Getting Ready for Italy

My family of seven leaves for Italy on Saturday. I’m not quite sure I believe it yet.

How does a family like mine get ready for such an extravagant learning adventure?

We scour tour guides, page through art books, craft scaled models of the colliseum, write lengthy reports about Nero, study St. Paul’s travels and make our own pasta. We write iteneraries weeks ahead that we rehearse at dinner so everyone is prepared for the adventure of a lifetime. We study Latin and Italian and quote Dante to our friends. We perform mini operas and listen to Puccini…

Uh, well, some families might do that.

Not ours.

We wait until six weeks before we leave to buy a digital camera. We play with said camera, you know, to get familiar with how it works… and accidentally whack the lens on the side of a chair, rendering it immovably stuck. Camera sticks out its tongue and says, “Lens Error, freak!”

We rush ship the camera to the repair guys via mail throwing salt over our shoulders to get it back before we leave… phew—it returned, all working and smiley.

While the camera was on the blink, my van took a dive – both water and fuel pumps. Yes, this is the only vehicle large enough to take us to the airport. Yes, I was a tad worried last week when I had to add water to the radiator every time I stopped the car. I’m just glad my aunt in Italy says her rosary because the car konked on Sunday, giving us a full seven days for repairs… in Kentucky.

Fingers crossed: it’s back and running.

Monday night, Jon and I got coffee at Barnes and Noble and cracked open the tour guide books (Rick Steves, who rocks so hard). Yes, that is the first time we opened them. And no, it’s not because we’re such expert travelers.

I got instantly overwhelmed – call the bank to tell them we will be using our credit cards? Money belts? Mosquito repellant? (Who knew that the mosquito population holds conventions in Tuscany?) Reservations for museums? Walking tours? All that art that I haven’t studied in advance? All those gelatto shops?

Quick, get me some vino!

I made little notes in a small black book. I figure if the notes are small, so will the tasks be.

At least our Italian really took off this year. All seven can say with correct pronunciation “Ciao” and Andrea Bocelli.

And while I began reading about the Rennaissance in the fall with the hope that the kids would show how fantastic homeschooling is by being well educated about Italy, their minds wandered and they didn’t care. But wow! The Civil Rights Movement in America. That was the ticket!

I can’t plan these things! It took us three years to move from Ancient Greece to the Fall of Rome in homeschool. So obviously reading about the Rennaissance before traveling to Europe is an idiotic idea, right?

Off we go, with minimal preparation (though I managed to find coordinating earrings and chunky necklaces for that all important “look” – got my priorities down cold).

Plane departs on Saturday. Time to wash a million loads of shorts and t-shirts. Must leave underwear behind and forget a few toothbrushes. Still, we’ll throw the whole thing together and head to the airport…

…assuming our cars are still running and the camera works and we have enough repellant to keep the skeeters at bay. 🙂

*It’s time to say Goodbye Ciao.

*That’s an Andrea song quote, for those in the know. 😉

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