When I finally came around to saying, “Maybe I’ll come home this summer,” it had been 6 years since I last stepped foot on American soil. I’ll admit it. I love travelling, but hate flying. And this time I had to fly solo with my 4 year old daughter. But when I said this, I was sitting at a table in a local restaurant surrounded by family. One of my sisters was in my city with her husband and daughter and we were chatting. It was like a homecoming without having to go anywhere.
When my husband and I went to the airport to pick them up, my sister and I hugged for a long time, then we stopped, looked into each other’s faces, said a few words and then hugged again. It had been a long time coming. My niece and nephews are grown or almost grown, way too much time had passed since I’d seen my sisters and brother and I felt like I had denied my daughter getting to know our family. And so, tickets were booked and I finally went back home.
How can I summarize a 4 week trip back home? I returned to a country I like more now than I did as a frustrated teenager desperate to leave at any cost, just to go out into the world. I saw my only brother for the first time in 17 years. I faced my fears of flying (again). Many thanks to the wonderful Delta and Alitalia cabin crews. Your smiles and the little chats we had as you filled me cup helped me get through it! I managed to deal with travelling with a 4 year old. I managed to parent said 4 year old for 28 days on my own. I managed to handle 4 weeks away from my husband. I managed walking through the George Washington National Forest without mobile phone service. I managed to hold it together when my 4 year old said she wanted to try a fried oyster. I think the keyword for the trip is managed. Yes, I managed. I overcame any potential obstacles I’d set for myself in the weeks preceeding our trip.
I also danced all evening overlooking the ocean while my brother-in-law’s band, The Mighty Parrot Band played. I drank my first Long Island Iced Tea in forever. I’ve missed a good cocktail all these wine drinking years! I ate numerous salads and real fresh barbecue. (Gotta focus on balance!) I drank too many Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiatos (no caramel sauce please!) from Starbucks, but heck, we don’t have Starbucks in Italy yet, so I decided to enjoy it while I could.
I saw Lucy the Elephant, but I remembered her as much smaller, watched skates dance on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean as the waves broke, went on the rides at the Ocean City Boardwalk for the first time, got to see one friend and our kids played together for an hour, I sat on my sister’s porch swing for hours and hours, fed the ducks, saw numerous rainbows and spoke English all day. I’d say those 28 days were quite full.
I went back to the states with 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on for my daughter and I. Then we went to the outlets. Needless to say we came back with double the luggage. The new suitcase is the birth of the “sisterhood of the travelling suitcase” soon to be brought back to the states by another sister on her next trip here.