And so the day finally arrived that we would begin our journey to Italy. We had given ourselves 3 hours to get to the airport, check in the bags, and get through security. Three hours, what could possibly go wrong? Five hours before we left, our pediatrician called to say, “Was I supposed to call in a prescription for your son?” Why yes, yes you were…but as it grew closer we just figured we were going to have to wing it once we landed in Italy. So he called it in to a pharmacy a couple blocks away, which was good because we no longer have our car until it arrives by ship some 2 months from now. So we walk out to the pharmacy, only to be told, they don’t have the medicine that has been prescribed, but maybe Rite Aid. Rite Aid…no luck either. After several phone calls, we finally got a hold of Target who had it but was a mile away. Thankfully, cousin Monica had decided to come out to the hotel and follow us out to the airport to see us off. I hopped in her car and Rob and Ben boarded the shuttle with all seven bags to the airport. I picked up the meds and met them at the airport, where the airline attendant indicated that our reservations were not in order but that it was probably just a matter of “someone pushing a button”. Now this would be fine if reaching someone in reservations was an easy task, but let’s just say it is not. We figured things out and off we went through security with 30 minutes to spare but fearful that we we wouldn’t have time to grab lunch before boarding. Good news and bad news. Good news is we had plenty of time to eat lunch, Skype with mom and dad, and take as many bathroom breaks as necessary, because BAD NEWS…our first leg of the flight was delayed, which meant we missed our connection in Newark.
So we arrived in Newark, having missed the flight that we needed to get us to Italy, so we were advised to go to the Continental Customer Service Center where they would work on getting us on another flight. Here’s the funny part, when we finally got through a 2 hour line the guy told us, “Oh, it’s too bad because several flights just left in the past couple hours that you could have taken.” Let me just tell you it took everything in us not to grab the guy from the other side of the counter by the collar and shout at the top of our lungs, “Ya think!!!! Maybe if we didn’t just stand in a line for two hours you could have put us on one of those planes!!!” But no, we were calm, we kept saying, “All that matters is we are together and we are on our way.” We finally got assigned to another flight but unfortunately that added three additional legs to our journey that we weren’t planning on. Oh and the best part is (read deep sarcasm) when we got to the gate of our second leg they informed us that all three of us were seated seperately and we were going to have to check in our carry on baggage. We were able to convince some kind folks that having an eight year old for some nine hour trip sitting by himself wasn’t the greatest idea for him or them. They gave up their seats and traded for ours so that we could be together.
Now I’ve had my carry on gate checked before, and it freaks me out because a veteran traveler knows that you pack a carry on so that if all else fails, at least you have your toiletries and at least a change of clothes or two if there are any traveling mishaps. But gate check just usually means that you pick it up right outside the gate when you land and then go and collect your luggage at baggage claim.
So because of all the delays we completely expected to have to catch up with our luggage later on in the trip, but what we weren’t anticipating was not having our carry on waiting for us outside the gate. So apart from my purse, our laptops, and munchkin’s backpack that had art supplies and his gameboy…we had nothing! I mean nothing. We arrived in Italy with nothing but the clothes on our back…and were we smelly! No deodorant, no clean underwear, no detergent to wash our stinky clothes, nothing! So our sponsor took us to pick up some necessities.
Once we got our luggage back, we were in business. It’s a little daunting without a car, because we have to rely on our sponsor to get us anywhere but we did get a chance to look at a house and fell in love. Our only concern is that it might not house all of our furniture. Don’t get me wrong we knew that things would be smaller, but it’s just munchkin’s room might not hold all of his furniture and we certainly weren’t planning on getting rid of any of his. So we’ll see. It has the most spectacular view of the Mediterranean, there are orange and lemon trees and olive trees, it’s on a farm and the landlord brings fresh eggs and fruit to you every day, dreamy huh? So, were seeing if the bus will pick up munchkin for school out there or not and whether we think it will be big enough.
We started out at a hotel, which was awesome until they could find room for us on the base for temporary housing while we look for a place. It’s nice and munchkin’s school is right across the street. He started school today, and we were hopeful that he would get Mrs. Hail, from everything I’d heard she’s the number one pick for third grade teacher and I met her and she was sweet. We’re thinking about getting him into soccer, apparently here in Italy they are coached by the big soccer players!
Let’s see, we went downtown Naples yesterday and had some AMAZING lasagna! Everything in the way of veggies and fruit is all fresh which is awesome! Man, Papa John’s ain’t got nothin’ on the pizza out here. Simply divine! Mozzarella is made from buffalo cheese which I don’t know why, but it makes it DELICIOUS!!! Everything is geared to making meals for a day and not like a week (like in the US) so that is why the fridges are so small and the freezer is almost non existent.
We visited the old Royal Palace, can see Mt. Vesuvius from our balcony, and had some authentic Italian gelatto. Life is pretty good around these parts.
I dropped off the munchin at school and he didn’t get Mrs. Hail like we had hoped. His teacher is Pamela Eisley. Now for any of you that know munchkin and his infatuation with Poison Ivy from Batman, you will understand the irony that his teacher shares the name of Poison Ivy’s true identity. Unfortunately, he had not tuned into the irony because he was so nervous. He wasn’t like that first thing in the morning. He was ready and he was telling me all the things he was going to explain to his teacher about how he will need a little help in math and how he best takes instruction. And then, I think she came on a little strong. She talked about how he will have sooo much to do to catch up to the other kids. Not exactly true since he’s way ahead of them having come from the GT Program in Virginia and having already completed 3rd grade. Not to mention that he’s done all that and he’s younger than all the kids in his class. I could see his expression slowly dissolve into the verge of tears. And as good as I can put on a show, and as much as I pride my acting skills, this boy is my one achilles heal. I could feel the tears well up and had a lump in my throat just as he said, “May I go to the bathroom?”
I knew what was coming. The teacher asked if she could introduce him to the kids in the class first and he said, “No, I really need to use the restroom first.” He tried to wash his face and came out crying, ” Mom, please take me home, I don’t want to do this.”
I tried to do everything to boost his confidence. I told him things like, “What if your new next best friend is in there? Maybe there’s someone else who loves to draw like you and do origami.”
“I don’t need anymore friends, you and dad are my best friends and that’s all I need! None of those kids look like Perry and Anas and Sonny! I don’t want to find a new best friend!”
The teacher came out put her arm around his shoulder and firmly took him into the classroom, which is exactly what he needed and is definitely what I needed or I would have fallen apart! So I gathered myself together so I could meet with the housing people and make appointments to go find our next home.
Wish me luck, hopefully, the day can only get better!