Sunday, April 25, 2010

Italy and other adventures

My daughter got into the cooking and travel program in Italy this summer! They called my cell phone on Friday to let us know.

My husband and I were sitting on the bench around the fountain on the plaza at Lincoln Center when the call came.We had both taken the day off from work. We'd anticipated being at Penn Relays that day to watch our son run.Turns out, he did not run. Because of his Achilles tendon injury, he hadn't clocked in an official time at an outdoor meet this season, so even though his time was competitive in practice, his coach had to submit another hurdler's time as part of the 4-man relay team's overall record. That kid's time was 2 seconds slower than my son's, which was enough to knock the team out of college men's contention. My son was disappointed, but I'm really glad his coach didn't rush him back into competition. I'd much rather he heal properly.

Anyway, since our son wasn't running on Friday after all, my husband and I decided not to take our daughter out of school for the day, and to just attend the main event as a family on Saturday. But we still both took the day off from work. We went to lunch at a restaurant we'd never tried, then strolled over the Lincoln Center and just sat by the fountain, chatting and watching people aimlessly, like we were in our twenties again! God, I loved it. The sun on our faces, the spray of the fountain dancing at our backs, a clear blue sky above our heads.

Then I got a text. My daughter said the scholar services coordinator of her scholar program had called and asked for my number. We had been told we wouldn't hear anything for another three weeks, so my girl didn't dare hope the news was at hand. Sure enough, my phone rang a moment later, and it was indeed the news she had been praying for! The coordinator wanted to talk through a couple of details before the official letter went out. But my daughter was definitely in!

My husband and I refrained from calling immediately to tell our girl. Selfishly, we wanted to be there to see her face when she heard. She literally twirled around the house, singing, "I'm going to Italy!"

Apparently, the interviewer had been impressed by her commitment to and knowledge of the culinary arts. The program she got into also includes travel and studying Italian cooking traditions with an expert chef. As I understand it, she'll be part of a group of about 12 American high school students, and will begin with a one week orientation in Rome, where she'll also see the major sights and sample local cuisine. Then there's a two week homestay with a family (she had to write a letter about her life to the family when she applied. She told them she was looking forward to watching World Cup soccer with them this summer!). Then a week at a well-known culinary school (the name meant nothing to me) where they will create "their own culinary story of Italy" (whatever that means), then the final week in Venice, seeing the sights and sampling the tastes of the city.

I'm so excited for her. My brain, of course, in making a terrific rukus in my head, with all the imaginings and "what ifs." But I have been told by the mother of one of my son's friends, who did a Spain trip with this program when he was in high school, that the program is extremely careful about safety. And they have the kids call home weekly. The program is certainly very reputable. My daughter's teacher, who wrote her recommendation for the application, knew all know about it and spoke very highly of the experience, based on other kids he knew who had done it.

So my girl will be spending her summer in Italy!

In other news, her third quarter report came yesterday. My girl is back on the honor roll at school, with a constellation of A's, including (drum roll) an A in math! (I suspect she thought they would be looking at her grades as part of the decision making process for Italy.)


  1. That is so tremendously exciting! I am thrilled for her.

    Good job not letting your fears take over. :) Is there any possibility of you and your husband going to Italy to vacation/visit her?

  2. I don't think we'll be able to, unfortunately. My 88 year old mom will be with us this summer. But it's a nice thought!