Everyone in the house has a PC now. The kids used their earnings from last summer to get themselves into the tech world.
Steedley got her first film role when the funding came through for Il Piccolo Rick. Granny looked after her in Sardinia for a week while Mum and Dad did the Pollyglot camp.
It was a chaotic time as Hamish spent 3 weeks in Milan filming “Sei Piu Bravo Che Un Ragazzo Dalla 5a” - “Are you smarter than a 10 year old” (or 5th grader in the USA) for Sky TV. So the helpers we got for the English camp took it in turns to sit in a TV studio.
George helped us at the camp and got paid for it.
We drove to the UK in the late summer, via Claire and Imogen in Geneva.
We had to go to London for the day to change Hamish's passport and Steedley had an appointment with Floris where the CEO explained about perfume making. A fascinating time, we were very privileged.
But most of the time was in "sunny" Southwold where, as expected the weather was 'variable'. Still the occassional outbreak of sunshine had us enjoying Granny's Expensive 3rd Shed.
Dad enjoyed the chance to nip out for quiet sets of 9 holes in the early morning and we all caught up on English culture!
We only got to see half the people we wanted to in the UK but luckily got to upset the Graham family, who took us off to West Wittering for some south coast beach where the kids all had great fun 'dune jumping'.
The trip back across Europe took us back to France, a couple of days in Brussels, Luxembourg, France, Germany - where we stayed with Cristoph, Juanita and Jasmine - Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and back into Italy..
New term, new school. We decided on Leonardo Da Vinci Scuola Media (Middle School) in Fermo because there a 3 separate classes. This means individual friends, more personal responsibility (remembering homework, books, gym kit, etc.), so individual development. The downside is 90 minutes in the car each day, but we get to talk on the journey at least and Dad tries to combine this with English teaching in some for or another. The school bus would leave at 06:50, which is way too early. The other shocker was the cost of school books which came in at over €500. The next shocker was that we can reclaim these costs if we have our (low) family income registered but of course the Comune failed to tell us this so we are stuffed for 2010. I am on their case for 2011.
We spent the New Year with Amy, Stefano and Tyler in Germany, which was a treat, though finding a way of eating German, instead of the preferred Italian, was a challenge! Gina made Tyler a birthday cake and the kids all had great fun at Tyler's skating birthday party. As well as skiing lessons from Stefano.
We even got snow back and the kids had to suffer almost a week at home, snowed in. The dogs didn't care, they just blanded in.
In addition to FAAM and Pollyglot, Gina is also a Professor for the Universita di Macerata, founded 1290 (for the Master Est and Beni Culturale - Art History) and Universita Marche (for the Engineering Faculty in Fermo), she also organised theFermo Chamber of Commerce, who took 5 local businesses to La Dolce Vita in London this March. It was an exhausting 6 days. While we were away Anna stayed at the house looking after the kids and her husband Nando drove them to school and their activities. It was our longest time apart.
Tim translates for various companies including Nuova Simonelli, where he trained their after sales service team in English and multi-cultural communication. They wanted to improve their social and business skills as they go all around the world. A wonderful team of people and a pleasure to help. Now I check out the coffee machines in each bar to see who has Nuova Simonelli! Along the way there is the usual spring rush to learn English so I am now Professor at the Universita di Urbino, founded 1506, Biotechnology Faculty in Fano and the Science Faculty in Sogesta, Urbino (together they involve 7 hours of teaching and 4 hours of driving on Tuesdays), the Universita di Macerata, Economics Faculty and the Universita Marche (as Gina's assistant). For all of these The Economist is a wonderful way to expand their minds, though I also have to check out Science and Nature magazines.
Of course the next struggle is to get paid for these activities. Sometimes it seems people spend their time finding excuses to mess around and not pay, which is very frustrating.
Steedley really loves her swimming twice a week and is getting very good. She has not sung in public recently, but was in a school theatre production at the gorgeous Teatro Aquila in Fermo. She is now getting down to doing her homework properly, which makes for less meetings at school and happiness all round.
Hamish is the goalie for the 5-a-side team at school. They play on Friday afternoons. He has made a bunch of friends at school, though being out in the country it is not always easy for them to come over. He is also getting into his studies more intensively.
Georgie plays soccer with the Lapedona team at Marina Palmense. He is doing well in school, which is wonderful. He got a 10/10 in Art, showing that his talent is appreciated (it is very rare to get over 8 in any subject at this school – which seems silly). We try to help them all by showing relevant films - so they get to see Troy and Ulysses for 'Epica', Natioanl Geographic and English culture with a variety from The Italian Job and Young Winston to Excalibur and The Battle of Britain.
From the US we get The Civil War and Beverly Hill Billies. Hey - culture's culture. At least they'll be well versed in diversity !
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