Monday, July 8, 2013

A Visit Home & A Day in Parma!

     Wow!  Over a month has passed since Stephen and I returned from Crete, and so much has happened!  I had a few days to recover from our trip to Greece before I hopped onto a plane bound for the States.  It felt like I was only there for a week, when I spent most of June there.  For the sake of brevity, I will review some of the highlights from my three weeks in the Land of the Free!

  • I began my vacation with a relaxing week visit to North Carolina to see all my family down there.
  • I met my new, little cousin who is so smart and cool.
  • I saw the Great Gatsby with my Dad and then had an AMAZING Chinese buffet!
  • I spent a Saturday morning with my Mom doing the usual: yard-saling and shopping at the mall.
  • I had lunch with my Granny and Gred, and spent a leisurely afternoon talking about my Italian life.
  • I unsuccessfully fished at Cow Pond with Michelle, and successfully eluded a few goose attacks.
  • I sat in the park and caught up with my best friend, Kayla.
  • I had a delicious lunch and much-needed girl time with my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law.
     I know that this list is deficient and there were so many other things I did and people I saw that made my vacation at home wonderful!  Three weeks sounded like such a long time when I booked the flight, but I learned very quickly that time can pass by so quickly.  I cannot wait to plan another trip home, and hopefully this time Stephen will be able to get time off and join me!

     Stephen gave me a week of recovery to help ease the effects of a 6-hour time difference, but this past weekend we decided to make use of Stephen's July 4th break and take a short trip.  I had been wanting to go to Parma and have the cheese for such a long time, and now that dream has been realized.  We drove 75 minutes south and hit the city of Parma on Thursday morning, then had lunch and walked around the city.  

     The city of Parma was not much to write home about--it is like any other city with lots of churches and some nice restaurants.  We crossed over the river through the city to get to the Park Ducale and have a cool drink on a hot day.

     The highlight of our trip was the cheese tour that started at 8:15 on Friday morning.  After getting lost (and spending 20 minutes driving around a random farmer's dirt roads and corn fields), we called the tour guide who got us to the factory.  We quickly put on our gear and starting learning about the fascinating world of cheese!

     Everyone's favorite room in the small factory is the maturation room where the wheels of cheese must sit for two years before being sold.  Look at all that cheese!

      We were able to see the processing first-hand which was amazing!  Check out the video at the bottom to watch the processors collect the cheese (warning: it can be very loud!).

     Now I have a few days to prepare the house for the arrival of Matthew and Missy, Stephen's brother and mother.  We have a lot planned for their short visit with us, but we know it will be a lot of fun!