Sunday 19 November 2017
Sunny: 60°F/15°C Roma, EUR, Italia
Mostly Sunny: 65°F/18°C Cedar Park, Texas
The doctor glanced a his computer screen, smiled, and looked over at my daughter and I and said, Okay! The good news is … no cancer! It’s amazing just how good for morale a few spoken words like that can be!
My primary physician had referred me onto a specialist when one of my blood tests registered
high. This appointment was with the specialist to go over the results of a biopsy, and he had asked me to bring a family member with me to the consultation, just in case….! So, as months of angst dissipated, I said, I HAD been planning my next trip to Italy. Can I book my flight? His reply, Sure, but I would like to re-check you in three months. Bon Voyage! My snappy retort, I’m going to Italy, doctor. That’s Buon Viaggio!
"Roma è la città di echi, la città delle illusioni e la città di desiderio".Giotto di Bondone, 1337
[“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of desire.”]
The wheels had been turning ever since I returned from my last trip in April. I had originally planned to spend the holidays back in Rome with Michael and Laura, but then that lab work threw a wrench into my plans. Now, everything was back off hold, and my travel planning lurched back up to speed. The new trip will be a birthday celebration instead of a family Christmas, but that’s okay.I’ll be spending my vacation in the same apartment where I stayed the last time. Michael called Amina, the landlady and she reserved it for me. So, I’m back in a familiar neighborhood, near Michael and Laura. I’ve made the transition from being a tourist just dropping in to Rome to becoming a part-time resident of the Eternal City. After a challenging year in Texas with hurricanes, mass shootings and conservative politics, I’m actually looking forward to a winter holiday in Europe, especially a pilgrimage I hope to make to the Czech Republic.
As many of my friends and the folks who know me or follow my adventures on Facebook, my blog or www.mikebotula.com are aware, my paternal grandparents emigrated from the vicinity of Ostrava in what is now the Czech Republic back in 1903. I’ve also included some of our family history in my book about my father’s World War 2 adventures, LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! (Barnes and Noble on-line, and Amazon Books). I am a proud product of America’s Immigrant Experience!
The world has gotten a lot smaller since I made my first overseas trip in 1975, to Frankfurt, Germany to visit my brother Packy, who was stationed there in the US Air Force. We toured Bavaria, Austria and Northern Italy on that trip exchanging US dollars into deutschemarks, Austrian schillings and Italian lira along the way. Now, when I need spending money or go shopping I visit a corner bancomat and top off my wallet with Euros. The US dollar is worth about the same as the Euro. (Current exchange rate: € 1.00 = US $ 1.18). A trip to Rome is no less challenging than a weekend in San Francisco. And, I highly recommend visits to both great cities.
It has certainly made my visits to Italy more enjoyable having a member of the family – my son Michael – actually living in the city where I spend most of the time. It further helps the cause to have a son who not only lives there, but makes most of his income as a guide for City Wonders Tours. When I was younger and the kids were growing up, I used to take Michael and his sister Dana to work with me quite frequently. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and Michael has taken me to work with him as he leads tours all around Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and points in between like Pompeii, Montecassino, and Pisa. My grandparents came to America to seek new opportunities and to raise their family. My son has reversed the pattern, and I am following in his footsteps.
My ticket for the trip, in jet age steerage is booked, my apartment in Rome is reserved. All I need to do now is tuck my passport in my pocket and get to the airport, which I’ll do shortly after the holidays. I’ll be chronicling my adventures, large and small in my upcoming series Rome Diary IV: Il Mio Ritorno a Roma!
Onward and Upward!
Ciao,© Mike Botula 2017
[Mike Botula is the author of LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! He is a retired broadcast journalist, government spokesperson and media consultant. Mike’s book is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble Books. You can read more about Mike Botula at www.mikebotula.com]