Well, let me tell you….going to Spain and Italy when you are just turned 9 (so big) and almost 6 1/2 (which he often points out) is SUPER COOL! But let’s be honest….. for these two, they really didn’t have a point of reference. We’d look on our world map and note where we are and where we were going. They jumped around with excitement and thought it sounded awesome, but really, they had NO idea what they were about to experience. So this post is about Audrey and Nate and their first trip abroad (with many more travels to come, I hope)!
New cultures, new people, new friends, new languages, different food, different ways of life…..perspective!
They walked down colorful streets like this searching for Flamenco show tickets….
We found the tickets and Nate made a friend.
Joaquin taught him how to play soccer in the tiny streets!
We LOVED Joaquin. So kind.
They went to Flamenco shows (which were a-mazing) and then had dinner at 10:30 pm
**Audrey thought eating after 10pm was the coolest thing ever**
And they learned that ordering American food in a foreign country is probably not a good idea.
She got lost in a fabric store full of beautiful flamenco fabrics, ruffles and bliss….
They discovered tombs in cathedrals all over and thought laying down to measure was the best thing!
They walked….and walked….and walked…and walked….and walked….and NEVER complained.
I swear I’m not lying!
They kept track of how many modes of transportation we took!
Buses, subways, trains, planes, boats, taxis, mopeds……
They window shopped, did every chore/job you can imagine to earn a few euros and my son learned the art of haggling/bartering/negotiating.
I still have slight PTSD from Nate and street vendors!
They took cool boats like this.
And ended up in dreamy places like this (Capri).
These two waited for a tiny boat to take them to the Blue Grotto.
And she found a quiet little spot to have a break from her brother.
He got his Italia sweatshirt and melted his mama’s heart.
Then caught a scooter home with his dad!
When in Italy – live like an Italian!
They made friends.
Friends that didn’t speak a lick of English.
And at the end of the week, my daughter excitedly came up to me and said,
“Mama, me and Mariana – we understand each other – really – we may not speak the same language, but we understand each other!”
(And at that moment, every wish of this trip came true for me).
They learned that kindness and play are universal (as are sharing candy, Sprite and potato chips).
They learned that no matter what language a person speaks or where they live….they get up and go to school just like you….they go to dance class just like you….and they play just like you!
They hung out in 2000 year old ruins, drank excessive pop, and reveled in the history.
Well, and Nate obsessively wondered if Mt. Vesuvius would erupt while we were there.
They passed this toy store every day for a week and every day for a week I had to go retrieve my son from the depths of the COOLEST STORE ON THE PLANET!
They took long walks down roads that led to views like this.
Then they found the Mediterranean and played!
They met little Italian ladies that made shoes right there in her shop and watched as she made these!
And he talked to every souvenir shop owner he passed.
They walked in here (St. Peter’s Basilica)…..
and were mesmerized just like us!
They found the Spanish Steps and thought everyone there spoke Spanish.
They experienced parents that were t.o.t.a.l.l.y. unplugged.
And these parents valued every second of that!
Audrey practiced her photography skills and learned to use my camera!
She ROCKED! Thanks A!
He discovered matadors and gladiators.
They stopped……..sometimes……and watched.
They got piggy backs rides….
They learned about siestas and lots of snacks on the patio (with their fav peeps)!
Their mom fell in love with streets like this.
And they sported their Purdy Panther’s t-shirt with pride!
While just hanging out by the Colosseum!
They made lots of silly faces.
And they played. We all played.
Day after day after day.
I love the things I hear them talk about as we settle back into life. I hear them figure out what time it is in Italy and wonder what the girls might be doing. I hear Audrey share ideas for cooking club with a menu of Tapas and Spaghetti Bolognese. I see Nate draw pictures of the Colosseum and tell people his favorite part of Europe was souvenir shops.
I LOVE those things.
Going to Europe when you are 9 and 6.5 is cool.
And I can’t wait for the next adventure!