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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Deep Thoughts?

I was reading a thread on the Expats in Italy site about a mom in Rome with a new infant. She is missing the US, her friends and is frustrated about not meeting other mommies with babies and getting around town with her baby.

Here in Torino, I have few friends but they are all great. Two moved back to the US, one is leaving to Beijing in December, I have just met two new expats, one with a baby and one with two older children and I am also planning to leave to Rome in the spring of 2007. I was hoping and praying to start some kind of playgroup in the future and when our baby is old enough to socialize. When I was a nanny in Seattle, I never found a lack of things to do with children.

In the summer time, we went on bike rides, went on hikes, went to the berry farm to pick our own berries, went on picnics, rented a canoe for the day and ate lunch under weeping willows while watching ducks and their ducklings, went swimming at the outdoor pool, took ferry rides, went to the park to fly kites, most of these activities were made even more enjoyable by inviting other children along with us and their nannies too. A few nannies and I became friends and still keep in touch today. One of them has a two year old!

When the weather was no-so-great and cloudy there were still an abundance of things to do: have coffee and a bagel with friends, have a play date at their place or ours, paint ceramics at the ceramics studio, go to the community center and for $1 have free access to the gym and all the kiddy toys you could possibly imagine, go to the library for story time (they also had this at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores), go to the Science Center, the Children’s’ Museum and much, much more.

Italy is a great place for kids; kids are cherished here and doted on intensively. Demetrio loves the fact you can take kids to almost any restaurant in Italy with no problem. They might not have a high chair, straws, plastic cups, crayons or kiddy placemats but he says this helps kids to become more integrated into society instead of being treated like a special part of the population. I liked having all those conveniences for kids in the States. I liked having nanny friends I could call on a dime and meet at the park for some adult conversation while we were playing hide and seek, hot lava monster or just pushing the kids on the swings. When the time comes, I hope to find a playgroup not only to enrich my child but also to save my sanity.

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At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Peter in Turin said...

One problem I found here with restaurants in Turin is that they all open so late ... 7:30 - 8 PM ... our 2 year old's dinner time is 6 - 6:30 ...

We have made some interesting experiences with the restaurant scene ... most of them were great .. but few places, either the wait staff or other patrons would give us evil glances when the kid was acting up .. I read somewhere that some old fashioned Italians expect that you discipline your child then (the corporal way, not our cup of tea) .. In some tourist places we found some great restaurants with indoor playgrounds :)

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Ebony and Ivory said...

Even here in small town America there are so many things for kids to do. I used to babysit my niece in Grand Forks, which is a town of about 40,000 and there was always something for the kids to do. I started taking her to Kindermusik when she was 6 months old and Baby Gym when she was 11 months. There were play dates and swim lessons, there are even tennis lessons beginning at the age of 4. So many things. I think it's just a matter of getting out there and getting involved. Where there is a will, there's a way!

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Shirley said...

Gia, Im sure you will be fine as you have the determination. However I think that it will definitely be a case of organising your own activities with other mums as from what I see in Italy there doesn't appear to be the same variety of outdoor activities, creches etc like overseas.
From experience it is also important to make time for youself and husband, this will be possible with a good support network. All the best.


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