A couple of years ago, an Italian friend of Mr. Waffle’s asked whether we would be interested in doing an exchange with her nephew in Rome and one of our sons in Dublin. Covid put paid to the original plan but now it is back and Daniel is going to Rome for a week and we’ll have an Italian teenager here.
I was a bit worried about Daniel flying on his own. I anxiously asked him whether he thought he would be ok and he pointed out to me that he had already flown to Paris on his own a number of years ago which, I confess, I had forgotten. He flew as an unaccompanied minor though so was thoughtfully shuttled about by a bored airline employee. Mr. Waffle is adamant that the humiliation of flying aged 16 as an unaccompanied minor (they have to wear a special label around their necks; they are herded together and most of them are under 12) would be the death of Daniel and that he will be perfectly fine on his own. He suggested that if I am concerned I could adopt his own mother’s technique of approaching someone I like the look of in the check-in queue and asking him or her to keep an eye on my child. More mortifying surely? Your views would be welcome on this issue which is the subject of animated domestic discussion. I am forced to point out that Daniel himself thinks he would be fine.
Daniel doesn’t speak any Italian but he is game for the trip to Rome and I do hope he will enjoy it. I lived in Rome for a while in my early 20s and absolutely loved it. I really feel for my children who have had so many of the normal teenage fun things denied to them but have had all of the angst and then some. Michael has astounded me by announcing that he wants to go on a school trip to Brussels to visit the European institutions. Under normal circumstances, he is not one for travel but the lure of a trip to the European institutions was too much for him to resist. I am not even joking.
Last night we told herself that the day she returns from England and Italian teenager will be arriving to stay with us. She is already a bit tetchy in the run up to her exams and I wouldn’t say this piece of information improved her mood. “I wouldn’t have come home at all had I known that there were to be Italian teenage boys or indeed teenage boys of any nationality in the house,” she announced imperiously. As her own brothers who live here are teenage boys that was always a pretty lofty aspiration, nonetheless, my hopes that she might entertain the Italian teenager (who will be 18 in August so possibly a bit old for Dan) were definitely delivered a blow. She’s hoping to go to Paris for a bit of the summer and if she does I fully plan to visit. Let us hope this will be welcome news in due course.
I have had to delay my year of rest and relaxation by a week or so due to an upcoming work crisis which my boss begged me to stay for. I am not immune to flattery (on the contrary) but given that I am counting the days extra time – and stressful extra time at that – seems a bit tedious. I will now be finishing on June 17 and I cannot wait. On the 20th I am off to England to collect herself staying with friends in England en route. I am thrilled.