Thursday, June 2, 2016

Leaving on a Jet Plane

We hit the road to the airport in two days. As I am wrapping up all that I wanted to get done at work, our trip is feeling real.  Traveling with my sister 20 years ago, we rolled into towns with no reservations. In Berlin, we saw a flyer for a studio in Rome near the Vatican and it sounded good to us.  With my husband five years later, we still didn't have reservations for anywhere we visited. We got of the train in Florence and someone said, "are you looking for a place to stay?"  He gave us a ride to a great hotel with beautiful fresco ceilings that was the best hotel we found on our trip. Previously it was all up to chance and somehow it all worked out nearly perfect.

While my family is increasingly nervous when they say "tell us about your trip" and we can offer little details, visiting Europe with four children we do have accommodation reservations!  Being the old lady in the shoe at this point and having watched the movie "Taken" I am not sure that I will green light our girls to hit Europe alone when they are college aged. Even if they work all through high school saving every penny like my sister did to pay for most of it for both of us.  (She's good.)  It feels like a different world, but perhaps technology has just offered up more of what's going on and it is a similar world we just know more?

My kids study the core knowledge curriculum at their school. Their amazing art teacher uses the Rose window of Notre Dame to teach symmetry in fourth grade. Her art room is amazingly packed full of art that our kids will get to view the originals this summer. I noticed yesterday that she has a book on Michelangelo paper clipped with important elements that she shares with them.  Noticing the pieta, which is in St. Peter's Cathedral, I started to remember how it feels to be in St. Peter's. It feels impossible. I am more a tomboy and generally interior design is not my thing, but the Vatican left me feeling that with God in your sails, anything is possible.  I never appreciated religious symbolism until I felt my breath being taken away from gazing at the Pieta inside St. Peter's which feels like a place worthy of the Lord if ever there was on this earth.  It's ceiling reaches up 435 feet. For four days, we'll be a 5 minute walk from the Vatican.  Just now, two days from loading the car to hit the airport I am wondering if the kids can make it up the narrow path holding on to the rope on the small curved pathway to the top of the 435 feet and I don't know? Perhaps Morgan and I will wait at the bottom chatting with folks coming and going while everyone else goes to the top?  Though I don't know our exact steps, I'm going to try and take some pictures and video of the kids with core knowledge topics.  I am realistic that I might get caught up in the trip and totally forget, but I'm hoping for at least a picture of Owen with the Rose window to help Mrs. Jones get her class's attention on symmetry. TOTALLY different goals than when I visited with my sister or my husband.

Perhaps our favorite moment of the trip will occur in an unexpected way while we are waiting.  Doesn't God always "happen" to put the most amazing people in our path to share a word we need to hear.  To capture the total blank slate that our kids have about Europe, I interviewed them. I included my husband and I for you to get a sense of our relative lack of a clue about a trip like this with kids. :)  I know the basics like you need to have clothing that covers your shoulders to visit St. Peter's (no sleeveless dresses), but I have no idea how far our family will be able to walk or collectively endure a museum until the melting point arrives. We will be looking for signs of the melting point's arrival and try and take lots of gelato breaks. Fingers crossed we don't leave any bad lasting impressions!

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