I have been absent from this site for two reasons: one, because the domain name expired and I forgot to renew it (anybody know how many days it was down?) and two, because I have the greatest parents in the world.
Last week was my 26th birthday. It was honestly a rather somber affair -- everybody besides my brother (and parents) forgot. Fortunately, I had little time to be upset about it because my parents flew into town, and we left the following day to spend some time in London.
Dad had to work, but mom and I absolutely trampled the city - we must have covered a third of it on foot. I have to admire how well my mom held up - I'm thirty-five years her junior and my legs were wobbling by the time we got back to our hotel. However, we only rested a wee bit, as we had tickets to see "Guys and Dolls" (with Ewan MacGregor, no less!), so we charged our way (again, on foot!) over to Picadilly Circus for an entertaining evening.
The next day we managed to shop a bit (surprise, surprise) before flying back to Paris in the evening, the three of us hungry, tired, and dreading getting back to the airport - once again - the following morning.
But we did. We met up at 6.30, watching Paris come to life. After five hours of sleep, we had a coffee before getting back on the train, and then the plane. A few hours later, we found ourselves in Rome.
And we spent three lovely days there. We wore ourselves out, but also managed to eat lots of ice cream and drink enough cappucino to not feel stressed or over-tourisized. We giggled a lot, did crosswords, spent a day at the Vatican, another at Pompei, and putzed around on the streets. And the Gods (Greek, Roman, or otherwise) were obviously smiling down on us because we had picture-perfect weather throughout our entire trip. It felt like spring, but in October. It was an amazing time to visit Rome - much preferred to what I imagine could be a sweltering summer trip.
Two small remarks to sum things up:
1. Italians? They're really quite nice. I was surprised that even in the biggest, most annoyingly tourist-filled areas, the waiters/servers/etc all did their jobs with a smile. Even with laughter, sometimes. Maybe it's just because I come from the land of the freakishly reserved, but I found the Italians to be incredibly sweet.
2. My parents? Really great people. Considering I just spent a week straight with them, going from over-caffeinated to extremely tired and grumpy, we managed to get along swimmingly. They really are fun to travel with, and I feel lucky to be able to say that I get along with them like friends, not just as parents/daughter. We had lots of fun, and I would go again in a heartbeat.
So now I have a rather busy week ahead of me: school is starting and I have to sort out my work schedule, and I have random errands to run. But mom is here until Thursday, and I'm determined to make the most of her visit. Dad left for Beijing yesterday, and it already feels a little sad without him. When mom leaves it might just feel downright empty.
Anyway, all-in-all, a great way to spend the first week of my 26th year. I have no complaints, except that I wish every year could start of this way...