Notes from Italy – Part 1 – Arrival and First Day

I’m back from Italy and done with the Interchange. It went by so quickly – we did so much in such a short time. I’m barely taking any time to rest, either, since the Teddy Bear Picnic is coming up in two weeks!

While I was in Italy, I sent emails a couple times a week to the parents of all the delegates to update them on what we saw and did, which they really appreciated. By the end of the trip, I wound up cc’ing a bunch of my friends and family to keep them in the loop too, and everyone said they enjoyed hearing our latest adventures.

I decided to reprint them all here, because it’s a fun travel log of our trip. They’ve been edited slightly for clarity and to omit the names of minors, but other than that, please enjoy the ups and downs of leading a group of 12 and 13 year olds through two and a half weeks in Italy!

June 22, 2010


Our flight to Frankfurt was long and a bit cramped, but once we arrived in Frankfurt the rest of our trip was nice and smooth. All the Italian families were there to greet us in Venice, as well as n.t. and her parents. We are all home with our host families now. If my delicious lunch is any indication, everyone has been very well fed! Tomorrow is the welcome party. I will email you all again soon.


P.S. c.h. did not throw up on the plane. Yay!


June 23, 2010

Hi everyone,

Today we had a family day in the morning and afternoon, and then the welcome party in the evening. Graziano, his wife Mariangela, and I went to the beach, and met up with Mariangela’s sister and her grandchildren. The beach is called Sotto Marina, and it is on the Adriatic Sea. It was very beautiful.

Meanwhile, the delegates all worked together to organize an impromptu trip to the botanical gardens in the center of Padova. They said they sort of stayed in their respective delegations and that they weren’t talking much yet – I think they aren’t sure what to say to each other – but they had fun exploring.

At 7:00pm we went to a local church, where the welcome party was held. The delegates and some siblings played games – basketball, soccer, foosball –  we ate lots of food, and played a few name games and did some energizers. We got to meet all the families. Everyone speaks at least some English. Even though the delegates are still getting to know each other, I can see them starting to form bonds with their new Italian friends already – it’s great!

I guess I spoke a little too soon about c.h. not throwing up – while she didn’t throw up on the plane, yesterday and today she did throw up has been sick and so she didn’t come to the party. She was missed, and all the delegates said they went to visit her. She’s been sleeping most of the day. Her host mom Alessandra says that she hopes c.h. will feel better tomorrow since will be going on a tour of Padova, including City Hall, the city square, a historic chapel painted by a famous 14th-century artist, and other historical sights.

I forgot to take pictures at the welcome party (it was a buzz of activity!) but I plan to take some tomorrow when we tour the city.

Everyone except n.t. is still tired and jet-lagged so hopefully we will all rest well tonight.

Have a great day!


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