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My travel experiences with my mother

Dear Rudy,

I was touched by your invitation to your mother to take her to Europe. It reminded me of my own adventure with my mother 2 years ago.

In junior high school, the movie "A Room with a View" inspired me to see Italy. The movie shows how the Italian people, art, countryside, and a traveler named George awake the passions within the uptight and young Lucy. In the years that followed, I took classes featuring the art, culture, and history of the country I knew that I had to visit.

A college scholarship enabled me to plan and take a three-week tour of Italy. I consulted my Classics professor for places that should not be missed. I bought several guide books and planned where I would stay and in what order I should see the wonders of Rome, Florence, Venice, and Verona. My tour would follow my term abroad in London, and we decided that my mother should join me for 2 weeks.

My mother is truly one of the most special people that I know. When I was young, she often pulled my sister and me out of school to take trips across the US with her and my father who traveled for business. She was always quick to research and find sites to visit along the way to enhance the educational value of the trip. Probably, from the "kid perspective" we enjoyed the time around the pool even more.

My parents' divorce happened when I was in junior high school. My mother, who had been out of the work force for 15 years, managed with the help of extended family and welfare, to support her two daughters, get a master's degree, and restart her career.

Her only excursions out of the United States were to Mexico and happened before I was born. The trip to Italy, was a treat for her that I did not fully understand until we were there. I warned her the day before her arrival to bring only 3 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of shoes, etc. When she arrived and I met her at Da Vinci airport, it seemed I was fortunate that she left the proverbial *kitchen sink.* Still, I will never forget my pleasure at watching her throw coins in the Trevi Fountain before we stopped at the outdoor pasta place, nor the fun that it was to show her all the wonderful places I had researched. It was great to be her tour guide and be the one who watched the money. It was truly a holiday for her.

As our stay continued, my mother was amazed at the value that the Italians placed in women, including older women or women who do not grace the pages of American fashion magazines. Women, especially mothers, are respected and thought beautiful despite their surface flaws. She decided that after her excursion to Italy, she would be daring and always wear button-down skirts with one button higher left open. Italy changed my mother. It was the magical place I had known that it would be.

When we returned to the States, my mother compiled all the pictures that we had taken. She compared them to the guide books and finally understood from an art-historical perspective all the wonderful things that we had seen. She arranged the photos in an album complete with captions and then held a dinner party with red, white, and green decorations to show off the albums.

This summer, she is returning to Tuscany with her new husband. She will be staying in a castle with some friends from her college days and their spouses. I am glad she threw those coins into the fountain! I am also glad that I was able to touch her life, in return for all the love, guidance, and influence she has given to me.

Happy Mother's Day to my mom and to yours. I hope that her excursion to Europe is as wonderful.

Sincerely, Robin


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