Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Italian" Houseguests

Two weeks ago, these cool people came to visit:

That's Alan, my American boss from Villa Le Balze/Georgetown, his lovely, refreshingly sassy Ecuadorian wife Anna Maria, and trilingual little Massimilliano, who's not so little anymore, by the way.  They decided to make San Francisco one of their stops on their US summer vacation, which was great news for me!  We squeezed them into our apartment, and things were much more lively at home, with a resounding 4-year-old's giggle permeating frequent games of hide and seek.

We managed to fit in so much in the short few days they were here.  This was partly thanks to the fact that we got home early in the evenings and slept in in the mornings.  The first day they explored Pier 39, and then Friday I took off work to walk through Chinatown, the Ferry Building, and Dolores Park with them.  The highlight of that day for me was going into a fortune cookie factory.  I had never seen them made before, and both the machinery and the process was fascinating.  Pictures of the tiny, unmarked factory were 50 cents each, so I refrained on principle.  

Taking a breath at the Ferry Building:

Later we got some ice cream and went to hang out at Dolores for a couple hours.  

What a view from the top of the slide!

That night I took them to one of my favorite local restaurants, Straw, which has carnival-inspired gourmet fare.  Massi and I are in a carnival ride chair for this pic:

Saturday was nature day.  First, we shared a feast of a picnic overlooking the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square.

When you're toting a kid around with you, you have to make sure to plant lots of parks in the itinerary, or you'll regret it!  He had endless energy climbing the slides and learning the monkey bars, and we got a chance to sit down and rest!  Win-win.  Plus, look how cute this is:

Anna Maria has the most adorable pet names for him in Spanish.  Of course, her little "príncipe" is one, as well as "mi amor" but my favorite is when she calls him her "cielo" which means a combination of heaven and sky.  Lovely!

That afternoon, before taking them to SFO, we went to the Sutro Baths at Land's End.  We walked over to catch a view of the Golden Gate, and spent some time chilling (literally) on the beach.  As you can see in this great photo of Alan, it was a bit breezy.  Massi got to throw some rocks into the ocean, a favorite pastime of his, and ended up wearing less and less clothes as he got more and more friendly with the ocean waves.

What a treat to get to see them, after more than a year!  They were my family while I was living in Florence: I discussed life with Alan every day; I spent Thanksgiving at their house.  Massi was so sweet while he was here, playing all over town with the Transformer I got him, cuddling up before bed, and translating much of what he said from Spanish to English for my benefit.  I can only hope that they end up on my side of the world again sometime in the not-too-distant future.