I should not be here? I should be here?
This keeps flipping around in my mind as we are constantly adjusting my body for comfort on the long flight from Chicago to Munich.
A few years ago at the onset of the global pandemic, our trip to Italy was cancelled days before departure because Venice was scrambling to deal with the onslaught of COVID Cases. That trip was booked with the intention for the whole family, ours and my folks, cousins and others to make it back to the Giancarli sacred ground in the rural town of Beffi.
Beffi has been on my bucket list for…. Well…. Forever. We still have family here and the family still owns the home that my Great Grandfather Dominic was born in. Dominic is my Grandmother Marie’s Father.
It was a life goal to see this place and be able to share the experience with the kids. How amazing is the potential of this connection to the “old world”?
After that trip was cancelled…. We parlayed the saved traveling funds into our Yucatán adventure. Mexico was not nearly as strict as Europe about travel and I will go on the record and say that Mexico trip was one of our all time favorite adventures. No lines as the world hid from the virus.
Fast forward, or rewind, however you want to think about it, to last year. The Aunts and Uncles were replanning the Beffi trip for 2023. We had an open invite but we were cautiously watching time tables as Summer went through treatment. There was no way to commit to this trip with any certainty. After Summer was given 6 months in May there was definitely no way it was going to happen. After she passed on June 23rd… well… Life as we know it was over. We should never celebrate or enjoy a day without guilt? Right?
That may seem dour and self flagellating but you do carry a weight after a loss like Summer that feels like you should portray your sorrow to the world. A black ceremonial gown that lets everyone know you are in mourning is almost better. (Zorba the Greek). Then everyone can see without any explanation that you are living your life under a cloud.
Both of us had been back to work for a few months after Summer passed…. And I think this subject was brought up by Joe or Sylvia in the Fort’s waiting room. “We are going to Italy, it would be great if you could join us”. Or something to that extent. I politely said it was not going to happen. There is just too much going on.
A day later…. I couldn’t resist. I had to look and see what it would cost. I went on Expedia and put in dates that coincided with the family…. I was shocked at the price.
I would normally not share prices…. But I feel compelled. I want you to know how reasonable this is. Angela and I, airfare, lodging, taxes and fees…. With Expedia trip insurance…. $1800.00 total. Ohare parking is extra and the Uber from the airport and other small costs will probably creep us up over 2800…. But in the grand scheme of things…. A small amount to pay for a once in a lifetime trip to see the family.
Travel to Europe in the spring or fall and bring a rain jacket. As an added bonus, when it rains, the groups and people clear out!
I contacted Angela at work and she blew me off. I came home that night and told her again what a deal it was. Still no movement. Two days later, I said “we have to do this!”
I think I hit at a right moment. Angela would tell me later that she was having a bad day when I called her and she wanted to get out. She agreed and said “book it”
I called Sylvia and had Joe on the line as I told them we were coming. I really got choked up. This was so joyful, but it feels so selfish. Who are we to have fun? Mike Honan said this would be a challenge when we chatted months ago. I can smile and laugh…. But can we feel joy without guilt? We are trying.
Eventually, Aiden latched on to the trip…. Ugh…. 500 bucks and a lot of begging got it done.
Our romantic castle room sized for 2 Italians now has a sofa bed with a giant meandering around as well. Not quite the dream , but as the week has taken shape, I am glad he is here to experience this time with the family.
There is so much more to share, but Aiden literally wants to walk around till midnight in Rome everyday. I have no time I write!
Watch my instagram and Facebook for photo updates.