Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ischia!
Going on vacation with five teenage girls means that in addition to the usual confusion of our lives, you can add a girl falling down the hill to our rental house on the way home, a girl fainting after getting out of the thermal pool, girls who don't eat cheese, garlic, fried food, most green vegetables, whole wheat, olives, etc., and lots of hair on the white floor of the rental house.









All in all, everyone is alive and there was at least one all-girl-stay-up-to-five-AM-chat-a-thon which I consider a great success. Also I did not get sick on the ferry to get here and no one has gotten any sunburn that has required intensive care. What else can you ask for?

 Here is F, looking like an ad for weed:










F and I have gone to the Poseidon thermal park and beach almost every day because it is an easy, slice of heaven, right next to the house and worth every cent. There are dozens of salt water pools to choose from with an array of temperatures; and, if you don't faint, it is lovely. By the way, the girl who fainted fell into the arms of her buddies and a very sweet woman on the cleaning crew and was brought immediately to a park doctor who monitored her blood pressure. Luckily, I was not there and she was just fine minutes later. The park is full of Russian and German tourists and has a nice international ambience to it. The people who work there are cheerful and helpful. It seems they are happy for the work exists for them for less than half the year, as the place is really only at full force for the high season in the summer.









While, we have been gone Courtney took Peace and Tina to her beach club for the first time and they had a blast!











The airbnb house itself is a very grandma affair with uncomfortable beds that the girls have to cram themselves into. On the good side, the 100 meter terrace with a view of the sunsets on the water is amazing. The lady next door is a grandma who runs a daycare for her many hyperactive grandchildren:  they are awful, loud, and awfully loud. There is not much night life here for the girls. Maybe it was not an ideal choice for them, but if you don't go to the same beach in Elba or Sardegna that everyone we know goes to, it is not easy to figure out an ideal teenage beach vacation in Italy where a soda doesn't cost 16 euros. So there's that.

In the end, it was a long trip home. The girls bonded. We are all tan for the first time in history. F says he feels like Italy is home, despite all of the cultural differences and language confusion; and I feel like we finally put both feet in the water and found we were not over our heads for the first time in a long time.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mary J made us happy
God Bless Courtney. It was her crazy idea to take Jennifer and Tina and the babies to their first concert. And who better than Mary J Blige and Erykah Badu? There was a long break between the two acts and when Mary J finished emoting it was hard to shift gears to the much slower groove that Badu was bringing. The crowd in Lucca seemed to be all about the Badu, but my crew was all about Mary.














We also gave out the rest of the money that we had for them, as we agreed. We also had bags of clothes for them since some kind people think of us as their donation hot spot. 

It is Job's birthday on Saturday so F made sure to drop off a homemade coconut cake for him, as well. He said they were very excited and chatty when he dropped by to pick them up. 

We found Paul a fridge that he wanted, but no one has a car big enough to transport it. Sum total: 19 phone calls so far. 

Emmanuel wrote me a completely incomprehensible text. I was worried when I put together the phonetic spellings of the words "disowned" and "shit," but I got my courage up to call him. We worked it out. He wanted to know that I still love him after he quit the job we got him. I told him how I wished him well and that the love was not conditional. I also told him that I was angry and disappointed at first, but that the economic part of the group is  over for everyone at this point. He said he didn't care about the money, just the relationship. Then he explained his text which was a long metaphor about how a mother shouldn't beat a baby just because it's hand touches shit. I think I was supposed to be the mother in this story, but, anyway, we worked it out. 

Now if we could just unload that fridge, I could concentrate on taking five teenage girls to Ischia and surviving the boat trip. There is not enough motion sickness medicine in the world. 





Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Peace in the Park
 Nothing dramatic. Just some park time and some grocery shopping. It was very nice. Peace is the best 10-month-old talker in the world.