The Accidentally Bilingual Child

We’ve passed the halfway point of our time in Italy. The youngest–who asks me to call him the Piccolino, or the very little one–has spent 13 months in Italian preschool. Being the little brother of one of the world’s most articulate and conversant preschoolers meant he developed his language in a big shadow, often talked… Continue reading The Accidentally Bilingual Child

Lately…

Well hi! I looked at the calendar, then the last date I posted. It has happened again: I lost track of all the things we’ve been up to and didn’t get around to posting them. I’ll regret it, I always do. The details of our travels get lost with time. I don’t want to let… Continue reading Lately…

We Moved Overseas 5 Years Ago Today

Facebook reminded me: on this day in 2011 we boarded a plane to move to England. The photo of our pile of luggage – six massive bags high – next to baby Walden in his car seat is very blurry. So here’s the front door of our first house in England, on Blomfield Street. It… Continue reading We Moved Overseas 5 Years Ago Today

The Rituals of Coffee

The best part of being a foreigner is the opportunity to connect with other foreigners. (Stranieri is the Italian word for us. Sounds like strangers, no? Without a doubt we seem strange to Italians.) Far from home, we gravitate toward each other for a sense of understanding and community. We offer each other empathy and support. And… Continue reading The Rituals of Coffee

Being a Foreign Mom

My Italian is coming along, slowly, after seven months in Italy. I can get by in many cases, with lots of awkward pauses, if I let go of feeling embarrassed to sound like a toddler (with a bad accent to boot). There is usually much pointing and gesturing. Of course, many people who do speak some English… Continue reading Being a Foreign Mom

Missed Messages

Today I had planned to meet some kind strangers from the internet to try rowing. (This is part of my strategy for making non-American friends. It will be fine.) Then the kids put up a fight about getting to school. Then my phone stopped receiving text messages or an internet signal, and there I was, late,… Continue reading Missed Messages

Move-In Day Eve

We’re in our fifth week of living in a studio loft hotel room (with a mostly frosted glass wall to the bathroom). We’ve been here long enough that it feels normal. The kids are comfortable navigating the busy breakfast bar. The staff knows us. I expect to see Bertie’s face plastered against the glass while I’m… Continue reading Move-In Day Eve

Englishican

I can’t help but mumble “Sorry” when I’m inconveniencing someone in any way, say, by entering their peripheral view at the grocery store. If you hold the door for me, I’ll probably say “sorry” and “thank you.” It became such a habit, uttering “sorry” upon any human contact, after three years in England. At least… Continue reading Englishican

That Time We Visited Versailles

We visited Paris on our honeymoon nine years ago. In our two days there, we explored the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, ate lobster and creme brulee with champagne at midnight in the rain and watched Tour de France racers ride up and down Champs-Elysees for hours. I have since wished that we’d had time to… Continue reading That Time We Visited Versailles