This week my family’s life is about to change. For 17 years, we’ve been a family of three, “Team Ofenloch,” as I often reference. This weekend, my child gets on plane to Italy and she’s not back on US soil until the end of May….2023!
Today I relish the time we have together. We are spending a few days in New York – doing what we love to do. Seeing a musical, having great meals, walking around the city, eating our way through New York with a food tour with Ahoy New York Food Tours.
But this time it’s different. She has a one-way flight, and we know when she departs, we will have to start our new normal. But we have so much joy and pride for what she’s accomplished.
About a year and half ago, she heard about a school program where she could spend her junior year of high school in Italy. I remember her tentatively asking if we would support her should she be accepted (it is competitive). She’s been traveling with us across the world for about ten years. She even went with another program to spend her Christmas and New Year in Thailand when she was just 13. That was a hard one to explain to the extended family.
She will thrive. We will survive. This will be an amazing experience and I can’t express how proud we are. It’s going to be hard without her, but she must continue to soar.
I haven’t written in depth about my family. But she has made appearances through the years from the beginning when I briefly thought she was a super taster instead of realizing she was mimicking me. And then there was the one time the lights went out in Texas (she was so mad when I posted this picture).
Soon she will be doing the normal challenging curriculum of a junior of SAT studies, math, being immersed in a new language but where she will also be taking a fermentation class where she’ll pick, stomp, blend and bottle her own wine. She will have field trips to historic Italian sites and go to places like Florence, Venice and Rome on weekends versus hanging at the mall or at high school football games.
Thankfully we live in a world of Facetime and Zoom. Where we can inexpensively call or see her face. But there is nothing that will replace the hugs, cuddles on the couch while watching TV or just hearing her laughter when she’s talking to her friends upstairs.
She’s leaving on a jet plane for the most amazing experience. It’s a journey of a lifetime. We will always be a family of three, it will just be a little be harder for me the next nine months.