Sunday, 31 May 2015

The first glorious glimpse of La Mer

Mr. Bean like Benny Hill before him has entertained people the world over mainly due to the fact that there is not a lot of language to translate, not much dialogue. They both provide a lot of visual humour.

Mr Bean can make you cringe but you can't help laughing at his antics. Once in an interview with Rowan Atkinson he said that most of Mr Bean's behaviour is modelled on that of a nine year old anarchic boy.
Watching Mr. Bean's holiday with my grand daughter we both rolled around in helpless laughter at various scenes of totally unacceptable behaviour.
The film starts off on a rainy gloomy day in England and then we journey with Mr Bean from Paris to Cannes in the South of France.
It's a memorable journey under any circumstances, a thrilling one as you fllow the sun and sure enough the final scene shows Mr Bean enthralled like all of us, by the magnificent sight of the twinkling, sparkling, inviting Mediterranean sea. 
The film ends with the wonderful uplifting song made famous by Charles Trenet, La Mer, the Sea! Here we see at last some signs of humanity and kindness in Mr Bean as he is enthralled and elated by the arguably most beautiful sea of all.

Sports Day, Run like the wind

It's that time of year again when school children prepare for their annual Sports Day. It's a wonderful feeling, the long summer holiday is approaching and it 's time for a bit of fun in the sun.
Not being particularly gifted at sport and certainly not blessed with a competitive spirit I was always happy to sit on the grass chatting, eating my cheese sandwiches and rejoicing in the victors happy grins. Maybe I would join in the egg and spoon race, three- legged race or sack race but just for fun. Anyone who has seen the film ' Chariots of Fire' will recognize the beautiful theme music that in Italian is called 'Momenti di gloria', moments of glory. It just makes you want to run, preferably on a beach with wind in your hair and a smile on your face. 
The film is about running and the Paris Olympics in the  Twenties, between the two wars. It's about different types of running. Some people are good at jumping over hurdles, some are better at short, speedy bursts while others are better at long gentle distances. Like everything we're all better at some things than others and we just need to learn how to pace ourselves. No use the sprinter rushing off hoping to win a marathon.
Actually I did have a moment of glory at a Sports Day. I had to wait until I was fifteen and then I won the Sack race, but only because all the serious athletes were elsewhere.
Hope you enjoy listening to the theme from Chariots of Fire and get a chance to run along a beach this Summer.
Happy first of June.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Dance your cares away

My mother was what is known in a politically correct way as mobility challenged.  She spent a lot of time in a wheelchair. She lived to the perfectly respectable age of eight-nine so my head always says I was lucky to have her that long. The heart doesn't ever quite catch up though does it?

 Whenever I hear a piece of music that makes me want to dance I think of her, which is often.
 She loved all kinds of music. Her main passion was classical music and she could guess the composer after just a few notes. She also loved pop music and was an avid fan of 'Top of the Pops' 'Strictly Come dancing' anything really that featured music and dancing.
She 'd look at me and my daughter and say 'Does this make your feet tap?' and off we'd go twirling and spinning holding her hand so she was part of it.

Dancing is such an important part of a culture. It's such a great way to express so much, feelings, relationships, traditions.
Latin-American dancing is extremely popular everywhere now and often cited as a great activity for a couple to inject new vigour into their relationship. This song by Enrique Iglesias seems so joyful and happy, it should make your feet tap and hopefully spin away your cares today.

Poem for the day, Light relief

My poem for the day is from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis  Carroll.
Having talked about the healing power of music, poems can be the healing power of words so here we are,

The Lobster Quadrille

'Will you walk a little faster?' said a whiting to a snail,
'There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
they are waiting on the shingle - will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?

'You can really have no notion how delightful it will be,
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters out to sea!
But the snail replied, 'Too far, too far!' and gave a look askance -
said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

'What matters it how far we go'' his scaly friend replied.
'There is another shore you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France -
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?'

The Power of Music, healing the soul

There is no quicker way to bring joy to your heart than listening to a favourite piece of music.
 Sometimes it can be the words of the song that seem to express what you are feeling. Women's magazines might suggest that when you break up with your boyfriend you should dance madly on a table singing Gloria Gaynor's 'I will survive' at the top of your voice, and then you might feel better.

I 'm sure we've all got a sound track going on in our heads starting from the moment we were born.
First of all the songs that our mothers used to send us off to sleep followed by nursery rhymes that only later might seem slightly ridiculous, 'Three blind mice, Humpty dumpty etc.
In my case these were followed by Rock and Roll, the Beatles, the Stones and then all the eighties and nineties wonderful music.
When we went to see 'Forrest Gump' I came out a complete mess, bathed in tears. The soundtrack was that of my youth, those special formative years between fifteen and twenty.
For a long time I couldn't listen to classical music at all. the moment the strains of a violin announced a classical piece I could only see a lonely school girl, a dark house and no-one there.
If you watch a horror film and turn the sound down it doesn't look as frightening at all.
It was my husband that made me feel the joy that there is in classical music, listening to it live at concerts in villas. Haydn's string quartet on F major for example, or the Moldova, Smetana.

Today I was thinking about the healing power of music while listening to a street busker and the first two verses of a poem by Wordsworth came to my mind.

The Power of Music

An Orpheus! An Orpheus, yes Faith may grow bold,
And take to herself all the wonders of old
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same,
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.

His station is there, and he works on the crowd,
He sways them with harmony merry and loud,
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him................................

William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

In the opening lines of the poem the street fiddler is identified as Orpheus.
Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. He was known for his ability to charm all living things and even stones.
In modern terms I suppose he brought out the best in people and that is what music can do.

I have given you a clip from the lovely film 'Amelie' to listen to. It's one of my favourite films and as it's Summer I love French music because it makes me feel like I'm on holiday. I hope you enjoy it too.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Things to do every day

Many times on my blog I have given a recipe, poem, joke or anecdote for the day.
 Lots of things have to be done every day, like washing, eating and sleeping.
Some things can be done once in a while like having a perm, highlights or washing the car, but many have to be done every day.
 We can learn a lot from vitamins here, many of them cannot be stored in the body so we have to make sure we get some every day.

I have two quotes for the day from Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014), that are worth saying to yourself every day.


'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

If you try and do the first quote you will hopefully make people feel good, feel glad they met you.

It's certainly true that you always remember people making you feel good about yourself, make you feel happy and serene. There's that wonderful feeling that you get when you're on your way to meet a friend for coffee, or a loved one is coming round to see you. The little happy man in your heart starts leaping up and down and you feel excited about seeing someone who you know will make you feel good.

What do you do though about the people that make you feel unhappy and hurt you?  Well I think you have to try and forget it in spite of what the second quote says, you have to try and forget the hurt feelings or they will end up harming you.

My poem for the day is by Christina Rossetti  1830 - 1894, about not causing hurt

Hurt No Living Thing

Hurt no living thing;
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.

Christina Rossetti

And lastly two knock knock jokes for your laugh a day

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Mikey Who?
Mikey is stuck in the keyhole.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Norma Lee
Norma Lee who?
Norma Lee I let myself in but I've lost my key.

Why don't you find aspirins in the jungle'
Because the parrots eat 'em all.

Be aware of nature's gifts every day

Wide open spaces free the mind

Flowers are everywhere in Spring and Summer

A good nights sleep is very important

Listen to music every day

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Up Where the Eagle flies

What better song than this to have in your head as you gaze up at the sky and see what looks like an eagle, at least  to my untrained eye.

Living in a Bi lingual world I am not always able to have an immediate answer when someone asks me what something is, how to say a word in the other language.

'Oh look there's a Lesser Black-Backed Gull!' someone might say adding, 'How do you say that in Italian'',

Silence then something like, 'Famiglia delle gabbiane, Gull family.

Family photographs of us as children often show my brother engrossed in his Eye Spy books, copiously taking notes and ticking off the things he's seen, butterflies, trains, birds.

Yesterday looking up at a mountain sky a friend asked me the name in English of a bird of prey just visible above the clouds.
 It was a long way up and it took me a long time to focus on it.
 Judging by its wide wing span and the way it was gliding and swooping and then hovering pointed to it being a bird of prey.

Birds of Prey, uccelli rapace, I run through the ones I am familiar with,
eagles, aquile
falcons, falchi
pioane, kites

Then of course kestrels, merlins, Sparrow hawks, take your pick.

Someone came to the rescue, 'It looks like a buzzard,'

I nodded in agreement.

Once in Sardinia we saw a rare Eleanora falcon nesting on the side of a cliff. we knew what it was because it said so in the guide book and it was quite a thrill.

Whatever it was yesterday it looked majestic flying all the way up there in the clouds above the mountains.

It's the same with the names of wild flowers.

'Look at the wild orchids' someone says-

'No they're not wild orchids.' says someone else.

'Look at the wild garlic, spinach,'

You have to be careful picking wild plants to make risotto or salad, they all nod sagely.

I wish I'd paid more attention to my Eye Spy books.

In the meantime listen to the words of Joe Cocker's song and imagine an eagle flying up where he belongs.

In wide open spaces you will often catch a glimpse of a bird of prey

Saturday, 23 May 2015

You don't need a 4 leafed clover....

I get dry lips. Not unusual I suppose but I often have a battle with my lipgloss, lipsticks and balms. Too much lip gloss and a gust of wind and my hair is stuck to my mouth. when I'm all ready to go out and freshly made up my husband will often lean in for a kiss and is still astonished when I reel back saying 'No I'm all made up', it's the no make up look but it's there.
With lipsticks you're often not sure what they're made of and might worry about all the chemicals creeping into your blood stream via your mouth so I was delighted to find a lip gloss called  Kiss Me. I asked the assistant what she thought. We both agreed that an invitation to kiss someone wearing it must mean it's safe to lick.
When I got it home and unwrapped it I found myself humming this Cliff Richard song. When I was about six years old  I took comfort from the words of this song as I pranced around the living room to its happy beat.

You may not be good looking
You may not be too rich
But you'll never ever be alone
Cos you've got lucky lips.

What a promise, what a joy! That's what I wanted from then on, lucky lips.
So thanks Cliff for giving me something to cling to.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Afternoon activities for kids, making jam

A long time ago before the advent of celebrity chefs when the only cookery book I had was by Delia Smith I was struck by her saying that it is good for you to drop a  lobster into a pot of boiling water because it makes you realise that food is a cycle and that everything we eat should have been grown or walked. as I said it was a long time ago so I hope she'll forgive me if I've misquoted her.
I might have been rather over zealous with her advice with my daughter who was about five at the time. When I told her that the ham she was eating had come from a pig she dropped her knife and fork and stared at me in alarm. Her bottom lip wobbled and her eyes were enormous.
'This.. comes... from.. a little.. piggy?!' It was terrible I can tell you I felt a real heel.

I was reminded of this today, food and its' origins, when I told my grandson we were going to make strawberry jam.
He politely and firmly told me  that there was no need. His daddy and mummy bought theirs from a shop and they liked it very much.
I had already prepared the fruit and weighed out the sugar and set out all the equipment so I just calmly carried on.
 Of course being a naturally inquisitive little boy he was soon joining in and helping me to cut up the fruit and mix in the sugar.
He watched with interest throughout and when it was all in the jars he offered to paint a label.

Strawberry jam is one of the easiest to make as it requires little or no pectin, but as I was making it for a child and they need things to be done quickly we used the powder so we only needed to boil it for 3 minutes.
I hope you like it.

Strawberry jam

1 kg or 2 lbs washed strawberries, cut into small pieces
350g sugar
1 packet of pectin powder

Mix the sugar and the powder together.
Put the prepared strawberries in a large saucepan and add the sugar mixture.
Bring to the boil and let it bubble away for about 3 minutes.
you can test it by putting a small amount on a cold plate, if it sets it's ready.
Pour the jam into sterile jars and turn them upside down for 5 minutes. This part must be done by an adult obviously and the children kept well away.
Let it cool completely before opening.

Delicious on bread and butter, scones and cream, banana splits, jam tarts etc.

As I was going to Strawberry fair
Rifle rifle toddle idle idle
I  met a maiden bright and fair
Toddle eeee
Her eyes were blue and golden her hair
As she went on to Strawberry Fair.........

Just the sort of thing you might sing while making strawberry jam.

Strawberry families having fun

A home made label adds charm

Just a few ingredients and ready to go

Four friends

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Childhood flavours with a grown up twist

While at the supermarket today I saw a mound of white field mushrooms.
This is quite an unusual sight in Italy and I felt a tug at my heart because they brought back a vivid memory of me skipping along beside my mother wearing a voluminous fifties style skirt with red roses round the bottom.

 It was early morning and there was a mist hanging over the field at the back of our house.  I was probably looking out for fairies that had danced until dawn and little folk going home having woven magic all night long protecting children like me.
My mum was saying we were going mushrooming before the morning dew came up and before the insects could eat the mushrooms that we were looking for. We went back home with a basket of the highly prized mushrooms and she got out her heavy frying pan and cooked them in sizzling hot butter.

 At least that's what I remember, you never know with memories how much is wishful thinking and how much is the jigsaw puzzle of your mind putting things together how you'd like it to be.

In Italy field mushrooms and champignon are not considered great delicacies, just an addition to a sauce to liven up chicken breasts or pasta and cream. Here Funghi Porcini are what everyone wants and you have to have a permit to pick them in the woods.

The mushrooms I saw today made me yearn for a taste of home and childhood so I bought some. Instead of serving them on toast which is one of my favourite ways to eat them I made polenta and topped them with grated cheese.

A lovely supper for me bringing together tastes that I love and appealing to my husband as well.

Red wine goes well with Polenta and mushrooms

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Oxford for Softies and Ninety year old friends

A friend of mine goes on cycling holidays for softies, which means nothing strenuous will happen and you are safe in the knowledge that you won't be expected to climb steep hills or bounce about on rough tracks.

Oxford is a wonderful city and  any tourist going there will find plenty to do. When I take visitors we usually start with the open top double decker bus and then the colleges, Ashmolean. the dining hall where Harry Potter was filmed or whatever there is time for.

Last week we wanted to take a ninety year old friend out for the day. She loves Oxford too. Of course being ninety she knew it very well so we just wanted to get the flavour of this fascinating city that just breathes history and knowledge. There is always something new like a prison that's been turned into a hotel, but we didn't have much time so this is what we did, and it was such a wonderful day I want to share it with you in case you have a ninety year old friend that would like to go there for a few hours.

Start by parking your car in Broad Street. You have to pay and you can only stay there for an hour, but you are right in the heart of Oxford watching students whizz by on their bikes and tourists queue-ing up for the sightseeing bus. In an hour you can nip across to The White Horse pub over the road near Trinity College and have the best fish and chips or roast beef or just a sandwich.

You can read about the history of the pub and about the White Horse and ask the friendly staff for a photo.

The tables are close together so you might find yourself in conversation with other visitors like we did. They were from Denmark and had come to the pub because it is filmed in Inspector Morse, they love him in Denmark too. It's funny how all these Detective series are so popular world wide, maybe they tell us a lot about human nature and make us realise that whether it's an English village or the whole wide world, people are quite similar really.
While your friend is sipping her coffee and getting into a rather undiplomatic conversation with the Danes about their relationship with Norwegians you can move the car round the corner where you can leave it for two hours.

Next a walk through the covered market to look at all the unusual little shops and stalls. There are shops that specialize in cake decoration, leather goods, greetings cards, shoes, vegetables and a sight that is quite rare in Britain now, a proper butchers with animal carcasses hanging outside.

Back towards Broad Street via the shops, stopping to listen to the buskers, real talent can be found here, magicians and saxophone players abound.

My friend is an artist so we stopped at a little shop called Broad Arts which turned out to be an Aladdin's cave and she spent a happy half hour choosing finger paints which she says are easier for her now and she enjoys smudging all the colours together.

Then over the road to what many would consider to be the most beautiful book shop in the world, Blackwells.
Check your watch to see how much time you have  to browse and look at the books then a coffee and  back to the car and away out of Oxford before the rush hour traffic has started.

On a beautiful sunny May day the Oxford stone takes on a warm timeless quality. The dreaming spires can be guaranteed to make you dream even on a flying visit.

The staff at The White Horse make everyone feel at home

A treasure trove for Artists

Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding

The White Horse pub has traditional British food

Green asparagus tart

The asparagus season is in full swing and in Northern Italy at the Greengrocer's people often discuss the merits of the green versus the white asparagus.
Usually we prefer the white asparagus boiled, drained and served with boiled eggs chopped up with oil and salt and pepper. or in risotto. The green asparagus is nice wrapped in ham and grilled or boiled and served with Hollandaise sauce.
This evening I found some green asparagus at the back of the fridge that I'd forgotten about so made up a recipe for a savoury tart.
Score 10 out of 10

Asparagus tart

A handful of green asparagus, washed and blanched.
3 eggs
a small jug of cream
1 packet of ready to roll puff pastry
2 tbsps. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 180 degrees and put in the pastry case so it dries out a bit while the oven is warming up.

Beat the eggs with the cream and grated cheese and season to taste.

Arrange the drained asparagus in a wheel in the pastry case.

Pour over the egg and cream mixture

bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

For non vegetarians you can add some chopped ham to the egg mixture.

Buon appetite

Izzy Whizzy Let's eat Bisi

Who remembers the magic words Izzy Whizzy let's get busy? Well today I made pasta with Bisi which means pasta with peas in Northern Italian dialect.
Fresh peas are in full season and there are special events to celebrate them all over Northern Italy. Peas with rice, peas with fresh pasta or just peas. Traditionally they go well with ham and a great favourite recipe in our house is Pasta with peas, ham, cream and cheese. When peas are fresh and new though they are best kept as the main ingredient so you can appreciate their sweetness.

Pasta with fresh peas, serves 4

1 small white onion finely chopped
150g fresh peas
200g pasta
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese to serve

Gently cook the chopped onion in a small amount of olive oil and butter until soft and translucent.
Add the peas and stir well
Pour in a ladle of stock and cook gently until the peas are soft, this shouldn't take long with fresh peas

Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water according to instructions on the packet, then drain and add the peas, stir and add a knob of butter and some grated cheese.

Easy peasy and a substantial Piatto unico

Shelling the peas is half the fun

Pasta peas and a small glass of white wine

Friday, 15 May 2015

Time to stand and stare

The English countryside is covered with a network of public footpaths which make it accessible to even the most timid explorer.
No need for a map or compass, the footpaths are clearly sign posted and the paths and lanes well kept.
Sometimes though the footpaths pass by or across private land and might seem a little too close for comfort for some landowners. They might put up signs asking you to keep your dog on a lead and to make sure you close the gates to keep livestock safe.

Recently while on a country walk we crossed a field where small pygmy goats were kept in a corner which had been fenced off to protect them. They were an enchanting sight, sweet and cuddly to look at and very appealing. The owner of the goats though, didn't seem to want people to stop and admire them and had put up a sign on the gate to the field warning people not to stare at the goats.
It could sound ridiculous to warn people not to look at the goats, after all they are clearly visible to all who pass. It caused us some amusement to think of staring at them though. The word stare meaning to look fixedly at someone or something with eyes wide open. It is generally rude to stare unless perhaps you are contemplating a view.

My poem for the day is by W.H. Davies (1871 - 1940).
He seems to have had an eventful life. He was born in Monmouthshire but went to America doing what would now be called On the road.
 He joined the Gold Rush to the Klondike but had an accident and lost his leg.
He returned to London poor and destitute but his poetry began to attract attention and he achieved a certain success.
 In 1923 at the age of fifty-two he married a nurse half his age. I
In all this time he must have made time to stand and stare because here is his most famous poem which tells us how important he considered it to be.


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No staring at the goats

Lots to look at here, meadows bright with buttercups, gently rolling hills, small hamlets, a lively spring sky

Sheep huddled under a tree near a village in a field

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A laugh a day....

There are lots of things that we should do every day, like eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables, washing, going to work, thirty minutes of exercise, getting some fresh air, telling your loved ones you care and having a laugh.

Here is your laugh for the day, they are actual announcements taken from church bulletins and show the joys of the ambiguities in  English language.

The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement on Friday afternoon.

This afternoon there will be a meeting in the south and north end of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

Tuesday at 4.00pm there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk, please come early.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs Johnson to come forward and lay an egg on the alter.

Wednesday, the ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs Johnson will sing 'Put me in my little bed' accompanied by the pastor.

Thursday at 5.00pm there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please meet the minister in his study.

A young couple were preparing for their wedding by having a rehearsal before the big day. The priest told the bride-to-be that she should walk down the aisle to stand at the altar next to the groom and then the organist would start up for the first hymn.

As the bride walked into the church on her father's arm she breathed in and said to herself,

 I'll alter him,

aisle altar, hymn.

Here's the last one from my brother:-

Two dogs and a cat go to the Royal Albert Hall and walk up to the doorman.
The doorman looks at them in surprise and says,
'you can't come in here, you're two dogs and a cat.'
One of the dogs replies,
'Yes we can. I bark, he often bark and him de pussy.'
I Bach, he Offenbach and him Debussy

I hope you're laughing!!

Good morning to all of you who want to fly towards a wonderful day

Just thinking

A friend of mine often starts a sentence saying 'Now here's a thought.'

He then goes on to tell you something and ask your opinion on the matter. It could be anything from what he's going to eat, climbing up Everest, emigrating to Australia, clearing out the garage. what he'd do if he won the lottery.

Well I was thinking about him today because he loves talking, having a good old chin wag, a natter, spinning a yarn, all phrases that he uses.
You know on Facebook how you often get those wise words and phrases to make you think?
Well the Dalai Llama says if you're talking then you're not listening so you're not learning anything. So I thought if we're all listening and no-one's talking then no-one's learning anything anyway.
 I've probably missed the point completely, but it reminded me of something that my mum thought was so funny and here it is for you, hope you enjoy it

Once upon a time, there were four people; their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody.

Whenever there was an important job to be done, Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
When Nobody did it, Everybody got angry because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought that Somebody would do it, but Nobody realised that Nobody would do it-

So consequently Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.

Bluebell woods are a great place to think

A view like this might find you lost in thought

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Welcome home, twice over

A message to a young friend starting out on an expat journey

Expats and immigrants are constantly faced with the challenge of having a home in more than one country.
 In this amazing age of technology there are so many easy ways to keep in touch with loved ones.
 Of course there is nothing like  physical contact, you can't hug a computer, but being able to speak regularly on Skype or send photos on What's app or Facebook does make people feel closer. Even so when the big moment comes that you can actually go and visit your family and friends the joy is immense.

The word home is arguably up in the top ten of the most evocative words in the English language. The French have chez moi, Italians have casa which means house, but the English home seems to be by far the most significant.

At Primary school we used to call the end of the school day Home Time. A warm safe feeling would come over you at the thought of going home, a place where there is someone who loves you and is pleased to see you and where you belong and no-one will treat you like a stranger. That's how it should be.
As you grow up this feeling widens to embrace the town and then the country where you were born and have a right to be.
If you are an expat then every time you return to your country of origin you are going home.
As you pack your suitcase and choose presents to take to your family and friends your heart will swell with love and beat faster at the excitement of going home. You might be met at the airport by your family who will run to you with their arms outstretched and enormous grins. You will be hustled along in a bear hug to their waiting car chattering and fill of joy planning the days ahead when you will be together at last.
When it's time to leave, your suitcase might be full of mementoes from your homeland to ease your homesickness and to tide you over until your next visit. You are not going home now, you are going back. Your heart might feel heavy and although you try to be cheerful and positive and keep your spirits up tears might be shed along with the hugs and promises to keep in touch.
As the years go by in your expat life some of the people who really care for you might no longer be there when you go home, so you carry them around with you in your heart but you realize you can no longer count on arms outstretched in welcome and it's different.
 Friends and family in your adoptive country might be telling you that they'll miss you when go away and you'll be on the lookout for treats to take back to them. You don't know whether you're going home or going back.

At my wedding many years ago my brother said he thought to himself, 'oh poor you now you'll never feel at home, you'll always be wishing you were somewhere else.', but that's not what's happened. I have two homes and the world seems a friendlier place. You are lucky if you can feel at home in more than one place.

To my young friend I say look for the best in both homes, spread your love between them and be a bridge between the two cultures, and as young people say ,Yay!! make it awesome!!
Bentornati Italian style