Despite traveling so much these past couple of years, it’s been more than five years since I’ve visited two of my favorite spots: Paris and Italy.
Both are a bit bittersweet to me. The last time I visited Paris, it was two months before Mama Jolie died. To make matters worse, my connecting flight was through Houston, where Mama was in the hospital at MD Anderson, and it didn’t occur to me until I was at the airport that my sick mother was only miles away.
Would that I had planned in advance, scheduled a later flight, and spent the day with her. It remains one of my life’s biggest regrets.
Italy, meanwhile, was where my mother and I finally connected on a personal level as adults, during a week spent in Rome when I was 26. She and I drank red wine and smoked cigarettes together on the Via Veneto, had champagne at Harry’s Bar just outside the Borghese Gardens, sat on the Spanish Steps and shared secrets about our teenage years, and ate pasta and fried artichokes in a quaint restaurant in Trastevere. Mama Jolie was diagnosed with cancer a year later, while I lived in LA and she was in Atlanta, so I look back on Rome as our last significant time together.
Today, E. and I are off on Delta to Europe, stopping in Atlanta to see Papa Jolie for a few hours, before flying to Milan for my friend K.’s wedding. We’ll be in Lake Como for five days, and I’m beside myself with excitement–though I’ve been up, down, back, forth and all over Italy, I’ve never made it to that particular part of the country. We gleefully anticipate stalking George Clooney. (Rather, I gleefully anticipate stalking George Clooney during the pre-wedding Champagne Boat Cruise the bridesmaids are taking. E. will be back at Villa Giulia on Lake Garda, where the wedding party is staying, George Clooney-less. I’m sure he’ll manage.)
After Lake Como? Paris! Eii!
More updates to come…