My mother came to visit me while I was in DC for business. It was some nice mother-daughter bonding time we had. It has been a while since we’ve had time like this together. And I found myself sharing more and more of my carefully edited travel stories with her, finally realising that a part of her lives vicariously through me.
I haven’t forgotten my audience. My mother, as many a loving parent goes, worries about us, about our well being. She doesn’t care about that big promotion and whether or not we got it. She worries if we are eating well, staying healthy, and being safe. As I regaled my tales, many forgotten moments came back to me, moments that I knew my mother would appreciate to know what there are many parents like herself looking out for lone wanderers such as myself as if I was their own child.
I was studying abroad, in Italy. I had just arrived a couple of days earlier. Despite having taken a semester of Italian for fun, I had forgotten all my vocabulary, leading communication between my homestay hostess and me to be a comical exchange of gestures and broken French. After a few days in school, I was eager to venture out and practice my renewed Italian vocabulary. As I left, I told my hostess I went to walk, a passeggiata, and will be back in time for dinner. I was gone almost two hours, still making it back with plenty of time before dinner would be served. I walked into a flurry, a barrage, of Italian. My hostess had worked up a worry over me, thinking I was going for a short stroll. Not a long hike. Knowing I barely spoke the language, she began to think I got hurt, run over, or kidnapped. Passeggiata is a stroll, a short one. not a long trek around the entire town.
I didn’t realise it then, but did as I recounted that incident to my mother, ten years after it happened, that my Italian hostess hen pecked me. I didn’t realise it then. She wasn’t my mother so I saw it as a very affectionate protective hostess trying to look after a clueless American girl whose curiosity seemed to land her in odd places.