Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Enough about Italy, we're going on a Cruise!!

3 working days until the BIG vacation! 15 days on the Disney Magic, from California to Florida through the Panama Canal.

Here's our itinerary:
  • Sunday August 17 - Fly to LA, Embark
  • Monday August 18 - Sea
  • Tuesday August 19 - Cabo San Lucas
  • Wednesday Aug 20 - Puerto Vallarta
  • Thursday Aug 21 - Sea
  • Friday Aug 22 - Acapulco
  • Saturday Aug 23 - Sea
  • Sunday Aug 24 - Sea
  • Monday Aug 25 - PANAMA CANAL (watch us go through at: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html)
  • Tuesday Aug 26 - Cartegena
  • Wednesday Aug 27 - Sea
  • Thursday Aug 28 - Aruba
  • Friday Aug 29 - Sea
  • Saturday Aug 30 - Sea
  • Sunday Aug 31 - Castaway Cay (Disney's Island)
  • Monday September 1 - Debark in Port Canaveral, Fly home

We've done the shopping for cruise clothes and sunscreen. We've done the research, we have plans for every port. We've got the passports. We just need to pack!

Monday, August 11, 2008

First of Many

Yesterday was a hard day. Probably the first of many.

Brandon was upset in the morning about Stevie (our cat), and the fact that we have to find him a new home. I had not realized how attached he is to Stevie, but as Brandon says, "He is part of our family!" We talked about it for a while, and decided to make a Stevie scrapbook the he could take with him to Italy. I had the book, we went to Creative Crafts for a few stickers and rub ons, and then searched our old photos to find our favorite Stevie pictures. This seemed to help for the moment. I'm sure there will be many more tears from him and from me.

In the course of this, it was fun to look at many old photos. Here's my all time favorite photo of Stevie!

Patrick was also feeling like we are giving up a lot to go... We talked for a while and ended up sorting out our hall closet - what we'll take, store, sell and throw away. There is not much that we need to take! Just doing something helped him feel better.
Only 6 days until our cruise. Last night I researched our Cartagena port stop. Time to get packing!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Want to learn Italian with me?

Katey sent me a link yesterday to this great website for language learning:

It's free and seems to work pretty well! It uses images and different types of activities to help you learn, it sounds similar to Rosetta Stone. I did the first two Italian lessons last night and learned: I am, you are, he is, she is, man, woman, girl, boy, short, tall, rich, poor, old, young, I am not... It's not going to help us rent an apartment yet but it's a start. :)

The website also has you enter other languages you know, and as I finish exercises it's also sending me other people's German exercises to review. So I guess I'll be brushing up on my German at the same time - that can't hurt!

That reminds me of an interesting thing I noticed when I went to Italy in June... As I was reading the Italian signs or hearing the language, German words and phrases started coming back to me. It's like my brain said "I'm in a place that speaks a different language, access this part of the brain now..." Too bad it wasn't actually helpful!

I am finding that I'm excited to learn a new language and also to remember my German. Maybe it's just learning something new, or maybe it's because I'll really be able to use it in the near future. Whatever the reason, it's fun! Ciao!

PS - Yesterday's photo was of Piazzo Duomo in Milan. Today's is of a backstage area for a theater we saw while wandering around Milan - these little girls in tutus were too cute! I only had a half a day of sightseeing while I was there in June, so I don't have too many photos, but it's fun to share!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

We're going to Italy!

Ciao a tutti! (Hello to all!)

Yes, it's official. I've been offered and have accepted a 2 year assignment to Italy! I'll still be working for the same company, but one other engineer and I are going over to provide technical and business support working with another company. This is a bit of a career change - I'm going from management back to engineering for this job - but it's a fantastic opportunity to live and work and travel in Europe.

So, later this year, Patrick, Brandon and I will be packing up our house, renting it out and finding a new home somewhere in the Milan area. With all of the relocation and immigration bureaucracy, we probably won't be going until November at the earliest and the end of the year at the latest. Our dog Tasha will be going to live with Patrick's sister Heather and her family in Colorado and we're looking for a new home for our cat Stevie.

There is so much to do and yet it's kind of a "hurry up and wait" situation right now. We should be focused on our cruise in 10 days but it's gotten a bit overshadowed by this new adventure ahead of us. Life brings lots of interesting twists and turns, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Off in 14 days!

Time is getting close! 14 days from right now (10:21 am) we should be in LA and getting ready to head to the terminal for our cruise. After what seems forever since we made our plans in January 2007, it's so close, yet we are so distracted!

We've been distracted by...
Patrick finished another successful year with da Vinci Days a couple of weeks ago...
My trip to Colorado for the reunion...
At work, for the transfer project I'm leading, schedule is coming down to the wire...
Organizational changes are also starting to happen at work, I already have a new boss...
Waiting for the announcement on the Italy job and being able to get on with our lives...

All of this and, oh yeah, we have an amazing cruise vacation in two weeks. It almost seems a background thing right now! Funny how life happens this way.