Venice, eternally beautiful (or for however long it lasts)

Birthdays are pretty important to me. My mom always made a big deal of our birthdays, it was probably the time of year when she made the biggest effort when it came to us kids, it was our special day. This is in sharp contrast to the Husband’s family that made a huge gigantic, twenty really awesome presents per kid on Christmas, but not much fanfare at all on birthdays. All this to say, I like to make a big deal of birthdays, I mean before kids I would have week-long celebrations for my own birthday (just to give you a frame of reference). But, for whatever reason, I never seem to manage to make a big deal, or even any deal at all, of the Husband’s birthday, this year I completely forgot to even wish him a Happy Birthday until he hemmed and hawed for a while… poor thing. And this year, of all years, I should have remembered… because this year his birthday present from me was a weekend in Venice. I mean, we woke up in a hotel in Venice and quite literally the only reason we were there was for his birthday, and still I forgot. Not sure what deeply rooted psychological issue is going on there…

Anyway… I had good intentions… His birthday is so close to Christmas, and I’m so crap at celebrating it, that this year I organized a family trip so he would have something special. I had just read one of those apocalyptic meme’s on facebook about the ten (or twenty or something like that) places to visit before they disappeared forever and Venice was on the list. It’s relatively close to us (compared to, say, the great barrier reef in Australia) and it’s off season there now so hotels do not require one to take out a loan to pay for them as they do in high season.  It was a wonderful trip.

We drove an hour to Turin and took the train there for Venice. It was the kids’ first train trip and the excitement was palpable. I’m sure all the other passengers were just as thrilled. Everything was cause for wonder, especially the bathroom, as evidenced by the frequent trips we took there.

The hotel was great, I would definitely suggest it if you’re ever in that neck of the woods, Hotel Moresco. It’s a small, very new hotel, the staff is very helpful, the prices are average for Venice, the position is quite good without being too touristy, and the rooms are large, clean, and modern (also wifi is free, which is not standard in Italy).

We arrived Friday evening, Saturday was freezing cold and foggy, perfect for a romantic gondola ride…

And Sunday and Monday morning were beautiful and sunny. Overall, we had a wonderful, if slightly more expensive than expected, time. Even though we forgot to wish the Husband a Happy Birthday.

Swimming upstream and other things

Sometimes things don’t go as we would have liked. I feel like that is a lesson life is determined to teach me over and over again. This Houston vacation we are on… not so much of a vacation. We arrived day late, I got sick on Christmas day, the Girl got a little sick, I was in bed for a week, the Husband managed the kids. New Year’s it looked like we were all getting better, and then I got sick again, the Husband started feeling unwell, with a completely unrelated problem, I got better (ish), he got sicker, he spent a week in bed, finally I had to take him to the hospital. We are now at MD Anderson Cancer Center, trying to figure out if he has a virus, if he’s feeling ill because of one of the many consequences of the transplant, if we’re going home as planned on Wednesday (if he can even fly)…

The kids, they are being wonderful, my friends here are being amazing at keeping them entertained, my mother is really doing everything she can to help out… but a vacation it is not.

The Husband jokes that now we’ve gotten first hand experience of the American health industry, which in Europe is often viewed with a certain degree of curiosity and awe, but that’s fodder for another post. Personally, I would’ve done without this insight, but at least he’s staying positive.

I, on the other hand, am a little deflated, I always have such high hopes for my time at home. But, I don’t want to be a total sourpuss, not at the beginning of a new year. There are lessons to be learned in this experience. We can’t control everything or anything really, we can’t count on things going the way we want. I’m not being negative, I’m just trying to keep things in perspective. Our expectations often get the best of us, our ideals, our wishes, wishes that we invest so much in that we start thinking of them as facts, as law, but things don’t always go as we would like and there is no point trying to swim upstream sometimes. The biggest lesson I need to learn this year, I think, is to relax and go with the flow, which for a neurotic control freak is a very hard lesson indeed. But, stranger things have happened, so, I assume, there’s hope for me yet.

For now, send us happy, positive, upbeat thoughts, if you can, and soon enough we’ll all be heading home. Wherever the hell that is!