Sunday marks the beginning of our month-long US tour. It is something of a marathon, making a giant "donut", as my older brother calls it, from Pennsylvania (home) down to South Carolina (vacation), west to Oklahoma (wedding), north to Minnesota (family), east to Indiana (family), and continuing east to arrive back home in Pennsylvania 4 weeks and several thousand miles later. If I counted correctly, we'll be covering eighteen states. Each leg itself will be wonderful, but I'm not too excited about the many hours in the car with two toddlers, champs though they are at travel. But family reunions and weddings are amazing events and not to be missed, so we'll be there, traveling in style in our minivan. :)
View Larger Map
Since being home, we've been thoroughly enjoying the American comforts. In particular, warm, luxurious showers with silken body wash, fluffy, large towels, shower doors that work, hot water that never seems to run out, and excellent water pressure. Tall glasses of free ice water. Big freezers. Big refrigerators. Loading up the car in our driveway and going straight to our destination rather than dragging ourselves, our stuff, and our kids to the bus stop, onto the bus, off the bus, onto the train, and then onto another bus, before arriving in ragged condition at our destination. Mexican food. Chinese food. Burgers. Steaks. Roast beef. Cheddar cheese. Normal milk (not ultra-pasturized). Orange juice (Italian orange juice is very bitter). A large washer in my house and a dryer right next to it. Lots of space, everywhere I look or go. And hearing English, everywhere (well, except at Walmart, when all I hear is Spanish).
But there are things we miss about Italy and, I'm sure, as the novelty of these comforts and conveniences wears out a bit, there will be even more things. I miss the cappuccino. I miss the smell of cappuccino. I miss hearing the ceramic clink of cappuccino cups from the cafes below our apartment. I miss our Danish neighbors. I miss seeing Matt all the time. I miss always knowing exactly where the kids are. I miss the delicious and cheap sweet peppers. I miss the brie, fontina, and edam cheeses. I miss the wine. I miss being able to walk everywhere. I miss the excitment of exploring somewhere new everyday.
So rather than long for what I can't have (everything), I'm vowing to appreciate what I do have. Oh, and to use my stovetop moka to bring a little Italy into my American life with a daily cappuccino.