Saturday, February 22, 2014

The worst part of traveling is getting there

Who would have guessed we'd have three snow (ice) days in Pensacola, Florida? Not me. It was interesting to see ice covered palm trees though. 

I was going absolutely bonkers in my hotel room so I ventured out both days we were supposed to be holed up waiting for the ice to melt. On the bright side it gave me a chance to study and write a paper for class that was due that Friday, which turned out to be a good thing because my travel plans did not turn out how I had hoped. 

SO MUCH ICE!!! This is the windshield of the rental car pre-scraping 

Last American Pizza, I also took one to go because I thought I had all weekend to eat it. 

That's my sad face. Why am I sad you ask? Well after arriving at the school and discovering my orders were wrong I had tried in vain for two and a half weeks to reschedule my flights from Florida to Italy. Then on the Friday our class finished I was informed that I *MUST* leave and they (Pensacola peeps) were going to schedule me a flight out later that day or the next. Okay… fine, I'll roll with the punches, by that afternoon I had a new itinerary and was leaving early the next morning. I did some laundry and packed up.

My flights took me from Pensacola to Atlanta to Norfolk, where I was supposed to get on a military flight. I showed up at the airfield with my flight number and everything ready to go… but it was a no go. Turns out the genius who booked my last minute flight was in too much of a hurry to figure out it was a cargo flight, no personnel allowed. And that's when the fun began. 

After more than three hours on the phone with the emergency line, being berated for changing my flight, told I would have to pay my own way, and telling the whole tale to no less than eight people it was finally sorted out and I had a nice commercial flight out the next afternoon. 

Thank goodness I had a friend in Norfolk who took pity on me and let me crash on her couch/cruise her DVR/complain about the huge mess that was made of my travel plans. We watched "Life of Pi" and then had a hankering for Indian food, thankfully there is a restaurant right near her apartment. Then we pretty much crashed. It was a pretty exhausting and emotional day. 

The next morning I was even treated with a ride to the airport and from then on in it was smooth sailing. The airport in Rome is a little intense and I was more than a little surprised at how little scrutiny my passport was given, but it was so nice to be almost done with my journey. When I landed in Sicily my sponsor was there to pick me up, I got checked in at my hotel and we started running errands while I had the energy. That lasted about two hours then I was done. 

It took me about a week to get adjusted to the new time zone, but I think I'm doing pretty well now. Overall the trip was bumpy, but I'm so glad to finally be here and figuring things out. Next adventure -- finding somewhere to live. 

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