about getting herself out of there as to how to keep the fly inside the tupperware

.... and this is why I know that this girl can achieve anything she puts her mind to.

PS to read another classic of the princess monkey go to the story of the princess and the frog

Monday, July 18, 2011

on Italy and growing roots

I see our visits to Italy as an essential part of my kids’ upbringing, because their father is Italian, because half their family is Italian, because I want their cousins and uncles, and the fishmongers and the horses that go around town showing the tourists every year to be tattooed in their subconscious, so that when they are older and visit Italy, a country where they will probably never live in, they will feel a part of it, or rather, they will feel that it is a part of them.

We have a few traditions like going back to Mugoni beach and getting Rafaello from the bar delle ninfe to save us a couple of chairs by the tree so we’ll have shade when it gets too hot. The same tree that my kids have been climbing since they could walk. My daughter only comes down to swim. There is the Zio Franceso selling fresh coconut at ridiculous prices to the tune of

“Coco del amore, ti rinfresca il cuore”

my kids run to the sound of that tune screaming "coco!"

Lunch for us consists of tomatoes so red they are obscene, fresh mozzarella and rocket that is so strong it is almost spicy. It is the heavy southern sun that makes the vegetables and the fruits so wonderful here. The kids for the most part eat pasta, every day, I gave up on that battle a while back, I figured they can survive 10 days of only pasta a year, and my mother in law just cannot see why eating pasta could ever be a bad idea.

We visit trouble’s godfather in his country side home, a large family gathering with more plates and sweets that anyone could hope for, that is, except for the kids that have grown to expect it. They get presents, pick fruits and vegetables from the garden, and come back home sick to their stomachs but happy.

There is the afternoon passeggiata by the bastione, the old medieval wall overlooking the sea, with the obligatory stop by Ciro for ice cream, the best ice cream in the entire world.

For dinner we eat fish on the terrace that overlooks the port and watch lazily as the sun sets. The fish is fresh from that morning’s early walk to the fish market, (the one I get to sleep through). This year they kids managed to charm the guy every morning, bringing back free crabs which they initially intended as pets, but ended up as part of the gnocchetti sauce. I can't eat them for the life of me (although I love the sauce), but my kids clearly have no problem pulling the little legs apart. It appears that they are indeed Italian...

Monday, July 11, 2011

July family (self) portrait

I was aiming for an over the top holidays 60's family portrait.

One thing I have learned is that if self portrait is hard, family self portrait is the hardest because you get one go, maybe two max, and about 30 seconds to set up.

Although technically I would have liked to change 100 things, I am happy with this one. As you can see we are struggling here....

Click on each month to see other portraits, or go to January to find out what this is all about:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

on things I'll miss from Holland when I'm gone 6_ herring

The correct way to eat these is to dip one in bits of raw onion, then grab it by the tail and insert full fish in mouth (mouth facing up, much like the seals in the zoo really). It sounds odd and a bit disgusting, but it is TOTALLY nice, and great hang over food...

Monday, July 4, 2011