It’s just as well that I haven’t had that time.
Ross will be away for a full ten months (yes, I will visit). During winter vacation, the SAGE (exchange) program kids go on a one-month tour all over India, and, although it’s optional, Ross won’t want to pass that up. She will finish up at Woodstock next May 30th, presumably with enough course credits to graduate with a Woodstock diploma (equivalent to a US high school diploma).
She could theoretically then return to Italy for her fifth and final year of liceo, do the maturitÃ (Italian school leaving exam), and go on to university in Italy – which has the advantage that it’s essentially free (we have paid for it already through our taxes). However, for reasons that I don’t feel like going into right now (because I’m so angry with the Italian school system), that is looking unlikely at present. So there’s a good chance that Ross will go straight on to college in the US, with only a vacation stopover back home in Lecco. Enrico and I are staring into the abyss of an empty nest.
Not that we thought she’d live with her parents til age 30, as so many Italian young people do – the girls do tend to get away earlier, and Ross just isn’t the type to stay home. There’s a big, wide world out there, and she can’t wait to go see it all.
Ross is also turning 18, just a few days after her school year at Woodstock begins. The 18th birthday is a big deal in Italy: it’s the voting age, the age of legal adulthood, and the age at which you can drive a car (drinking age? that was a while ago). Many kids, at least in Ross’ circles, celebrate 18 in a big way. Ross didn’t quite get her act together for a big party, but had a dinner out with a gang of friends. And we’re going to see a show in London, and will be having a few other treats along the way. Anything to keep me distracted from that moment when I have to wave goodbye to her at the airport.
Comments and shoulders to cry on welcome!