Posted February 24, 2014.
We've been here over a month now, and here are a few of my thoughts...
Einstein was right. When he was trying to explain the theory of relativity to people who don't speak math (like me), he would say, "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity." Let's just agree that Europe is a very, very pretty girl. :) Can't believe how fast the time has gone.
Technology rocks. The last time I lived in Europe I did it without cell phone, texting, computer, email, internet, GPS, iPad, Audible, Kindle reader, FaceTime, iCal, Gospel Library, weather apps, online banking, iTunes, iPhoto (not even a digital camera!), Google Translate, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Fitbit, YNAB, Yelp or Trip Advisor. Things are MUCH easier now. Not to mention that this trip would be impossible if Rob's work wasn't completely online, and much easier because the kids are able to take online classes. Our wifi/internet here has been slow and crappy (thus so few blog posts, since it takes f o r e v e r to download pics and movies. Still, so grateful for the ability to keep in touch, carry all the information I need in my pocket, find my way around, and document this adventure.
People are more important than places and things. Yes, it is beautiful and charming and scenic here, and the gadgets we brought have been infinitely helpful, but our favorite moments have been because of the connections we've made, with old friends and new, and with each other. The kids loved my friends in Italy, and can't wait to meet my French family...the girls are especially excited because there are girls their ages. We've been able to meet people at church, and take the missionaries out to dinner, which was awesome. Even other people we've met on tours have made it more interesting and fun.
Homeschooling has pros and cons. Obviously we wouldn't be able to travel like this if we were tied down to a school. If the kids are focused and work quickly, we can get so much done in significantly less time, so we can go out and explore. The field trips here have been stellar, very educational and fun. But...that IF is a pretty big if. We've had some serious procrastination and distraction issues. And maybe a few complaints about the quality of the teacher. :) The jury is still out on this one.
I love my family. When in France, the cheese comes last. :) So here it is. This hasn't been one of those "oh-my-gosh-everyone-is-getting-along-all-the-time" trips. I don't think we've had a day without some form of whining, fighting or meltdown. In fact, I'm a little scared to go live in the Mezzasalma's basement for the next month...I'm not sure they're prepared for just how imperfectly human we are. Still, we've laughed uncontrollably, played more, and enjoyed most of our 24/7 together.
Hope to be able to upload photos soon! Love and miss you all.