At the Vineyard – Father and I

We are at the Blasi family vineyard! We have been here now for two weeks. It’s been all very exciting and busy, so I haven’t had time to write until now because… but I’ll get to that in a minute.

When we first got here, I got to see Laura, Gabriel, baby Leo, Mrs. Blasi, Mr. Blasi, and Mami, but I didn’t get to see Papi for another whole day. I was sad, but Mami told me that Papi has to take things slowly, and to be patient. Finally, Mami took me into Papi’s room, and I understood what she was talking about. He has gotten so old and little. He sits crumpled up in his bed, like he’s shrunk into a wrinkled little boy. I don’t know if he is sick, or just old. I asked Father why Mr. Blasi didn’t just move Mami and Papi to Italy and he said it was because Mr. Blasi’s father can’t get out of bed anymore, so they came to him.

I asked Mrs. Blasi how it has been moving all the way over here. She said it has been “an adventure”. That’s probably an understatement (I just learned this word. I like it. It’s a great word.) Now they have a new house, new family to take care of, and a vineyard to take care of too! It’s quite a bit more than “an adventure”, I think.

I heard Mr. Blasi tell Father that it is good that his brother also gave them a good amount of money to run the vineyard, I don’t really understand that. A vineyard is where grapes grow, and grapes are plants. Plants don’t need money to grow. They need water, sun, and good soil.I have been learning a lot about plants while we’ve been here. Father says it’s a very hands on way of learning about the science of plants, or botany. It’s a huge vineyard, so there is a lot to learn

I’ve been playing with Gabriel and Laura a lot, but mostly on the weekends because they have “real” school. They call my kind of school “home” school. I think that’s a silly name for it, I’m never home when I do “home” school. I’m usually on a train, or an airplane, or in a car.


Last Friday, when Laura and Gabriel got home from school, they took me on their bikes to see the old church, Father and Mr. Blasi came too. I rode on Gabriel’s handlebars, he was being nice. I had seen it before, but not up close yet. You can see it from their house if you stand in the front yard or look out from one of the upstairs windows on that side of the house. Father took lots of pictures when we got there. It was very pretty in the sunset. Gabriel said the church is not the only thing that looks pretty in the sunset, which made my cheeks get really hot, and made Laura make a barfing noise.

I liked riding on Gabriel’s handle bars, no matter what Laura says or the noises she makes. 

We haven’t been able to ride at all now because it has gotten very wet and cold. It’s getting colder everyday I think, and it should have started snowing at least three nights ago, but instead all we get is frigid rain (I ran out of words for cold, so Father taught me this new one. It’s a good one). 

Today, for example, is Saturday, and Laura, Gabriel, and I should all be outside playing around and exploring, but it is too wet and cold to leave the warm and cozy house. 

So, instead we are playing inside things. Laura is playing with some paper dolls I brought for her. Gabriel is attempting to play scales on his guitar (Mr. Blasi is teaching him to play). I am writing.

Disclaimer:
Photograph is not mine. It is beautiful and fits with the story well.
Photograph credit:
http://www.studentshow.com/gallery/60216757/Swiss-Church-Study

Over the Mountains – Father and I

I’m so excited!
We are going to the Blasi’s vineyard, farther into Switzerland. I love the Blasi family. Father has known the Blasi family for a long time, even before I was born. My Mother and Mrs. Blasi were friends in college, before Mother and Father met. Our families have been close for a long time. I’m so excited! We are going to spend a few months with them.

I’ve never been to their vineyard, or any vineyard. Father says it is beautiful, but we aren’t actually for any of Father’s work. Mr. Blasi asked Father to come and help him at the vineyard. Apparently, it’s a family business, but Mr. Blasi’s brother and father had been taking care of it on their own. Mr. and Mrs. Blasi have just moved back to the Swiss vineyard from Italy, because Mr. Blasi’s brother died last year, and his parents are too old to handle the vineyard alone. It’s very sad. That part, I am not excited about. Mr. Blasi’s parents are like my grandparents. I call them Mami and Papi, and I love them very much.

I’m mostly excited to spend time with Mami and Papi, and with the Blasi children, Gabriel, Laura, and Leo, especially Laura. She’s 8, just 6 months younger than me. She’s like a cousin. I’m so excited to play with her!

I love traveling with Father, but sometimes I want to around someone else, someone my age, or close to my age. I’m with grown ups a lot. They’re usually very nice to me, some even play with me, but they aren’t kids. Sometimes I wish I had a sister, like Laura. Or a brother, like Gabriel, though he’s 12 and sometimes he’s annoying.

The train is going through the mountains now. It’s magnificent. Father says that word may not mean what I want it to mean in talking about the mountains, but I’m pretty sure it does.
Magnificent means: “impressively beautiful, elaborate, or extravagant; striking.”
The Swiss alps are magnificent.

(Father printed this picture out for me once we got to the Blasi’s home, so I could paste it in my journal)

Disclaimer:
The above photo was obtained from this website: (it is not mine, and is in no way property of Gracious Purpose Blog, credit goes entirely to the following site and their gifted photographer)

https://www.muchbetteradventures.com/magazine/10-of-the-best-adventures-in-the-swiss-alps/

Not Disneyland – Father and I

Hello from Switzerland!
Father’s next article, after the one on the snooty fashion lady, is on the Alps, and Father insisted I see the REAL Matterhorn. 

It took us about 6 hours on trains and buses to finally get there, but once we did I can say for sure, it’s not like Disney’s pretend mountain. For one thing, it’s not alone. There are probably thousands of mountains and with it! I mean it is THE ALPS, with an “s”, meaning plural, as in lots of alp.

We are staying in a very tourist-y town called Zermatt. Everything is in German here, and I don’t know German very well. Father and I don’t stay in German speaking places as much, because we don’t have family here, like we do in Milan with the Detti’s. 

We are staying in a tiny hotel room that is decorated in an old style, with lots of dark wood, and dark reds, and pretend oil lamps, and frilly curtains, and that kind of thing. It is all very nice though! There is a little eating-area-thing downstairs where we eat. There is even a balcony where we can sit out and look at the mountains and the town!

Zermatt lake sunnegga - website 800px w-0167

This is a postcard of the Matterhorn. I got in town (but I think the picture was taken somewhere else, not in the town).

The balcony is my favorite. 
Not only can you see all the mountains around, the old style buildings in town, breathe the outdoors-y mountain-y air, but also there are these boxes with flowers everywhere in all the windows! I wish I could take one with me and have a box full of flowers everywhere we went. It would make every place we stay in feel like home. Father and I have a home, but we aren’t there very much, so sometimes it’s hard to think of the-house-we-are-never-in as “home”.

Tomorrow Father and I are taking our cameras and going to climb mountains! I am so excited to get out there! I love hiking and climbing, and I’ll be with Father while he’s working, not like in Milan when I had to stay away from him. I like being with friends and little Camilla is super cute, but I like being with Father the most.

With the Detti's – Father and I

Yesterday, Father and I left Venice. We took the train from Venice to Milan, which was like 5 whole hours of train riding (it was exhausting). Father has to meet up with some fancy fashion lady. I can never remember her name, just what she looks like. She’s tall and skinny with a pinched up face. Her lips are constantly pushed together in what is supposed to be like kissing fish lips, but they are so thin that they just look wrinkled. She has huge eyes, and they peer down at you out of her equally huge glasses. Her hair is probably gray because she colors it all the time, so it’s always a different color whenever Father goes to see her. Father is seeing her today, he left early this morning, before I woke up.

We are staying with our friends, the Detti’s, who live just outside of Milan. I say friends, but I have known them pretty much my whole life. Father says he doesn’t like to just have friends wherever he travels, he likes to have family. Lorenzo Detti is a funny man, with thick, dark hair, glasses, and the loudest voice I have ever heard. Isabella, his wife, has happy, blue eyes, and her fingernails are always painted red. Their little girl’s name is Camilla, she’s almost two with her always in pigtails. She is adorable!

While Father interviews and photographs the pinched-faced fashion lady, I stay the day with the Detti’s. Father will be home tonight, late, way after dinner, just before I go to bed.

Camilla is napping right now, Lorenzo is at work, and Isabella is resting too, so I’m in “my room” writing here in my journal.

Father is staying in their guest bedroom, but I’m staying in the study. It’s a small room, but I love it. The sun comes in the room almost all day, keeping it warm and cheery. One whole wall is just books. A large, brown leather chair sits next to the wall of books. I’m sitting in it now, with my knees all curled up, and there is still plenty of room. It’s a huge chair. There is a nice lamp that comes up over the back of the chair, so in the evening, it’s a great reading spot too. Wall of books, comfy chair, and a lamp. Perfect!

The wall opposite the window is the single murphy bed. The sides of the bed just barely touches everything else in the room, so it’s pretty cozy.

Decided to add a little doodling to my journal entries.

Tomorrow, Father and I plan to spend the day at home with the Detti’s. It’s Saturday, so no work for Lorenzo. I love listening to Father talking with Lorenzo and Isabella. I’m hoping that in the afternoon, we can go downtown to see the sites. I know I’ve seen it before, but there is something about it that is so interesting. Milan almost looks like a big city in America, but the skyline (new vocabulary word this week) is filled with new things and old things. Skyscrapers and cathedrals. Apartment buildings and red tile roof buildings. Construction cranes and marble statues.

The day after tomorrow will be Sunday, which will be our last day with the Detti’s, but we will miss them in the morning. They go to church on Sunday mornings. Father and I don’t. I don’t know why we don’t go with them. I’ve been to church before, but I felt weird, like I didn’t belong there and everyone was looking at me.
Maybe we will do something fun Sunday afternoon before our train to Switzerland Sunday night!

I hear Camilla waking up from her nap! I’m going to go see if I can help Isabella with a snack. I love playing with little Camilla!

Father and I – reboot

A long while ago, I started a series of posts called “Father and I”. It was essentially a serial fiction series about a girl and her father, their travels, their relationship, and the people they meet.

Well, I decided to reboot that serial here.
Starting tomorrow, I will be posting these short stories, some with slight edits, some completely new, but all in their original format of a little girl’s journal entries.

It seemed an appropriate time to reboot this serial since the internet is full of fear, too many news updates, and not enough normal, good news.

Here is a sneak peek:

My name is Eleanor Marie Wiles, but don’t call me Eleanor, just Marie is fine. I’m just now nine years old. My birthday was yesterday and Father gave me this journal. Father and I visited Venice yesterday, which is where I wanted to visit for my birthday and is where this very nice journal came from.

Father’s name is Basil Gregory Wiles (he has everyone call him Basil. I think he is more of a Greg). He’s a writer and photographer. We travel together so that he can find different things to write about for the magazine he works for, The Coffeetable. He writes the articles about other cultures and natural wonders, things that are interesting to have open on your coffee table. His articles are the most popular section of the magazine. He also has a fancy camera that I’m not supposed to touch. He takes pictures of the places we go to and the people we meet. Sometimes he even takes selfies of the two of us. I tell him that it’s weird that he uses his fancy camera for selfies. He laughs.

I hope you find this serial to be uplifting, thought provoking, fun, and maybe a little escape.