Felice giorno del padre!

Today is Italy’s Father’s day!

Leilani made her papá a card in class.

On the front and inside of the card, it says, “Dear dad, with you I feel… like a fish out of water.”

The back of the card says, “Dear dad, I feel your presence that gives security and guidance in my life. I see your sacrifice and work that sustains every day. Best wishes dad.”

We surprised him with our first demijohn, or in Italian, damigiana. Not just any demijohn but a Superman demijohn. If you know CJ, you know he’s a huge Superman fan. He has also carried that nickname his entire career in the Navy. A hand painted, Superman demijohn will sit perfectly on our patio. Demijohns are said to be $100 or more for an average sized one in America whereas here in Italy, you can sometimes find them tossed on the side of roads or at a reasonable price. They are lined on everyone’s balconies; the green glass is so pretty when the sun shines through them. They also come in different shapes and sizes. I plan on collecting several to have when we move back to the states. These will make perfect gifts for our family and friends!

When CJ came home, he was surprised to see his little gifts from Leilani. He had no idea it was Italian father’s day. It was nice being able to show him we appreciate everything he does. He’s been working long hours in his office so we were happy to put a smile on his face.

Also, Leilani has never written in cursive before because it’s not taught at this age back home. I am very proud of her effort and how well it is written for jumping right into this 2 days ago. She is loving her school but is feeling a little overwhelmed by all the work they are having her do with copying sentences and paragraphs every hour. She is so strong, I know this can’t be easy. When I drop her off or pick her up, it is very difficult for me to communicate with the teachers. I feel like I’m playing a game of charades with them – using a bunch of hand gestures and pointing to objects. It’s frustrating, really. This morning one of the teachers told me to repeat the word, quaderno meaning “exercise book”. I said it and felt good about it. She gives me the “so-so” hand sign with a face that looked like something stunk! I need to work on pronouncing words with the high and low vocal sounds rather than saying it fast like we would speaking Spanish. After Spring Break, I will be taking a 10 week course in Italian. On a tour I took last week, there was a woman who spoke decent Italian; enough for small talk. She gave me the information of the lady who teaches out in town – I contacted her right away! I can’t wait to begin. There is so much more I want to know about Leilani’s school and how she’s doing in class. I want to be involved during this unforgettable time in her life.

In more ‘great news’…

This is me after I received my acceptance letter to           Academy of Art San Francisco!

As children we’re asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” My 8-year-old self wanted to be a sales associate at Sanrio! I know. Big dreamer. As I grew older, I never really knew what I wanted to do or what careers were out there other than restocking Hello Kitty merchandise. Even upon high school graduation I still didn’t have a clue what path I wanted to take. But the truth is, none of us really do. I know so many people who have changed majors half way through college, earn their degree, then get a job that has nothing to do with their major. You’re one of them, aren’t you? It’s OK because it’s all about finding ourselves and what truly makes our souls happy. That’s the journey I’m on right now.

After I had Leilani, I became deeply passionate about birth. I spent 3 years educating myself through dozens of library books on pregnancy, natural and drug free births, pregnancy and birth of multiples, diet and nutrition, etc. I have read many blogs, watched several documentaries, and viewed countless YouTube videos of home births. It was definitely an obsession phase I went through. I’m still very passionate about this subject and to this day, I will never leave the library without some kind of book from the “family” section in my arms. I was intrigued by pregnancy and birth so I looked into Midwife and Doula programs but could never get certified because I was a stay-at-home mom/military wife who was always moving. I didn’t have time to attend unpredictable births that could begin at 2 in the morning; who would watch my 2-year-old while my husband was at work? I knew that this wouldn’t work for me or my schedule. I was really upset because for the first time ever, I knew what I wanted to do. One day – maybe when Leilani is in college – I’ll fulfill my dream of becoming a Midwife just like my idol (one of a few), Ina May Gaskin.

I was back where I was at before I developed a passion for all things pregnancy and baby – nowhere – no clue what I should do next. So I registered for a health care program that would pave the way to nursing. I thought a position in health care meant I’d be in the safe zone. Great benefits, decent pay, and social acceptance. Funny how your job title makes all the difference in how a person perceives you. Being an artistic individual with many talents goes ignored when you have a job at a fast food chain. I knew I was in this program for the wrong reasons. Many people have jobs they despise and never feel complacent with their 9-5 positions. They have bigger dreams and other talents, but careers in the medical field or information technology is viewed as a higher status symbol in society and you become easily accepted. Some families and cultures push their children to become doctors. They are good at what they do but they never experience self-fulfillment. The actor and comedian, Kim Jeong, is a perfect example of this. He’s a physician who pursued acting because it’s where his heart is at. It’s not much of a respectable career compared to being a physician but… who cares? It makes him happy. I didn’t love what I was learning in class. Sure, it was interesting but it wasn’t something I would be satisfied with as a career for a good portion of my adult life. If we never moved to Italy, I would be in the second part of my externship right now. It would be an accomplishment I’d be proud of, but unhappy with the chosen path in the long run.

Once again, I was back at square one. I was beginning to think college wasn’t for me. But there had to be something that I could do; something that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. One of my favorite things to do is follow fashion trends, watch runway shows that are streaming live on the web, and browse collections in department stores and boutiques. I started looking into various careers surrounding fashion and found one that stood out the most. It was like bells were ringing in my head, ding! ding! ding!, and confetti was being thrown all around – “this is what you’re meant to do”! I never felt this way with my health care program or the other random classes I took. I’ll be majoring in Fashion Merchandising which I’ll use towards a career in buying. Classes are 100% online and I start this summer. This is the perfect time to start my studies while I’m here in Europe; art and fashion galore!

I’m following my dreams and watching them unfold. A fashion buyer/midwife is in my life plan. It feels so good to be doing the things I love.