Barclay is napping (and not in our carrier!) so I'm enjoying the silence and the break. I want to start my series of our adventures in Italy:
Last December, we reconnected with our long time friend Andrew. He is in the Arm and is stationed in Vicenzia Italy. He invited us to come and stay with him and see Italy. If there is one thing about the Georges, it's that we never turn down an adventure.
*(Every year on our anniversary, we write down our goals in a journal, and then check them off the next year. Let's just say, we don't always meet our health, financial, personal goals...but we ALWAYS find a way to take the trips we planned:-) )
Because we had a place to stay, the Italy trip was totally doable. So thanks to Andrew and his hospitality, one of my wildest dreams of visiting Italy was achieved.
Thank you Andrew!
We woke up early Sunday morning to finish packing. I tried so hard to pack lightly but all the unknowns had me with 3 suitcases. I didn't know if it was going to be cold or hot, I didn't know if I would have enough "stuff" to entertain Barclay on the plane...
Noah's Mom picked us up and took us to the Greenville airport. Our first flight was easy and Barclay did fine (it wasn't his first time flying). We then got to Philidelphia and had a 6 hour layover! NOT fun!
I had brought a sheet with me, I thought it would be great to spread out and let Barclay crawl around. Of course, I realized that this was not a really smart idea. Barclay wanted to explore beyond the sheet...and after an hour of constantly pulling him back, I just let go and prayed all the nursing I do would protect him from all the germs that floor held. I was beyond bored as Noah was finishing up "buisiness" on the lap top. After about 4 hours of "walking" I decided to explore another wing, only to discover multitudes of shops and restaurants...of course right when we were about to board. Oh well.
We got on the flight (which they said was packed full) and took our seats in the bulk head (PRAISE GOD!). There was a man sitting next to us and I could see the panic on his face. He tried to be polite but I could see the sheer terror in his eyes. It was hillarious. As soon as the doors closed, he bolted out of the chair and found another empty seat. We laughed so hard but were so thankful for some extra room. Little did that man know how lucky he was to find that seat!
We flew US air. Let me tell you, the condition of this plane had me worried about how it was going to fly over an ocean . Everything was falling apart, from the magazine racks, to the tray someone near me pulled out and OFF. It wasn't even attached. I also found the bathrooms to have words written in sharpie, such as "trash", "soap", etc. We flew to S Korea last year Delta and it was WONDERFUL. Everyone was friendly, everything was nice, I felt safe...
We start off and the first hour isn't too bad. I'm realizing now that what I used to acquaint with flying isn't true anymore. For some reason I adore in flight movies. LOVE them. How cool is it to watch something flying over the ocean. Anyhow, I get practically giddy over them. They only played one in flight movie the entire 8 hour flight, and they chose DINNER time to start it. Like right when they are asking if you want pasta or chicken....Noah, being the amazing husband he is, took Barclay so I could try to watch the movie...but Barclay needed to eat, my food was spilling everywhere, I leaned over to grab something and my right boob completely landed in my cake with icing. I actually didn't even notice the white, square mess of stickiness till after dinner! By this time, our entire row is covered in "stuff". Of course Barclay does not want to play with toys I brought and carried all over Philidephia. He wanted to play with straws and cups...
I gave up on my movie...and actually shed some angry tears (stupid I know!) Then Barclay was getting tired. It was after his bed time. I went and asked the Stewardess (who by the way was totally rude and unhelpful and we had the only baby on the entire JET!) for the bassinett they promised us when they told us we couldn't bring the carseat on because it wasn't FAA approved. I'm sorry, but if you're in a plane crash, I doubt if ANY car seat would do any good. We were planning on him sleeping there, but agreed to the bassinet. When they finally brought it, it was a cardboard box! Literally. They did fancy it up with the word "BABY" and picture of a stork, but it was still a cardboard box. The lady said to put our pillows in the bottom and voila! Bassinet. We had to put him at our feet in this box. Whatever...then started the longest three hours of my life! Barclay screamed for an entire 3 hours. And let me tell you, being in an inclosed space like that with no where to go was torture. We were also at the very front of the plane right in front of the only movie screen. I couldn't stand up, the stewardesses yelled at me when I walked him up and down the lanes. Nothing worked, not holding, not nursing, not ANYTHING. It was horrible. People were glaring at me, I was sobbing, it was not fun at all. At one point, he was in the box, I was leaned over him like a COW letting him nurse away. My bottom was stuck up in the air and I was on all fours (like a cow) and I had a blanket over my head so no one would be offended. Frankly, now that I think about it, I think I would rather them know what I was doing in that position than to leave their imaginations open.
In an act of desperation, after 3 hours, I did what every good mother would do:
I stripped Barclay down to his diaper, and laid in the aisle and nursed him on my side. Poof...he was asleep...and I was sweating and pretty much a hot mess.
Noah is snoring away that horrible desperate snore and every one is still glaring at me. Of course, then the movie was over and I was left with reading a Glamour magazine my precious husband surprised me with. The last 4 hours were pretty uneventful. I did not sleep a wink though for fear that someone would kick the cardboard box that housed my son. It also, in some point on that flight became my birthday. I celebrated by making my husband wake up to wish me happy birthday:-)
It was a very different flight than I am used to. I guess I have achieved a new "normal".
We arrived in Venice in one piece and were so glad to be there! Andrew picked us up outside of "customs", which involved incredibly attractive men smiling and stamping your passport:-)
I wasn't even tired because I was so excited to be out of that plane and safely in ITALY!
We drove the hour drive to Vicenzia and my eyes were drinking in the beauty of fields of grapes, quaint little houses, and magnificent mountains.
We pull up to his appartement which is right next to a canal. It's exactly what you would think of if you were to think of Italy. Little balconies with ivy and flowers pouring over them, bustling streets and allies, a flavor of life:-)
We settled in and began our quest for lunch. Place one was closed, place two was closed, place three was closed, we finally found a slice of Pizza at a local mall. It was pretty funny. For some reason, at 12-2 places just shut down around here. Gas stations, restaurants, cafes.
We then walked around the little town he lives in. There is a big square within walking distance from his house and it is bustling with life! We just went and sat and people watched and enjoyed every minute of it. Children , mothers, bicyles. It was enchanting.
Since it was my birthday and I had informed Noah countless times that although Italy was a wonderful gift, he wasn't off the hook for having to think of something else. Gifts are my love language, and I just wanted something thoughtful. Even if it cost a dollar. He gave me the sweetest card ever. It made me cry and made me feel so appreciated. The also gave me a post secret book (I love reading these!) and an Christmas ornament of a mother and child. So thoughtful and precious!
We then walked to a Pizzaeria that Andrew swears is the best in the WORLD. I would now have to agree. I had house red wine and pizza with Agrugula, walnuts, and gorgozola. The owners were enchanted with Barclay and kept bringing him things. It started with a toy, then a guitar, then a water gun (in the form of a peeing boy), then a huge bottle of liquor, it was hillarious. They were quite taken with him. We then went to a Gelateria for some Gelato. I got yogurt flavor and quite enjoyed it.
We then collapsed into bed praying that Barclay would figure out the new time difference and sleep...he sort of did. He awoke four times, which really isn't too different from life at home.
To be continued...
*if you think about it, say a prayer for us tomorrow as we take the long trip back. Thankfully it wont be "nighttime" so maybe we wont have the exhausted screaming fit we did on the flight over.
Sorry for the lack of pictures...but I'm waiting till we get home to upload them.