In honor of Gianluca's mother, Roberta, I'm writing a blog post as my gift to her. Tomorrow is her birthday. Happy Birthday Roberta!
Max, Gianluca, Mason, Calum, Ty and Patrick at May Faire.
True brothers. Earth Corps volunteer day for National Day of Service. We pulled out a long of blackberry vines!
AFS National Day of Service Crew
I realize I haven't written on this blog in a ridiculously long period of time and I've been asking myself why. I'd like to say that we've just been too busy and I haven't had time, but that's certainly not true. I think initially it was fun to write down all the different activities that we did with Gianluca, but somewhere along the way he became a true member of our family and we settled into a comfortable routine. Honestly, there is nothing exciting to write about our routine, so I think that's why I haven't written. Not really a good excuse, but I think it helps explain it.
Now that G is about to head home to Italy I've been thinking about his year with us. Gianluca is such an easy going guy, just like all his AFS paperwork said he was. He was NOT lying about it! He's one of the most relaxed and easy-breezy people I have ever met. It's really a wonderful trait in a person and I admire him for it.
Mason and I were talking in the car about things this morning and I realized that this year has been a year of relative calm. I love my Noah, but I think he and I will readily admit that we get into our fair share of tiffs about the most ridiculous stuff. So I asked myself what has made the difference. It didn't take me long to figure it out. If I ask G to help me with ANYTHING he helps. He doesn't hesitate, he just does it. He's so incredibly helpful. I realized that what I need from Noah and Mason is just a little more yes and willingness to help. Mason has certainly stepped it up lately and is lending a hand around the house more, and for that I am grateful. Gianluca has been an excellent role model for Mason and I think the two of them have truly become brothers. It has been lovely to watch. So, long story short, Noah when you get home, if you want to avoid tiffs with me, try a yes now and then and I think we will be fine.
Gianluca is about to go to his senior prom in a week. He's got his tux picked out and a date to boot! I'm looking forward to seeing him all dressed up with his black tux and pink tie! I've never met his date but I've seen pictures and she's adorable. I'm sure they will have a great time out with their friends on this special night. Prom is a big deal here in the US and I'm glad that he's getting a chance to experience it.
This year has brought about a lot of growth for Gianluca. He has learned that vegetables won't kill him and he's eaten quite a lot of different kinds of veggies. He's also eaten a lot of ethnic food that he had never tried before. He's become a fan of Indian and Thai food, and developed a fondness for sushi. He took on the responsibility of making dinner one night a week and did it so well. We love his homemade pizza and will continue to make it ourselves after he leaves. He's very independent, but this is something he already was when he came. He's kayaked and hiked. He's been a true adventurer. He gets to try his luck at camping here a week or so with his AFS group. He's pushed himself in areas that he's willing to risk and he's maintained boundaries in areas that he does not want to risk. I respect those choices. I think what has impressed me the most is his decision to make this a drug and alcohol free year. To my knowledge he's had a dry year in that respect and he did it with great ease. I have never had to worry about his safety. He makes wise choices. His feet are planted solidly on the ground.
It's been a big year having Noah, Ilaria and Kali out of the country. The children lost their beloved grandfather Fred on the heels of losing their other grandfather, my father, Stan. In many ways it has been a somber year and I hope Gianluca has not suffered because of it. He's never complained about a thing (except maybe the bees that infested his bedroom for two months of this year--something understandable). In some ways I am saddened by the fact that G never got to meet my father, a man I think he would have really connected with. I'm so grateful that he met Fred and honestly G put a special effort into getting to know Fred, something that really touched me. Gianluca has been surrounded by a sea of aunties and grandmothers with a sprinkle of uncle thrown in the mix. He's done well with all these women around him. One thing I know well about Gianluca is that he values family. It's very important to him. He comes from an incredibly warm family in Italy and he's shared that love of family with us this year.
I think what I'd like to thank Gianluca most for is just putting up with me in general. My humor can be tough to take and I think it's fair to say that I have teased him incessantly this year. I told him recently that I have teased him so much only because I love him. I also told him that he's given me a lot of material to work with! He's been a trooper and I'm hoping he doesn't feel like I was too hard on him. Gianluca, honestly I think you are perfect in every way. I wouldn't change a THING about you! And every time I see a "happle" (apple), I'll think of you.
Gianluca is such an amazing guy with so many complex gifts. I admire the fact that he can just go out and run for three hours! He's methodical about most things and enjoys his alone time, something that I value as well. I think I would say that with him, still waters run deep. He's a great thinker and philosopher. I'm excited to see what he does for a profession when he gets out of school. He says finance or something, but I would challenge him to consider teaching. I think he'd be a gifted teacher.
I know that G's family is looking forward to having him back and I'd say he's just about ready for that transition. He has done beautifully this year, he's so adaptable. I look forward to hearing his stories of return and the ways he sees this year impacting him back at home.
Well, that will do it for now. I realize this is a very random post and for that I'm sorry. Just stream of consciousness coming out of a week of illness on my part. At least I finally got something written down!