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February is the New January

 

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Dear Friends and Family:  Allow me to push the New Year season threshold by sending my 2017 wishes in February.  It seems “late” is how things roll on this end, especially with Jim living in London and the rest of the family remaining in Rome to finish the school year. Olivia has applied to colleges in the UK and US, and “transition” is very much the theme in our lives at the moment.  If Rome is like living on the set of a Fellini film, then London will be like ________?   Send me romantic answers only, please!

Height is a contestable measurement in our house.  Jim claims he is a soaring 6’1″.  (Hmm…?) I stretch in yoga class to preserve every millimeter of my five feet, five inches.  Jim says I’m an inch full of wishful thinking.  But there’s no alternative fact to this truth:  George is now the tallest member of the family.

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Eddie is growing, too, but he hasn’t topped me yet.  It won’t be long though before I’m the shortest one in the family.  And my days of snuggles and hugs with Eddie – well, they are fading along with my height.   Perhaps Eddie will learn how to worship his mother from his Italian friends.  Of the three Yardley children, Eddie has made the most natural connections here.  He plays soccer with a local team and runs around with a motley crew in the neighborhood piazza.  There’s a daily market in the square but the vendors recede by lunchtime.  That’s when families show up with their toddlers, mop-headed pre-teens arrive on their bikes with soccer balls, and older kids come to smoke cigarettes behind the closed stalls. On weekends, Eddie plays in the piazza and not-so-secretly buys firecrackers with his allowance.  It’s a scene out of an Elena Ferrante novel.  Eddie floats between the concrete pitch of the piazza and the secretive stalls, torn between the certainty of his beloved soccer and the curiosity of adolescence.

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We will never feel finished with Italy but moving provides a good excuse to travel.  In November, we went to Cinque Terre.  This stretch of coast caught my imagination years ago when I discovered it in a book about Europe’s hidden treasures.  Liguria is no longer a secret of the discriminating traveler but it’s pleasing no less:

 

Lush Rome:

 

New York.  Mom.  December.  Sweet.

 

The Season in Rome:

 

Sicily:

 

Miscellaneous: