Well, if you’ve been following along, you already know that there was no sleep the night before the trip. Too much excitement! Let’s take a peek into my journal to see what happened the morning of the trip!
March 1, 2010 – 7:00 a.m.
Coffee for me, tea for Chris, and then a bite of toast and then a double-check: Passport, camera, clothes, money (more about that later), checks to drop in the mail (hey, bills have to be paid!), letters to be mailed. Done! Oh, wait — let’s check the weather outside. We’ve had the worst winter in I don’t know how many years — a couple hundred inches of snow to be exact! I’m freezing, but it’s probably my jitters about the trip. Nope! Not so! My feet aren’t freezing because of my anxiety about the trip. It’s 23 degrees in Shanksville and still snowing! Oh, if Italy has sunshine, I’ll know there is a God! I honestly forget what the warm sunshine feels like! Please, please, please let there be sunshine!!!!! I’m craving it. I need it — I NEED the sunshine!
Chris and I did very little talking before piling our few bags into the car. I think it was an understood message between us that for the next 16 days I’d be looking at his Rat Tail, and he’d be looking at — well, he’d be looking at “ME”! I felt bad. I honestly felt bad for him at this point because I didn’t see the same spark of excitement in his eyes as I was feeling. For me, this trip was a dream-come-true. For Chris, it was a trip of an unknown outcome. I’m sure he was wondering as he glanced at me, “Am I gonna make it 16 days without killing this woman? I could probably get away with it in Italy! I’ve gotta come up with a plan just in case she starts driving me totally nuts!” Well, like it or not, Chris, it’s me and you for the next two weeks so get used to it, kiddo!
The drive into Somerset normally takes about 20 minutes, only today it took longer because of the ice and snow. GRRRR! Down 6th Street and what do I see? Nothing but that darned snow! I’m really sick of this weather, and I’m ready for a change! Italy, here we come! Did I happen to mention that I’m dying to see the sunshine? Italy, please, please have warm weather while we’re there! (Note to myself: I really don’t use the word “hate” often, but I’m using it now. I HATE all of the snow we’ve had this winter! There…I feel better just getting that off my chest!)
In the car, Chris and I talked about where we wanted to go in Italy, what we wanted to see, and how we thought things would be. For me…..I wanted to meet the people. Just walk among “my kind” and get the feel of what it must have been like for my grandparents, Franco and Angelina Lucca, who actually lived in Sicily before coming to the United States. I wanted to eat the food, hear the language, see the homes, walk along the sea, and listen to the beautiful music of Italy. I wanted to take in the sights, sounds and smells of everything. The Colosseum. The Vatican City. The Cistine Chapel. Rome. Lucca. Florence. Sicily. Ristorantes. Markets. Seafood. The wine and bread. Ahhhh…….my heart was doing dances just thinking about the awesome things in store for us!
Now, for any of you that know Chris, let’s just say he is not very openly expressive nor is he within the realm of what I’d call normal with his romanticism for life. In fact, there are times his bluntness and off-the-wall nuttiness kind of stuns me. This was one of those stunning moments!
“I want to check out all of the chicks, hit some naked beaches, and eat ten meals a day so I can get fat and see if the chicks still go crazy over me. Uh, I want to grow my Rat Tail down my back and twirl it around my finger real sexy-like, I want to grow a razzle-frazzle beard, and I want to flash my fanny pack and make the girls die for me. Oh, yeah….I’m also going to lock you up in your room once a day and go cruisin’ around at night to see what the night life is all about.”
Huh? Oh, wow! I had a sinking feeling that this could be the trip of my life, only not quite the way I’d imagined. Oh, Lord…..that was about all I could think. Please be with me, Lord. If he acts like this, I’m not gonna make it. I really won’t make it. If this kid wrecks up this trip by acting like a 30-year-old Rat Tail, I’ll lose it with him. I really will!
NOTE: Moms can say stuff like this because we’re moms. After going through the infant, toddler, pre-teen, and teen years, you kind of expect your kids to grow up a bit — especially when going to a place like Italy. Darn you, Chris! (You’ll just have to keep reading in the days ahead to see what happens.)
As we continued to drive along, Chris mentioned “Rick Steves” this and “Rick Steves” that. I had not one iota of a clue what or who he was talking about. Who or what is Rick Steves? A movie star? A famous composer? Somebody Chris knew from work? Somebody we were going to meet up with in Italy? A friend from college who was going to help us find hotel rooms? (No, we didn’t have one reservation made! We were entering Italy totally without a place to stay! Another Chris idea, of course! ) I didn’t know who Rick Steves was then, but I’d soon learn all about this character………….
Stay tuned for more of the “Adventures of Mom and the Rat Tail in Italy”! I assure you……this is not your normal trip!
Clara – “Bella”