Teaching English online

A couple of months ago I was laid up for about a month with a badly sprained ankle.  The doctor said, keep your foot elevated and stay off of it as much as possible.  Fortunately it was January and February, which aren’t necessarily great months to be outside in Florence, Italy.

During that time I decided to give an online English teaching company a whirl, to see if I liked it.  It turned out to be a pretty big commitment in terms of getting certified, but, as I said, I had a lot of sedentary time on my hands.  I did give it a whirl and much to my amazement, I really love teaching English to school children in China!

Today was a very gratifying day; I’m about 2 months into actual teaching.  One of my fav students drew my portrait today and I am only too proud to show it to you! I think the artist captured my essence and wiped away at least 10 years, which I appreciate!  :-))

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And here is Yang, the budding artist who drew me:

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Redecorating my Florence apartment

So, I’ve been in my current apartment for almost a year now.  I really like it, but decided to do a bit of redecorating and renovation.  Here I will share all of these changes.

First of all, I wanted to update my bedroom.  I got a new bed and a lot of new furniture.  I  had the whole ensemble covered with this blue silk.  What do you think?  Is it maybe a bit too elegant?  I want it to be.

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Sometimes I think I may have gone a little too far, but other times I remind myself: YOLO.

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Sleep is a wondrous thing and so I had the symbol of poppies incorporated into my new bed.  Is the gold leaf a little over the top?  I surely hope so!

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Just a couple more snapshots of my bed.  I love it so much!

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In the photo below you can see my new divan, covered in matching silk.  I must say, I need a couple of Murano lamps somewhere on that side of the room.  It tends to be a little dark, even in daytime.

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I updated my bathroom and show you just a hint of it here.

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I host a lot of get togethers and parties, and my guests are always asking for billiard tables, so I enlarged my game room and bought a couple of vintage tables, chandeliers, etc.  I was going for a men’s social club ambience.  Do you think I achieved it?  I think so.

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I recently found this beautiful antique, which is an early sort of pinball table.  It fits nicely in my new room.

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My first guests have had a hard time remembering where the bathrooms are, so I put in an “uscita” sign, which you see below.  I felt like “exit” was nicer to have in the room than “bathroom.”  Now, when people ask me where the bathrooms are, I just say, “follow the exit sign.”  So far it has worked pretty well. Sometimes the guests actually leave, which can also be a positive. :-)

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So, that’s my new place.  I bought the chandelier below, but haven’t figured out where I want to place it yet.

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Ha ha! Or, as Italians write: ahahaha!  April Fool’s!  The pictures are all from one of the Medici villas, the Villa La Pietra in Castello!  So far I am only a Medici heir in my imagination.

 

 

 

 

Carnevale in Pietrasanta!

Think of Carnevale in Italy and you are sure to think first of Venice.  I know I do!

But the season is alive throughout the peninsula and the small ones have a charm that Venice, for all its glory, lacks.

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Yesterday I had my first taste of a smaller, home-grown version of the Carnevale parade in the lovely little artsy town of Pietrasanta.  This small town is part of Versilia on the coast of northern Tuscany, about 20 miles north of Pisa and 15 miles south of Carrara. Only 2 miles from the coast, you can quickly reach the beach of Marina di Pietrasanta and the fashionable Forte dei Marmi.  But those two places are best reserved for a warmer time of year.

The Carnevale in Pietrasanta is composed of locals, young and old, and devoid of pretension.

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That’s what I liked most about it!

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Of course it didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful, almost spring-like day with cerulean skies and puffy white clouds.

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Now, here’s the thing: I don’t know what I was expecting, but the Pietrasanta parade was made up of about 6 major floats with companies of participants associated with each float.  The floats ranged in subject matter from the Moulin Rouge, to Dr. Spock, to Michael Jackson’s Killer.

 

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To me, it felt more like a Halloween parade than a celebration of a religious matter.

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But, it was unabashed, and I loved it for that.  It reminded me of my home town, way across the pond in the prairie states of the US.

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A fun time was had by all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This American winter, 2019

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Jan. 30, 2019 Ice covers the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago. Photos: See how Midwest is dealing with record-breaking cold from polar vortex Scott Olson/Getty Images, Washington Post

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 11.06.45Jan. 30, 2019 In this image obtained from social media, frozen pants stand alone in Saint Anthony Village, Minn. Pam Metcalf/Reuters, Washington Post

 

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Jan. 21, 2019 On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Daniela Fuentes, 9, of Alexandria, Va., slides across a strip of ice at the MLK memorial in Washington, D.C. Photos: See how the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is being honored on his national day of remembrance Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 11.15.09Jan. 13, 2019 Snow falls around the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post