For an entire month my family and I lived, traveled and ate our way through Italy. We picked herbs from our garden, painted watercolors during the hot afternoons, swam in the pristine lake, ate endless amounts of fresh pasta and gelato, and drove all over the country in a quest to open up our daughters’ eyes and minds as well as their taste buds. You’d think after an entire month away we would be ready to come home, but you’d be wrong.
However, they call it vacation for a reason right? It’s a break, a time away, and in the end real life beckons – and there is no more real life than life in New York City. With barely enough time to recover from jetlag both my daughters went off to day camp, worried about which swim group they’d be in and anxious about coming to camp mid-session. My husband went off to a new job, literally went off on the train to Washington DC to have his own orientation and new “real life.” And me? Well, after writing everyday for a month straight I took a week’s hiatus to get my home back in order. Plus, after writing in hotel rooms, basil scented gardens and in the sunroom of an Italian villa, I was not ready to go back to windowless back room at Cosi.
At first the alone time was actually nice. After being together as a family for 33 straight days and nights we all needed a break. But then the other stuff seeped in. We had sublet our apartment while we were gone and now I had to put everything back together again, and find all of the things we swore we’d stowed away in places where we’d never forget. Where were the checkbooks? The metrocards? The girls’ diaries? All of those camp clothes I’d put away so they’d be easy to get to upon our return? We put Old Mother Hubbard to shame with our bare cupboards and still, after going to the grocery store 3 times in one week I will reach for something – ketchup maybe? – and discover it’s not there because I forgot to put that on the list. Then came the emails about the new school year, the pending political decisions being made, gossip and a months worth of catalogs and snail mail piled up on the table too! (What I need on the shopping list is some wine!)
In the end of course it’s worth it. Nothing can compare to going away – far away – for a length of time. We were beyond lucky to have had the opportunity and I don’t know when we’ll have it again. But for once it would be nice if the vacation could spill over into our life at home. Maybe I’ll buy a pot of basil for our windowsill so at least I can close my eyes and inhale and pretend that outside my window is a field of sunflowers, instead of a pigeon family and the glow of my neighbor’s big screen TV.
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