"Sianara!" Oops, I Mean "Ciao!"

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November 11th, 2000 (Friday)
Dear Diary,
Let me start off by saying this - I’m an army brat. Not literally, but you know what I mean. My old diary was lost in the fire, so now I have you. I haven’t had time to talk much after all the rush of the move, and all. I’ll review in detail later. I’m beginning to like it here in Naples, Italy. Today I saw the house we bought last month. We’re moving in next week, hopefully. The house is medium-sized, in a small parco, which is like an Italian courtyard of houses. It is tan mostly, and has lots of flowers that came with the house. The move from Maryland to Naples has been really fun, actually, even though we didn’t expect it would be. The transatlantic flight last month didn’t leave me having any jet lag; but everyone else couldn’t get up for the next three days to save their lives. Since it’s 8pm Italy time, I’d better go to sleep now. Bye! Eve

November 14, 2000 (Monday)
Okay, now for the details of the fire. It was 5pm when it all started. Already, flames were rising to the first floor from where it started in the basement. My dad, Major Reuben Vincent Tai, age 39, had told my mom, Dianne Cecelia Morgan Tai, age 37, who told Jake Armond (10), who told Carson Miguel (9), who told Lydia Catherine (5), who told Michael Philip (2), who, in ‘baby talk’ told me - Eve Clarise, 13, to go get several things that we cherished to save from the fire. We still don’t know exactly why it started, but when Mom smelled smoke, we all ran downstairs, and saw that the basement fireplace in our (now burnt) single family home was roaring and spouting flames, the new tan carpeting was also on fire, and the only fire extinguisher was trapped on the wall beside it, beyond our reach. It spread real quick, so our entire family of SIX - yes, six - followed Dad’s instructions and dashed to separate parts of the house, while he ran to the neighbor’s for help and a phone. (Our German shepherd, Tammy, 3, had been let out at the time, so she was safe.)
Mom went to her bedroom to grab photos, albums, scrapbooks, and anything else irreplaceable. Jake snatched his favorite pajamas, a picture of his best friend, Meahgan Woodrow, a few video games lying on his bed, and an apple (ever the resourceful one…not). Carson, urged on by peer pressure, grabbed the first thing he saw, which happened to be a dark blue sweater, a folder of baseball trading cards, his action figures, a Hardy Boys mystery, and three pairs of denim blue jeans; which had all been conveniently kept in his “Favorite Things” backpack. Lydia immediately packed a pink suitcase neatly with all of her Barbies (she had five), her book of princess stories, her teddy bear, her blankie, and a shawl that she had just bought. I helped Michael carry his pacifier, his blanket, and two of his stuffed animals. I, myself, had selected a bunch of stuff to bring out of the house. The list continues as follows: a pair of pajamas, four Nancy Drew mysteries shoved inside my pillowcase, my best (and favorite) Sunday dress, my unfinished history report lodged inside my math textbook, my art sketchpad, my stuffed cat, ‘Mildred’, and my brand new Ipod. (I got the Ipod for my birthday this September). All these I hurriedly stuffed into my huge (and heavy) red suitcase, and then dashed down the stairs, two at a time.
Oops, got 2 go! Mom is coming out from the bathroom of our suite in the Marriott hotel we’ve been staying at. The insurance has covered most of our expenses, so far.
Bye! And goodnight! Ciao! (We live in Naples, Italy, so what’d you expect?)
Yours truly, Eve Clarice Tai


November 15th, 2000 (Tuesday)
Dear Diary,
Today, Ms. Earnshaw, the cleaning lady, and Miss Gucha, the laundry operator, confronted me for running so noisily in the hall. I was just going downstairs to replace our card key!! It wasn’t working, and my mom had told me to go get another one before Michael started crying. It was lunchtime, and all of us (except Dad, of course) had gone out to lunch. But of course, both Hispanic ladies didn’t know all that, and I didn’t intend to tell them. After all, they were jumping to conclusions. It wasn’t my fault that they assumed the worst about an innocent little…well, not little…young...yes, that’s the word…young girl that they happened to bump into in the hall. Sorry. I’m babbling on with my opinions, again. Mom says I always do it and I don’t realize it. Oh well.
Anyway, let me finish the story of the fire. So, where was I? Oh yes. My flight from my room. Ahem. In my hurry down the stairs, I bumped into Mom, spilling the stuff she held in her arms. Most of them ended up being fine, but unfortunately one of the pictures hit the floor…and broke. The frame shattered, and the picture got bent. It was of Grandma Sarah Morgan, Dad’s mom, holding her Tabby cat, Fluffy. Hold on…I’ll continue tomorrow. E.C.T.


November 17th, 2000 (Friday)
Sorry - yesterday I was busy packing my stuff to move into our new house next week. Okay, back where I left off….first let me back up. Grandma and Fluffy live on Grandpa Ed’s Rosita Ranch in the suburbs of Naples. He bought it when he had just gotten married to Grandma Sarah, when he was 22. Sadly, he died three years ago, suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Since then, Grandma, now 64, has run the hundred-acre ranch, with help from Uncle Adam, 29, who lives with her in the large 10-bedroom house. He is unmarried, but is courting a lady from his church named Carol Walburn, 23. She is really tall, brunet, and usually wears blue dresses with scarves. Anyway, Uncle Adam is Dad’s only brother, and best friend.
So, back to the broken picture. Mom was really upset; I could tell by the way she knitted up her dark brown eyebrows and frowned, as if concentrating. But there was no time for her to scold me, for the smell of smoke and burning carpet was spreading quickly through the air. So we both hurried downstairs to catch up with the rest of the family dashing out the door. By that time, a neighbor had already called the fire department, and we heard fire engines roaring down the street.
A few days later, my family arranged to stay with a friend, and collectively decided to take up an offer to move to Naples, Italy. And that’s where we are now, in a Marriott hotel not far from our new house. I saw pictures of it, and it’s a nice villa with two floors. We might have a swimming pool put in the (large) backyard. Well, got to go! It’s 6:30, and the whole family is going out to dinner at an Italian restaurant, or something. Mom’s calling me! Bye! Eve Clarice Tai


November 20th, 2000 (Monday)
Today the movers finished loading up our things, and by Wednesday we should be done setting up. We are planning on leaving this hotel this Thursday. I’m so excited! Our dog Tammy jumped on two year-old Michael today, knocking him down. He was wailing so loud that it hurt my ears, but I finally calmed him down enough to put a Spiderman band-aid on his scraped knee. The meals they serve at the hotel restaurant are atrocious, so I won’t really have anything to look forward to at lunch today. My new friend Leslie Hunt, who I met at the restaurant, is meeting us for lunch this afternoon, so at least I can be excited about that. I better start getting ready…Talk2U later! Eve T.


December 2nd, 2000 (Saturday)
We have officially unpacked all of our boxes today! Mom had us going all this week…and all of November, too. As soon as everyone got home from school each day, we would continue unpacking our boxes. Mom would take off a day from her job at the corner post office one day, and then Dad would take off the next day from his Sears Hardware job. So that way, one of them could always be home to oversee the unpacking process. There was so much stuff to unpack!!!
Well, today Nina Cortez and Amy Burnshield are coming over to study for the history test on Monday. I haven’t gotten any studying done practically all week! Ah!!! I hope I do okay… Anyway, bye! I mean, ciao!
Signed, Eve C. Tai


December 3rd, 2000 (Sunday)
We are all so excited! Mom and Dad have decided to spend Christmas at Uncle Ed’s house out in Venice. I’m not exactly sure where in Venice, because I’ve only been to visit once when I was two, on an airplane. Uncle Ed is Mom’s only brother, and at age 22, he is still single, just like Adam! I can hardly believe it, because from what Mom tells me, he had deep blue eyes (just like hers) that attracted lots of curious ladies. But that was in high school, and she says that since our last visit, he sounds very different over the phone, and is probably really different in appearance.
Well, we’re leaving on the 15th of December. We are going to come back on January 4th, two days before my birthday, January 6th. I was born at 2:07 a.m. on Thursday, in San Theodore Hospital. It is frighteningly close to where we live now. I have to do Dish Duty now! I’m off to the dishwasher to clean all those dishes! Eve



December 10th, 2000 (Sunday) 10 am
Lydia got in trouble in school yesterday for mouthing off to the teacher. That is so unlike Lydia that everyone could hardly believe it. Usually it’s nine-year old Carson that causes all the trouble, but not Lydia. Not sweet, innocent little Lydia. Mom, Dad, and Lydia were asked to attend a meeting with the Elementary School principal, Ms. Jenny Mannings, so last night they went to a meeting in her office – and I was stuck with being the babysitter. So that’s one Saturday night I had to give up for THEM. Well, I better get going; church starts in a few minutes. Don’t wanna be late! Love, Me

Later that evening…
Now that I have time before dinner, let me tell you more about yesterday.
That evening, Mom and Dad, visited Lydia’s school for a meeting with Principal Hanes. The meeting started out pretty well, according to Mom, with the usual exchange of cordial greetings. Then came a serious discussion as to Lydia’s unacceptable conduct in class. Apparently she had shoved another student AND smart-mouthed the teacher for telling her to sit down after the sudden outburst.
All during the conversation poor Lydia sat curled up in the corner of a chair, she told me. At the end of the meeting, Mom playfully tousled Lydia’s fine auburn hair, and assured Ms. Margaret that Lydia would be punished at home in the way she and Dad thought appropriate. I bet Lydia will be grounded from seeing her friends. Eve

An hour later…
Well, everyone has been sent off to bed an hour early, including me. Tomorrow I have to get a hair cut! Fudge. Sigh. I don’t want to cut my hair! And it was becoming so lovely at shoulder length, too-especially when you have hair as dark as mine. I got it from Dad. He has thick, thick jet-black hair, and black almond eyes, not unusual considering that he is, after all, Japanese. Most of us Tai kids have his dark features.
But I have no idea where Lydia came from. We are certain that she must belong to a different family. Believe it or not, she has mesmerizing five-year-old, baby blue eyes and RED (yes, RED!) hair! It’s an incredibly brilliant bright red, hanging down to her waist. The only hint we got when she came along was that Mom’s grandmother, Great-Grandma Erin Lockland, had the same fiery red hair when she was a young girl. The rest of us are the average bunch, as I’ve said before; Jake has thick mouse brown hair - actually pretty long for a ten year old - and smoky blue-gray eyes that match Mom’s perfectly; Carson- very intelligent, ever inquisitive, always thinking, pondering the ways of life and nature - has short dark brown hair, at the typical length for a nine-year-old boy, two sharp, black eyes that help make the concentrating furrow lining his face most all the time, and a smile that could light up the whole world; Michael Philip has cute dark brown curly locks (just like Mom’s) that angelically frame his chubby two-year-old face, complementing his curious brown eyes; and then there’s me - Eve, 13, with the most normal face in the world. Just plain old fudge-brown hair, soon to be short after tomorrow’s dreaded haircut, and eyes the most awful shade of light brown. It must have been the genetic cross between Mom’s round blue-gray eyes and Dad’s narrow, almond black ones. And of course I have a sharp, straight nose while EVERY single other person in my family has perfectly curved noses. That’s screwed up genetics for you. Huh.
Today when I babysat for Mrs. Charleston, her son Carrol smeared his mashed potatoes all over my shirt. I don’t even know why. I didn’t do anything to him. Well, I’m off to Dreamland! Eve


December 11th, 2000 (Monday) 2 pm
Today after our haircuts were done (?), everyone being given the “shoulder-length or less” haircut, Mom took us all shopping as a reward. Each of us had come prepared with what money (euros, by the way) we had, and split up to look for Christmas presents. Mom took Carson, and Michael, while I took Lydia and Jake. We searched methodically for home goods, dolls, cars, books, anything that we could give to Dad, Mom, Carson, or Michael. In the end we left the mall carrying bags filled with spoons, oven mitts, pots, and a sweater for Mom; a five dollar mall gift card, a pair of shoes, and a bottle of Italian cologne for Dad; two new action figures and some mittens for Carson; a picture book and three racecars for little Michael, and lastly, two plastic Barbies, a pink hat, a beginner book, and some blue nail polish bought secretly for Lydia by Jake and me.
By the time our red van pulled up at our door, we were all exhausted from walking and buying, so we all decided to take a nap. I just woke up, actually, from mine, and am going to get a ham sandwich right now. Maybe there’ll also be a fruit cup left…g2g! Eve

(monotype corsiva)


December 12th, 2000 (Tuesday) 6 am
Right now I just finished making my bed and getting dressed and all that. Today is Jake’s birthday. My dad, Lydia, and I are planning to go downstairs and make a breakfast for everyone. Jake was really born at 11 am, but by that time we will all be at Gregorio’s for lunch.




We all are so excited about the trip to Uncle Ed’s in just 3 days!! I have started packing already.
We will celebrate Mom’s birthday, on the 20th, there, and afterwards we’ll go see a new movie, Viva Europa, telling about three students fictional trip to Europe, and their mysterious murders. I don’t know why my mom likes those kinds of movies, but she requested it, so we will go. The younger kids will stay with Uncle Ed’s good friend next door, Peter Gilgavitch. He’s 23 and is from Russia. They went to college together.
Anyway, we will also celebrate my birthday, which is January 6th, by attending a piano concert, which I’m looking forward to. Tammy is coming with us, since we couldn’t find anybody to watch her during our vacation.
And after we come back, it’s back to school! I’d better get downstairs now…bye!
Eve





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