Not too long ago, I received an email I had sent to myself through”FutureMe.Org” that left me pretty ticked off.
Though it had been written over 24 months ago, the two biggest dreams remained undated. I still wanted to see Italy, I still wanted to see Spain.
I decided then and there not to allow another year to go by without experiencing at least one of my dreams with my eyes wide open. I put the feelers out for companions and asked my boss for the time off. Taking these steps felt both exciting and phony. I had said I was going to go before. So often, in fact, that I had become the writer who cried “Europe”. I knew that until I booked the ticket, I was all talk and no passport stamp.
I planned to book on Monday but something came up. Something else came up on Tuesday. Not sure what happened the other 20 days but suffice it to say that this plan was going as well as the ones I had made years prior.
Then Mara stepped in. “I’ll go with you!” she said with a smile. Was she serious? It seemed so. Was I serious? Yes, I was. She put in her time with the boss. She pulled out the cash. We agreed on the airline and flights. We gushed about Spaghetti and dark-haired Italian boys over Mojito’s (all the while giggling at the paparazzi out of our window who were keeping Gossip Girl actresses in the news).
A week later, I cashed in the points I been saving with a special someone who had remained special but had become less significant along the way. I combined these points with a gift card given to me by a generous and lovely BFF and called to book a flight from New York to Rome.
When I called into the agency, time seemed to stop. Was it really happening? Were my eyes really as wet as they felt? I texted Mara. “I am calling”. No answer.
“I am Booking”. No answer.
Where in the hell was she?
“Answer, woman!” I yelled at my phone.
Though all business at the beginning of the call, the agent soon joined me in my giddy bliss. In fact, she was so taken with my enthusiasm that she waived the $25.00 booking fee as a way to congratulate me on taking a step towards crossing off one of the three top goals on my bucket list (being a mother and opening a foundation for children are 1 and 2). I promised to enjoy a bellini and (depending on the mood of the euro conversion fairy) a gelato with the money.
“Are you ready? I am about to hit the confirmation button,” she asked, clearly grinning.
“Oh my God. Yes, yes! I am crying!” I replied.
She laughed. Time stopped. Three seconds stretched into forever.
“OK, Ms. Della Casa, have fun in Italia!” she said.
I squealed. It was settled. I was going to spend 10 amazing days in the motherland with a girlfriend who is just as eager and twice as fun.
“Booked!” I texted.
I ran to Facebook to update all of my friends. Mara wrote back first, confirming her spot on our flight.
I sat in front of my computer in a bit of a daze. What is a simple booking for some is a great step forward in life for others. Not only did I push myself forward to make a dream come true, I recognized how many people flew out of the woodwork to help me make the most of it. Advice about where to go to dine, shop and dance. Friends offering to connect me with friends living in Rome. Contacts reaching out to make sure I knew what to expect. “I get it,” I thought. The universe wanted to remind me of the fact that it will blow wind behind us but we must build the boat and put the sails up ourselves.
I was reminded of the old Italian joke my friend once told me.
Every day a man went into church, lit a candle and got down on his knees to pray to Mother Mary, begging, “Please, please Mother Mary, let me win the Lottery.”
He continued like this for years, but he never won a penny.
One day, while begging, the statue of Mary came to life, looked down and him and said in a frustrated tone, ”My son, Please, please go and buy a ticket!”