I’ve learned a lot of things while traveling with my parents. Conversely, I’ve also learned a lot of what NOT to do when traveling. One of my favorite stories regarding my parents is one starring my mother. My mother, Noelle, is a gorgeous dark haired woman who is ALWAYS put together. I don’t think she has ever left the house without a full face of makeup or a complete set of jewelry in her entire life. On the other hand, I frequently leave the house without even showering and still wearing the same clothes I wore to bed. I suspect the fact that my mom forced me to wear make up every day to school made me rebel as soon as I went to college.
Naturally, my mom packs three bags just for herself when we would go on long trips. I remember one instance particularly well. We were packing for a cruise to Canada that would leave out of New York. Growing up in New Jersey, the drive up was not all that far and we had been to the city many, many times. Most of my trips with my parents consisted of going towards the equator, not away from it. My dad spent some time living in Florida as a teenager and I think the fact that he still considers that year, “the best year of his life” influenced every single one of our vacations to go south.
I was actually really surprised that we were going to Canada. I had never thought in a million years we would take a cruise into colder weather I didn’t even know those existed. We boarded the boat and like every other vacation we all argued. In hindsight, this was the worst vacation we ever took together, but there were still some highlights so I will showcase those first.
mist, fog, and more fog.
We arrived in the port in Halifax and were able to see what was a pretty close picture of what my grandfather would have seen 50 years prior stopping in the same port as he came to America from Italy. I imagined him peeking through a door for only a minute to look outside. It would be cold and snowing so he’d quickly shut the door and go back inside the ship.
I remember I stood on the deck and looked out at the large white building with hundreds of windows at the port. I tried to take in everything around me and I wondered if this was the same exact spot my grandfather stood and looked out at Halifax. There were tents set up with vendors and a museum with thousands of photos of ships that had pulled into the Canadian port.
My dad looked through mounted black and white photos looking for one that looked familiar. He stopped when he found a black and white photo of the exact ship in the Halifax port that my grandfather took to America. I was amazed that there was actually a photo of the ship, the M.S. Vulcania. It looked so incredibly old to me. I tried to picture my grandfather as a young boy with his sister trying to navigate the narrow halls. He was hopeful of the future and had no idea how successful he would be all because he made that step and left his home and everything he knew behind him.
It was really foggy for the remainder of our trip and of course it wouldn’t be a “Bruno family vacation” without a good old fashioned shake up. My sister spent 90% of the entire cruise crying in her bedroom over her boyfriend who she had just broken up with. My sister was hysterical for almost the entire trip. My mom was understanding and my dad was livid. Mainly because the amount of money that the cell phone bill was about to come out to with all the long distance phone calls was astronomical.
I can’t really blame him for being pissed off. So the majority of the time I spent wandering the ship in more or less darkness from all the fog. I remember texting and eating a lot because there was’t much to do. It was kind of cold so there was no way we could swim and I was only 17 years old so I couldn’t drink. That left very little to occupy my time.
that one time i disobeyed a security guard and almost got tazed.
My fondest memory from this trip came as a surprise to me. Like I said previously, my mom packs multiple suitcases when we go on vacation. One other thing you should know about her is that she also has a completely irrational fear of escalators. I’m not quite sure what it stems from because I never asked her, but for what ever reason it’s there. We were going down the escalator into customs my entire family in a single file line. First my dad with his bag, my sister with hers, me with mine, and in the back was my mom with 2 rolling suitcases and a bathroom bag. I didn’t realize until we got to the bottom of the escalator that my mom had not followed us.
I took a step back and saw her standing at the top rustling with her bags, crying, and panicking. She had no idea how to approach the escalator with all of the luggage. She was shuffling the bags around and then eventually I realized she needed help. There were two security guards, one that was at the top of the escalator and one that was at the bottom of a different escalator. You would assume that out of all the people standing in customs, SOMEONE would have helped her, but no. So, I looked at my dad and said “I’m going to help her.”
The security guard started yelling at me something about not being allowed to go back upstairs once you come down. Annoyed at the entire situation and the fact that they were yelling at me instead of just helping my mom so I didn’t have to help her myself pissed me off.
Anyone who knows me, knows I also have a short fuse. I assume it comes from my Italian family because I have zero patience when it comes to stupidity. If you are in a position to help someone, HELP THEM. So naturally 17 year old me yelled back at the female security guard who was yelling at me to “STOP OR I’LL TAZE YOU”. I could feel the blood rush to my face and my ears started ringing.
“I AM GOING BACK UP THESE STAIRS TO HELP MY MOTHER. I WOULDN’T HAVE TO IF YOU WOULD HELP HER YOURSELF, BUT AS WE CAN SEE, YOU AREN’T DOING SHIT.” It just burst out and I couldn’t stop it.
I ran up the stairs and the security guard started to move towards me then, she looked over at my mom, then back at me, and stared in disbelief as I completely ignored her. Grabbing both of my mom’s rolling suitcases I ushered my mother onto the escalator behind me. She followed me down the escalator and we continued into customs. I don’t think she ever thanked me, but I also think she was too embarrassed to think straight at the moment so I understand. It was unspoken. I was pissed off for the rest of the trip home from New York, but I guess it could have been worse.
That security guard could have actually tazed me.