From Europe to Delaware: Thinking of Home While on Vacation

A trip to Europe proves to be strange yet satisfying. On a scale of 1 to 10, the author would rate it a …

You won’t believe what happened, or the people I encountered when we ventured to Europe. It was extraordinary and bizarre with a warm touch of Delaware rolled up into one.

Let’s start with the bizarre, namely, the plane ride to Rome. It was past midnight and everyone was sleeping, or so I thought. I went to the bathroom and while returning the flight attendant approached. She had a comical yet quizzical look planted across her face. I figured I’d done something ridiculous and looked to see if I was dragging some toilet paper. Instead, she warned me a man had stripped down to his underwear across the aisle. Thinking she was joking, drinking, or insane, I dismissed her ludicrous allegation. Insistent, she pointed in his direction. Low and behold, was a man in black boxer briefs! It was later explained he was extremely hot and just had to sprinkle himself all over with water to lower his body temperature. I thought only women had hot flashes. Whatever!

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Did I mention the part where the gladiator was chasing me through the streets of Rome? This is how it happened. When we arrived we headed to St. Peter’s Square. I grabbed the camera and made my way up the street promising to return in a moment. While snapping away a man dressed in gladiator garb, sword and all, beckoned me to take his picture. I complied and started to walk away. He followed, demanding some Euros. I was unaware that this was his job and he expected payment … pronto! As I apologized for not having any, he became irritated and verbalized his displeasure in eloquent Italian verse. Alarmed, I trotted down the street and realized he was on my heels because I could hear his metal skirt clanging against his body. My husband saw me with the gladiator in hot pursuit. I ran up to him and instructed he give the gladiator his Euros. Confused but agreeable, he did and the gladiator’s charming disposition returned. I never left my husband’s side again.

I was beginning to think that this dream vacation was destined to be a nightmare.   Then something miraculous happened. Having dinner conversation with another family we discovered they were from, yes, you guessed it—Delaware. We were beside ourselves. We spent the entire tour together eating, drinking, laughing, sightseeing, and of course, discussing the joys of Delaware. A trip was resurrected, a friendship born.

Now we reunite and find a fine Italian restaurant to relive the wonderful memories we shared. Recently we went to Soffritto and the atmosphere, along with homemade pasta, transported us back in time. It’s funny that when we were in Europe we were talking about Delaware, and in Delaware we talk about Europe. We had the best of both worlds because we were able to experience life in an exotic land with all the warmth of home. 

Time to pay the bill and the waiter hands me a satisfaction survey. Everything was wonderful so I checked all 1’s thinking I gave him and the restaurant the highest rating. Did I mention I wasn’t wearing my glasses and had some wine? Probably not, because he looked dismayed. Sensing I, once again, did something displeasing to another Italian man (remember the gladiator), I asked what I had done. Apparently 1 = poor. Oh my! I fumbled over my apologetic words, corrected my mistake, and apparently made another memory to laugh about at our next meeting.  Thank goodness we are in Delaware or I might have another irate man chasing me down the streets!

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