Monday, September 27, 2010

We went yard-sale-ing!

One of the joys of Saturday mornings in America--if you're in the mood-- are the ubiquitous yard sales (where one man's junk is another man's treasure), and this weekend we decided to venture forth.  Of course, we can't really buy much with the strict weight restrictions on suitcases these days, but we thought perhaps there would be a few small things at prices to match.

The neighborhood where we are living had they bi-annual yard sale starting at 7 a.m and nearby Daniel Island had theirs on Saturday too.   Pio got a set of golf clubs for his golf buddy in Italy and two golf bags--one beautiful leather, and one hard for airline travel--for himself.  One of the clubs was identical to one he had bought for himself several years ago for $120...and he paid $20 for all.  Because golf clubs are very expensive in Italy, even with the shipping costs his friend will be way ahead.

 I got a nice light green leather 9West bag for myself ($1), a green bottle vase for a friend (25 cents) and an embroidered duvet cover for my king size bed that had just been dry cleaned (for more than the $5 I paid).  Dante was out looking for some video games or consoles, but only found a free Rubric's cube (to drive us all crazy) and some more shorts--it's been quite hot and I only brought two pair with us.

Yard sales, at least in my area of Italy, are unknown.  Maybe because:

A.  they are illegal (because sales taxes can't be collected),
B  .they are unpopular (because Italians don't like the idea of buying "used items" from strangers)...or
C.  Italians just do not have a lot of extra stuff laying around they need to get rid of.

 I suspect it's "all of the above"!  Though there are some markets where used things are sold, I've never seen things placed out in front of a person's home (well, maybe eggs or honey or a used car for sale, but that's different).

Anyway, this was the way we spent our recent Saturday morning, American-style.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Charleston, first impressions...

Well, less than a month ago we were eating bangers and mash--now it's grits (shown here with eggs and bacon for breakfast), washed down with sweet tea!

We've been in Charleston for about 10 days now, adjusting to life in the deep south and homeschooling.

So far we've seen dophins in the harbor, walked around downtown, ate some good meals (Jestine's Kitchen and Poe's Tavern are tied for first place in our book), spent a day at a plantation (where the guide-tour-in-training was a retired Bellport High School principal!) and briefly visited a few hot, but beautiful beaches.  Pio loves the golfing but has pulled a muscle so is out of commision for the time being.  Dante loves the Apple store, a generic version of which can be found is most cities (he dreams about owning an i-touch) and all the fried food.  As for me, I'm a sucker for the Spanish Moss which drapes from many of the trees and the different shore birds found here in the marshy low country we are surrounded by.

.Homeschooling is our other big adventure.  I think it's going well, but still it's hard not to have some self-doubts about the decision, especially if we are looking to re-enroll him in Italian schools in September 2011.  So far, I'm happy with our curriculum, and our supervising teacher (to whom we must send all work every two weeks for grading).  We'll get a report card and transcript as he's technically enrolled in long-distance learning program at a private school in Vermont.  Dante is cooperating nicely.

 It's just a little difficult  to find "ME" time as we do school most mornings and find the afternoons too hot to do anything outside.  The neighborhood kids Dante has befriended don't get home from school until 4 pm so there a boredom gap for Dante.  He's spending his time using Skype to contact his friends in Italy and find out what's new there.  He wishes he had his xbox 360 here to help fill some time in the afternoons.  He is enrolled in a Monday evening cartooning class and next week we meet other homeschooled kids at a roller skating party.

This coming week brings the  MOJA arts festival  and we've got tickets to two events that are billed as "fun for the entire family"   Tonight there's the kick-off Caribbean Street Parade and Reggae block party downtown, and we'll go for a while, then find a bite to eat.  Saturday there's a neighborhood yard sale (haven't been to one of them in a long while!), then the farmer's market in Charleston which I'd like to check out and maybe a wine tour/tasting in the afternoon (yes, Charleston has a winery).  Maybe Pio will feel a little less homesick?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Liverpool was Fab, Mates!

We're back from Liverpool and had a wonderful time.  Dante especially loved the bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes) and peas, mushy or otherwise, were the only other vegetable, aside from potatoes, we found in the restaurants.  Pio loved the draft beer, which, when they added the malt at the end, left sudsy bubbles spilling over the rim of the glass.  The Scousers were more than friendly and, with eyes closed, every male sounded like you were talking to Paul, John, Ringo or George!

We originally chose Liverpool to visit Dante's homework tutor who is now aupair-ing there and had the week off to show us around (thanks F!)  The Bootleg Beatles and the Matthew Street Festival were a lot of fun and Wicked (which we saw on a day-trip by train to London) was outstanding.  Pio can't stop talking about the golf course he had the chance to play twice, thanks to a very nice neighbor. Our home-exchangers loved our dogs and took excellent care of them, which allowed us to really enjoy ourselves.  Oh, and we really couldn't get the hang of driving on the "wrong side" (and stick shift too!) so we went everywhere by train, bus or taxi and that was fine too.  Cheers Looove!