I am high as a kite! On Saturday, we couldn't have asked for a greater arrival day for Federico. He was excited, enthusiastic, and maybe a little overwhelmed by EVERYTHING new. He was surprised by so many things, from all the palm trees and golf courses he saw from the plane upon arrival at PSP to our "Italian-looking" house. He said his room and huge bed was "a room for a king", and was surprised that I spoke and understood Italian. (I held out on THAT until about an hour after we got home.) He arrived with thoughtful gifts for all of us. Luigi is wearing his new collar with an Italian flag scarf attached, and when he found a baseball while "helping Federico unpack", he was given his favorite new ball!
Sunday morning, I was WIDE awake at 4:09 a.m., up and drinking coffee in our dark courtyard. I TRIED to go back to sleep, but no way! I was SO excited to start the day and learn more about Federico. After 15 hours of travel, I knew he would be sleeping late, but he was up and drinking a caffe latte by 9:30. (He left camp in Vermont at 12:30 a.m. on a bus to Boston for a 6:15 a.m. flight to Phoenix, a 4 hour layover, and short flight to Palm Springs)
I know we are in the "honeymoon" phase, and he is VERY eager to please, friendly, outgoing, polite, neat, responsible, and helpful. He did his own laundry from camp, hung, folded and put away everything, made his bed with precision, and has impeccable manners. He asks lots of questions, and has that gorgeous smile on his face most of the time.
Sunday morning, we Skyped Federico's family in Italy from my i-Pad. They were SO excited to "meet us" and get a video house-tour. What a BEAUTIFUL family! They have done an AMAZING job of raising their son. Federico's little brother, Lelio (5), misses him, and kept saying "Hi Palma, Hi Brad, Hi Luigi!" His older brother, Luca, is currently taking final exams in Roma. They plan a visit to California later this year.
After morning coffee cake, we went to Keedy's, a 50's diner, for a late big American breakfast for eggs, bacon, hash browns and pancakes. Federico learned what American coffee with half & half tastes like. He is sticking with my espresso pot at home for breakfast! He has also now experienced home made chocolate chip cookies! : )
Our next stop was the Apple Store. His family decided he needed a new laptop, and he should buy one here. We browsed at Macbook Airs, Macbook Pros, and he marveled at the half-of-Italy's prices of the i-Phone 4s and i-Pads. Then went to Best Buy to look at PC equivalents. He has decided on the Macbook Air. We will be returning to the Apple Store soon. We did a brief driving tour of the neighborhood and Palm Desert High School (which he thinks is HUGE). His high school in Pescara is the size of one building.
We had a relaxing afternoon of Olympics and then went through our list of "Family Expectations" (Rules). We discussed honesty, trust, communication, chores, curfew, homework, etc. There were no shocks, and he appeared to think it was all very reasonable. We had a long discussion on alcohol, drugs, sex, and how American teens
and American high school will be different. He was shocked by some of our stories, and it is clear that his "normal" behavior and family values are all we could hope for.
He is very open and comfortable talking to us. We were so pleased when he said, "I feel like I am at home with my family!"
Finally, dinner was all-American with BBQ steaks, baked potatoes with the works, Caesar salad and corn on the cob. Later, we had birthday cake (his birthday was during his stay at camp and went unacknowledged) and presents. His new Palm Desert High School sweatshirt was a big hit! The "American Flag" cake was also fun! The evening ended with many thanks, and he is generous with hugs, affection, thanks and finally warm "Buona Nottes".
I am in MOM HEAVEN, and finally slept like a baby. I will enjoy the calm before the school year begins and the young women of Palm Desert find him...