Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Photo update...

Sorry for the delay with adding pictures - we don't have internet readily accessible at the moment, so I'll add photos as soon as I have more time on-line! Check back soon!

A day out in Noto

This past Saturday we joined our friends, the Sapersteins, on a day trip to the beautiful and historic city of Noto - on the southeast coast of the island. The original city of Noto was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1693 and then completely rebuilt in the baroque style of architecture in the years that followed. The "new" city was built 15 km away from the sight of the original city with great attention to detail and some very impressive civil engineering. Now in 2010, we were also able to enjoy the fruits of the massive renovations that have taken place over the last 10 years to restore much of the original splendor to the city's cathedrals, gov't buildings, and other attractions.

Noto is also home to two very famous gelato shops (Lonely Planet calls them the two best ice cream shops in the world!), so we made sure to stop in and have a treat during our walk around the town. Our family went for one traditional flavor (strawberry) and one more unusual flavor (chocolate with cinnamon and orange peel). To quote Josh on the taste of the second choice "How can we come to the best gelato shop in the world and choose a flavor this terrible." (Gelato is not quite as straight forward as ice cream when it comes to choosing flavors - when faced with the choices of basil, various cheeses, and other herbs in your icy cold treat it seems like some more information/education is more on that later!) Oh well, that left more for me to eat!

After some more roaming around in Noto we decided to head for the beach - since it was the last true weekend of summer. We went to Avola - a quaint little town on the Ionian Sea - and enjoyed the late afternoon sun while the kids played in the sand and splashed in the water (though the breeze made us all surprisingly chilly). This was followed by a delicious pizza dinner at a trattoria in town and then the hour long drive back home. It was a wonderful day for our first big outing on the island of Sicilia.

Destination: Sicily

So, we've been talking about this adventure and planning and packing and preparing for months and at last the moment has arrived. It's bittersweet for sure, but ready or's finally time to go.

We departed Philly and set out for Detroit, followed by Rome, and eventually Catania. (the second largest city in Sicily and the nearest one to the Sigonella Naval Air Station where we'll be spending the next several years) We were in the air for a total of 13 hours and the entire trip took about 20 hours from start to finish. The kids slept for almost the entire leg from Detroit to Rome (an overnight flight), so that was huge blessing. I ended up being able to snatch up two seats next to each other in the aisle beside Josh and the kids (which I gladly received as my prize for moving oversees at 33 weeks pregnant.)

All in all the flight was uncomplicated and we were very glad to meet up with our wonderful sponsors, Adam and Lucia, upon our arrival to the airport in Catania. They've been helping us prepare for the move for months (suggestions, advice, answers to our endless lists of questions, etc..) and they were most gracious to have many details already taken care of when we landed. (most kindly a hotel room stocked with milk, treats, food, etc.. for our tired and hungry crowd!) Now...on with the adventures!!

Summer in the Keystone State: And Other Neighboring States As Well

So we packed up our Norfolk home the first week in July and said farewell to the lovely Commonwealth of Virginia. I think goodbyes are my very least favorite part of military life and we were so sad to leave the wonderful friends and neighbors that we'd made during our time in Norfolk.

It seemed like a good idea to get our household goods on their way to Italy and for us to spend some time with family and friends in PA/DE before our big departure at the end of August. Additionally, Josh was scheduled to be in DC for a one month tropical medicine course and then in Ghana for two weeks following that (and he'd already been to Kenya for most of June), so I was in need of some t.l.c., company, and help with the kids!

What a treat it was to spend time with our parents and almost all of our siblings (we missed you Em!!) during our time at home. It was wonderful to see the kids growing in their relationships with our family and a joy for us to see everyone enjoying the kids so much. A few highlights included: weekend overnights at Grandma and Grandpa Arthur's house, a visit from Ben and Libby who live in Colorado, several ventures to the Delaware Children's Museum and Philadelphia Please Touch Museum, time for Elise to feed and care for chickens and horses with Lydia, a week in lovely Vermont with the extended Woodworth crew, a pool party and several play dates with my college girl friends, visits with Elise and Caleb and my 91 year old grandmother, and a lot of time spent just enjoying life with family and friends that we don't get to see nearly enough. We're so thankful for that special time and continue to treasure the memories of our summer with all of you! (Now hurry up and come to Italy!!!!!)