Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Been Awhile...

Gianluca said goodbye to Hiroko who was just with us for three weeks. We had a great time with her and we were sad to send her home to Japan.
Mason managed to give me a smile even though he had the stomach flu at this particular moment. What a trooper!
Gianluca has a standing tradition of taking photos with glasses. This is his newest entry.
We went to John and Katrina's house for one of their fantastic parties. Fun was had by all!
Gianluca whipping Connor at table tennis. Connor is really good, but G was just a tad better.
Tennis champ in action!
Making brownies with sister Miku. Gianluca loves anything sweet and brownies are no exception!


It has been a long time since I've posted, my apologies. I'm trying to adjust to "working" as I'm currently in the middle of my clinical aspect of my MA program. I'm really loving it but it's taking up a lot of my time and by the time I get home I'm pretty darn exhausted. I also had a marathon 6 day migraine last week that was horrific. I'm pleased to say that it has left me.

Gianluca has been doing very well as of late. Part of not posting is just that we have kind of settled into the rhythm of the school year and there really isn't much to report. He's doing very well in school, seems to have no academic issues and is applying himself in every respect. I have fun helping him with his writing. He's a very good writer who just needs a little help with translation. I'm amazed at how things can be translated into words that really make no sense in the English language. Also, it's funny when we run across a word that in Europe means one thing but in the US means something completely different. The best example of this was the other night when G was doing his homework and I found him looking through my pencil basket. He looked up at me and asked "Nina, do you have a rubber?" I had to chuckle because I knew that he more than likely was looking for an eraser. Sure enough he was and I got to explain to him what a rubber is here in the US. We had a good laugh filled with his usual response to things "Really?" He's a curious guy for sure. Thank goodness I saved him the embarrassment of asking for a rubber from someone at school! Whew!

In the evenings after dinner we all enjoy playing Bananagrams. That is a wonderful game for learning English words. I suspect by the end of the year Gianluca will be beating me at this game, but for now I am the champion.

Gianluca has been playing all exhibition matches with his tennis team but is winning almost every one of them. I'm hoping this means the coach will soon allow him to play a REAL match. He's such a good player and that would be nice for him to experience. Still, he enjoys his team and I remain grateful for the opportunity he has had to play a school sport. Tennis will end soon and I'm not sure what sport he will take up. All I know is we will find something to keep him active.

G went to his quarterly AFS retreat last weekend and all the AFSers had a wonderful time. He came back not particularly enamored with camping, but having had a great time with his friends.

Mason has been out of town with his class this week so the house has been a little quiet. This weekend Gianluca will be able to go to a Sounders game with a friend of his choice and I'll be hitting the books for my Logic class. This class is going to be a lot of work!

Coming up on October 16th we will celebrate the wonderful life of my beloved father-in-law, Fred Lanphear. He was such an amazing man and his legacy lives on strong in his family. My children were really blessed to have two such wonderful grandfathers. That they lost both in the same year feels particularly cruel. We miss them both so much.

Mason is excited for ski season to begin but with todays beautiful 76 degree weather it's hard to believe that's around the corner. Seriously, today was just stunning outside!

Gianluca was given money by his parents to buy a computer so we are gearing up to welcome him into the Apple family. It will be his first Mac and I know he's going to love it. What a generous gift from his parents, and I think it will be well used. Thanks Mauro and Roberta!

Well, kind of a boring post but that's all I have. All is well and I'm happy about that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ben & Jerry's and Cheerleaders!

So, I've discovered two things that Gianluca really loves. Ben & Jerry's and cheerleaders. He can down a pint of ice cream in one sitting and these lovely cheerleaders agreed to take a photo with him at the fair. They were very sweet and he didn't seem to mind. I have to admit it was my idea, and I'm the one who asked them to take the photo, but he was a good sport and jumped in the photo, which I appreciated.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The School Year Begins!

Yesterday Mason and Gianluca had their first day of school. For Mason this was his first year of high school, which is so exciting. I can hardly believe my youngest is in high school. I got a very brief report from him last night saying it was a great day. That's all I really needed to hear, but I can wait to see him tonight to get a more in depth report.

For Gianluca this was obviously his first American high school experience so I was really curious to hear what had happened. Gianluca is a pretty mellow guy, so I wasn't expecting him to jump up and down about his day but we did have some funny discussions about the fact that he still cannot figure out how to open his locker, his decision to just eat the one thing he found on top of his lunch and not actually look in the whole sack to see what was there, and his concerns about his last class of the day, US History. He informed me that his teacher said that they were a 'special' class, and that not much would be required of them. He really didn't like that, he said that he felt that the kids in this class were probably the worst students in the school. He thought perhaps the teacher was not very good. I'm not sure if that is true but I think we may have to reconsider that class. The other classes he says that he likes and he said that people were very friendly. So, first day was good. Today is day two and he woke up very tired. He ate his breakfast, packed up and decided to walk to school. I'm trusting that he made it there on time.

Today is Gianluca's first tennis match and Mason and I are going. I really know nothing about tennis, so it's going to be a challenge for me to understand what the heck is going on. Do they have a scoreboard for tennis?? God, I hope so.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Jeevan, Gianluca and Kali
I'm really going to miss this beautiful girl. She's going to have such an amazing adventure in Italy!
Yum! Pizza fantastica!

A few nights ago we went over to my sisters house and Gianluca made us homemade pizza as a farewell dinner for Kali, who will be leaving to Italy today for her AFS adventure. I marveled at how he made the crust from scratch like it was nothing. He made it look so easy, so relaxed. He didn't measure anything, just knew how much flour, yeast and salt to pour out onto the cutting board. He then slowly added water and mixed the dough with his hands. It was really quite a beautiful process. When it came time to make the red sauce he was perplexed as to why it was pink. I later found out that the longer you blend the tomatoes, the pinker they become. So, we will work on the sauce part. All in all I thought it was excellent and I was really stuffed at the end of dinner. Gianluca gave it a six out of ten. Part of my frustration with cooking, and why I feel I am particularly good at it, is that I find it difficult. Gianluca showed me that it doesn't have to be complicated to be good. I love what this young man is teaching me.

I've been thinking about hosting and what it really brings to my life. I love hosting for many reasons but I really love the growth that I get to observe over the course of the year. When a student comes to your house they come with their challenges, the things that they need to work on, and it really is a privilege to help them with their journey. For Gianluca his challenges are unique to him and I have seen so much growth just in the three weeks that he has been here. He is learning that he has a great deal of strength and that he is capable of a lot. He's a highly capable person, I already knew that, but he is very brave and willing to risk.