God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Friday, June 06, 2008

One Week—Four Days

1985 was our first trip to Europe. Before that, such far-flung travel had a mysterious allure seeming to belong only to other people—certainly not to us. We were campers.

Then came an “a-ha” moment when our world turned and changed forever. Suddenly we were planning a trip to Germany and Austria and taking my mother-in-law with us. So much of the magic of that trip revolved around giving this wonderful woman something beyond any dream she had thought to have—a memory I treasure.

Twenty-three years later I still remember every detail of those three weeks as we fast tripped from Berlin, seeing the incredible sight of the Wall and crossing Check Point Charlie into East Berlin, to a production of The Student Prince in Heidelberg, to Bavaria and Neuschwanstein, to Garmisch, to Innsbruck, to the salt mines of Salzburg, Vienna, Gratz and so much more. Today I am amazed by how much we saw and did in such a short time. I remember following the night-crier in Dinkelsberg as he stopped at each inn for his draught. I remember…. And so began our travel addiction.

In eleven short days we will be flying to Italy once again—the country we have visited over and over. Not that we haven’t been to other places—China, Tanzania, Peru, Ecuador, Turkey and many countries throughout Europe—but Italy entered our souls from our first encounter. It is vibrant; it flows with color; its kitchens apologize to no one; its people are warm and welcoming and...then…there is the art and the duomos and the piazzas and the wine and the sunflowers and the history and, and, and…..

Packing this time is difficult when it should be easy. Last time we went for a year and had mountains of luggage as we moved our life to another country. So now we just have 9 weeks to worry about and I can’t get started. It is simply too simple.

At this point, I have a duffle filled with gifts for special people and birthday party stuff—Casey and Camilla are having a joint party with their school friends. We know we’re bringing roller blades and accompanying paraphernalia. There are the books and electronics—computer, cameras, DVD player, GPS, phones, IPOD and speakers—requiring their own carry-on.

But clothes--I have Casey's laid out and am certain that there is way too much. He will live in his bathing suit and will wear the same shorts for days on end--guess I need to put 90% of that pile back. We must not leave Nike, his stuffed dog, behind. Nike is Casey's Velveteen Rabbit--all the fur loved off long ago, a best friend, a necessity for sleep.

Find Nike?

So--eleven days left--now ten--one of the tomorrow's will be time enough to pack. And...unquestionably, we will bring too much.


Diane said...

And now, Jane, I'm doing the same kind of thinking, only in reverse! Off we got to New York (from Italy) for five weeks. What to bring? Not too much as I have lots on my list of things to buy there...and the suitcases must not be overweight on the way back. I'm also preparing the house here for a housesitter...a couple and three children will live here, water the plants, feed the dogs and fish. That's another whole kind of prep! Truth be told, I haven't started on anything yet...let's get through the last day of school (today), boy scouts (this afternoon) and karate competition (tomorrow, early, early) before I can start thinking about something a whole week away!

Have fun packing...and you're right, put most of it back in the drawers...we really need very little when we travel, especially in the summertime. Perhaps, perhaps we'll be up your way in August. Enjoy your nine weeks in Italy!!

Anonymous said...

I wish all of you safe and fun travel. I hope you will post lots of photos of how you find Italy this time? (like the old man who walks along the sidewalk everyday?)
My best to you Jane :)

Jane said...

Diane--our schedules and lives are in reverse. And, I need to go put more stuff back in drawers. I just sent you an e-mail but do not know if the address was right. Let me know. My address is in my ST profile.

Maryann, I like the old man, too. Thanks for the good wishes

Anonymous said...

Jane, how exciting. Your trip is so close now. I'm sure you'll have the best time ever revisiting with the friends you made in Italy. You are very fortunate to be able to go for the 9 weeks. I can tell Casey is very excited to be seeing his friends too.
Have a great trip and post on your blog or ST when you get a chance.
chiaro di luna

Jane said...

Hi Chiaro--I will try to blog but am not sure what kind of connection I will have this time. We shall see. Are you getting excited or is it too early?

Pokey jo said...

Buon giorno Jane!
I just want to stop by and tell you that I feel so happy and excited for you, Ken (and especially) Casey to be returning to your beloved Italy. I hope you take gobs of photos, especially of the reunion between Casey and his soul-mate Camilla! They must be turning inside out with excitement!
I think you're right about leaving 90% of Casey's clothes at home in SD. Swimming trunks, a few T shirts and shorts, and "Boo-yah" he'll be good to go!!

All the best,


Jane said...

Thanks, Mindy. Yes, it going to be so much fun to watch Casey and Camilla. Casey doesn't know it but she will be at the airport when we arrive. Fun!

anne said...

That is very much like my "initiation" into the expansive world of travel. Although I have only made two small trips so far, but hopefully many more (and longer) ones are in my future!

I'm going alone to Florence this October for almost three weeks. It feels a bit nerve wracking to think I'm making this leap, but also very exciting.

Sounds like your own trip is right around the corner! How wonderful to have a couple months (although after spending such a long time there before, I suppose a couple months doesn't feel like nearly long enough by comparison.

Buon viaggio! (I am just learning a few words of Italian so hopefully have the right expression!)

Jane said...

Anne, your Italian is just fine. Now I remember about your solo trip. I went alone for 10 days once--driving Tuscany and Umbria loking for a place to live. It was fun going by myself.