Snail mail is still the BEST!

My Year MugToday started out as an average snowy day. I got up, had my coffee and headed out. I went to the Post Office expecting bills and junk mail, but a surprise package awaited me.

Wow-wee, I even double checked to make sure it was my name on the package. Yep, it was me. I haven’t received a surprise package in years and I do mean YEARS! Clarification on “surprise” package. This is a package that comes unannounced. The sender does not tell you ahead of time to “expect” something.

I’m terrible! I get so excited if I send something to someone that it is hard for me to NOT give it away. I always want to be a secret sender, but it’s just not possible.

My ex/husband is German versus my Italian background. I was always amused by his restraint. When he received a package or letter, he would look at it and put it on the counter in a very precise type of manner and walk off. I would yell out, “Aren’t you going to open it??” No, it can wait until later. INCREDIBLE! When I received something I was ripping open the letter or package as I was reading WHO it was from!

I can say that is exactly what I did today! I was like a little kid, I was so excited about my surprise package. I started to rip it open until I read “FRAGILE” on the top, then I slowed down for fear of “breaking” the surprise!

The photo shows you my surprise gift! How special is that! The mug’s message with the card looking out onto the Lake, well, it was PERFECT! I really feel like a Princess today!

2018 –>  THIS WILL BE MY YEAR! 

(SMILING – The Universe has spoken!)

Learning Italian, German, Spanish & French through Fairy Tales

50A7B344-C434-4DD4-AC4F-B27EB30FDACEDon’t you love it, when you find a great website by accident! That happened to me the other day. I was searching for an Italian recipe, but I wasn’t finding what I wanted. So, I kept clicking “here” and “there” and suddenly I came to a website for “learning Italian.”

The site is called, “The Italian Experiment.” I noticed that they also have the “same” site in German, Spanish and French. In ALL of these languages they take three fairy tales and translate them into the foreign language you choose, and even better, they have audio where someone reads the story to you!

98A2742D-110E-4D00-9807-805E5E33734EAs you listen to the story, you can hear how they pronounce the words. Excellent! If you have “no idea” what the reader is saying, there is a button that says, “translate,” if you click that the English translation appears.

I chose the Italian version and listened to “The Three Little Pigs.” You can listen to them tell the story here. While I can speak Italian fairly well, I’ve got to say the words in this story had me lost and this is a short book. Yikes, I need to practice.

In part of the story they say in English, “the first little pig,” which translated in Italian is, “il primo porcellino.” You have to hear the translator read these words, it is very cute sounding. Suddenly the little porcellino seems like your best friend.

This site has a review for an online language course called, “Rocket Italian.” They give it 4.5 Stars. I went to the Rocket Italian website, it seems good. I’ve been wanting to practice Italian and build up my vocabulary. Maybe I will rock my Italian by taking the Rocket Italian course! I like the name “rocket,” makes me think if I pass the course, I will be ejected to Florence and find myself in a beautiful cafe!

Gotta hope!

Dragon Boat Racing / Italian Meetup

Ottawa Dragon Boat Feast

Ottawa Dragon Boat Feast

About a year ago I received an unsolicited Meetup.com email in my inbox. The title mentioned something about “Dragon Boat Racing.” Of course, I immediately thought this was “junk mail.” I didn’t know about Dragon Boat Racing and I had never signed up for a Meetup.

I was curious though, because I like being out on the water. I had heard that Meetups were a great way to do different activities and meet new people. So, I nervously pressed the “open” email button hoping I wouldn’t be infected with a virus.

Dubuque, IA Chamber of Commerce photo

Dubuque, IA Chamber of Commerce photo

I was pleasantly surprised. No virus! It turned out they had a Meetup scheduled for that Saturday, free to attend as they supplied canoe, life vest, paddle and free coaching – I just had to show up. I decided to give it a try.

It was a lot of fun!

So, I went again today and I wasn’t disappointed. The first group out to practice were the veterans. Wow – they are FAST. May/June time frame they have some competitions coming up, so they were focused on timing and their strokes. A canoe is 44 ft long with 20 paddlers. Wonderful to be out on the water, it’s a great team sport (see photo of a team in action).

View of Florence, Italy

View of Florence, Italy

This encouraged me to try another Meetup. This time I went to a weekly Italian conversational one. They meet every week on Sunday at an Italian café. This group spoke different levels of Italian, some basic/intermediate like me and others fluent, because they had lived there. Enjoyed being transported to Italy for an hour.

Well… I’m smiling, because I think that junk email is like dating. Sometimes the email you want to toss out is really the one you should keep!

Happy Easter!