When holidaying becomes a job: packing for four


Expats are not all made the same but they often tend to be independent, restless, always-on-the-go individuals. Who like to travel light. I never understood how it could take a day to pack a luggage or what was the point of bringing literally your house on your back as a snail risking major physical injuries when you could just grab the essentials and give yourself the freedom of changing plans, running to catch that last train and hop on the overcrowded bus. Well, now I do. Understand.

Last Friday was “Graduation Day” at school. Theoretically it’s an actual school day, the last of the year but the teachers made very clear since the previous week that, well, “parents can come around 10.30 to have a drink and talk to us” and “maybe you can take your children home at 12.00”. So a very tired group of moms paraded in class, with the half-scared look of someone who’s about to enter jail while the teachers looked for the first time in the whole year rested, made-up, with whiter teeth, rosier cheeks and a happy, bright light in their eyes. They, on the other side, were prisoners about to be released. For a couple of months.

Since then, it’ been a roller coaster ride. My childhood memories are of drawing, coloring and sitting quietly in a corner, not even supervised by an adult. Thirty years ago children weren’t much more of a job than pets. This generation, though, is definitely more demanding: my boys get bored easily, know always what they want to do (eat candies, go to the cinema, make cupcakes, eat pizza, climb trees and break windows while playing football…not always in this order) and won’t take no for an answer.

After being their slave for the past four days, I have finally found a way out: a mosaic class, where they will decorate some frames with a bunch of well behaved, pink clothed and pig-tailed girls. I needed the day off not to go get that pedicure I am dreaming of since a few weeks but to accomplish the terrible task of packing for four.

My light travelling days are gone and I have to stack clothes, medical equipment, favorite stuffed toys and a mountain of sticker books with the performance anxiety linked to Ryanair’s luggage weight standards and the risk that I forget that very little thing that of course they needed the most.

So, I apologize for not being a good chat right now but packing for four has certainly taken the best of me. I will be back soon, hopefully. If Ryanair doesn’t detain me for breaking some of their absurd regulations.


  1. I also remember being left alone to amuse myself for hours at a time. When I became a stepmother I couldn’t wrap my head around having to entertain the children at all times, organize activities, playdates…couldn’t they figure out who they wanted to play with???? Buone vacanze!

  2. #Whistles# I don’t wish to be you one bit.Reminds me of the first and only holiday with baby in April.We came back more tired than when we left, with all that playing and luggage.

    Good luck mummy and Happy Holidays!

  3. I just read about your blog in an article by Corriere della Sera: I find it really interesting and stimulating. I guess I’ll be visiting it very often from now.
    As for this post, well, next week I’ll be packing for three.
    Moreover, I have to put a week’s stuff in a luggage, a backpack and in my bigger bag or we’ll have to rent another car to reach the airport.
    Moreover number 2, my parents are travelling with us: they *never* flew with Easyjet adn they don’t know anything about regulations, so I guess next week I’ll be packing even for her and my father. Lucky me.

    (Sorry for the English but I haven’t been practising since long)

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