Looking back from up in the air, By Ilana

Back when I was busily planning our sabbatical, I spent some time reading the blogs of other families that had taken similar trips. I returned to one in particular again and again, the blog of an American family that sabbaticaled in Rome. It gave me some practical advice  – most memorably, to follow Katie Parla…

Agriturismi and their people, By Tillie

We went on a road trip from Tuscany to Sicily and stayed at three agriturismi on the way. You might be wondering if you are going to read this whole blog without any idea what an agriturismo is. Well, I will not let that be true. An agriturismo is a farm that visitors can come…

Sicilian days

As a kid on the playground at PS 114 in Canarsie, Brooklyn, I regularly heard “Sicilian!” hurled as an insult. “Take a look at a map,” some kid once told me; “Italy is the boot, Sicily the shit it’s kicking.” I didn’t stop to ask: who would kick shit?  Wouldn’t that backfire? Nor did I…

On the Road in Tuscany, by Tillie

My family and I have left Rome; who knows when we will return? Maybe I will return with my kids years from now and try to find the neighbourhood I spent the 10th year of my life. Yes, maybe I will, but now I am at the beginning of a brand new adventure. The “new…

Arriverderci, Roma by Ilana

Last Saturday morning we shoehorned all our many, many bags into a rental car, navigated the streets of Rome by car for the very first time, and bid arriverderci to this fantastic city that has been such a wonderful home to us these past 7 months. It was hard to leave. In the end, we’d…

Mondays at the refugee centre, by Ilana

Every Monday morning I volunteer at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center. I teach basic English, and the one thing that I have learned to build into every lesson plan is that the lesson will almost certainly not go as planned. Some days I have two students, other days 15. Some days everyone has arrived just ten…

A walk in Rome

Many years ago, a friend told me that whenever he had trouble falling asleep he’d close his eyes and imagine long walks through places he’d once lived. I loved this idea, and  I’ve tried it myself. And my complete inability to recall any of these night wanderings is proof, I take it,  that they put me straight to…

The Twilight of My Youth, by Eva

Last night I was Skyping with my Bubbie Sheila and per usual she said I looked like a teenager. I hear this a lot. For example, I hear it every time I Skype with my Bubbie, and my dad has started up a new trend of teasing me that I’m acting like a teenager. As…

Five Scary Sabbatical Experiences by Tillie

Rome is a great place to live for a year, a truly wonderful experience that I will never forget, as I’m sure you know from this blog. But in this post I’m not going to talk about the amazing experiences that we have in Rome but rather the scary ones. I will now give you 5…

Going faster than a roller coaster…

The days are passing quickly now, in the ways days do once you’ve really settled into a rhythm. And while there’s pleasure in that rhythm, it’s bittersweet as well, because already, mid-February and spring in the air, our time in Rome is drawing to a close. It’s not that Rome feels familiar, exactly, or that…

Cats, cats, cats by Tillie

My family went to Israel for winter break. Now there are lots of cool things there, but what mostly caught my eye was the cats they were everywhere. And don’t even get me started on the kittens they were so cute, but they were starving on the streets and eating out of garbage cans, most…

Hanukkah in Israel

It might sounds strange to say, given that we’re currently spending a year abroad, but, in a certain sense, we haven’t done much traveling. Mostly, we go to one place and stay put. Even in Italy, we have, at most, taken 3-day weekends in cities just a few hours away by train. But this winter break…