They say to never take anything for granted in life. Except that is what I did.The weekend following my time in Sicily my family was due to come in. For anyone who knows me, my family is near and dear to me. The dynamic is one of a kind and I wouldn’t trade it for any other family in the world.
Another thing to note is that anyone who knows me knows I don’t cry easily. Movies with dying puppies? Sure. Stressed about work? Rarely, that’s what boyfriends are for to rant to them (jk, not really… okay yes really. Sorry babe!)
In my lifetime I have never cried out of happiness or beauty or overall positive things in life. My mum (I call her Lady) has told me all my life that I was perfectly capable of doing things on my own. First day of pre-school I peaced the fuck out of her arms and ran to play with toys. Because of this I’m usually not one for being mushy towards my family. I do call home while in Florence, and make it a point to go home once a month back in New York.
But on Thursday at Santa Maria Novella, I spotted them hopping off their train straight from Venice and I couldn’t hold it in. I cried. Of course my dad caught it all on video. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until that moment. I missed the comfort and convenience of having my family only an hour and fifteen minute subway train away. As bad as it sounds I realized I had been taking my family for granted while living in Manhattan.
I was able to show them around town, where I go to school, and where I live. I was also able to experience new places with them where my visit had been long overdue during my time in Florence. The first night we hiked up Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset. The crowd at the top of the hill was unforgiving, but the view itself could be watched over and over again.
The next day naturally Lady wanted to go to the Mall, also known as the high end outlets of Florence. So the whole family rolled out of bed and got on the 9:30AM bus to the Tuscan countryside where a giant shopping outlet sat in the middle. Tracy and I had eventually met up with my dad after parting our ways 2 hours earlier. He had left my mum in her element and strolled on his own. During this time I was able to catch up with my dad about life and work. We don’t do this very often because of our busy schedules, but they always remind of the humbleness that he brings to the table. Our conversations live up to the word of people who say my dad and I are almost the exact same person.
Lady had made sure to buy my dad and Tracy tickets in advanced to see David at Galleria Academia. Lady and I had seen it two years ago when visiting over my freshman year Spring Break. This gave us time to pack the things I needed them to bring home so I would have a lighter load coming home a month later. This also gave me a chance to hide my new box of American snacks and foods somewhere in my room. Kraft Mac and Cheese and gummy worms are necessities in my life.
But most importantly it was a time that we were both familiar with, being able to talk. Whenever I return home we always find the time to catch up and bullshit about life. These talks usually happen over the phone or while grocery shopping. The conversations we have become a huge part of my life when entering college. Especially because I didn’t live at home. It made up for the nights I wasn’t sitting in our living room watching Storage Wars. Having our usual conversation in Florence this time felt different. We’ve had our conversation in Amsterdam and beach side in the Caribbean. But after my time here, I noticed that my conversations with Lady throughout the years have definitely changed and evolved into something more that just a catch up. They were conversations that encompasses my relationship with my mum, and I missed having them in person.
In recent years my family has had a hobby to try new restaurants and dishes. If we didn’t my dad’s Facebook would only consist of traffic and fishing pictures. So earlier in the week I had made reservations at Osteria Santo Spirito. The home of the best truffle gnocchi in Florence. And damn did it live up to it’s title. Along with the gnocchi we ordered a bunch of other dishes that we wanted to try. Including steak,clams, tripe, and the house white wine. It’s easy to say that we slept like babies that night. They loved the food so much that they made me make another reservation Sunday night.
Saturday we had planned a guided day tour to Cinque Terre… That had a forecast of rain all day. It started early morning and returned late at night. We were able to visit 4/5 towns that make up the city. In the rain. Non-stop rain. But much like we do, we made the best of the situation and had a good time. The city was beautiful, the street food was fresh (calamari in cone!), and the rain was cold. It wasn’t our favorite tour but it was an experience.
That night Tracy had come back to my apartment with me, for we were planning to go out that night. It was the first time that we would be going out together. In recent years Tracy and I haven’t really found the time to spend time together due to schedules, but family vacation always made up for it. With her finishing up her senior year of high school she was more emotional than ever. In a good way. To have this night together was something we will both remember and mark as a true bonding moment. We did what sisters do: pick each other’s outfits, helped each other perfect our makeup, chat and gossip (yes two very different things!) The night was filled with laughter, dancing, and friends at Irish Pub Lion’s Fountain. I was happy that I was able to giver her, her first semi-college social experience. Most importantly I’m grateful that I was able to have the night with my sister after so many months.
My family’s visit reassured me that no matter how many oceans I am apart from them, home will always be the same. At times we get caught up in our lives with travels, work, significant others, or friends that we sometimes forget how it’s like to be home. It’s not a bad thing but rather a sign that it’s time to call.
Monday morning I hugged them goodbye before they piled into the taxi. No tears this time.
Even though my time in Florence is dwindling, I can say all will be swell because I’ll be home.