Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Abroad'r View from Mom

This year, my twenty-six year old daughter, Courtney, presented me with the mother of all Mother’s Day gifts: a sixteen day-long adventure, with her, in Italy. I missed her terribly, as she had been living and working there as an English teacher for over a year, so the idea of spending two and a half weeks with her exploring the Amalfi Coast was a most appealing prospect on many levels. So, on July 14th, I gleefully boarded a Eurofly jet at Kennedy Airport for the eight and a half hour journey -- alone, but in the warm company of a planeload of Italian families, presumably on their way back to Naples after a visit to America. Courtney had arranged our itinerary, which included four main destinations: Sorrento, Ischia, Capri, and Praiano, situated on the coast midway between Amalfi and Positano. Having become completely fluent in Italian over the past year, she was easily able to select simple, elegant, off-the-beaten-track accommodations for us in each city – the ones typically frequented by European travelers, rather than the usual choices of American tour groups. This suited me fine, as one of my hopes for the trip was to become as immersed as possible in the culture, language, and day-to-day life of the locals. Since we would be on the move during our stay, I had endeavored to pack little more than the essentials: flat, comfortable walking shoes for navigating the hilly, coastal terrain; light, loose-fitting clothing, as the temperature promised to be soaring; a good camera, loaned to me by my other daughter; and a blank travel journal, to record my thoughts, feelings, and observations. It is this last item, my journal, which brings me to this page today.

The physical beauty, emotional connection, cultural appeal and personal challenge of this adventure unexpectedly, but absolutely, lifted it from a truly wonderful vacation to the ranks of a life-altering experience. I came away entranced, inspired, humbled, and enlivened. Several people who have seen me since my return have commented that I appear to have “a glow” about me. As I traveled, my faithfully written daily narratives were dedicated to painstakingly communicating every glorious sensory detail of my experiences. However, while re-reading my journal upon my return to Long Island, I discovered that the best way to rouse the powerful memories I now obsessively desire to play over and over again in my mind is to go to my “stream of consciousness” pages, on which I had simply peppered dozens of individual words, like rapid-fire buckshot; which, when read in random order and mentally processed, evoke a flood of deep, clear, and satisfying reminiscences. How thrilling that these simple, single words hold the key to the vast vault of sounds and images safely stored in my brain -- accessible at any moment as a chance encounter or a purposeful departure from the mundane.

I will ever be grateful to my daughter and the forces in my life that opportunely converged this summer, allowing me to partake of such a rich and glorious sojourn. And I will return often to my treasured pages of written scatterings, then close my eyes and dream.

-Written by my mom, JoAnn Scott


Jessica_in_Rome said...

Wow tell your Mom to start a blog! It's not too often I actually read and then re-read a blog post, but I did this one! What an awesome experience you two had, I hope that when my Mom finally comes to visit me we will be able to have a similar experience! (Love your normal blog posts as well, btw).

Giancarlo & Emily said...

Beautiful pictures! Looks like you had a great time!