As some of you know, last December 26, Brad and I decided we were "Skipping Christmas" in 2012. Last year there was too much of my favorite holiday: baking, gifts, trees, parties, dinners, decorating, etc. We decided we would spend Christmas and New Years in Rome this year. (This was all way before we knew we would be hosting an exchange student. In February, Jerry and Paul decided to join us, and we booked an apartment together for 3 weeks from Dec. 19-Jan 5. NO WORK!
When we first considered becoming a host family, we thought we would have to wait a year, as we couldn't abandon our student during the holidays. We were told it was no problem, as there is a local coordinator in Palm Springs, who has a 16 y.o. son, and a German exchange student. Jamie would host Federico during our trip. We told Federico about this during his first weekend with us, and planned to do an "early Christmas" with him before leaving (trees, cookies, stockings and all...) We want him to experience both the American traditions, as well as his Italian traditions for a Buon Natale.
Shortly after his arrival, we learned, while speaking with his parents on Skype, that they have planned a visit HERE during the holidays! Ooops! Now what? How can we welcome his parents and two brothers if we are in Rome? We would NOT cancel out on Jerry and Paul, and the apartment is paid for! We had not yet bought our airline tickets. This is the ONLY time during the year his whole family can come, as his older brother is away at military school, and can only have these two weeks, and his father has requested time from work.
After a few days of crazy negotiations, Skype calls and much discussion, we have a new plan: What doesn't kill you will make you stronger!
December 16: We will fly to Rome early, and Federico's father will pick us up at FCO and take us to his home in Pescara for 2 days. Federico will stay with local host coordinator in Palm Springs. (If by then he has a close friend who invites him, they can do a criminal check and he can stay with another family or friend of ours.)
Federico's family will arrive in Palm Springs on Dec.24, where his substitute host mom will greet them, and they will rent a car. His whole family will stay at our house Dec. 24-26 (in our absence). I will have a friend bring them groceries and leave lasagna and goodies in the freezer. There will be cookies, trees, etc.
December 27-28 Federico's family will visit San Diego (with our GPS in Italian and detailed maps and directions and hotel reservations). Federico can show them where he visited last weekend and they will stay in Little Italy.
December 29-30 They will visit an itinerary I create in Los Angeles.
December 30: Palma and Brad will fly back a week early from Rome to LAX. (Jerry already rented out our room in the apartment!) We will join Federico's family in LA.
December 31: Are you ready? We will ALL GO TO DISNEYLAND for New Year's Eve.
January 1-2: All return to Palm Desert (no groceries in the house, jet lag, unpack...
January 3-4: LAS VEGAS for ALL
January 5: Federico's family will fly home from LAS to FCO.
We will return to Palm Desert exhausted, think.