God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

An Italian Boy

I knew that Casey was becoming a young man of two worlds—here and there, old and new. But it seems that maybe he is now more one than the other. And then again, it may depend on where he is which he is.

Monday he was with Camilla, her parents and her grandfather in Castiglione della Pescaia, speaking Italian exclusively. At the gelateria were several Americans having language difficulties. Casey, being somewhat outgoing, offered to help, whereby the Americans were quite amazed and impressed with his language skills. “You speak English very well for an Italian boy.” I think he has crossed the bridge! Maybe we must leave him here. After all, he does have an Italian family.

Alessandro, Nicoletta, Signora Franca and Camilla have become his second family. He loves them and they him. He is as comfortable and at ease with them as with us—well, almost, anyway. Nicoletta’s father, a dignified man from Siena, has pronounced Casey as “quite a young gentleman.” Nicoletta says that was quite an examination to pass.

It seems he is also becoming his own voice and taking charge of his life. For a while now he has stared longingly at Mohawk hairdos---they have held great fascination for him. But…stodgy old gramma and papa have nixed the idea—actually, more papa than gramma.

Before we left for Croatia, I took him to Luca, my hairdresser, for a haircut but the clippers broke. So, while we were gone, Camilla and Casey set off on one of their adventures, walking from home to the piazza where Studio 20 and Luca are located. Now, Casey was in charge and Luca became a willing co-conspirator. As Luca told me yesterday as he cut my hair, “It was a good joke, wasn’t it?” I had to agree and Casey does look rather cool. Even at ten he is a person who likes to be a little different—an individualist. I like that.

Again at lunch today he told us that he wants to stay in Italy. “Why?” we asked. “My friends, the views, the food, everything” he said. In spite of the fact that in the US he loves his Uncle Jeff and dog Sratch, has many friends, likes school, enjoys Little League and other sports, values his church activities and more, the truth is that he does seem happier here. It’s tempting to think of returning for another year but that just isn’t going to happen---for many reasons. However, we have made our reservations for next summer for both here and Sant’ Antonio in Montepulciano, our first Tuscany love. In spite of the August heat, mosquitoes and inundation of tourists, we will be back so that he can have another sweet summer to remember. Maybe someday he will write a book about these summers and his “better than best friend” Camilla.

At this moment the two of them are sequestered in Camilla’s house, doing their summer Italian homework. Children here have language and math workbooks to complete during the summer so that they don’t lose learning over the lazy months of fun. Last year Casey brought his home and they served as good material for his tutors during the year. This year we ordered them for him when we got here and he is doing the work with Camilla. What is not completed will again be done during the year.

So, yes, he is becoming an Italian boy who promises to grow up to be a handsome, well-spoken, fun-loving, brilliant Italian man. Camilla may have competition!


Barbara said...

"Casey, being somewhat outgoing...." Oh Jane, that has to be the understatement of the year! Casey is the most amazing boy, and thanks to you the world is his oyster!

Jane said...

You know our boy well. And yes, bring him some cookies--he'll love you forever.

janie said...

He is so adorable and in that last picture looks so grown up!

Jane said...

Janie, I love that picture--looks as if he belongs in a fashion mag.

Tourmama said...

I was just going to post about how sophisticated and GQish Casey looks in the last picture -- but Janie beat me to it! He exudes self-confidence in that picture. And I must say I love his mohawk! What a character.


Anonymous said...

Jane, Casey does look very happy and we can tell he is really enjoying his time back home in Italy.

I must print out your restaurant recommendations to take with us.
Thanks for sharing

chiaro di luna

anne said...

Casey sounds like a delightful and fun-spirited boy. And he sure does know how to pose for the camera, what a sweetie! Your love for him shines in your words when you write of his adventures, it is wonderful to read.

Jane said...

Judy, Anne, Chiaro---once again, thanks for reading me.

Gil said...

I got a feeling that he'll be moving to Italy for high school and college. If not sooner!

Chiocciola said...

Oh Jane, what a lovely read! I have enjoyed following your adventures in Italy and Croatia and now back in Italy again! I love that Casey is so fluent in Italian - both the language and the culture, it seems. And I have to say he looks very cool with his new hairdo!!

Anonymous said...

Ciao Jane,
I have enjoyed your adventures in Italy for a long time. Casey is the most amazing,lucky little boy!
And now to be thought of as an Italian boy because of his language skills is awesome. It shows what a great job you've done in raising him because he adjusts well in other cultures and the confidence that he has now will carry him thru his adult life.
I wouldn't blame you to entertain the idea of having him live with his other family.
He's more Italian than my own kids who have a Sicilian born mother.
They have no desire to learn the language or even visit.

Jane said...

Dear Anonymous, who are you? It's fun to hear from people who follow us but I always wonder who they are. Thanks for the nice words and, if you bring your kids to Sicily, I bet they learn to want to learn the language.

Last night Casey went to dinner with some friends and their friends. They were amazed at his italian--spoken without any accent.

Anonymous said...

Ciao again,
I live in Kansas City, Mo. for the past 40 years. My first 14 yrs. in the province of Palermo. I just told you my age!
I regret not taking my kids when they were little and now as adults they need to develop their own desire & passion.
Maybe, there's hope for my future grandkids. That's it, you're my role model,I hope to do just what you're doing with Casey.

Carole (una Siciliana)

Jane said...

Carole, thanks for checking back and telling me some of yourself. Don't worry about telling your age--I'm older by several years.

It would be nice if your kids decided to follow some of their heritage as they get older. They would enjoy the Palermo area and all it offers--we did. I think children, as they grow up, tend to be more introspective and what is important to them changes.

We lived right outside St. Louis many years ago and so claim affinity to MO. We liked it.

I hope to hear from you some more.