Madame Butterfly was great! The set was wonderful, costumes wonderful, music phenominal. I definitely need to check out more Puccini operas. The family was less than impressed and a little bored, but the kids didn’t fidget or disrupt the people around us and I made it a point to tell them I was proud of them. They did like the music, though, and Alex enjoyed watching the conductor bouncing around in the more lively parts. 🙂 If I get a chance to see the opera again, I’ll definitely do so, but I think next time I’m going to shoot for somplace inside where you can’t hear car alarms. The Arena is a great venue, but it’s open air. It was something you have to experience, though, during a visit to Verona. Man, I’m going to miss this place.

Having said that, I think I’m about ready to go. It’s been a wonderful year and I’m taking a lot of good things with me. I’m looking forward to being able to visit again when we don’t have to work around work schedules and can be ‘just tourists.’ We want to go back to Rome and Venice, and we missed Naples and Pompeii this time around. I have new respect for people who immigrate to the US, not knowing a word of English or knowing anything about the culture. I used to think it was foolish to move somewhere when you couldn’t communicate, but that’s essentially what we did. We thought we knew enough of the language to get by and quickly found out how wrong we were. We were lulled into a false sense of security, knowing there were other Americans here to help us settle in. There were, but when it’s cold outside on a Sunday afternoon and you suddenly realize you haven’t seen a thermostat in your house and don’t know how to turn on your heat, the American support element isn’t much help. Thank goodness our friend Lonnie had turned on his heat earlier in the week and knew how to do it!

In a week, we’ll be back in the States. I’ve ordered all of our homeschool curriculum for this fall, and somewhere in a box at my mom’s house is Spanish I. We’ll be studying dilligently so we can help people who were in our position. I’d forgotten that my granparents did that once upon a time. When I was a teenager, a family from Vietnam immigrated to Michigan and joined their church. Grandma and Grandpa took them under their wings and taught them English. They still live Kalamazoo, I think, and my mom hears from them from time to time. I guess it’s time to carry on the legacy.

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