a field trip across the pond

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark”.

“If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius”.

Michelangelo Buonarotti

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These are quotes from the Michelangelo…the one that sculpted David, or the Pieta, or painted the Sistine Chapel. Who knew he had a last name. He’s iconic. Kind of like Cher, or Madonna, or Jesus.

But then you read things that he said, and you think, he’s pretty real. He’s had some clever ideas to offer humanity. The more I read about famous people that are widely known, the more I understand that these characters have been recorded in history books for reasons beyond their inventions or artistic offerings. The ‘what they did‘ came from ‘who they were‘ and that is what they most had to offer.

Though I realize that having your name known without a last name doesn’t equal rival status to Michelangelo or Jesus. Madonna and Cher have their place in this world, but…

I’ve been reading about Michelangelo with the kids. And Da Vinci, and Julius Caesar, and other greats from Ancient Rome. We’ve been learning about the great structures in Italy: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We’ve been learning greetings and numbers in Italian. We’ve been downloading language apps and pretending to stand in coffee shops ordering lattes (or more culturally appropriate, cappuccinos).

Buongiorno. Posso avere caffe latte, per favore.

And then the coffee guy will say, “Quanti ne desidera?”

And I will respond, “Uno“, and then I will have no more words, because my Italian vocabulary will have run out.

So I will continue to let those romantic numbers roll off my tongue, “due, tre, quattro, cinque caffe latte” until my husband will be cardioverting me with the nearest defibrillatore.

Along with the language and history study, we have attempted to cut dessert from our evening repertoire as we are about to include at least a bi-daily event of gelato; it’s as available as tap water. We’ll be consuming wine as it’s less expensive than water. No we’re not heading to the Middle East to see if water can be turned into wine. We’re heading to Rome, Siena and Venice.

As we travel, I invite you to join us on our mini-discoveries, seeing in real time the grandeur of Michelangelo’s works, his rival Da Vinci’s too; treading the ground of Julius Caesar and Tarquin the Proud.

For as Julius Caesar said himself, “Experience is the teacher of all things“.

So to cement the learning, off to our field trip we go…