"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, August 5, 2016


My favorite part of traveling is the people we meet.

When we caught our flight from Spain to Italy, the airport gate had a little play area for children. There were children of every nationality. I heard Spanish and Italian, Chinese and French, Portuguese and German, all being spoken ... or yelled out ... among the children.

My girls hopped right in. I sat back to watch along with the mass of parents.

A small handful of boys, the same age as Eliza, came up to her and started talking in differing languages. One reached out to touch her hair, gently, then smiled and waved her to join them. It surprised her at first and then she jumped into some game and was off and away to slide with Charlotte in tow.

Oh, if only our world were as simple as children make it.

At church that first Sunday in San Giovani, we met the members. A large number of them were refugees from parts of Africa. They had left everything and trusted in the arms of strangers.

When we made it to Fizziano in Northern Italy and attended church there, we felt those same welcoming arms. 

During the sacrament service, I was asked to share my testimony of the Savior. My heart was pretty full with feelings of gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ that makes us all feel unified and if we reach down deep and recognize that on this great big planet of our we are really one family, we aren't unlike those children. No barriers, no notions, no judgments.

Fizziano lay up windy and narrow roads high in the mountains and we were sure glad to get there after a long day of driving.

The sunsets were golden.

We had to get back into the groove of cooking for ourselves again.

Every grocery store has been an adventure as we navigate the indigenous cuisine available on the shelves.

Something clicked in these days and I realized that in ten short months, Christian would be headed out of our home.

My heart kind of squeezed a bit tighter.

He requested that we play a family yard game one night telling us how much playing together was his favorite thing.

I could have stood right there all night playing Boccie ball in the fading light.

Our Airbnb house was in a collection of four homes perched on the side of the mountain.  The lady at the front of the road made and sold bread a few days a week.

We stepped into her kitchen and told her we'd love to be on her delivery schedule for the week. She spoke not a word of English and didn't care one bit that we couldn't speak Italian. Undeterred, she would carry a one sided conversation right on through.

Her hot bread delivered to our door was a delight.

One of the other houses had the prettiest garden. I fall in love every time with the simplicity of sticks lashed and sweet peas climbing.

This is the narrow drive into our house.

We had to jump out and close those shutters just so we could pass with each coming and going.

We were pretty wiped out from the drive so on the first day, we decided to visit what we were told was an Italian grotto.

We arrived at a community pool full of local residents. Not quite the grotto we were expecting but a cultural experience, nonetheless.

We didn't spend much time in the water since the pool bottoms were covered in a thick green scum. But, boy, those Italian locals sure were loving that water on a hot summer day.

And poor Grant and Christian got there first uninvited gander at European nudity .. which was not their favorite.

But gave us all a shocked laugh.

We didn't stay long ... and I never got a picture of the pool itself cuz it just seemed kind of rude to snap pictures ... but those hills with towns clinging to the tops sure were pretty.

This area has been called the "Italian Riviera" for it's beautiful proximity of mountains to beaches.

Rested and recharged we were ready to see what else this coastline had to offer.

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