It's been an unbelievably bad 2011 so far.
My Father passed 15 days into the new year, then I got sick with what I can only guess was some sort of new strain of bird/duck/pig/tiger flu and now oldest Son took off for a "semester abroad" in Italy. (BTW When did including a European vacation in a 45k/year college experience become the norm?)
He left last Monday from JFK in New York.
We showed up early at the airport and so Atalilia offered him a direct flight to Rome rather than one with a stop over in Milan that would allow him have his luggage ransacked by both Roman and Milanese baggage handlers. He took it.
That meant there was only a minute for a tearful goodbye before he got in the security line. We took some picture, said our goodbyes and left.
It all happened so fast.
Then came the anxious 12-24 hours when we wouldn't hear anything. It was like when the astronauts would reenter the atmosphere in the 60's in their little capsule. You would sit on pins and needles waiting to hear something.
What made it even harder was the whole phone issue. He had an iPhone back in the states and leaving that on, connected to lord knows what Italian rip-off data service it connected to over there seemed like a bad idea. I could only imagine getting a bill for 1,000,000 Lira. Everything we read said just buy another phone over in Italy, one without a contract. It made sense at the time but now that he was headed over there with no phone it was making less and less sense.
You have no idea how dependent we have become on these devices and yet some how he found the driver for service and found his apartment in Rome across the river from Saint Angelo's Castle, right down the street from the Vatican.
The next day he bought a phone. I guess. We haven't heard a beep out of it.
We are supposed to "skype" with him instead of call. This has happened exactly once so far in the 4 days he's been there. His mother caught him in the apartment and "skyped" for a few minutes before he fell asleep.
I had a facebook chat with him on the Tuesday he arrived and that has been the source of most of our information so far.
We hope to hear more this weekend.
His blog is located here.