Those were my first thoughts last night when coming into contact with America after an eventful day full of trains, trams, and planes. Traveling is great... besides the actual "travel" part.
When my 7 AM alarm went off, Brittany and I basically jumped out of bed, threw our things together, and by 7:30 Brittany, Casey, and I were out of Hostel Fiesta Terrace and on our way to try to find a taxi! We really had no idea how to get to Fiumicino Airport, so we gave ourselves a little extra time and went on a taxi hunt.
The good news: we found a taxi. The bad news: it was gonna cost 70 euros. Seeing as none of us had that much money to burn, the driver told us to go into the station to catch the train that goes directly to the airport. Time was on the line, so we raced up to the terminals to try to find the right via, hoping we could find it quickly- while I'm getting better at international travel, it still gives me major anxiety.
The good news: we ran up the stairs, and luckily BAM! Right in front of us was the Fiumicino Airport Terminal. The bad news: it was leaving in a matter of minutes, and we had no tickets. Frantically we were looking around for somewhere to buy tickets, when we spotted a guy sitting at a desk... it looked kind of official, so I hurriedly asked him where we could get tickets for the train that was about to leave. He looked around and then told us we could buy them from him... for 45 euro. We all just started throwing money at him, he took it, and we ran to the train, whose doors were closing right as we reached them. Again, luckily there was one door open, so we hopped on and they closed behind us.
The good news: we had successfully gotten on the train bound for the airport. The bad news: the guy had given us no tickets. We had no proof that we'd just given him 45 euros to ride the train, and I have a feeling we got taken on that little deal. The three of us found seats, sat down, and hoped and prayed that no ticket takers would come around. The anxiety mounted for the entire half hour ride as we held our breath every time a Trenitalia official looking person walked by. This time if they asked for our tickets, what were we going to say? On top of that if we got fined, we would have no money to give them- the last of my money was with the ticket swindler from the station! I've never been so happy to reach a train station! We made it without any questions, and I am glad to say I will not be riding a train in Italy any time soon!
The good news: we made it to the airport. The bad news: our flight was delayed three hours. Brittany was able to go on and get to her flight, but Casey and I had no such luck. Upon reaching the front of the Detroit bound line, the lady told us to go wait in another line. We waited in that line for an hour, hoping to get a new connecting flight because with the delay, we knew there'd be no way we could make our 5:15 flight to Salt Lake. Right as we made it to the front of the line, though, they ran out of connecting flights or something, so we were instructed to go stand in yet another line. At this point I didn't even care. I just wanted to get home, take a shower, and wear some different clothes. Finally we made it through the line, got our Detroit tickets, and headed into the terminal, where we were treated to an "I'm sorry we've screwed you over" complimentary sandwich and drink, and then spent the next hour or two waiting for the plane to board.
The good news: We got up in the air! Finally at 2:10 our plane finally took off, only three hours behind schedule. The bad news: I didn't sleep one bit the entire 9 or 10 hour ride.Hey, at least the plane food was good though. We landed in Detroit at 6 PM, crossing about 6 time zones, and leaving my body extremely confused. We'd missed our connecting flight to SLC, and customs and a lot of waiting left me hoping and praying that I wouldn't have to spend the night in the Detroit airport. I just wanted to get home!! As we approached the ticket counter I was prepared for the worst, but things looked up!
The good news: a plane was leaving for SLC at 7:15 and there was room for us! The bad news: 7:15 was in fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes to get through security, find terminal A-4, and call my mom so she wouldn't be waiting at the airport for the extra 2 hours. Ever seen Home Alone where the family is all running through the airport? Well, that was me and Casey last night, running and dodging people all the way from A-36 to A-4. We got some novel looks, but we made it!
The good news: I was dead to the world on a good part of the four hour trip to SLC. The greater news: I looked out the window to see MOUNTAINS MOUNTAINS AND MORE MOUNTAINS!! Utah never looked better as we approached. The skyline, the open spaces, and the mountains made me realize that I had indeed missed the northwest, if even just a little. Seeing the American flag outside my window, hearing all English, and coming down the escalator and seeing my Mom, Kourtni, Lindsay, and Payton holding signs and bombarding me with hugs made me know that I was home. It is such a good feeling!
And now I start the process of reintroducing myself to real life... which is kind of hard when you don't remember where the forks are in the kitchen, where you keep your socks, and how to work the light in your bedroom, but I am sure all things will start falling into place, and maybe one day my laundry will get done, my pictures will get on the blog and facebook, and I won't lie awake at night, my body telling me it's midday in the places I've been the last two months. Oh well- it was all 100 percent worth it.
Anyhow, that is the of this chapter of travelblog. Thanks for reading, friends. I've loved keeping this little (sometimes otherwise) record, and my hope is that all of it it keeps the memories fresh forever. Thanks for good time, Europe. Stay classy. You haven't seen the last of me.