Pictures...and food!!!

Hi everybody!
Can I say I really don't like Windows Vista? It won't let me choose which pics I want to upload, and now the silly operating system is uploading all 820 pics from my camera. Gah!!! I DON'T NEED THE PICS FROM ITALY ON THE COMPUTER! Grgh. Okay. I will delete them. Hopefully it won't take too long. Haha!!!

Well Jen, huge apologies. I will talk about and post pictures of FOOD this time. :D We saw the market in Bern, and I had Hase Schoggi. (Not so sure on the spelling of 'hot' in Berndeutch...)
Yesterday we went to Bern and saw my Dad's aunt and uncle, who, unfortunately, have grown VERY frail in the last 6 years. It was an extraordinarily awkward, yet somehow nice visit.

My Mom isn't feeling very well, so we have postponed our trip to Adelboden until Saturday. You know, I really have come to love my feminine cycle, but sometimes they cause people such pain that I wonder at the point of it all. *sigh* Oh well. Hopefully she will feel better by Saturday.

Aaaahhh...I hear church bells!!! They are so pretty, and I will miss them when we go home! I think I will always be plagued by missing one home or the other. I have a funny feeling that Marianne knows what I am talking about. But while I am thinking of it, Marianne, I can't remember WHERE in England you are from, and it has been driving me crazy trying to remember the last couple days.

So, I left my swim suit in Italy, and we probably won't get it back for another couple days, so I think we are going to town to get another swim suit and my Dad and I are going to jump in the river or lake. Or both. Ha! It will be fun.

Oh, and tomorrow is August 1st, which is the Swiss national day celebration thing, like July 1st for Canada, so I get DOUBLE fireworks this year! Yeaaahhhh!!! And I get to see Judy, so that will be awesome.

Well, I am still waiting for my 820 images to upload, and I can't think of too much more to say. I think I'll go check Jen's blog. I'll add pics when they are uploaded.

...still waiting...

Agh, finally!!! Okay, so some of the best pictures, some of me, some of me with my cousins, some of me and Nadine, etc., are on my Mom's camera, and my Mom isn't here, so I don't have access to her camera. Hopefully next time I am at a computer, I can post them then. Here we go!

Hase Schoggi!!! On the boat on the lake!
So tasty. :D
Bern. SOOOO pretty!
The house where I spent the first year of my life! (Top appartment)
View from Hünibach
Little houses.
Lake Thun. Looks like ocean, hey? :)
The Banhoff (train station) in Thun
Kurt (my Dad's cousin), my Dad, my Mum, Tante Louisa, Uncle Albert. (my Dad's Aunt and Uncle)
Me in the square near the Castle of Thun, built in the 1100s. Wow!

Tante Ruth, Uncle Peter, and my Dad. The three siblings, all HAPPY together! Yay!!!
So pretty. Off lake Thun. that a tree faery?
The path by the lake.
Another view from Hünibach

Well, now I am off to walk up a trail through the forest with my Dad.

In Thun...

Hi you all,

Right now, today, I am happy! Yesterday, I was...emotionally unstable... I am SO two-sided, seriously! I think that is why some people can't understand me at all, and why other people relate to me so well. Yeah, such is life!

Yesterday we wandered the streets of Thun. So glad I can finally re-orient myself with where everything is here! Then we met friends and went on the boat on lake Thun to Faulensee, and ate supper there. I felt VERY homesick, and very poetic, and very dreamy, and everybody else thought I was very sullen. What can I do? I finally understand why people think all teenagers are sulky!!! Hopefully the reason most of us appear that way sometimes is because we are all so thoughtful about life. And the silly "Tee-hee, I bought the cutest t-shirt at the mall today!" kids are just weird. No offense to any cute t-shirt people. :)

I am also a little upset that many signs are in English. It is not the best language ever, and this is not Canada. Smarten up, hey?

Anzwaz (that is my new spelling for Anyway, because on Swiss keyboards the y and z are switched!), today has been amazing! This morning I took the bus down to the train station (on my own....yesssssss!!!!!!!!!) and met Nadine. For those who don't know, I met Nadine when I was about..uhhh... zero. We were cute. Last time we met, we both new a total of 2 words in the other's language, "come" and "look", I believe. But as 10 and 11-year-olds, we didn't mind, and played all day with the guinea pigs. I have learned a little more Bernduetch since (but not much...), and Nadine has completely mastered English, down to slang phrases, so we had a lovely time. We searched high and low (Litterally! Ha!) for ice cream, but eventually setlled for pizza. Ha! Walked all around Thun, and along the lake...sehr shöne!

Then we took the bus to Hilterfingen, and met my parents and uncle and aunt at the church there so my Uncle Markus could play the HUGE pipe organ there for us, and then I played flute for them (and Nadine!) and let me tell you, those acoustics were INCREDIBLE!!! I had so much fun.

Well, I would write more, I really want to, but I am being summoned. No pics today. I don't have tons, so I will leave it until next time. Hugs...lots of hugs all around!

Sheila the crazy

I am HOME!

You know how I said I missed home? Well...I am not on Vancouver Island, but I am home. A different home. But just as much home as the other home. :) I feel like I am meeting faeries of a younger self. It is a beautiful feeling.
When the train rolled into Switerland, the raindrops began to fall. We were stopped in Visp, and I gazed at the raindrops slipping into the puddle, as if they had a secret to tell me. I said that out loud, and my Mum said something about them being wet. Why are some people so matter-of-fact..? Hahahahahaaa!
Anyway, now I am at my Uncle Peter's house, using my cousin Marcus' computer. My COUSIN! Can you believe it? Family seems so distant these days, that I am just amazed to be here, in the company of my Dad's brother and sister and their families, and my cousins, and oh...lovely.

The train ride yesterday was fun, and the transfers to other trains were crazy! We had 9 minutes to get to another platform, stairs to go up and down, crazy crazy!!! But fun, and when we got into Thun (where I was born!) it was raining very hard. Everyone was complaining, but I was laughing, and soaking up the goodness, the life, the gentle blessings of the raindrops. Their message had been transmitted. I felt so full of joy and peace. What a wonderful place to be! I know that I will be happy when I get back to my little Pacific Island, but for now, when I look at Niesen, and Stockhorn (sp?) (mountains) and see the gentle rolling green, I feel at home. I feel that homeland calling. I live here for the first year and a half of my life, and have only been back twice, but it is so clear.
About an hour ago, I was standing on the patio here, and Auntie Ruth came to me, watching me stare out into the perfect Swiss landscape, and said "You remember?" "Of course I remember!" "Ja?" "Ja! This is home!" I said. Her eyes lit up, and she seemed so happy! "Really? Really really?" "Really." And I meant it.

So. Now I will show you some pictures from here and from Tuscany. :) They are all mixed up and some captions are centred and some not. Oh well!
My first Swiss tree hug. They are full of life everywhere!
Uncle Marcus, Auntie Ruth (Papi's sister) Me and my Mum outside the church this morning here in Thun.

The bell Tower, which I forgot to rotate. Sorry!

INCREDIBLE musicians in Sienna. We watched them for at least 45 minutes. Stunning!

Me and Guiditta playing Mozart! It was so fun, really, I felt so blessed.


Grapevines in Tuscany!

First glimpses of this wonderful homeland! This is Thun.

On the Ponte Vecchio! It was a wonderful experience, having sung about it!

By the Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio
The Duomo cathedral in Florence

Mz cute parents.

The Island-y market, which I LOVED though I was too cheap to buy anything.
Olive groves
Street sign! There aren't many of them, and they don't say much when you do find one! :P

Reno Schultz in San Gimignano.

Oliander in San Gimignano

Le Torri where we stayed in Tuscany

Me with some girls in Tuscany

My room in Tuscany, and the window through which Giuditta heard me first! Sorry it is so dark.

View from my window in Tuscany

Me in the Tuscan hills!




Hello friends,

I like music. A lot. But you knew that already, so I will skip the preamble. Like I said, I had plenty of time to practice the last couple days. 2 days ago, I was practicing away in my little Tuscan room with the arched window way open, working on the trio by Casterede. Tricky passages and all, you know. I suddenly had the distinct feeling that I was being watched. I stopped, and looked out my window down to the little road that runs beside the house, and there was this little face peeking at me, which said "Jacques Casterede?"

"-insert Italian here-"
"I speak English..."
"Ah! I play flute too!"

So I RAN down the stairs at breakneck speed, confusing everyone in my path with random words about flute players, and ended up at the fence where the young girl stood. She is 21 and her name is Giuditta. She studies flute in Florence, and I am guessing she is somewhere between a Grade 9 and ARCT level. Maybe about Grade 10-ish. She asked me (in cute broken English) if I wanted to play with her, and of course I said YESS!!! Then she said that she would be 5 minutes, and ran accross the street (past the olive grove...) and returned 5 minutes later with her flute, her stand, and an armfull of duets. We spent a fantastic hour (it flew by so quickly!) playing duets, all stuff I had never read, and Jen, I can't thank you enough for all those sessions of sightreading duets. It was an invaluable resource!

We agreed to meet again yesterday, after I got back from Sienna, and we did. I walked over to her sweet Italian home, and met her Mum and sister, and then we played for a couple hours in her room. We had been asked to play duets at a big dinner here at Le Torri last night, so we put together a little program of Mozart, Tellemann, Boismortier, and Bach. All duets I had played through a total of about 5 times each before we performed them together. Ha! We had a smashing time, and the most hilarious moment was the one right before we played the Bach, where she said "I heard you practice this...too fast!" (We listen to each other practice from our rooms) and I said "I know...but it is so fun to play it fast!" Hahahahahahahahhaaaaa!!!!!

And she has caught on to my habit of ignoring dynamics. Shoot.

But really, we have had a smashing time together, and it gave both of us the opportunity to enjoy music together, me the opportunity to see into the life of an Italian family and be in their home, and also to keep me from feeling lonely. It has been so sweet. I never thought I would meet someone one day (and that just from them hearing me practice) and perform with them the next! Plus I learned a few new beautiful studies (which she gave me copies of!!!) The Boismortier is fantastic!

Anyway, I had to share that with you all. I know at least 2 people who will find it particularly interesting. :) If I had more time I would write more, but I think this computer is dial-up and I don't want to waste their phone expense or whatever. Besides, I want to practice, and Giuditta and I arranged to play together again later. JS Bach and Boehm studies here I cooommme!!!



I am here on a very VERY slow computer. Like...WAY slow. So I think I won't be posting very many pictures. I think I can use my Aunt's computer when we get to Switzerland. I found an apostrophe on this computer though!

I have a few amusing stories to tell! Two days ago we went to a local town called Certaldo to a fun little market thing. Seriously reminds me of tiny island life near me. Hilarious and wonderfully half-hippie-ish. Love it. I actually didn't buy anything, mostly because I was too cheap and didn't want to spend 22 Euro on a skirt that I didn't really need, and I am looking for a nice ring, but I didn't find one that was just perfect. So, yeah. Anyway, it takes about a half hour to get there. We have a rental car, and the street signs in Italy are either non-existant, or extraordinarily oddly placed. Do you see where this is going? Well, it took us probably 2 hours to get back to where we are staying. Hahahahahahahaha!!! At first it was fun, we went up way steep hills, only to discover that there is nothing but a tiny church on the top of this hill, and that the view is beautiful. Head back down and take another few wrong turns. We ended up WAY out of where we should have been, and my Dad had to go into a Pizzeria and 'talk' to a guy who spoke lovely Italian, I'm sure, but not a word of English. "Lumina, lumina!" He said as he pointed out accross the hills. There in the distance were the lights of the tiny tiny town we are in. (if you can call it a town! It is more like a collection of 14th century buildings!) I was SO tired when we got home, that all I wanted to do was go to bed. And so I did.

The place we are staying, Le Torri, is beautiful. Perhaps if I was planning a vacation, I would be staying in some treehouse in the forest, but it really is lovely here. Very comfortable and pretty. The apartment we have has 2 bedrooms (so I have my own room...yessss!!! Freedom!) and a cute little kitchen and couch. I will post a picture of inside, a picture of outside, and a couple other pictures, if at all possible.

We met lots of lovely people, including a wonderful family from Northern Ireland! Took me a while, but I now understand them. They have 3 girls around my age, all with Irish names that I can barely pronounce, let alone spell. Though I won't complain, my name is Irish too, and the original spelling is crazy (Sile, but the i has a ticky on top like this u: ù). It is nice having someone my own age around, but it is also kind of awkward, because they are a group of 3, and I am a group of 1, and there are two other pairs of sisters around my age, but it is that group versus not group thing. Very awkward to break into. And my sister only exists within the covers of my diary! :(

Yesterday we went to a little medieval town called San Gimignano, which was very cute and medieval (such creative adjectives, I know!) although slightly over-packed with tourists of every shape and size. I did meet a very very interesting person there though! I was wandering through the tiny streets, when I heard something that sounded VERY familiar. I stopped, and sure enough, I heard a flute, so I followed the music to find this incredible guy totally engrossed and moving with his awesome, modern, and extraordinarily flutistic music. I had a nice little chat with him, it turns out he is from Germany and has lived in Italy for the last 22 years. He said "In University I wanted to sound just like James Galway, but that didn't happen, so I made my own sound." My kind of guy. Totally crunchy and out there, but it was wonderful. When we finished talking, he said "You go sit on those steps, I want to play you something!" Which he did, and it was really neat! "I could play Mozart", he said "but I love this!" I video taped both of the pieces he played for me, so I will upload them to YouTube when I get home for any flutey people who are interested. Oh, and he said he is working on a website, so you can Google him sometime if you want: Reno Schultz

Today we went to Florence. Wow! So many people! We went to both the Academia and the Ufizzi galleries, so I got to see lots of amazing art, including the David statue, and paintings like the birth of Venus, and the Primaverra. Incredible stuff. We also went by the big Duomo, but did not go in because of the CRAZY length of the lineup, but it was still amazing from the outside.

AND...We went over the Ponte Vecchio!!! Which is amazing for me because I have sung "O Mio Babbino Caro", and of course it talks about her going to the Ponte Vecchio to throw herself in the Arno if her father won't let her marry the guy she is in love with. Hahaha...just neat to be there. "Andrei sul Ponte Vecchio, ma per buttarmi in Arno!"

Anyway, I can't seem to get this old computer to figure out that it has a camera attached to it (it did at first, but now it doesn't come up even when I go into My Computer) so with my apologies, we will have to skip pictures. We go to Switzerland on Saturday, and see my Aunt on Sunday, and I know she has a computer I can use for sure, so hopefully that will work out smoothly and I can show you some pictures from here.

I really, really, REALLY, REALLY miss home, and everyone there, and the smell of the ocean and the trees and you...whoever you are. So hug yourself for me, because I miss you a lot. I cry a lot. ;) But I do that at home anyway, so it isn't exactly new. Hahahaa!!!

Love you!

The City of Rome!!!

Yes, yet another long and tiring day. This one was fantastic though!!! Just incredible. I am really tired and sore, but it was worth every moment, and I would totally do it again. We saw Rome!!! Officially!!!

I could probably write pages and pages about what we did today, it was amazing and fantastic, but I think I am too tired, and I am just going to post lots of pictures with decent captions. :D Jen, there are food pics for you. Here goes!

Random courtyard-ish thing.

Me and my Dad by the random thing

The Colloseum. IT IS HUGE!!!!!! The car is actually really far away from it, so it is way out of perspective, but you stand by that thing, and you feel like a flea. (Flea circus...cirucs maximus...ahahahahaaa!)

Is that the back of the wedding cake? Can not tell.

The forum. We did not go down into it, but we walked all round the edge, and saw more that way. Fascinating!!!

In the Pantheon

In the Pantheon, used to be a pagan temple and now it is a church! I think that is pretty neat.

The dome in the Pantheon. Astounding. That hole is 9 metres across!!!

The market! A food pic with Jen in mind!

More food...

Eating the gelato!!! Another food pic with Jen in mind... :P

Cones for the gelato!!!

The Trevi Fountain

The whole family by the Trevi Fountain.

My Dad, Me, and Sonja, our guide. I thought this was the one where she was looking at us, but I chose the wrong one. I am not going to fix it now. Anyway, this is by the Trevi fountain.

I cut off his bottom parts on purpose....that leaf just was not cutting it! Hahahahaaa!

By a lovely lady

A huge hall of sculptures in the Vatican museum.

The dome in the St Peters Basilica

Me by the Pieta

St. Peters Basilica. Stunning and huge, is it not?

Even the floors are amazing. Note the Celtic knot type lattice work. I can actually draw stuff like that and more complicated!!!

My one illegal shot of the Sistine chapel. I did not realize we could not take pictures, as everywhere else in the Vatican you can take pictures as long as you do not have the flash on. A guy then ran up to me saying "No photo, no photo!"

The view from my bedroom window at the B & B (I have my own room...thank goodness. Actually, I will everywhere)

Palestrina from a distance

More food for Jen! Yogurt at a little grocery store.

I was SO excited about this fountain because I was so crazy hot and it was cold and fresh and drinkable and lovely! Note the nun drinking in the background... :)

Are they not cute? In St. Peters square.

There are hundreds more pictures I could post, but it is late. If you live near me, come for a raclette sometime and we will look at all the pictures. Fair? We also went to a couple places where you could not take pictures, but I do not have time to post about them now. Maybe later.

Tomorrow we are off to Tuscany, so this is it for Rome!!!

Lots of hugs all of you!
Sheila Christine,
Palestrina, Italy