Next week we leave for Italy. We started planning this trip over a year ago (when we cashed in our frequent flyer miles) and, at the time, a year seemed like a long time away.
In the meantime, we organized. We reserved accommodations (a convent, a bed-and-breakfast, our relatives' rustico); we planned itineraries (Rome, Naples/Amalfi Coast, Verona); we wired deposits, secured a rental car, and exchanged lovely emails with the hosts of our B&B in Naples.
Two weeks ago I began packing. With a family of five, there's a special art to packing when limited laundry services will be available: three tops for every bottom, plenty of underwear/socks, an all-weather jacket per person, two pairs of shoes each (exception: me, I get four).
And now, here we are, just a few days away from cobble stoned streets, geraniums in terra cotta pots, vino rosso, gelato, and la dolce vita.
Now is also when I start feeling anxious, and this list only covers my top five anxieties.
*another episode of volcanic ash
*the air strike in France (we're flying Air France)
*that the stomach bug making its rounds will hit us on the eve of our trip
*for my mother-in-law who is battling pancreatic cancer
*that our passports will get stolen (this anxiety blossomed earlier this week when a house in our neighborhood was burglarized and among the items stolen were two American passports. Did you get that? Passports!)
So I am a smorgasbord of emotions: excited (we're really going!); hopeful (all the details are falling into place); anxious (passports? check. euro? check. rental car agreement? check.); and, above all, an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, for all of these emotions are part of life . . . la dolce vita.