On the Road Again

I’m on my way back to Italy with the family, we leave in T-minus 1.5 hours. We are once again headed to the Dad’s parent’s home in the northern part of the country. The house is cozily situated on a vineyard, surrounded by hundreds of others–literally. When I walked up to the neighboring town last time I was afforded a spectacular view and all I could see in the near vicinity were grapes. Far, far off in the distance you can see the Italian Alps. It truly is other-worldly.

Now that I know what to expect while we’re there I think I will be able to enjoy myself. The weather should be warmer than here and we will have plenty of outdoor time. It feels a bit like falling off the face of the earth as my contact with others sharply diminishes. Everything slows down considerably and there’s a significant amount of “downtime.” The family will stay there for the next two weeks, while I will leave after 9 days. It’s a long time with them. They’re nice people, of course. But being on a family holiday when you’re not actually a member of the family is an awkward experience (image: me sitting and watching the kids play with their grandparents and generally feeling uncomfortable for intruding). A case of cabin fever is imminent.

Why am I leaving before the rest of the crew? Well, well, well, perhaps because a little visitor will be making her way over. And maybe I’m so crazy psyched out of my mind to see her I can hardly contain myself. You guessed it, COURTNEY IS COMING!!! It’s impossible to put into words what it’s like when we are together under normal circumstances. Compound this extreme insanity/social awkwardness/constantly running inside joke into 8 months and that’s what the week of October 11-17th is going to look like. I’ve mapped out an itinerary, one that includes a quick jaunt to Istanbul, Turkey to visit Jill and many other hot must-dos whilst in der Schweiz–many food-related. I can’t emphasize this enough: I’m so excited. Man, I’ve missed her.

So, I’ll be gone for a while. Never one to leave you down and out I have provided some entertainment. Pei Wen gave me The Encyclopedia of Useless Information by William Hartston before she left last week and I have been scanning it this past week. Below are a few tidbits I thought intriguing (by randomly opening the book). Feel free to use them at your next dinner party, water-cooler exchange, or random interjection in conversation. Tschüss! Bis Später!

DANCING: On August 21, 1923, the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed a law forbidding dancers to stare into each other’s eyes.

GOSSIP: Researchers in Michigan in 1995 reported that American children aged nine to twelve gossip on average eighteen times an hour.

NEPAL: The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal is the only country that does not have a rectangular flag. Its flag is shaped like two slightly overlapping triangles.

BIRTH: Every seventeen seconds, an American is born

SANDWICHES: IF you eat a sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it will take 168 days to get through the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat.

GOLD: One-third of all gold ever mined on earth comes from the Witwatersand Basin in South Africa.

LETTUCE: On August, 28, 1988 the Yantlee Polyclinic in Bangkok published a claim that you can get rid of hunger by pressing lettuce seeds into your ears ten times before meals.

KANSAS: Kansas has the largest population of wild grouse (or Prairie Chickens as the Americans call it) of any state in America.

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