Many of you know that I am spending a month in Italy, and those of you who are friends with me on various social media accounts know the ridiculousness I went through to get here. For those who don’t, here is what happened:
My friends Jess and Moses called me one day and said, “We are going to Italy and you are coming with us.” This was back in January before all of the tragedies happened in Europe, so I was definitely on board. A few months later, after having lost both my grandmothers, I decided I was not going to let anyone keep me from traveling or seeing the world. So I booked the ticket and waited (sometimes not so patiently) for July 25th to roll around. I would fly from Miami, connect in Madrid, and then arrive in Naples a few minutes before they did. It was planned perfectly!
I have never, and I mean NEVER, been packed and ready to go earlier than the night before a trip, but this time was different. Thanks to my patient and organized Step-Mother, I had everything set out and ready to go; and I even had time to go to work the morning of my flight to grab a coffee and tie up some loose ends. I was flying out of Miami, so in order to make it easier on everyone, I decided to take the train from Boca, and I arrived early to get my ticket and wait for the train.
An hour or so later I was in Miami, four hours before my scheduled flight. Yes, I know, maybe a little excessive but have you traveled lately? How was the line at security? Well OF COURSE when I was super early for my flight, security was a breeze. Now if I had been late or even cut it closer, we all know how it would have gone.
So I get through security, grab a beer and a bite to eat (which was terrible, there was NO GOOD FOOD in my terminal and I should have eaten before going through security, but we live and learn) and settle into a very uncomfortable seat to work on my computer for the few hours I had to kill.
Time goes by and I notice that we are late, then we are later – and later. I don’t even stop to think that I wont make my connecting flight, because they hold connections usually, I know from being on a plane on the tarmac waiting for people whose connecting flights were late, and the flight attendant didn’t close the door until the last person stepped on the plane. So I board my flight, to my delight (about my only one) I had a row of two seats to myself. I was lucky to not have to sit next to anyone on the six-hour flight, so I got comfy, and turned on a movie.
Just as I am about to fall asleep, the crying and screaming starts – NOTE TO SELF: BUY NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES.
However I feel even with those, I would have heard these children whose mother could not be bothered to tell them to be quiet. So I try to ignore them and continue my movie. Then the games start LOUD AS CAN BE with no headphones in sight. Part of me wanted to ask them to please be a little quieter as the WHOLE plane was trying to sleep, but I didn’t even know which language they spoke, and I really didn’t want to give them something else to whine about.
Then the delicious (ABSOLUTELY NOT) airplane meal came out, and it looked like one of those questionable hot school lunches that used to be served, with the “mystery meat” doused in gravy.
So a few hours later and I decide to pull out my phone and look at the time. We started our descent and I kept thinking – we are really late…they WILL hold the plane, they have to.
Well, they didn’t.
I got off the plane in Madrid, with no direction as to where to go. I waited in a long line since the gate was not listed on any board, and finally spoke to a representative, who told me if I ran really fast I may be able to catch the plane as it has not taken off yet. SERIOUSLY? To which I asked can you please radio them and tell them that I am on my way, and then motioned to the other people on my flight who were connecting to Naples as well, we are all trying to get to Naples!
She was absolutely no help. I ran, as fast as I could with a carry on and a tote bag, stopped at customs which thankfully did not have a line, and lo and behold, the plane was nowhere to be found.
Another round of speaking to useless Iberia customer service representatives, and I was gifted with a voucher for some sort of fast food and another plane ticket that would take off three hours later and connect in Rome where I would then wait another two hours and finally be on my way to Naples.
Then, those children were not the only ones crying. I was bawling my eyes out. This was my first solo trip to Europe, and I was hungry, cranky, and extremely tired; the fact that I was not being able to communicate as well as I had hoped made me a very aggravated traveler.
It was a good lesson in something I have been practicing lately, letting it go! I let it all go, I realized there was nothing I could do other than go on with my day and be thankful that I had made it to each destination safely, if not on time. I decided my trip could only get better from here on out. And after a tearful conversation with my Mama, I set my mind to what I would do when I got to my destination — and made a list.
Lists always have a way of making me feel better, even though sometimes I don’t follow through with them. ( I know, I know, I am working on that!)
What makes you feel better? Who makes you happy when you are so upset all you want to do is cry? Let me know in the comments.