The Vacation Edition

We just came back from one of the best vacations ever, visiting the in-laws in the Olde Country. It was one of those vacation when you think…I totally want to move here. Until you slap yourself and think, wait, I already did that.

Anyway, I wanted to do a brief run-down of the 2.5 weeks, so here it is before I forget all the good bits.

The Good

  • Family. P’s complete love for her cousins, especially my 15 year-old, super cute, super patient nephew. She followed him around like a little disciple, and he patiently let her. They watched cartoons together, played with PlayDo, read books, and of course, played soccer. It was beautiful to watch.
  • Sorrento. It’s good to have friends in high places, or friends who have houses in Sorrento. P outdid herself by eating an adult-sized Neapolitan pizza. The original is still be best.
  • Venice. Again, it’s good to have friends in high places, or friends who rent boats for you when you visit Venice. I lived in Venice for a year, so I know my way around the city by foot, but seeing the city from the water is another thing in itself.
  • Beautiful weather. The reason we decided to go at the beginning of March was that last year, when we visited for Christmas, the average temperature during our stay was around 30 degrees. There’s nothing worse than flying across the world to then sit at home for three weeks. This year, it was nice enough that we took a few bike rides along the river that runs through the town A is from.
  • Beautiful food. And wine. I mean, we were in Italy…need I say more?
  • The politics. My brother-in-law is running to be the mayor of their little town. Rather surreal, but very cool.
  • The language. At the start of the trip, P was still mostly conversing in English, even though she was understanding everything in Italian. Her poor grandparents were learning random words in English (including monkey and book, two very important words in P’s repertoire). By the end of the trip, she was definitely talking more in Italian, a habit she has continued on our return.  There was even a funny language moment: when we were in Sorrento, our friend was teaching his daughter to call to a dog in the local Neapolitan dialect. “Vien a qa! Vien a qa!” he kept saying, so the dog would come to him. A week later, we were at dinner again in Northern Italy, and the hosts had an adorable little dog. All of a sudden, P started saying, “Vien a qa! Vien a qa!” Because obviously all dogs in Italy speak Neapolitan.

The Bad

  • The too-muchness. For poor P. She met around 100 people (give or take a few) in a span of 17 days. It was a bit too much. P loves people, and is well on her way to becoming a social butterfly. But even she would flip out after a few hours. One night she started talking in her sleep, saying “no bacini! no bacini! (no kisses!)” over and over again. She was even freaked out by her grandmother, who wanted nothing more than hang out with her. Which was the problem…grandma wanted to be there every minute, while P wasn’t sure she wanted to hang out every minute. By the time she felt comfortable enough to stay at home with the grannies, it was time for us to come back to California. Sigh.
  • The jet lag. I had a friend mock me (mock!) for complaining about the jet lag when I would have a fabulous vacation in Italy to show for it. I don’t care where you are, though, when your toddler wakes up at 1am and is completely wired until 5am, you’ll be pretty miserable. Thankfully, she got over it in a couple of days.

The Ugly

  • The soda. Every time we go to Italy, A’s parents have a party that involves a lot of food and a lot of people. This year, the main event was a roasted little boar…yum (this is not the ugly part). I was sitting across from an acquaintance’s wife, who was keeping an eye on her two kids (four year-old son and two year-old daughter). Trying to make small talk, I commented on a dark liquid in her daughter’s sippy cup. “Looks like she’s nipping at the wine!” I said. “Oh no,” she responded, “it’s Pepsi.” Wait, what? Here I was, in the heart of fine dining, eating a roasted boar hunted not too long ago…and a mother is giving her two year-old Pepsi? Really, no words.
  • The doctor. A friend, L (half American, half Italian) and his wife S (from Tonga via New Zealand and the U.S.) moved to Italy not too long ago. S is now magnificently pregnant, ready to bring a half Tongan, quarter American, quarter Italian baby into the world. She was telling me about their experience meeting with a pediatrician. L and S were happy to hear that she was really into holistic healing, all down to earth. Until they heard her talking about American healthcare and children. Apparently, on this side of the ocean ALL children suffer from ADHD and ALL kids are hopped up on Ritalin. Obviously. Again, no words.

So that pretty much sums up the vacation. As with every vacation, it was too short. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure we’ll be back.

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