So, by this point in the trip, my coleader and I were really getting to know the kids. Feeling comfortable, airline meal times became a bit of a potluck. Don’t like something? We’ll find someone who does! 🙂
When we landed, we were all exhausted. For all intensive purposes – we’d been traveling for about 2 days. Granted – one day we were able to head home, but the excitement and anxiety about the trip was still there. We exit the plane, head into the baggage claim – I made everyone go to the bathroom. There’s no telling when the next opportunity would present itself! AND, as suggested at my training, I stood with the baggage while others went and grabbed bags that were marked with ribbon (we had a wonderful parent who found this awesome ribbon, so everyone had a piece tied around theirs.) After we collected our luggage – made sure everyone and everything was accounted for – we headed toward the sliding double doors. THEN – Craziness ensued. Italian being spoken – our tired selves trying to comprehend…I saw my partner, said “HI” and went into “leader/survival” mode handing out all of the papers I needed to hand out. Fortunately, I had a helper – turned out she became a good friend and she was the Italian coleader 🙂 I would read off my delegate’s name, she would announce it in Italian searching for the appropriate family. After everything was handed out, it was time to go: “Andiamo!”
When we were on the curb, one of the dads came up to me and told me one of my delegates left their backpack in the baggage claim area and he would like it if i could go with them. Ever tried conversing with someone that has an accent….when you’re tired?? The adrenaline was wearing off – I figured Mr. G wouldn’t leave me, so I went with my kiddo. Fortunately, the dad handled everything – my major role was to keep my friend calm and reassure everything would be fine – the backpack would be coming – and it did, thankfully!
I was able to drive back with one of my delegates – we landed in Bologna and were on the road to Padova. Fortunately, one of the families were able to squeeze two more bodies into the vehicle. They conversed in the language of the land – my delegate and I sat there…taking in the scenery – which, resembled Ohio, comforting it was! After about 3 hours (with a stop at the gas station) we arrived – well I arrived at my new home, at least for the next 2.5 weeks!! I was taken to my room, shown one of the bathrooms – though mine was downstairs, and instructed to gather some things for the weekend. Now, what you don’t know is – because or our delay, we arrived in just enough time to head to our homes and then to the welcome party – and then I was headed to the sea. YAY!
Also, keep in mind, this was my first time to Europe..I went in to use the bathroom…looked around. “Where do I flush the toilet?….I can’t go and NOT flush!!!” SO, I didn’t…I waited….I managed to pack my suitcase for the weekend…and we were off to the welcome party.
The delegates mingled, we were treated to some awesome homemade Italian food – real food after traveling was amazing 🙂 And, I had to go to the bathroom. Surprised? Come on – it’d been since the airport! Like, at least 5 hours! SO, I was directed to the bathroom…noticed this..this odd thing in the wall…push it, FLUSH! OOHHHHH! Now, I could flush the toilet at home 🙂
After some chatting, making new friends, watching both delegations mingle, it was time to head to the sea. The Adriatic Sea – YAYAYAY!!! Me, Mr. G…and the energy I had left – headed to our destination. I tried to be good company. As an interpreter, I know it takes a lot of brain power to digest words, process them, make sense of them, and respond…as the sun set, I found the darkness swallowing me up and my eyelids got heavier and heavier. Fortunately, Mr. G understood this, but we kept on chatting. About what, I have NO idea.
We arrived at his place where I was greeted by his wife. I was welcomed with a piece of cake and some water. Shown to my room – changed, used the bathroom, and CRASHED! By this time, it was probably about 11PM in Italy – 5PM in Ohio..I’d been up for….roughly, a little less than a million hours 😉 Close to 36.
Said my prayers…I’m in Italy!!!