Well I am back in the states, have spent the past few days watching the D-backs, Wimbledon and working the phones.
I can’t wait to get back on the air Monday. The 9 days in Italy went fast, very fast. It was a dream vacation, one I had been planning for quite some time. Times have changed so much in this country over the last 50 or 60 years.
Today most people come from numerous backgrounds — Italian, Irish, German, Mexican, Polish, Russian etc… And many of today’s American’s have their heritage dating back several generations in America. Mine is quite different as a first generation American, which is why this trip meant so much to me. As I mentioned in my first blog we are the only Gambadoro’s in this country. We are the only ones who made the trek from Messina to America. All the others stayed in Italy. Today there are 72 of us in the world, all but my family in Italy. So the chance to see cousins in Rome and Venice was something that words just can not describe. Family that I had never seen before and had only been in contact with for the last several years.
To spend a day in Rome with Alessia and a day in Venice with Francesco was more than I could have ever asked for. To now have stronger ties to these family members and the ability to stay in constant contact was worth the trip alone. I had said to myself that I was going to speak Italian for the whole trip and use English only when necessary and I was happy to have gone through much of the trip speaking Italian, but I am very very rusty and have a lot of catching up to do before I will be fluent. But it is something I am now determined to do as most of my family in Italy do not speak English.
The tours we did of Ancient Rome, the Vatican and Florence gave me a deep appreciation for the history in Italy, which is remarkable. To spend those days with my family was priceless and something I believe they will remember forever and that is all I can ask as a father is to spend quality time with my family and to build lasting memories that they can carry on.
Family vacations have always been a priority to us because it takes us away from our everyday lives and the pressures at home and allows us to spend all day, every day with each other with no distractions. While the time in Italy was sensational, the travel back to the US is somewhat brutal as we had a long 22 hour day of travel from the time we got on the water taxi in Venice to the time we got to our home in Ahwatukee. And damn if it doesn’t take a few days to get back on clock as the time difference is nine hours.
As much as I loved Italy and can’t wait to go back I also have a greater appreciation for our country and how awesome it is to be an American. There is a great feeling when you travel abroad and get back on US soil. There is no greater country in the world than the one we are in right now. While the food may be better in Italy and the gelato is better than ice cream and the history easily tops ours there is something special about being a US citizen and having that passport in hand. So while I’m more proud of my Italian heritage now that I have been to Italy I am equally as proud to be referred to by Italians as the Gambadoro from Stati Uniti.