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High/lowlights and Almost Coming to Blows

Despite the beauty of Venice, and all of the Mediterranean, I am eager to get home. In a sense, this has been the hardest “vacation” of my lifetime. I’ve been caring for my 81 year old mom and that is not an easy task. Literally, my muscles are sore from helping to support her weight as she struggles to maneuver the many boat docks, cobblestone streets, and uneven staircases of these old towns. She’s taken the whole thing very seriously: she’s stubborn enough to push herself so that she can see as much of the world as possible. This lead to some breakdowns and there have been some moments where I’ve been frustrated, tired, hot, and downright cranky about the various situations we’ve gotten into. Once or twice I was so completely overwhelmed that I just started crying.

At the other extreme, I can be terribly protective of her. For example: there was a huge line for the cable car at Santorini. This group of Italians rushed the line (Italians don’t queue.) I told them the back of the line was behind us; at which point they conveniently didn’t speak English. So I spoke Italian and said the same thing. They were stubborn and refused to go to the back of the line. And all of us who had been in line waited a lot longer as a result (1.5 hours total). Later in this interminable, unruly queue, my Mom spotted a bench. She wanted to make her way up to the bench to sit with the concept that I’d catch up and she’d get back in line after a bit of a rest. The Italian woman wouldn’t let her pass & started yelling at her & me. This was a very bad move on her part.

There’s one thing I know from my time brief time living in Italy in 1993: Italians can be terrible bullies and verbally vicious, but they usually back down if anyone has the guts to challenge them. So, I didn’t back down. I yelled at this she/he woman in both English and Italian, then… I challenged her to a fight. No, I am not kidding. I actually said “I will fight you, you b**ch.” At this point, the other people in line felt the need to mediate so that we didn’t literally come to blows. By the way: the crowd sided with me. Mom got to sit down and the Italian monstrosity had to shut up and wait in line just like the rest of us.

Let’s just call these trying moments “learning and growth” experiences.

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