I am so, so behind on this blog. I have several hikes worth of photos to share, I think I’ve finally found the best pizza in all of Milan. I took Shiloh on a very long, hot 3 mile walk a few weeks ago to go eat bread-and-marmalade flavored gelato (it was worth it). We’ve been to Expo, we taught the kids how to wash the car. I’ve written the first 30 shitty pages towards the novel I’ve been kicking around for the last five years. I got a (small) job writing the newsletter for the Consulate. The kids have been sick. I don’t know if I’ve slept more than 5 hours in a night in weeks (divided of course, into 2-3 hour chuncks by baby coughing fits and cries for snuggles). I think I might finally know how to cook fish.
My amazing sister-in-law came to town last week. So far on her visit we’ve hiked the equivalent of 50 stories along the Ligurian coastline with the kids on our backs and picnic’d on a rocky spit of land whose name I learned after the fact, translates roughly to “Point Butt” in Italian. Chris swam in the bluest water I’ve ever seen. The kids ate a lot of gelato.
Last Friday, Chris’ sister watched the kids for me for a few hours while I got to meet and photograph and interview a famous chef. To repay the favor I took her to dinner at the fancy restaurant he was cooking at that night and took her photo with an apparently super famous rugby player. At that point, I think we were even.
But then owing to a stupendous train-ticket mix-up yesterday, she and I spent 6 hours on two trains with two tired kids. The ticket mix-up left us with just 1 hour in the city we’d been hoping to explore (Venice). We had just enough time to walk across the bridge and duck into the first restaurant we found with an empty table. As soon as we finished, it was time to get back to the station. The air-con broke on the trip home. The train was packed to bursting. It was 95 degrees. The train got delayed when we were 5 minutes away from Centrale Station. My kids cried. We’re no longer even and yet she spent half of today drawing all sorts of amazing doodles for my kids.
I owe her a crazy good bottle of wine.
With Chris working late nights and weekends too, I don’t know quite what I’d do without his sister here. I mean, I’d be fine, but I doubt I’d be having quite as much fun. Most people seem to think we are both nannies who happen to be friends and that my kids actually belong to someone else. Why else would we be playing so enthusiastically? Why else would all four of us have such wildly different skin tones, eye colors, hair colors? We laugh because there’s no other option really. When we tell the people inquiring after our services that Will and Shiloh are my children and that Chris’ sister is their aunt, they don’t ever really seem to believe us.
Somehow, without my realizing it, we’re well into summer. I find myself longing for our annual trip back to the homeland the trivial comforts of America: the green grass in my parents’ backyard, paying less than $7 for a week’s worth of laundry detergent, and being able to go to the grocery store without having to dress-up. But what I’m looking forward to most I think is being able to walk down the street with my family–with my parents, my kids, my in-laws without a single passerby stopping to ask who among us might the nanny be.