Monday, July 23, 2007

A Balloon Trip Across the Ocean

When I was visiting my sister in Italy this year, a balloon fell down from the sky near her house. Attached was a message of peace from the children of the third grade class of a school in Modena, which is about an hour's drive from my sister's house. On the front of the attached card it says:

AMICI MIEI OGGI REGALIAMO EMOZIONE (My friends, today we give you the gift of emotion). The first five letters of this sentence spell AMORE (love) and the card is signed by Francesco, Third Grade.

The back of the card shows:

21 Marzo 2007 - Primo giorno di primavera
I bambini della scuola elementare G. Rodari di Modena mandano al mondo i loro messaggi di pace e solidarietà.

Se hai ritrovato il palloncino, ti invitiamo a spedirci una cartolina o una lettera all'indirizzo...

In English
21 March 2007 - First Day of Spring
The children of elementary school G. Rodari of Modena send their messages of peace and solidarity to the world.

If you have found this balloon, we invite you to send us a postcard or a letter to the following address...

"Hmm...", I thought, "wouldn't it be fun to send them a card from America?" So I did...

I sent them the two images you see at left to prove I had the actual balloon and card. I also sent them a card with the picture of the dog in front and I wrote this message inside.

Ciao, Francesco e compagni di classe della 3a! Grazie per il vostro messaggio di pace. Vi inviamo pure i nostri desideri per voi di pace e di amore.

Thank you, Francesco and classmates of the third grade! Thanks for your message of peace. We send you also our wishes for you of peace and of love.

I also included the two postcards you see here and three sheets of stickers, enough I hoped for each member of the class.

A couple of weeks later, it happened...I got a phone call from someone at the school asking me if the balloon had really reached me across the ocean! I confessed immediately that, no, it had landed in Casina, Italy, and that I had taken it back with me to America. They said that my response had excited the whole faculty and that they had decided that it would have been a real miracle if the balloon had really crossed the ocean. Nevertheless, she said, they had also decided that it didn't matter if the balloon had been taken across the ocean in a suitcase - it had, after all, reached America and it didn't matter how. We had a nice conversation and she said that while summer vacation was just beginning, they would present everything to the children come fall and also that they would write about this in their school newspaper. I also have an open and standing invitation to come visit the school when I am in Italy next.

This is how friends are made!

When You're Older, You Can Say What You Want

One of the nice things about getting older is you don't care what other people think. I saw this gentleman in a Starbucks and asked him if I could take his picture for my blog. I happen to agree with the sentiment expressed in his handmade badge!

It says:
The Neocons
No more no less
Have got us in
An awful mess

OK, not the best poem, but the sentiment is there!