I stood on the corner of some street on the outskirts of Milan, Italy and let the hundreds of thoughts pass through my brain. The first moments were overwhelming as I discovered one by one what was missing: our window, Matt's bike, Matt's bag of favorite things (computer, iPad, PSP, iPod), the boys' back packs, Eli's DS, Matt's jacket, make that everyone's jackets, our luggage, our overnight bag, everything, everything except the groceries.
Since taking inventory of what we loss was becoming too overwhelming, we decided to take inventory of what we had: the clothes Matt and I were wearing, passports, money, credit cards, a lot of food, a blender, our phones, and a GPS. We also had a bunch of shoes, Matt's bike clothes, the boys' suitcase and our Oktoberfest outfits. These were all safely tucked away in our cargo rack on the roof and inaccessible to the thieves. We pulled ourselves together a bit and made a game plan.
After stopping by a local Police station, finding plastic and tape to put a temporary fix on the window, gassing up, and getting cash, we hit the road. A few hours later, our weary family arrived at a beautiful Villa overlooking the city of Florence. We were welcomed by Matt's dad and Terri and two of the biggest dogs I have ever not been eaten by in my life.
We unloaded the van, recounted the story and took a deep breathe. We made it.
Maybe not in one piece but we made it. We were quickly supplied with some clothes to wear while we washed the ones we had on, soap and shampoo to get the day off of us, and a nice glass of wine.
What happened in the next 24 hours is a blur of phone calls, roaming the streets of Florence to supply our closets with some clothes, filing a police report, and trying to translate containers of toiletries in an effort to find deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, and soap.
Why did we press on? We had a vacation to get to. Turning back wouldn't get us anything, so we hoped that a week in Italy would lessen the pain of one of the most lucrative smash-n-grabs of all time.
This is a photo of our room at the Villa once we got settled in. Note that the only thing in the room is a pile of stuff on the chair. Our "luggage" was a portion of a toiletry bag that contained: nail clippers, pomade, 2 hair clips, Advil, my medication, and a travel container of Bandaids. There is also a pair of Matt's swim shorts and flip-flops - lucky guy.
This experience has taught me a hard lesson about what I need and what I think I need. On the practical side, I have an entirely new idea about what to pack for a weekend getaway or even a 10 day vacation. My life lesson is that I am carrying way more baggage than I need...both literally and figuratively. I may not have been wearing the outfits I wanted to, I had no make-up on, and my hair was definitely not a "do" but I was walking around the streets of Florence with my family and none of that stuff really mattered. I tend to carry things that I think will make me feel or look better, I tend to carry things that I think I can control, I carry things that will not make the Eulogy at my funeral. There is beauty and peace in simplicity and it is a path I plan to walk down.
Once upon a time, a family drove to Italy and had a great time.