We have been wanting to go on a cruise for awhile now and I found a deal that was too good to be true. MSC, an Italian cruise line gives you one free child for every paying adult. Plus, they are cheap to begin with, on top of which, they do a military discount. And because we booked last minute and they happened to have a balcony room available, they upgraded us for free. How could we say no?? We had heard bad things about MSC cruise lines, people say the customer service just isn’t as good as other cruise lines, but since we have nothing to compare it to and we’ve been living with Italian customer service now for over a year, we decided we could handle it.
We boarded the boat in Venice which is only a half hour away so it was super easy. Our first stop was in Ancona, Italy. The church of San Ciriaco was built in 1189 and may even be an update of a 7th century church. Inside there is a glass case with some saints’ mummified remains. It reminded me a lot of Ukraine, you could see the mummified hands and face. Pretty little church on top of the hill.
There was a beach which we walked aways to get to and were very excited about, but it ended up stinking, literally. You can see all the dark stuff in the water here just past where I am standing, it’s seaweed and it was so gross and smelly. I’m not sure how anyone was enjoying swimming in it.
The town of Ancona was cute and had some good shopping. We found a market that was selling European style suits for 50 euro, and Nick wanted one. But he had to try it on first (Italians are very small, he needed XL in everything, LOL). The lady at the stand was soooo nice. I don’t know if it’s because she appreciated my Italian skills or that she liked Jonah, but she was so sweet. She let Jonah sit in her chair behind the booth and when he started messing with her things she told me it was ok and that “it’s the big ones that are the problem, not the little ones”, which I thought was too cute.
Finalmente is one of my favorite words in Italian. Something about the way it is said just makes me smile. They say it with such feeling…it means finally. And no matter how it’s used, every time I hear it they make it sound like they’ve been waiting a million years for whatever has “finally” come or happened. Which is how I am feeling right now.
Some of you may know, but many of you do not. Nick and I have had some struggles in the child bearing category over the last few years. When he first got home from deployment (two years ago) we got pregnant pretty quickly and then just as quickly, lost it. But we tried again. And we lost it again, only a little further along and things were even harder and more complicated. I won’t go into gruesome details but I wanted the baby to pass naturally, which it did. I held that tiny perfect body in the palm of my hand and was completely overcome with how amazing it is that life happens at all. After the baby came there were complications and I had to have surgery. Then there is a waiting time. But then more complications arose and more testing was needed which then led to more surgery which then led to more waiting. While we waited, there were more tests. So after ALL of this, we finally got to GREEN LIGHT! It took a little while. But alas, FINALMENTE! We are pregnant!!!!!!!!!
Through all of this I learned a tough lesson. At first I felt angry that these things were happening to me. It upset me that all around me other people who I felt “deserved it less” than I did were getting pregnant. Many of them had children younger than Jonah and I felt like it wasn’t their turn. It was MY turn. But after years of waiting I have come to a harsh realization. Having children is NOT a RIGHT. Some people treat it that way. And lot’s of us like to say things like “I want four kids, each of them two years apart”. And some people like to ask questions like “when do you plan to have the next one”. But what I have learned is that we do not control this. And the sooner you learn to let go of that delusional sense of control over when you have kids, if you have kids or how many kids you have, the better off you will be.
We found a beautiful place to go hiking this weekend. Just an hour away from us is a waterfalls park that was really beautiful. There were lot’s of fun bugs and plants (including tons of cherry trees) and a few fun swings over the waterfalls. So nice to get outside! The weather report said rain but we went anyways and there wasn’t a single drop.
For memorial day we headed south to go camping, lay on the beach and explore the city that is it’s own country, San Marino. Sorry, no pictures of the beach. But San Marino was GORGEOUS! It’s a fortress on top of this huuuge hill. We parked at the bottom and took the gondola up. Very touristy, but neat nonetheless. Our friends Jenni and her two kiddos came with us for the weekend, it was nice for Jonah to have his girlfriend Keira to play with all weekend.
At the beginning of May we had some friends invite us to accompany them to a kite festival on the beach. It was really fun to see all the different kites. A lot of them were HUGE, or could do really cool tricks. We pretty much just sat on the beach and watched the kites. The big ones did go up high in the air but it was harder to get a good picture of them once they were up, so that’s why you see them on the ground here. Except the big puffer fish, he stayed on the ground. He was the biggest, and Jonah was deathly afraid of him. I think he thought he might roll over him since he kept kind of rolling around.
Right at the end they had a “candy drop” where they dropped little parachutes with candy for the kids from a kite that was used in WWII to take photographs of enemy lines (kind of a cool history behind a kite I think). It was fun to run with all the kiddies and try to get the candy falling from the sky.