Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meet me in Florence

 As we approached the Hotel in Florence that I stayed in 3 years ago, I started to get nervous and excited. I had been looking forward to meeting my sister in Italy for months When I came around the corner and saw Brooke, I instantly started to cry. We cried as we hugged each other and I couldn't believe that we are both so lucky to be where we are today- and that we were able to meet in Florence, Italy. She is here in Italy doing the same Study Abroad program that I did with my other sister, Mackenzie, 3 years ago. Which means she also has the most amazing Director to tell her all about Giotto, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Michelangelo etc...

 Meet Steve. 
Steve showed me and 16 other girls what Italy was all about. We gasped in Rome when we saw the Colosseum for the first time. We gazed in awe at the Sistine Chapel. We soaked in the mosaics of Ravenna and had some much fun taking pictures in the rain while standing in the Piazza del Campo in Siena. I fell in love with Tivoli, learned about Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise in Florence, took very touristy pictures of the Leaning Tower in Pisa, discovered all the beauty of Cinque Terra while sharing a tent with my sister, and bought a nativity from Assisi where they were first created.
Three years ago, I learned things about Italy that helped prepare me to live in Bologna with my family.

 Steve only has to keep this program running for another 18 years until Taryn can experience it too. They were just talking about Michelangelo...

 A fun lunch we had together in Fiesole. Thanks Steve for always finding awesome places to eat amazing Italian food. I loved the brightly colored tables, beautiful plates and the great company.

Brooke took us to her favorite gelato place, Festival, where I ran into a girl I knew from years ago in Arizona. Small world!

Brooke is so fun to travel with. She's so happy and always has a cool story to tell about one of her experiences here or there. She helped with Taryn a ton and she was super easy going which is great when you have to do diaper changes on park benches or when we let Taryn run around to get her wiggles out. And she was happy to ride the carousel with Taryn. She is doing everything the right way on her Study Abroad and taking advantage of the time she has there. She is awesome!

We saw bits of Mille Miglia 2012 in Florence (and later in Bologna too) which is a course (that was once an official race) that begins in Rome each year. It's really a fun parade of cars, deeply rooted in tradition.

 The second we got out into the gardens of Giardino di Boboli, Taryn sat on the ground and played with the rocks. We tried to get her to tour the gardens with us....but this is what happened....

 Crying because we tried to pick her up which meant she was away from the rocks. We wanted her to come along and we tried to move her. 
After being in and out of a stroller all day (and only sleeping for 3 hours at night with an hour long afternoon nap) we decided it was ok for her to play with the rocks if it made her happy. Tyson volunteered for the first shift of watching Taryn play with rocks while Brooke and I toured the gardens.

 And the above picture is what we saw on our way down to switch with Tyson. What a wonderful Dad he is. Reason # 1,342 why I love him. (sitting in the rocks playing together)

 A failed mother daughter picture. The bottle made Taryn happy but we couldn't get it out of her mouth or out of the picture. Oh well, she's still a cutie.
We said goodbye to Brooke before she headed off to meet her group for dinner. Taryn threw open her arms and wanted a big hug multiple times. We were worried that Taryn wouldn't warm up to Brooke very fast but we had nothing to worry about. It was wonderful to see Brooke and to be able to spend time with her in Italy and to meet back up with Steve in Florence 3 years later.

I credit Steve for helping me develop a greater love for Italy-a love that is rooted in art, culture, tradition, the people, the transportation, the food, and the sights. Thank you Steve, for allowing me to have that experience 3 years ago that would so greatly prepare me for the adventure I am on now with my little family in Bologna, Italy.
Ci Vediamo


  1. I LOVE this. It made me cry thinking of you being reunited with some far away family after so long! :) I wish we could have come to visit you... definitely on your next adventure.

    Love you guys! Thanks for the birthday wishes, and so happy that you got to see Brooke and spend some time with her!

  2. Looks like an incredible sister day! What a fun memory you will always have!