My name is Luka. L.U.K. A. I’m four years old and I just visited Italy with my mom and dad. They are pretty cool people, although they are an itsy bitsy obsessed with having me experience the world. Perhaps you read my past guest blog entries on Japan and Austria? People in Italy kept telling me my name is Italian, which I think they kept saying since I’m not Italian and mommy and daddy are very different looking. Well, supposedly my mommy is. I don’t quite understand how it is that she is different. At four years old, I kind of feel we are all alike except that maybe I like Mickey Mouse and you like Doc McStuffins? I heard something about mommy being brown? What’s that about it? Anyway, just in case I always spelled my name for the Italians I met. L.U.K.A.
The plane ride from Germany to Italy was super cool as I could see snowy mountains down below. We have had a lot of snow and weird storms in New York recently, but these snowy mountains were different looking. Could I make snow angels on them? While on planes, I keep looking at their magazines. I asked mommy and daddy if we could follow the drawing instructions and inflate the cushion under the seat. They didn’t agree with that. On one of the magazine’s drawings it said mommy couldn’t wear her heels. I don’t think she liked that that drawing. I told her but she said that was just in case of an emergency. You can’t ever take away her heels. I’ve learned that in my four years.
I want to tell you something, my time in Italy was fruitful. I discovered several ancient cities, got kissed by several pretty girls and I managed to maintain a 9-day pizza-only diet. And, people thought it couldn’t be done! Ha, I showed them. Italy was my version of heaven, although unlike Japan, I was not “mayor” of the town. Otherwise, my stroller would not have been lost and “customer service” people would have actually cared and gotten it to me before we went back to New York. Yah, o! I was born in Manhattan. Ok. While in Japan they “threw” candy and compliments at me, here in Italy it was hit and miss. The pretty Scandinavian girl gave me chocolate and kisses, but some Italian lady nearly threw me to the ground when I tried to squeeze by her. I had said excuse me. I thought because she stared at us during our whole lunch she would be cool. But she wasn’t and she wasn’t the only one that treated me that way or that looked at my mommy in such weird ways. Doesn’t matter, I still tried to charm everyone I met. It’s just the way I am.
Anyway, because customer service is non-existent at the airport (that’s what mommy said) it took two hours to file a lost baggage claim, our driver left us at the airport and we had no phone. Mommy looked a little annoyed and daddy looked confused. Mommy said that this was the result of inflated bureaucracy where managers just stand around and watch while just one person, who needed to be caffeinated, did all the work. I didn’t understand why my stroller didn’t appear. At the airport, I felt a pang of tummy pain: did this mean I would have to walk everywhere? But I am a little prince and as such I am meant to be carried about. My legs are still short, you know. We had to find a taxi to take us to the hidden slash quaint apartment we had rented. Mommy said that with a rented apartment I could have all the hot milk I wanted. The woman who met us at the apartment was very pretty but she kept telling us that she would have to charge us for the driver that never drove us to the apartment because we were late and didn’t let her or her boss know. Hello: we had no phone, there was no phone store at the airport as we had been promised and my stroller was lost. Apparently, that was enough for the apartment manager to get really mad about. So nice she could empathize with us. Oh wait, she was angry at us and not with us. Eventually the pretty lady was taken in by my charm and she showed us around the neighborhood while I held her hand. She squealed with delight. Yeah baby, I know how to work it. That evening I had pizza number one. Delicious. Plus three cups of hot milk that tasted a little different but was yummy nonetheless. Mommy tried to get me to eat something different saying it was “mac and cheese” but I clearly heard the waiter call it gnocchi. No one is fooling me.
The next morning we got up and I drank a ton more of milk. Is that what they call a milkaholic? People do say I am very big for my age. And charming, don’t forget charming. Before we left the apartment, my mommy handed me my camera. A real camera. Because I’m a big boy. Then we walked and walked and walked some more. I am from New York, I was born in Manhattan, which means I was born with walking shoes on. But this was A LOT of walking. And it was packed. In Japan, when we went to the Ginza district it was super packed but it moved. There was an ebb and flow to it. Plus, everyone was in a suit. Here in Rome, people didn’t move so fast mostly because they were looking at books and maps. I like maps. I would help my mommy find streets on the map. That was fun. Mom said there were many streets that weren’t mapped out so we would just walk and get croissants and cappuccinos every few hours. I even had a pizza sandwich for breakfast. I think I need to install this as a new home protocol. Peanut butter and toast is so for the three year olds. But while we were walking I noticed a lot of motorcycles along the sidewalks. Couldn’t we just take one of those. I tried to get on one, but mommy very quickly carried me away.
After a long, long day of walking on that first full day in Rome, where we saw what is called a Coliseum and an area with statues and more statues, we went back to the hotel (ah, I mean apartment) where I watched all my favorite cartoons (fairly odd parents, scooby doo). But I didn’t understand a word. It was in some other language. At first I thought maybe it was Spanish since that is what the birds in my New York neighborhood speak, but mommy said it was something called Italian. Curiously, she would still speak to the Italian people in Spanish and we would get stuff as a result. In a horrible turn of unexpected events, the next morning, we got up at 6am. Why in god’s name were we doing that? Oops, my catholic school teacher said I wasn’t supposed to say such phrases. Mommy said we were going to the Pope’s house, the boss of my teacher. Hmm, ok. Can I go file a complaint about my teacher-she doesn’t let me play enough! We took the subway there and it was smaller than New York and decorated in a lot of colorful writing. I think mommy called it graffiti. Can I do this at home? We met 7 other people to form a group and just like at Pre-K we had a line leader and her name was Marina (if I’m good at my pre-k school I get to be line leader also). She spoke to us in English and carried a pink sunflower so that we could always find her. Now, supposedly, we were going this early so that we could walk through the Pope’s house (my teacher’s boss) without that many other people. But there were a lot of line leaders around with weird sticks above their heads. Mommy took tons and tons of pictures. For the first time ever I saw her take pictures with the ipad. I thought ipad was for games. She said it wouldn’t flash so we would be respectful of the places we were in. The things were cool and Marina was pretty and laughed at my knock-knock jokes. But, I guess, I was a bit bored and fell asleep. So, daddy had to carry me throughout all of the Pope’s house. Mommy tried to carry me at times but she said her weak arms couldn’t carry my 50 pounds for too long. After that we set about walking for close to 3 miles from the Pope’s house back to our apartment. We stopped at something called Spanish steps that I had been really looking forward to cause I have a bit of a pigeon obsession. Check out my photos of the pigeons. I fed them paprika potato chips. I heard they like that. While at the steps I was very tired and cranky. Why haven’t the airport people found my stroller? There were a lot of people and there were these guys selling purses and sunglasses that would fold everything up every so often and run. This was kind of like Manhattan. That’s a weird form of exercise. As a treat for walking a bit of the three miles I got my very first gelato. It was fragole-flavored. Strawberries make me a strong boy. I can get used to this Italy: daddy carries me, I eat gelato and I have pizza everyday. Wait till I bring my pictures to Show and Tell next friday. I am so kicking it Pre-school!
Of course it wasn’t all fun for me. Mommy and daddy insisted in going to churches and broken down cities; I think those are called ruins. I actually discovered a few. A lot of the churches were very cool actually. They had large paintings and were very intricate and colorful. I went to see something called the Sistine Chapel. They said a teenage mutant ninja turtle (you know Michelangelo) did it. Really? He can fight and paint? Wow. I immediately asked daddy for karate lessons; maybe I can paint something that big someday. On Easter Sunday we went to a cool church that had a guy playing a giant piano. I have never seen something that big. I also learned to dip my fingers in the sink next to the church doors and do the sign of the cross (maybe now I can get a passing grade on my pre-K report card). It was pretty cool. Haha. Pun intended. What’s a pun? What’s my name again?
I discovered a huge old city called Pompeii. It would be an amazing place for my friends and me to play hide and seek. But the car ride back to the apartment took forever and ever. It was like all day. Cars just didn’t move. I was a bit cranky and wet too. See, I’m potty trained and all, but I’m not perfect. Oh vey. We were on something called the Alfafa coast. Wait, mommy is complaining (correcting me): it is Almafi coast. That was pretty cool. The car kept turning corners making it seem like a roller-coaster. Maybe I can go to Disney next year. Mommy is shaking her head while looking like she is in great pain. Speaking of car rides, when we were in Florence, I was a little scared cause we kept going down very tiny streets flooded with people walking about. It didn’t seem like cars should be going down those streets. Our car driver said that those streets were not meant for cars but that special people like him get special licenses to drive on forbidden streets. What? Wait a second. Does that mean you get around the rules if you pay an extra fee? I’ve got to tell my pre-k buds about this. I have an idea….
Overall, I was on a major adventure in Italy. It was as if I was Indiana Jones. I discovered ancient cities, temples and fountains. What I found in Rome is that while I am very charming, I had to really work it. Tour guides and some foreign baristas and wait staff were readily taken in by my charming self. But I definitely did not get the same adoration, adulation that I received in Japan. I did eat better in Italy as I had pizza every single day. But in japan I got to cook at a restaurant and learn to use chopsticks. In Italy, if I compared it to Sesame Street, the people were a bit more like Oscar the Grouch. They weren’t enchanted with me the second I entered a store. Many of the ladies were actually close to swatting my hands away from their so-called fine leather. I actually didn’t see many Italian kids in the stores. Do they not help their mommy pick out nice clothes, shoes and bags? Maybe I am precocious? I have heard that said about American kids. That may have been the word of the day on Sesame Street recently. Well, so be it. If you are not charmed by me, you should drink a bit more wine (as the Italians do).
Time to go nap! Signing off. My name is Luka. L. U. K. A.
Categories: Children, Culture, current events, Travel
Awesome child’s view.
Your parents’ attempts to stuff all that culture into you are evidently working out, as your writing is terrific for a four year old. Perhaps they should try not letting you stuff too much other stuff in, as a fifty-pound four year old is asking for trouble when he reaches school-going age, when the other little prince and princesses are seeking someone to bully. Keep up the good work, kid.