Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Longtime Dream

I've got a best friend in Rome. She's married, has a kid, has a place for me to stay. For years, I've had an open invitation, but... LIFE! No money, no time, no THING to get me on a plane and go that far out of my comfort zone.

At a cocktail party one night, I said to a group of women who get around (the world, I mean):

"I am determined to go, I just don't know how."

And one said, sipping her drink, "That's the easy part. You buy a ticket."


It was a shared dream, with my group of girlfriends who were also best friends with Alexa, the one in Rome. Rhonda, Gina, and I all bonded the year we turned 27. We'd watched The Prime of Miss Jean Brody, and resolved to go through our prime together (age 27 to 45 or something). It was fabulous; we were fabulous, productive, happy (and when we weren't, we were supportive of each other). When that was over, we're resolved to enter our decrepitude with just as much élan. But we all have kids, and husbands, and jobs, and tightly packed schedules.
By some miracle, we were all together on Mother's Day last year, and we took a gondola ride on Lake Merritt. Alexa, an opera singer, sang with, then over, the gondolier, Torna á Sorrento and other famous tunes. (That's her on the left.) It was LIKE a dream come true!

Rhonda got lucky. Her husband's credit card miles coincided with their 20th anniversary, and he took her to Italy last November. Were we jealous? You bet. But were we happy for her? You double-bet. Here are some pictures of her having all kinds of fun.

But I was not about to give up. I had a goal, darnit, and I was going to find a way! I entered a Facebook contest to win a trip, then got on some mailing list, then saw some really really good deals... and when I mentioned them to my friend Jenny, whose N'th birthday trip to Thailand I'd missed, she said she wanted to go with me!  And then my wonderful family got together and helped me scrape the cash together—and OMG, suddenly I had that magic ticket!

There was only one sad thing. I had to tell Gina, the most fabulous of us all, and the one who deserves a trip to Italy more than everyone because not only is she Italian, she's the lead singer of the fictional 1950s Italian cover band, Gina and the Lolobrigidas. Thank the Goddess she gave me her blessing! I will be doing reconnaissance for our N+1th birthday trip, and dedicate every other glass of Chianti to her!

Surrounded by Italians on my Nth birthday