I’m almost 20 years old.
I’ve moved across the ocean.
I’m really working on this whole independent young adult thing here, but I’ve learned something:
I need my momma. Always have, always will.
I’m lucky enough to call my mom one of my best friends, and I’ve really missed coming home at the end of the day to her asking, “how was your day?” Technology is FANTASTIC, and I’m oh so thankful for skype and FaceTime. Technology makes people seem not quite so far away. But for an entire week I got to sip coffee again with my momma, eat with her, and proudly show her my new home in this beautiful country.
Mom arrived on a Wednesday morning. I was so proud of her- this was not only her first time flying by herself, but also her first time flying all the way across the ocean to Europe! Her flight arrived early, and I, as usual, was running late. But it all turned out okay and it felt so good to hug her again. My host family graciously allowed mom to stay with us for the week, so after getting her settled we headed out for lunch. This is Italy and I wanted her first meal to be a proper one. I think I succeeded. Mom ordered her first REAL Italian pizza. Here, there is no one-slice option. So yeah, it’s socially acceptable to eat an entire pizza by yourself.
After lunch we had a few hours yet before I had to pick up one of the boys from school, so we headed to the center. Thankfully the center is only a mile from my house and the weather was nice so it was perfect to see more of Milano. This time of year flowers are starting to bloom, and mom really enjoyed picking out ones that she recognized. We stopped along the way for mom’s first gelato because that’s also a necessary part of Italy.
After walking around Piazza del Duomo and through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, we headed back to pick up one of the boys and begin the introductions. Mom and Giacomo hit it off right away, Dodo just took a little bit more time. Presents from her definitely helped warm them up to her. That evening mom taught Giacomo how to play Tic Tac Toe, and it quickly became his favorite game for the time being. The air that evening stayed warm enough for us to have our first dinner out back on the patio! The six of us enjoyed a classic pasta dish while mom got to know my host family more. That was one of my favorite parts of this week- my mom getting to interact and hang out with the people that have become my Italian family and who have welcomed me so well.
Thursday we had the entire day to explore the city. We started out with a classic Italian breakfast- a coffee and pastry. I made sure that mom tried an Italian coffee, but she soon found that she preferred the cappuccino’s. After our short breakfast we headed to the Duomo to make the climb to the top. Thankfully, the weather again was sunny and warm.
Back in Lancaster, mom regularly does Bikram yoga (hot yoga). I found a studio in the city and at 1:00 Thursday afternoon we headed there. The nice thing about doing Bikram yoga internationally, is that it’s the same poses in the same order. So for mom, hearing it in Italian didn’t even effect her. For someone like me, who has only done Bikram two previous times, it was a little more difficult. Between the instructors little English and mom’s constant tips, I survived the class and enjoyed it! It left us both hungry so we sought out food afterwards, right away.
Milano is known to be the fashion capital of the world, and let me tell you, the shopping does not disappoint. After lunch, mom and I did some shopping before heading back home. That evening the grandparents hosted a dinner where we had homemade polenta, a typical mountain dish for the northern part of Italy. We were all trying our best to have mom try as many foods as possible within a week’s time!
While planning this trip, I had asked mom where she would like to go, outside of Milano, for the weekend. She had immediately said Rome. Conveniently, I had been there two weeks before, for Easter, so I was familiar with the city. I was able to get that Friday off, so we headed out around 6:15am to catch our train to Rome.
I have 100% fallen in love with Rome. And I was SO excited to show mom the beauty of the city. We rented an AirBnB directly outside the Vatican walls and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to travel to Rome. My post is already long enough, and since I’ve previously written about Rome, I will try and spare you some of the details of the weekend.
Friday we arrived at midday, did some grocery shopping for our kitchen, then headed into the city (first stop was gelato). Walking into the city from our flat, we walked along the Vatican walls and then past the Castle of St. Angelo. We purchased tickets for a hop-on-hop-off bus for the weekend, and got off at the Trevi fountain. For the rest of the evening, we rode around on the bus some more, caught a stunning sunset while walking back to the flat, and ate dinner in while sipping wine and catching up on some much needed mother daughter time.
Saturday morning we found an indoor market which we strolled through. For the rest of the day, we rode around the city on the bus and walked down the lovely side streets, taking it all in. Early evening we entered St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican (traveler tip: we entered half an hour before closing and there was no line!). The church is free to enter and it’s a must see.
We had dinner at our flat and relaxed for a little. Then hopped back on the bus to go to the Spanish Steps and finally to Via Del Corso, a main shopping street originally used for horse races. At the Spanish Steps we were greeted with another beautiful sunset- Rome was so good to us!
Sunday our main goal was to see the Colosseum and the Ruined City of Rome. There was only one problem- Rome was holding a marathon that morning. So navigating became much more difficult but we made the best of it, and saw new parts of the city as we tried to get around the marathon streets. We found an open market where mom bought a few souvenirs and we enjoyed some fresh fruit. A few hours later then planned, we finally found ourselves waiting to enter one of the seven wonder’s of the world, Rome’s glorious Colosseum (traveler tip: regardless of whether you have your tickets or not, wait in the line labeled “buy tickets”- it will get you through security faster).
We opted for the audio guide, which pointed out little details and gave more history on the structure. Walking through it is stunning. No pictures do it justice. I was so happy to experience this with mom!
With the purchase of a ticket into the Colosseum, you also get entry in the Ruined City. It was mid 70s and sunny- the perfect day to walk through a city over 2000 years old. We caught a train back to Milano that evening. Throughout our weekend mom kept saying how unreal it all seemed. My mom has done so much for me, I’m so honored that I could give her an excuse to come over to Europe and I even got to be her tour guide.
Monday and Tuesday we spent back in Milano. We did more shopping, ate more gelato, and treasured being in the same city together. The weather was incredible all week. It looks like Milano’s gloomy, wintery, cold days are finally over (fingers crossed) and spring is here! For three months I had been telling my mom all about my new house, my new city, the boys, my Italian family- and it was so great to have her immersed in this beautiful culture, to meet my Italian family, and see what my daily routine looks like.
There are parts of me that are totally introverted. I love my parents and I really do love being at home. The rest of me, who wants to see the world, obviously won out for this year. This year is turning out to be the best one yet. I’m telling you, getting out of your comfort zone is good. It’s incredibly scary at times, and there will be times when you will miss home or miss your comfort zone more than anything. And that’s okay. I’ve been blessed with the best support system back home (can’t wait to see my entire family in LESS THAN TWO MONTHS), and now I have the best Italian family, and that’s a fact.