Nick and I enjoyed several travel adventures in 2016, both national (San Francisco) and international (Costa Rica). After some medical issues were resolved, we had ourselves added to the wait list for a Rick Steves off-season tour of Sicily. Months passed, but nothing happened. Then one day I received a call from the Rick Steves company saying that they were opening another tour to accommodate the people on the wait list. They asked if we were interested. We were!
The tour would begin in late November, which was perfect for us. We would have a memorable celebration of our 40th anniversary. Also, I knew that my birth surname, Nucatola, was a type of cookie that is made in Sicily in November and December, and I hoped we would be able to find it there. We wanted to reconnect with my Nucatola relatives whom we had met there in 2005 so we added some additional days in Palermo before the tour.
Because my Italian was very rusty, I practiced every day using Duolingo, an on-line language learning site. Also, I contacted three genealogists in the hope that they could help me trace my Family Tree back a little further. Unfortunately, each wrote back to tell me that what I wanted to accomplish was not possible.
The night before we leave on any trip, I take off my wedding and engagement rings and put them away. For the first time, I couldn’t get them off my finger! I tried every suggestion on the Internet, including soap, butter, oil, Windex, and wrapping the finger tightly in dental floss and then trying to slide the rings over the floss. By this time my finger was a swollen mess. It was obvious that the rings were coming with me!
We left from JFK on November 16. The flight from New York to Rome was uneventful, except that I thought I saw the actress Stephanie March, who portrayed Alexandra Cabot on Law and Order, on the flight.