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Settimana Bianca

I regret not skiing the slopes of Gulmarg in Kashmir when I lived in India.  Once you leave the subcontinent, Kashmir seems a near-impossible trip to organize.  Shangri La, unreachable…

I hear that the Dolomites in Italy are magical as well and they are on my plans for next winter’s Settimana Bianca – or white week.  This winter break, the kids’ vacations didn’t coincide and we only had a few days to get away.  We stayed closer to Rome and drove to the northern tip of the Apennines, just south of Bologna.  It was the kids’ first ski adventure.

True to her sullen teenage self, Olivia hedged her promise to take at least one lesson:   “I’ll see how I feel when I’m there…”  (The mommy who wins small battles lets the words lazy, and spoiled crash into the back of her clenched lips instead of speaking them.) As predicted, Olivia saw the snow and couldn’t resist it; she aced her lessons and like her mother, methodically mastered one slope before moving to another.

George begged to quit half-an-hour into his first lesson.  When we calculated the cost of that 30 minutes (ski gear, lesson, ticket, hotel), it was easy to abandon him with the instructor and to disappear down the slope.  I  know that George struggled and that it was embarrassing for him to lag behind his faster siblings, but he managed to find his balance and control and he returned for two more days of lessons.

As for Fast Eddie, my natural athlete, it wont’ be long before he leaves his mommy in the wake of his slalom.

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Olivia is in Greece this week on a school trip chasing history and mythology from Athens to Areopoli.  Many of you know that she is scared to travel without her parents.  There was a good amount of worry and drama leading up to her departure but she made it.  She called yesterday excited to tell me about Mycenae and Agamemnon and to share her wonder of connecting legend to land.

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Jim won the Polk Award for his work in Bangladesh last year.  If the Pulitzer is the Oscars of journalism, than the Polk might be considered the Golden Globe.  Jim was prescient in reporting labor unrest in the garment industry in the months leading up to two large industrial disasters:  the Tazreen Factory fire and the collapse of Rana Plaza.  After the accidents, he was one of a few foreign reporters to get into the country.

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