Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kiss me goodbye

This morning, around 5:20 AM, our car was packed with suitcases and bags. Three beautiful young ladies were sitting in the backseat, very quiet and somehow sad. Hubby and I were in front, trying to hold back the tears. I turned off the radio, for the music didn't seem to be appropriate. Only 15 more minutes, before we had to say goodbye to our new member of the family.. Ilaria is going home. She has been living with our family for 3 months, as an exchange student. Coming from Bari, the Southern part of Italy, Ilaria had a hard time coping with our cold season and chilly evenings. Going to school in a very different setting, she couldn't understand why she couldn't use her cell phone during school hours or chew gum in the class. The rules were pretty stupid, in her opinion. Back then, she could've decided to go home and rejoin her own class and continue her life. But she didn't.. She hung in and talked to us about her concerns and questions. We are glad she persevered.

The taxi was waiting for us at the school gate. Gianmario, the Italian friend who came to Belgium with Ilaria, was standing on the curb, tears in his eyes. Even this young man had mixed feelings about going home. After all, having spent 3 months in a Belgian home is an experience. On one hand you want to go home and see your family and friends. On the other hand, you have to leave your new family and friends behind, not knowing if you will ever see them again.. The taxi driver was emotional too, I could tell. But then again, he was not just a taxi driver. This young man had become very friendly with these Italian youngsters. He even came to visit Ila for a last time yesterday afternoon..

Yesterday was a very strange day. So many things we wanted to say, so many stories left to share. We knew this relation would not just stop here. There is Skype and Italy is not the end of the world. I'm sure the girls wouldn't mind visiting her and her loved ones. We have a lot of memories, many thoughts to make our faces smile. I'm sure we will all have to get used to being by ourselves again. That one bedroom looks so empty now and there is no fifth chair at the kitchen table. Tonight around 9:30 PM, nobody will come down the stairs and ask: Can I take a "douchan"?

We will miss you, Ilaria Landriscina.. You are a wonderful girl and we enjoyed your company. You will make more rides with Daddy Cars in the future and your Belgian sisters are looking forward to going out with you in Bari. I'm not to sure about the piercing you promised Eva though... Hahaha... we'll see. Rebba, Inthe and Arthurio are looking for you and they can't find you. Inthe was on the sofa wearing your "muts". I think I will listen to Gente di Mare and dream of a visit to your beautiful home..

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