Every time I’ve been to Italy I’ve come with an agenda. What to tour, where to eat, what wineries to visit, what to see, where to stay. In the past, I’ve been focused on seeing the country, the wine, the food, and the Italian experience. This weekend I arrived in Italy with no agenda except to see my kiddo – no plans, no dinner reservations, no tours and literally nothing on the schedule.
It was delightful. If you haven’t been following along, my high school junior left Dallas a little over two and a half months ago to spend her junior year in Italy. Since then, my husband and I have adjusted to the new reality of what an empty nest means (without the added benefit of being able to travel on a dime with a 5 pet situation).
And we did. But we had a super small window to come and say hi. Normally with work, pets, and surging airfares, we wouldn’t just hop on a plane to Rome for three days. But as we were gearing up to tell her that we would see her during our Christmas vacation five weeks later, she told us about all the things she was looking forward to during our November weekend together. So, we came.
This was all about the moment to hug our kiddo, which we did with gusto. It was so fun to disclose that we’ve been trying to learn Italian the last two months. We met her amazing host family, who made us immediately feel comfortable and see how they treat her as a beloved family member. We saw the school, met the teachers, her friends and her boyfriend.
Italy has been good to our child. From experiencing her agroecology farm (where she has picked grapes for the wine her class is picking) to picking olives, she is having a year of experiences (and making good grades in the process) and is having a blast and making great friends.
And last night we got to meet many of the families at a dinner that was off the charts with Podere Grecchi wines made by one of the families and fresh olive oil made by another. They made us feel like home and we know this group will be making sure all the kids are well taken care of.
So, I’m feeling okay (really). So much better than okay as I experienced a few days in the life of her year with family and friends and I couldn’t be more excited for her next few months.