Day 39 of lockdown in Italy

Day 39 of lockdown in Italy: Today filled my heart with joy. At 1pm I joined a Zoom chat session with about 25 of the AFS exchange students who spent a year in Thailand in 1987/88. Many of them are people I have stayed in touch with, visited in their home countries, and had come and stay with us in Australia, London and Italy.

To say I was smiling and buzzing after chatting for 2.5 hours with these amazing people who are based in NZ, US, UK, Germany, Thailand, Sweden, Japan, Australia and South Africa would be an understatement.

We shared memories of our year as teenagers running amok in different parts of Thailand, the 1993 reunion, travels, families, politics, toilet paper habits, COVID-19 and lockdown and much more. My AFS exchange experience was a cliched life changing event, and set me on a life path that I could never have imagined. I LOVE being part of the AFS family and reconnecting with AFS friends is one of my all time favourite things.

It really lifted my spirits. It was like getting a big virtual hug. And thank you to everyone for so gallantly listening to my complaining and babbling. If anyone wants to come and visit us in Italy while we're here you're very welcome...but I'll understand if for some reason you can't make it happen. 🙂

I went straight from the AFS Zoom marathon chat to teaching 3 ten year old boys. Today's English lesson was focusing on healthy eating. I could almost hear their eyes rolling back in their heads, not to mention the audible yawn.

The lesson included an introduction to a healthy chocolate cake recipe (surely an oxymoron when it still contained sugar, butter and chocollate). I made the mistage of asking them if they liked to cook. I also asked what they liked to cook. The problem is that I have a 10 year old daughter who is very interested in cooking, learning, experimenting and the eating. It's a given that she is probably in the kitchen with us at some stage during the day when food and meals are being prepared.

These three Italian boys made it quite clear that they play (no doubt play station) when their mothers are in the kitchen. They don't cook. They can't cook, and they can't even imagine helping in the kitchen. This is so very different to Gigi's experience as a boy, spending hours in the kitchen with his grandmother, and I wonder if it's a reflection of these particular households or a shift in the culture. Either way, it saddens me. Cooking is one of THE most important life skills regardless of gender.

So after making them write out an extra ten sentences to ease my frustration that they don't and can't cook at all I went into the kitchen. I finished off the huge pot of minestrone that I put on this morning. Miss S and I made a batch of double choc biscuits using a new recipe. I'm not keen on them (too much chocolate) but the others gave them 5 stars. I also went to make an apple strudel only to realise we don't have enough apples, so I made a savoury strudel with a cheesy, curry vegetable filling. It was so good I had to take a bow while we were eating it.

Except tomorrow I need to mask up and head to the local fruit and veg shop to replenish the fresh produce again. Hopefully I won't run into the disapproving police chief again. I'll just avert my gaze and walk the other way if I do see him.

The two room fort is still standing although Miss S has returned to sleeping in her own bed. She joined the Friday night UK Brownie Zoom meeting again tonight to play a game using Emojis to guess Disney movies. I fall asleep in kid's movies so I was no help at all.

Gigi tackled the bureacracy of applying for a full refund for our cancelled Air BnB booking for Barcelona next weekend, and continues to work on our escape plan. I think we need to come up with a four prong approach to cover the various scenarios of being unable to leave the region, of being able to move within Italy but not cross borders, of being able to fly out of Italy and abandoning our lives and car and finding ourselves somewhere and getting stuck in lockdown once again.

It's the weekend tomorrow. We have a birthday party in Australia to attend virtually and I'm going to start planning my virtual 50th.

Thanks for the AFS smiles today. I really appreciated the boost.

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