71 Days

What I did during my summer vacation…


We’ve been looking forward to this trip to Italy for little over a year, and our friends and family are almost as excited for it as we are. Some special Grazies for them…..

Danny, my favorite cousin in New Jersey works for a fantastic publisher and has shared his bounty of Italian language and travel guides over the past year. We’ve amassed quite a nice collection of Italia books. OOPS update – lost my phrase book in Venice. Kind of excited that some other traveler will learn some phrases from it.

Carol, my book club buddy who took a fantastic trip last year to Australia and let us borrow from her collection of travel-tested (and ginormous) bags.

Jake, my most favorite son, who is not joining us on this trip (but has another European trip planned in August). He is staying home taking care of our small pack of dogs who are medium to high maintenance. He’s also working at the dock for my parents and filling in for Jeff in the technology troubleshooting department. Without him, I’m not sure how we could do this.

My parents who will be managing the dock on their own for the next 10 days. Jeff has taken time off before, but was always a phone call or a few miles away. This was a leap of faith for them and it helps to work for two people who love you — makes it so much harder to say no. 

And finally Linda..How can I ever thank her enough? Much of this fantasy trip was paid for by this dear woman, friend, grandma and mom and I am still shocked and a little teary-eyed when I remember the phone call. Last year, Jeff, Katie and I went to a meeting at school about a performance trip (rumors were Italy or somewhere else in Europe.) When photos of my dream city, Venice, were shown on the smartboard, I was really excited. Oh, and by the way, the chorus will perform at the VATICAN. I was vibrating with anticipation. And then bang! crash! the price information came up and I replaced my selfish, personal excitement with some nice motherly excitement for Katie and determination that we’d add the Italy payment to our budget for the next year, but there was no way to pay for two trips.

So back to the phone call. I called Linda and told her all about the trip, this great opportunity, etc. Linda asked if Jeff and I were going. I told her that we’d start making payments but it would just be Katie. And she said, “Oh, you’re going.” I really felt all of the blood leave my body, started crying and grinning (an odd combination I know) and told Linda I’d call her back. She didn’t come to her senses and we met for Chinese food the next week, and started making 3 payments — but mostly Linda did. And that is the end of how we got to go to Italy, or rather the beginning of this adventure.

That was about a year ago, and I’m still amazed at her generosity. We are so truly blessed and I hope and pray that I’ve expressed that to her enough. 

I hope all of my friends and family feel well-thanked when I make them look at the zillions of photographs and tell them all about it over the next decade!


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