First Impressions

My first look at the Roman ruins, early evening.


Well kids, I’ve been been in Europe with my family and here I am — back home, bright awake at 3 a.m., feeling like it’s lunchtime.  There were many firsts, and first impressions, on this trip.  Here’s a short list.  You know I love a list.

1.  How is it possible I’ve lived this long without tromping through the Roman ruins?  I feel like a different person.  A person who needs to learn some Latin.

2.  Took my first helicopter taxi.  We were only 7 minutes in the air, but it was all over the ocean and all I could do was stare down at the water and think, “If this thing goes down will he set it down softly or hit the water with a bang and what about those rotors over head how fast how fast how fast can we swim the land doesn’t look all that far away I wonder how freezing cold it is and about those spinning blades on top of us jesus I never need to do this again.”

3.  We saw two concerts:  The Canadian Tenors and Seal.  Seal was a huge surprise.  The man can perform.  And it took everything I had not to cry when the tenors sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

4.  Addendum to #3 above:  these boys can sing, but they are also very easy on the eyes.  Very.

5.  Italy.  Pasta and pizza and wine and gelato, all day, every single day.  Best food on the planet.  Period.

6.  My kids are all grown up.  My girl who lived in Birkenstocks and flannel shirts … in a cocktail dress.  My boy who once wore only sweatpants … in a tuxedo.

7.  The Vatican.  For the first hour or so, all I could think was, “This is where all the money and power is.”  The Vatican is beyond magnificent, but this constant thought made me so very sad.  We stopped and studied a door, a giant door with no hardware — no locks, no knob or handle — on the outside, a door that can only be opened from the inside.  Hmmmm….

8.  We stayed at a small hotel that used to be a convent.  Some nuns still live there.  This place felt more spiritual than the Vatican.

9.  First swim off the shores of Cap Ferrat.  I never learned to swim properly, so being in the ocean has always been scary.  This is the first time I can remember not wanting to get out of the water.  Ever.

10.  Second helicopter taxi.  Holy shit.  7 more minutes of tamping down the terror.  We were all buckled in and set to go, but the engine wouldn’t start.  Some bored-looking mechanics carted out an old metal box and jumper cables.  Yes, I said JUMPER CABLES.  After a few tries to start the engine, the pilot continued arguing, in French, with the mechanics until finally — FINALLY — we all unbuckled and moved to a different helicopter.  (see all the same thoughts, and then some, with at #2 above)


28 thoughts on “First Impressions

  1. Jess

    Oh, Teri, it’s glorious, isn’t it? I wish you lived closer, I could teach you Latin! I have a private client – a friend and her enthusiastic daughter – and I even have wine and cheese and snacks for our weekly sessions. I do Latin tutoring up RIGHT.

    And while we are at it, I will teach you Italian, because plainly, you must go back.

    Kids. Wow. I wrote a thing a couple of weeks ago about my kid coming of age (that milking thing in the Times) and since then, he has surpassed me in height. Tuxedos are just around the corner, I think.

    Lovely list. My list today is for the three teenagers (including my son) who will be doing all the work outside I have not gotten to so I can stay in and write. I loved writing the list, wondering why it’s taken me so long to hire teenage boys to do shit like stack wood and empty compost bins. Brilliant.

  2. Lyra

    1. Adding to my list off places I need to tromp.
    5. That’s what I imagine heaven to be like.
    6. You are stunning! And what a beautiful family. xoxo.
    8. Probably because there was more prayer done there.
    9. One of the greatest sensations in life is that of not wanting to get out of the water. Worst? Hearing the words, “Is that a shark fin?”
    10. Helicopter rides rank just below cruise ships in things I’ll happily die never having done.
    11. Welcome home! I missed you!

    1. Teri Post author

      Don’t tromp around the ruins in July. It was 100 degrees and humid. Crazy!

      It must be my Catholic school days — I’m not much on the priests, but I love to see a bunch of nuns wandering about.

  3. Averil Dean

    You are all gorgeous! The dresses, the tuxedos, and everyone so happy to be together.

    Okay, the helicopters? You were SO brave! Nothing on this planet could induce me to get into one of those death-wasp whirlybird thingamabobs and fly out OVER THE SEA. After seeing the JUMPER CABLES!!! The thought of it makes me a little nauseous even knowing you are safely on the ground.

    1. Josephinene

      we were invited on a once in a lifetime trip with my aunt and uncle year ago to sail around the BVI on a catamaran. at one point, we saw a helicopter go down that was flying from one small island to the next. everyone on the boat was horrified except our captain who said, “…happens all the time down here. nobody knows how to fly those things.” i’m glad i was able to tell you that story AFTER you got home safely.

      1. Teri Post author

        I was sitting in my seat thinking these words: Flying gas can. I’m not kidding when I say this.

    2. Teri Post author

      I remember the day we booked this in advance. I believe my response to, “Should we take the helicopter?” was “Hell yes!”

      Who was that woman??

  4. Downith

    What a family – you are all so beautiful. And happy!

    I backpacked through Europe in my 20s and had the exact same feeling about the Vatican (and the ruins.) My son starts Latin in September. I hope he doesn’t need any help – may have to send him to Jess.

    5. My son asked me at lunch an hour ago what my favourite kind of food was. FIVE!

    And don’t get me started on the helicopters. I’m with Averil (firmly on the ground.)

    Missed you!

    1. Teri Post author

      My helicopter days are O-V-E-R. And I can’t wait to see you this Fall. I promise to bring sunshine with me. Watching the rain at these Olympics is painful.

  5. Josephinene

    I’m so so glad you’re home. It’s like my best friend down the street just go back from a two week stay at her grandparent’s house and now we get to hang out again–even if we’re hanging out from opposite sides of the country!

    the pictures are gorgeous. ahhhh the vatican. what a vortex of weird, powerful wealth. i’ve never been there but always wonder if when i do get to go if i will still feel the same way i feel now standing in the middle of it–that it really has very little to do with god.

    i love the idea of staying in a convent–remember when we first met?! (ha–how corny did that just sound??)

    1. Teri Post author

      Our first meeting place was the best place to meet —- EVER.

      We had a guide for the Vatican, an art history professor, and it was like a dream having her explain all of the art history, the most important sculptures and paintings, along with the religious and roman history. I could have spent days with her.

  6. Sarah W

    Thank you for sharing this with us! It was like taking a mini-tour, and now I really, really want to go. Someday . . .

    Your family, by the way, is gorgeous. All of you.

  7. Jess

    Ack. I’m so sad none of you will be in NYC this week. I will be meeting new chick bloggers, wishing they were you guys…

  8. erikamarks

    Oh, lady…I did NOT do Rome the right way when I went at 16. Helicopter taxis?? Can I get a do-over? And best of all, getting to see you and your beautiful family–you are all radiant. Bellissimo times ten, my friend! Thanks for sharing your joy with all of us.

    1. Teri Post author

      Erika, I was just over at your blog checking out your new book cover in the background. Speaking of beautiful…..

  9. lisahgolden

    After listening to the Shoemaker’s Wife, I’ve become obsessed with Italy. I want to travel every inch of the country. What a great trip you had! I love the photo of you, Rex and your children. You look so happy.

    1. Teri Post author

      Hey, if you can’t look happy in Italy and the south of France, there’s something wrong with you, right?! Being food obsessed like I am, I think I’m already in Pasta/Pizza/Gelato withdrawal.

      And not only food, Lisa, the Italians are so nice! You’ll love it when you go, absolutely love it.

  10. Catherine

    Teri – I can’t believe you took a helicopter in the south! Sheer madness. Happy it’s all over now. Great family shot and I imagine you had some memorable meals together. Yes the heat! Rome must have been caldissimo! Ciao cat

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