My wonderful sister and her amazing husband came to Italy for an entire week last week. It was one of the best weeks that I've had in a really long time. Just wonderful and relaxing and full of good food and good wine and seriously, seriously good people. Having never been to Italy before, we started off with a bang in Rome spending two days at break-neck speed seeing everything! The Vatican? Check. The Coloseum? Check. The Roman Forum? Check (though Christy was never entirely sure what it was all about. We even took a little break to read the Wiki definition and check out a wiki map. Still no luck. Alas, it was hot. We need gelato. And water. And shade. And oh my heck, it was so stinking HOT!!!). Trevi Fountain? Check. Piazza Novona? Check. Pantheon? Check. I mean, seriously, I ran these two bleary eyed travelers into the ground and then happily tossed them onto a bullet train back to Napoli. Phew. Napoli.
Because so much of the week was so awesome, I'll just give you the highlights:
1. Well Rome, obviously, is always awesome. Each time I go back, I find something new to amaze myself with. To smile and gawk and stare, mouth open and attracting flies, in sheer awe of the splendor of this great city. What can I say? I'm a huge nerd who wasted my impressionable years learning Latin! We ate spectacular food and gelato almost hourly and pinched ourselves to make sure that it was all real. (Also, Todd, not me, had trouble with the shower. See? It's obviously a Europe thing!! Everyone thinks that showering abroad is difficult. Don't question it, just get on board and agree)
2. The Boat Times. If you haven't seen the incredibly weird and somewhat disturbing video for OId Greg, look it up. If you don't like British humor, don't look it up. It's weird and uncomfortable and did I mention, it's weird? Regardless, my sisters and I (and by extension our hubands) can quote just about any line from that sketch on a moment's notice and do, quite often. We spent a day on a boat, puttering around the island of Procida just outside of the Bay of Naples. The clear, salty water, the warm day and a cooler of beers made it all even better. We had such a fun time!!
3. Positano. I love Positano. It's my favorite little town along the Amalfi Coast, most likely, because of a magical day spent there last summer with my dear, wonderful, fantastic friend, Kristine. Going back again, for the 5th time (?), it certainly didn't disappoint. We had the most heavenly meal with food that looked like it came right out of a magazine. Everything was beautiful and artfully placed on each plate. With a glass of cold white wine, mamma mia! Perfection! Everyone bought a truly European hat that day, completing our day of leisurely strolls and casual spending. You're welcome, Economy of Italy, we were quite the stimulus package this week.
4. My sister. Christy brings out every part of me that is the best. I have been feeling low lately, feeling insecure and small about myself. My Italian isn't good enough, I don't do this well enough or that well enough or I'm letting someone down. All of it was just getting my down and I was disappointed about this place and my life in it. Christy pulled me up and dusted me off and spent a week building my self esteem. She is, truly, one of the most selfless people I've ever known. She is kind without an agenda and has the affection that makes her the world class teacher that she is. She is married to a kind, hilarious man who is quietly brilliant (disregard aforementioned shower difficulties). I cannot write enough of their praises and can never, never thank them enough for leaving behind their 10 month old daughter to come spend a week in Italy with us. These next two years will be rough so far from home. I will not pretend that I'll not be sad or low again, but for now, for this moment, I am so full of happiness.