(Update:  I added a couple of new photos below.)

I’ve not been adding the blog as often lately: Bob is busy doing his things, Sarie is busy doing her things, and their lives are, for the most part, their lives. And my own, which has followed theirs for so long, hasn’t had time to take a decidedly new direction yet. I’ve hit the “in betweens.”

But there’s some news:

Bob is about to embark on a travel-intensive month. Among other places, he is going to Japan. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan! So I’m hoping for a repeat in a few years during which I will be free to go along, having let him work out all the glitches. Meanwhile, I think I’m going to invite some people over for dinner while he’s gone.

He’s also studying for his Italian driver’s license test. Because US driver’s licenses are issued by states, few European countries have worked out reciprocal agreements with the US for license exchange. So you have to start over like a new driver. Also, the test is much more comprehensive, coming from a bank of 6400 questions–in Italian. You can miss 4/40 of them. Bob says it’s the hardest thing he’s done since passing the bar.

So for now, no one in the family can drive. Thank goodness there’s public transportation!


Sarie’s and friends’ baroque group (photo credit Sergio Patria, the cellist’s father)

Sarie doesn’t much care for the IB program.  She is literally making X marks in a paper calendar until she’s done.  But she’s hanging in there, and it’s likely good practice, at this age, to simply manage something for two years whether you like it or not, because it shows you why it might be worth working hard and thinking creatively to find a way to do something you like instead. And in the end, she’ll get the piece of paper she needs to proceed with her music studies.

Meanwhile, she does like her Baroque group.  They’ve played in two other venues since my Castle Concert post, and they’ve added two new members to the group. I hear rumors that they’re searching for basses and lutes. And yesterday they tried a vocal encore that went over well. They don’t seem to have much trouble getting venues and press. And they even get paid!


A couple of photos from yesterday’s concert in Biella (photos by Sergio Patria).

Yesterday Bob and I went to Biella to hear them play at, of all things, a medical conference. Before the concert, we found ourselves listening to a lecture on medical developments in the 17th and 18th centuries (microscopes, mapping the circulatory system, the last widespread plague, and smallpox vaccines). It was like a review of the first week of tenth grade biology, which was fine with me because I used it for a language lesson. And now I know, in addition to tenth grade biology, that the Italian classic I Promessi Sposi includes an outbreak of the plague.

During the concert, I was amused to hear all the old ladies in the audience whispering to each other, after each movement, the name of the next one.  “Adagio…allegro…siciliana…” Until, during one of the Corelli pieces, Bruno stamped. That shook them up! All throughout, of course, there were the requisite “Che bella!”s


As for me, I’ve been shuffling a lot of papers lately and I think it’s time for a break.  Today I think I’ll do some housework, listen to a movie in Italian, and try some more artwork.

Che bella!


4 thoughts on “News

  1. I enjoyed the pictures, Laura. I looks like Sarie is enjoying her music. And FWIW, I think you have a good perspective on the IB program. Two of Kristen’s best friends are in the IB program (one graduates this year.) I’m not terribly impressed, however it is well respected and does seem to open college doors for them. Your mention of Japan made me think of the book Silence. I finished it and I’m still pondering it. Maybe I’ll find a chance to write about it, but in case I don’t, I recommend it.

    1. Yes, Silence is on my short list, too! Thanks for the recommendation.

      As for the IB, particularly as administered in Italy, well, it’s been an education, especially in “collusion.” That’s bureaucratic-speak for cheating, and it’s rampant. Hilarious, because everything else is so very UNESCO.

  2. Love reading your updates and so admire your flexibility and adaptations to your life abroad. And I do hope to see more of your artwork in the future. As a stick figure challenged artist I am endlessly impressed by the ability to draw! PS We sure miss you guys at Shawnee! I’ll send you a link to James’ youtube vid from the slopes and lodge this year.

    1. Hi Monica! Nice to hear from you! (I just saw your e-mail pop up.) I happen to be drawing another ink guy (an angel, actually) at the moment, but it was such an unsuccessful attempt that I think I’ll wait for a better one.

      Would you believe we haven’t been skiing once?! Small detail of needing an Italian driver’s license–and enough time off. I’d love to see the video.

      As for flexibility, remember how we used to talk about control idols (or whatever we called them) at coop? Well, guess I better get over that one!

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