Wednesday, July 1, 2015


When we began planning our trip to Italy, my husband's must see city was Ravenna. Years ago we spent a few days in Istanbul and saw many of the old churches there but the artwork was no longer in the original form. Ravenna is said to have the best mosaics from Byzantine time.

Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until the empire collapsed in 476.

We started our day at Basilica San Vitale which was within walking distance to our hotel. "The church is of extreme importance in Byzantine art, as it is the only major church from the period of the Emperor Justinian I to survive virtually intact to the present day." It doesn't look like much from the outside but inside it will take your breath away.

As we walked in we were impressed with the size. On the ceiling of the dome is a beautiful fresco and all around is marble.

This is the best photo that I have as you look at the presbytery. You can see the size and most of that area is covered with mosaics. The building was finished is 548.

The mosaics are what the church is known for.  This one is at the presbytery.

This was one of my favourite in there. I think after a year of living in sheep country in England I have fallen in love with sheep. The centre is the Lamb of God.

On the left side is the mosaic of Justinian. You can see the soldiers on his right, the deacons on his left. This is representing that Justinian is the leader of both. (Item #1 of things on our Veritas Press Timeline cards that we saw on this trip.)

On the other wall is the mosaic of Theodora. She is shown with a halo. From the bits of reading I have been doing she seems like quite a woman and I am not sure that a halo is part of her but she was Justinian's wife and there was grace available for her as for me. She is holding the chalice of wine while Justinian is holding the bread.

It is easy to be drawn to looking at all the mosaics on the walls and you could miss the floor. I looked down and saw this artwork which I have seen before in books.

Two went to two other smaller places within Ravenna. Mausoleo di Galla Placidia is next to San Vatile. It is small and you are limited to five minutes. I loved the dark colours as well. It was so vibrant.

We then walked Battistero Neoniano. It was a bit difficult to find as it was much smaller than we thought.

On the walls were mosaics of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This was in the dome.

In the afternoon we rode the bus to Classe to Basilica of Sant' Apollinare. The church is empty so it was nice to have time to just sit, look, and reflect. This was much larger.

I like the colours -- the teal blue with the gold cross. Look, more sheep.

Most of the floor was new and boring but there were a few sections where they had the original floor.

I think mosaics were the forms of early quilts.

We also saw Dante's tomb, ate gelato, and some good pasta. I am so glad that we went to Ravenna. It is a small city and one day gave us plenty of time to see things there.


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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Catching Up

One country 
Four cities
Five People
Seven Trains
Numerous Buses
Daily Gelato from Miss K
2,138 photos to sort through and share

I will be sorting through the photos and sharing about our trip. 

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What we have been doing.

Walking, touring, and eating. Here are just a few photos. I have many more to share. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Learning to eat out

We are learning so learning some terms. Osteria basically means fresh pasta as well as a few other things. We ate at one last night and enjoyed delicious pasta. 

Today for lunch we went to a pizzeria. 

There are also ristorante and gelateria. Miss k has been looking forward to ice cream and she was excited to get after right, mint today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Asia Journey - Part 2

I know I began the story of the journey over a year ago and wrote Part 1. I was recently reminded that I didn't finish writing those memories so I will write part 2.

My blue and white fruit bowl from Thailand
For some reason this part of the journey has been the hardest to write. It could be that this was a difficult assignment. It might be that this is one of those times in life that I wonder, "what would have happened if. . ." I do want to write this just to have it as part of the story.

So after 10 months in Taiwan I was back in the US and working there. I was living with my parents as that was an easy place to go. I was making plans to move into an apartment. Then in May or June I was  asked if I would go to Thailand. There was a factory there that the company I worked for was helping to manage. It was an interesting arrangement -- American management, Chinese ownership, and Thai labor. That should give some clue to the challenges that were faced. I was asked to go and help with production management -- get the product produced and shipped.

In early July I flew to Thailand. Back in those days I mainly flew Northwest and their Asia hub was Narita. It was late afternoon when I landed there and then it was still a 5-6 hour flight to Bangkok. The flight landed there close to midnight. I remember walking outside and realizing it was hot, very hot there. I read that Thailand has two seasons hot and very hot. The food is also hot or very hot.

My job was scheduling production so that orders were shipped on time. It was a much different work experience for me. Three languages were used in the office -- Thai, Chinese, and English. You might have to look for a different translator depending who you wanted to talk to. Our offices were at the factory which was in a special area that was manufacturing to export. We had various checkpoints along the way.

I lived in a hotel now before you thing that was a glamorous life I should explain some things, the hotel was brand new which makes it sound wonderful but hot water didn't really exist and there was one restaurant and not much in the area. I really didn't spend much time there.

Our morning began with a planning meeting at 7:30. So in order to be there on time we had to leave at 6:30. There were two others working there and living in the hotel so we met for breakfast at 6:00. Don't bother ordering pancakes, they were always "out" of them. A driver would take us to the office. I would grab the fax that came from the US office (we didn't use email back in those days) and any others papers and head to the meeting. After the meeting, someone would take my lunch order -- fried rice either chicken or shrimp. Then it was a day of work--answering questions from the U.S., working to make sure we had raw materials, checking to make sure production didn't change what was scheduled, and numerous others things until we were all ready to leave around 6:00. Then the next question was where to eat dinner. We normally did that on the way home. There wasn't much time in the evening after dinner because I knew the alarm would be going off early on the morning.

Everyday was pretty much the same as the previous day except the rugs on the lift changed to tell us the day of the week. Saturdays were the same except we came home early around 4:00. Every other week we had Saturday off. I don't remember much of what we did. I remember one week we went and did all kinds of tourist things in Bangkok.

On Sundays we went downtown to an English speaking church. We rode with whoever had the van that week. We would often eat lunch and maybe do some shopping. We didn't go downtown during the week. That was back in the days when traffic was horrible. One night we had a dinner meeting at Neil's Steak House which was some of the best steak I have ever had. It took us four hours to get from the office to the restaurant and 20 minutes to get home.

Sometimes on our Saturday's off we would go to the weekend market. It was fun to wander and look at the blue and white dishes, the silver jewellery, and the fruit.

I celebrated a birthday while I was there and we went to Charley Brown's which is Mexican (interestedly I just googled and it is still there). Another favourite when we have lot of people was to go to the Seafood Market. I don't think I have ever experienced anything like it. First you go in and pick your seafood, veggies and fruit. You pay for that and then you go to a table and tell them how you want your food cooked. The garlic bread had about a quarter of an inch of garlic on it. It was yummy. There were other places that we ate at like Hard Rock, and some Italian places.

There were a number of other Americans there. There were three families and then three or four other individuals. I am thankful that there were others there and I keep in touch with a number of them (mainly because I lived in Taiwan with some of them).

For me the challenge was my life was like a long business trip. It seemed to be all work which is fine for a week or two but after months it is difficult. My parents knew it was challenging. They were supportive and praying and I think they let a friend of theirs know that it was tough for me. After almost six months, I quit. That is where some of the "what if's" come in. What if I hadn't quit? What if I had stayed?

I returned to the States thinking that I would never be back in Asia and began a new job, scheduling for a consulting company. It sounds like a great job but honestly all I remember is copying lots of procedure manuals and checking time sheets. It was based on a contract which was supposed to be in place for five years but 10 months after I began work the contract was terminated. That is not good for your job. I was looking for a new job.

While it was a difficult experience there was good that came from it. I had a feel for Thailand and would later travel there regularly. I had some great co-workers and keep in touch with many of them today. I am thankful for that time in my life.

I wish I had more photos to share but the ones I have are in storage and that was back in the pre-digital days.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Week in Review 12 June 2015

We still have a few more weeks of school. Part of that is we are following the local schedule and part of that is we took almost the whole month of October off because of traveling. It is nice to have flexibility in home school.

We are spending some time studying the History of Rome. This week was Roman Engineering. We talked about the Roman arch and the kids drew some pictures of the Roman arch. Then we tried to make an aqueduct. We didn't have blocks with arches. I found it interesting to learn how slight the slope was.

We made Roman Road. I used the instructions here as my inspiration. I had to substitute and experiment a bit.

We used Digestives in place of graham crackers. Then made Angel Delight and added some chocolate chips. We tried to put cream cheese on top but it just didn't spread. We couldn't find the frozen whipped topping so I used spray topping and that just isn't the same. We used tea fingers for the top. We talked about the different layers and had a fun snack when we were finished.

Miss K is waiting to try the road.

I thought math with Miss K was going better and then I asked her what 2 + 5 = and her answer was Brazil. I guess we need to keep working on math facts.

This is just a bit from our week.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

May in Review

I know it is June 9. I am blaming the delay in posting May in Review on jet lag. They say that you get 1 day for every time zone. That means today is the last day of jet lag. So what did I do in May? How did I do at working toward my goals?

Our outing in May was Hong Kong. The kids and I spent the morning at the museums. I do have a list of places here in England that I would like to visit so we will just need to start planning and go.

I didn't start and new projects so my unfinished project list is still at 9 unfinished projects. I need to get my sewing machine out and work on these projects. At least I have had self-control and have not begun any new projects.

Blogging in May hit a slump. I am not sure what caused that but it was probably my lowest month in a long time. Hopefully June will be better.

I am continuing to work on reducing the things in our house. I have found that my attitude and thinking is changing. I am learning to be content with what I have. I will write more about that. I didn't buy much in Hong Kong -- four pens, two sponges, and two post cards.

I have not knitted in a long time.

I have been working to finish not it will never be finished so maybe I should use the word catch-up on my scrapbooking. I just have to finish Switzerland and then it is time to order more photos.

I have a number of other little projects that need to be done -- end of the year school reports, cleaning, and other things. I need to be diligent and intentional to get those things done.

I think I will go begin my June in Review now so I will be ahead and hopefully not be too late.

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