Nine Hours and Twenty Three Minutes to Italy!

March 1 – March 2, 2010 – The Italy Trip

What do you think about when you are only nine hours and twenty three minutes away from seeing your lifetime dream fulfilled? Do you plan out what your reaction will be when you reach your destination? Do you try to imagine the sights, sounds, and tastes of your dream-come-true? Does your mind suddenly get flooded with questions? Or, do you remain calm and just take in each moment and savor those moments with every single breath you take?

Well, sit back and relax while I share with you just what I did when about to see my dream turn into reality…..

1) The first thing I did was to get situated right by the window seat on the plane because I was not about to miss even one second of the take-off for Italy, nor the landing in Rome, or anything in-between. Thank you, Chris, for giving me the window seat! I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know!

2) I wrapped myself in a wool blanket so that I would stay warm for the next nine hours. (I’m an Italian granny, and this is what old people do!)

3) And, finally…..I tried to relax, but instead………I went blank. Totally, completely, undeniably blank! My mind left me. It completely, “for real” left me!

So, I began to panic. I slapped the side of my face. I snapped my fingers. I kept pushing my feet hard against the floor of the plane until my toes went numb in my shoes. I pulled out the mirror in my purse and looked at my reflection to see if I had spinach stuck in my teeth. I combed my hair. I drank some water. And, I got up close and personal to Chris and stared at him ony to have him turn his face away from me as if to say, “You have got to be kidding me! She finally did it. She went toally nuts on me!”

Sorry, Chris, but I had to do something to make sure this trip was real. I honestly thought maybe — just maybe — I had died and was somehow being allowed to see Italy as a dream from heaven. Or, maybe I was in a hursing home, and all of my kids posted pictures of the passport, the airport, the plane, and signs that said “Italy” so that I would think, in my senility, that I was on my way to Rome. IT WASN’T REAL!!! But, then again, maybe it was! Maybe this was truly happening to me!

The attendants on the plane spoke only Italian, so you know how good I did with that. I whispered to Chris several times that I didn’t understand one word of what was being said (although I sure did love hearing Italian being spoken), but he just looked straight ahead with eyes closed and headphones on. He was like a statue and he refused to turn his head to acknowledge me. He didn’t blink. He sat frozen….face straight ahead, ears plugged, eyes closed.

Note to all parents: When your kids put on headphones, it’s not because they’re really listening to music. They’re just tuning you out. And, when they close their eyes, they’re not at all sleeping. They’re totally ignoring you. So, don’t even waste your time trying to talk to them. It never works. They just continue this routine until you finally go away.

Continuing on….after about the 4th hour into the flight, I knew I had to use the bathroom or it was not going to be pretty in our little seating area. But, my fake-sleeping son wasn’t about to open his eyes to let me out of my seat, so I did what any mother would do in an emergency situation. I stood up and gave him a gentle, but firm, motherly push. And, in response, he gave me back a look that said, “Make it quick, lady, because I am not in any kind of mood to play games!”

Another note: Don’t always take things at face value. Little did I know until several days later why Chris was so crabby with me when I wanted to go to the bathroom. He had been knocked around, bumped into, and shoved all night long by people shuffling back and forth to the bathroom. He had the aisle seat, remember? And, worst of all, “Barney”nailed him hard every single time she passed by! Nope, I’m not telling you any more. You’ll just have to read what Chris has to say about that!

After the bathroom break, I finally concluded that this entire adventure must be for real. Angels don’t have to pee, so I absolutely had to be alive. And, to build up an even stronger case for reality, if I was in a nursing home, I’d be wearing a diaper and wouldn’t have to use the bathroom. This was it! I was half-way to Italy! This is for real, and there were only a few more hours to go!

I managed to fiddle around with the little monitor in front of me long enough to figure out how to turn it to display the flight map. We wer over Madrid….and getting closer and closer to Italy. We had been flying all night, and it was soon to be “sunrise over Italy.” I pressed my face to the window and gasped with excitement! Yes, I took out my trusty Sony Cybershot and snapped some pics of the sunrise! Breathtaking! Gorgeous! Magnificent! Miraculous! I T A L Y!!!

In all honesty, I don’t remember much more about the plane ride except what I’ve shared with you. I didn’t do much journaling on the plane, as I was far too excited about the entire experience. I do know that the sunrise was nothing short of majestic. The puffy clouds were amazing. The streaks of red in the sky reminded me of the sun rising above the ocean on a perfect kind of day. The snow-capped mountains took my breath away. WOW! This was already far more than I’d imagined! I have no idea how the hours managed to tick by so quickly, but they did, and now we were hearing the announcement I’d been waiting to hear for over five decades. “Welcome to Italia!!!”

What’s next? Well, let’s just say that airports aren’t all they’re cracked up to be — not when you realize that you’re the only English speaking person among thousands! And, there is no real feeling of “safety while in a foreign land” when you are relying on a son who not only cannot understand a word of Italian, but who is sporting a rattail, a front fanny pack, and who uses a green shoe lace for his luggage carrier. Yep, more adventures are coming!

With love and tons of excitement,

Clara

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