April 19th – I am so thankful to finally be here!

The journey here was not an easy one. Poor Dan had to take care of both me and his dad on the flight. I don’t know if it was the turbulence, the airplane food or the 2 and a half strong vodka drinks I had before take off, but I was very sick half way through the flight. Luckily there were several bathrooms on the plane because I made one my own. Dan’s dad, Pasquale, has emphysema and had a hard time breathing through the flight. He had his nebulizer, but it ran out of battery; Dan saved the day by talking to the flight attendant and they took Pasquale to first class where he could plug in the nebulizer. Looking back, I’m pretty sure he purposely let the battery die so he could sit in the cushy section. 😉

The greeting that we got at the airport made all the negatives of the flight go away. Once we collected our luggage, we were welcomed by the smiling faces of Zio Tonino, Zia Emilia, her husband and their grandson Bruno. Right away Pasquale, Tonino and Emilia were joking around as brothers and sisters do and it was like no time had passed since they had seen each other.

We drove to Zio Tonino’s house where he lives with his daughter Philomena, her husband Chesare and their daughters Anna Theresa and Luana. When we pulled up, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pasquale move so fast; he was ringing their door bell before I was even out of the car. Luana came barreling out of the house, swung open the gate and embraced her Zio Pasquale with all the love in the world. They had never actually met but from the side of the road, I could see the strong connection. They didn’t let go of each other until they were all the way inside the house.

Of course, Mena was cooking when we got there. Meatballs and ravioli and salad – so good!! We ate the meatballs out of a communal bowl with our hands, no sauce. We spent the evening with family, everyone catching up and me taking in the scene. I’m pretty sure I heard Dan’s dad speak more in that one night than I have in the entire seven years I’ve known him; I couldn’t be happier that we are here together.