Saturday, January 31, 2015

family holiday get-togethers

It was really nice to go home to Upstate New York for the winter holidays! Usually I see some of my relatives when I visit each summer, but since this visit was around the winter holidays and get-togethers were already planned, I got to see pretty much everyone!

Christmas Day at the Smith's!

Hanging out at Grandma's in Buffalo for the evening

Being able to meet my college friend Erin's baby girl was great!!
So glad a visit worked out... Erin, baby Marley, and Jess stopped by my Grandma's:

Jess, me, Marley, Erin   : )

The next night, I was able to see Jess again - and another good friend from college - Heather. It was really nice to be able to have some time with them! (Heather visited me while I lived in Vietnam! We traveled with my cousins to Thailand during the Tet holiday.)

New Year's Eve at the Delforte's!

At the Pizzingrilli's for New Year's Day...
...waiting in line for the second round of Aunt Ann's gnocchi  : )

Big grins for home-cooked Italian food!

Cousin Aubrielle's first birthday party!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

a Sunday of bicycles, laughter, and mishaps!

My friend, Mary, and I rode our bicycles from Certosa di Pavia back to Opera di Milano (where we live).

We started in a lovely pasticceria/cafe in Opera for a cappuccino... then were going to ride out to the Locate train station, take that to Certosa di Pavia... and then ride back. ...We did make it in the end but had some mishaps along the way!

First - the chain on my bike fell off (right as we were leaving the pasticceria. We had to go back to my apartment to get a screwdriver to fix the chain.

We then got to the train station and went up the wrong steps... ending up on the wrong track for the train... soooo we carried our bikes down again and over : P

When purchasing our train tickets, I noticed that one option was for a bicycle - a supplemental charge... so I bought two of those. Laterrrrrr, I realized that I bought our bikes tickets... but not ourselves! Hahaha. I thought it was odd that the machine never asked where we were going. Sheesh.

There was also a tunnel going under a highway at one point... completely flooded with water. I decided to go through it, attempting to push the bike's pedal each time it came UP... but in the end, my feet got a bit wet. It could have ended up so much worse - there was probably about a foot of water and, thankfully, I didn't fall off the bike and into that.  : P

Mary is a great friend, with whom I laugh a lot with whenever we're together... and not only when we're telling silly jokes! Today was a lot of fun... and great exercise. I expected our ride to be about 20km but it ended up 30. Our bums are both a bit sore!

The day was gorgeous... especially for the end of January! (HOW is it already the end of January?!)

Fixing my bike chain:

(Mom, Dad, and Sean - this is the huge monastery we saw from the train on our way to and from Pavia!)

Gorgeous mountain views basically the entire way!

I biked through this...
Mary, intelligently, did not.

...And then I came home and had THIS view...   : )

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Switzerland for basketball

Well... it's been over a month since I've posted - whoops! Back at it...

Yesterday afternoon I went with the girls' basketball team up to Lugano, Switzerland for their game.

That's right... they go to Switzerland for a high school basketball game! Very, very cool. Although I've been living in Europe for a year and a half now, it still amazes me that I can travel to other countries so easily... and that I would need to pack my passport for a high school sports game.

I went with the boys' JV and varsity teams last Friday... it was a very gray, rainy day then. Yesterday was gorgeous with blue sky and sunshine! Below are some pictures that I took during the bus ride on our way up:

Heading into the Alps!

Lake Lugano:

Lake Lugano:

And the game...

Not only did I got to Switzerland and back in one evening... but I also made it back in time to catch the last 20 minutes or so of ASM's first improv show! A lovely Friday night indeed.   : )