On January 2017, Mom celebrated her 50th birthday for the 10th time, and wished that we’d travel together as a family. The last time we had gone overseas was a year after Dad passed away and we were all in a very sad place. We felt it was time to go and explore once again.
Since we had work and school to think about, we decided to explore just one country and spend more time diving into the spaces and stories of our chosen place. Italy – vibrant, exquisite, delicious and full of absolutely amazing stories throughout history. The three ladies (Mom, Cara and myself) were privileged enough to have visited Italy on different occasions (but not together), but it would’ve been my brother Niccolo’s first time and we wanted him to experience it.
The itinerary was fun to create, because there was no plan! We decided early on that each one of us got to pick one place, and we’d figure things out as we went along (more on that soon).
For two weeks, our “grown-up” family had the funniest, most interesting and insightful experiences together. It’s not every day that we had each other within arm’s reach; and while we’re all so very close to one another, this trip made me realize how much we’ve grown, especially since Dad’s passing. We still have our own quirky mannerisms and ways of dealing with things (like packing, check-ins, navigating, culinary choices, locking the house, cooking breakfast etc. etc.), but we have grown in the way we perceive and process things, the way we watch out for one another, and the way we explore for ourselves.
More than seeing both familiar and uncharted territories, what I saw most was the pain of loss being transformed into warmth, compassion, and discovery. What once were seemingly silent moments screaming sadness were replaced with beautiful story telling sessions that would end up in fits of laughter and bear hugs.
There are many stories and photos to share (which will come up the succeeding posts), but what I treasure the most were the unguarded moments I took of my family as we traversed the streets of Italy. I love these photos the most because they are probably the stories I wouldn’t be able to write in their entirety because they’re just better experienced than read.
Niccolo’s eye for detail in every art work and culinary experience was awe-inspiring. He was my constant culture buddy – and I discovered his intense love for research and continued learning. My favorite moments were the walks back from our culture dates and we’d still talk about our favorite pieces. During our dinner conversations, he’d also surprise me with his theories and insights of the future.
Cara’s unrelenting supply of energy to explore every street and corner was our constant reminder to keep discovering new places. As my forever companion and travel roomie, our conversations ranged from the funniest to the most interesting stories; whether over a glass of aperitivo, vino or frizzante. Inside jokes, postcard runs and sudden mind-boggling questions were my favorite moments with her.
Mom has an absolute passion for capturing moments, especially those with her children. This was anything from mundane movements around the apartment, sidewalk conversations, or us being mesmerized by a particular view. While it was her birthday wish to travel, she encouraged us to set the rhythm and pace of our trip. My favorite moments were reading her blog entries while we were on the trip – it was like she couldn’t wait to share the memories we were building together.
Behind the scenes are the stories untold but make the adventure funnier, richer, fuller.