howard and i were very excited – joanna and erica were coming for a visit. they were arriving saturday morning at 11 a.m., and would be with us for a week. we had readied the apartment, preparing their room and filling the refrigerator. we had even arranged for a taxi driver, bruno, to pick us up at the apartment to take us to pisa to meet them.
friday morning, around 11 a.m. we were sitting around the apartment reading, when for some reason, i decided to look at joanna’s itinerary, suddenly it looked to me that their plane was not arriving on saturday but, was in fact, arriving friday, at that very minute. i showed it to howard and he agreed. oh my god. we jumped into our clothes and ran out of the apartment. there was not a taxi to be found, and so we ran the ten blocks to the train station and jumped into a cab. just like in the movies we said – “to the airport and step on it”! bad thing to say to an italian taxi driver. he hit the autostrada and we flew, i mean flew, to the airport. we must have been going 100 miles an hour. the good thing was that i couldn’t remember how to convert kilometers to miles, so each time i looked at his speedometer, i didn’t really know fast we were going, thank god.
we got to the delta terminal just as their flight was deplaning. passengers are held behind a closed door as they go through customs, so we couldn’t see where they were. every time the door opened, i held my breathe, expecting to see the girls. after an hour, it was clear that we had misread the itinerary and they were arriving, as i had originally thought, on saturday. we drove home, much slower and a hundred dollars poorer.
saturday morning, bruno the cab driver picked us up, right on time. when we got to the airport we were told that their plane had arrived twenty minutes early. i waited at the barrier hoping to see them come through the door while howard went outside to see if they were waiting for us at the curb. i waited and waited. no joanna and erica. finally howard came and said “come on, i’ve got them”. “where were they”? i asked. apparently, they had just come out through the very doors i had been so carefully monitoring. they didn’t see me and i didn’t see them. some mother i am.
at any rate, they got here safe and sound and it has been so amazing to have them with us. it is first of all so great to just spend uninterrupted time together, which happens so rarely at home, with all our busy lives, and secondly to get to share lucca with them, and also, to see lucca through their eyes. with the exception of a huge rain storm, late last night, the weather has been perfect. today we went for a bike ride on the wall and of course we all have been eating the “italian way” lots of pasta and vino and laughter. in the next day or so, they will be going to cinque terre for a couple of days and then, i think, a day trip to some of the hill towns. in between, we will get to spend even more time together. there is nothing better in the world than to have grown children that you actually enjoy spending time with. so far, with all the marvelous things we have experienced on this adventure, this is the icing on the cake.