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Cindy Maddera

In two years, Michael will finish his Masters. To celebrate, we've been planning a big trip to Italy.  It is pretty much all Michael talks about. It started out as a one week trip that has now grown into this grand adventure across Europe. We talk about flying into where ever is cheaper and spending a week backpacking like young college students, slowly making our way into Italy. There's a villa that sits somewhere between Florence and Rome that provides Vespas and maps for all the guests. We talk about spending a week riding scooters all over the Tuscan country side. The last week will be spent eating pizza along the Amalfie Coast. Of course, this is the current plan. Most of that right now is just dream planning.

Dream planning is part of the fun though. The other night Michael was trying to find the cheapest place to fly into right now and he came up with places like the Netherlands and Sweden. I immediately envisioned us dressed in sturdy wool coats with red stocking caps on our heads and large army like backpacks on our backs. We would prop our heavy hiking boot laden feet up on the empty train seats across from us and lean against one another with my head resting on his shoulder. I know this is all wrong. We will be travelling in the summer time and I will not need a heavy wool coat, probably just a sweater, but there we were riding the Euro Rail down through Sweden into Germany where we'd stop for a beer and a pretzel. Next stop would be France and maybe even a day or two in Paris so that I could stand at the top of the Montmartre Steps like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face with my arms spread wide, singing "Bonjour Pari!" and then we would be off to Rome and the rest of Italy. I see us zipping along on our scooters past fields of grapes and little farms surrounded by long-eared goats. I'm going to eat so much bread and cheese.

There is a very real fear that Michael will lose me to the Amalfie Coast. There is a very real fear that I will lose myself to the Amalfie Coast, deciding that this is the place I need to be for the rest of my life. Michael mentioned putting his name on the deed to my house so he will at least have a place to live when he comes back to the states without me. I told him we should just plan on buying a retirement home there and be done with it.  He'll get a little fishing boat and I'll get a couple of goats. We'll eat fish and goat cheese and grow pots of basil and rosemary. I'll wear a giant sun hat all the time. In the meantime we are learning Italian. Michael is ahead of me, already  moving onto phrases while I'm still working on plurals and food. Last night Michael handed me a fork, to which I responded with "grazie." He responded with "prego!" Then he handed me a plate of food and again I said "grazie." and again he responded with "prego." So we had a whole conversation in Italian. 

Dream planning sounds like I think that we may not ever really take this trip. That's far from true. I know that someday we will go to Italy. I don't know if it will be the three week grand adventure just like the one we've been talking about, but I do know that it will be a grand adventure of some sorts. Dream planning a vacation is very much like planning your dream house. It may be a little bit crazy and over the top but who cares? It's YOUR dream. We could go on this trip in two years and not end up doing half of the stuff we talked about, but at least some of that dream is going to come true. So why not dream big?

Dream big for today's Love Thursday.