Our little bumblebee has been busy buzzing all over town – and we were right behind her with cameras and video rolling! Here are a couple of her recent adventures. Coincidentally, both stories fit in with the Easter theme perfectly; a fortunate blog occurrence given the upcoming Easter holiday.
Our little family likes it’s morning rituals. Jen and I enjoy drinking our American coffee (probably the one habit from home we don’t want to give up). Julia likes to chose her own breakfast and then eat it herself (even though half ends up on the floor).
However, Julia’s favorite morning ritual is going to see the galline (chickens) next door. Each day, as I back the car out of the garage – Jen and Julia walk next door to “go see the chickens”. There is a home next to our condo building that has a large chicken coop out back containing about a dozen chickens. Julia talks to them and calls them over by making clucking sounds. Sometimes they humor her and peck near her feet and other times they just go right on clucking by.
Julia and her galline (chickens)
On this particular day, Jen and Julia spent a bit more time visiting the chickens since I was out. All of a sudden, the chicken farmer appeared from around the corner to the delight of Julia and surprise of Jen. He walked right up to the girls and while Jen was ready to apologize for disturbing the chickens, he greeted Julia with a friendly smile and declared, “aspetta” (“just a moment”). He disappeared into the chicken coop and started rummaging around, to return a moment later with… a fresh egg! Julia squealed with delight as he handed her the egg through the fence. In fact, she could hardly contain her excitement so much so that Jen had to confiscate the golden brown treasure for fear of it being crushed in her hands. Jen was amazed that the egg was so fresh it was actually still warm.
“What a treasure!”
Julia was beaming with pride as she showed her new treasure to Franco and Claudia (our Aunt and Uncle) upstairs. However, just mere moments later that she had moved onto something new, as little kids will do (this time it was reading Italian celebrity gossip magazines). It was this window that gave Jen and Claudia the perfect opening to take the egg and cook it in a pan of creamy butter and velvety extra virgin olive oil.
Un poco olio, burro e sale (a little olive oil, butter and salt)
Ready to eat
Jen declared this particular egg to be the best she had ever tasted – I think Julia certainly agreed!
Sheep, Lamb, Dogs and a Few Donkeys for Good Measure
Jen’s mom arrived in Italy last week for a visit and we have spent a few days just relaxing and enjoying her company. But we have also spent several days going through the checklist of her favorite Italy/Lake Como activities.
Landing in Milano’s Malpensa airport (MXP)
Todays event was shopping at the luxury outlets in Lugano, Switzerland. I was preparing myself for a long day of bench-sitting, bag holding and “whichever you prefer, dear” ‘s. I even made sure my phone was fully charged so that I could play several rounds of “Plants vs. Zombies” on it to mask my boredom. But there was a miraculous turn of events – the shopping mall had a Casino attached to it!! So, while le donne (the ladies) spent three-four hours picking out outfits (mainly for Julia) – I was splitting 8’s and doubling down on 10’s. I have to say… I’ll be happy to take Jen shopping any day of the week!
Even though I had a good run of cards and left happy, Julia came out the big winner with some wonderful outfits from her nonna (grandma). And even though she’s now ready to walk down the high fashioned streets of Milano this spring – the real gem of the day occurred on our way home from the outlets.
A snow-flecked field full of sheep
We were nearly home when our eyes simultaneously gazed left toward a field full of sheep. There were sheep herders and sheep dogs keeping the gentle animals from wandering onto the unfenced road. There were also cute baby lambs and even some donkey’s to keep them all company. We were perplexed, as we have driven by this field nearly every day and never seen a sheep – let alone hundreds of them. We decided to pull over and let Julia have some fun.
“Will you look at this?!”
“Come here guys… I don’t bite”
After some friendly banter with a wonderful sheep herder, we learned that each year at this time farmers bring their sheep down from the mountains into town. They come by train, truck and foot. They arrive early for the Easter holiday, because it is traditional for nearly every family in Italy to serve agnello (lamb) on Easter. They come down early to give the sheep exercise and strike their deals with the local butchers.
Julia had a wonderful time playing with the sheep – she was able to get right up next to them.