Sunday, June 6, 2010

Volcanic Interruptions

The immortal last, ‘be careful what you wish for’ words echo in my head as I whine, “I don’t want to leave Italy. I’m not ready yet.” Little did I know that I would get my wish. A few hours after what I thought to be my last dinner in Italy with friends Sarah and I checked our flights to be sure that we were leaving. We would not find them on time. They were canceled. A volcano erupted in Iceland blowing plumes of ash into the air grounding more than nineteen countries. I was stuck in Italy for at least another week. Of course this was upsetting news. When you prepare to leave a place and say all of your goodbyes you have made yourself ready to go, ready to change your scenery. Your mind has already started racing with pictures of your tearful airport reunion with your mama at the arrivals gate, what restaurant you want to eat at first, all the fun things you are going to do with your friends, and so on. However when a natural disaster hits and you have to put all of those plans on hold you become somewhat frustrated, agitated, and helpless. Let me tell you Skyping with my parents who haven’t seen you in close to five months and telling them that you will not be coming home for another ten days was not a pleasant task. Your perspective shifts when you have no choice but to stay. In the case of a European volcano you have no control, you are stuck indefinitely. It was too hard to go anywhere in Italy by train because they were all overbooked. Sarah and I had no choice but to stick it out in Crespano, Asolo, and Paderno. Now I know what you’re thinking, “oh poor you, stuck in Italy.” Yes. There are worse things. But unless you have done it, you have no idea how infuriating it was. Towards the end of our stay when it was clear that we had a small window to escape we were elated. I flew out at three am Venice time, twelve hours ahead of America, to Munich. From Munich I had my nine hour flight to Chicago. America bound, Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA blared on my iPod. I was never so happy to be in America. Being back in the land of the free made me realize how true that statement is and how lucky we all are to born and bred Americans. Once through immigration and customs I hopped a train to my terminal. I felt like I was back in Italy, on a train with two Italian men speaking behind me. First thing was first, I needed a Starbucks and I needed it a.s.a.p. I got myself a book, and three magazines. I called my familia to let them know that I was finally in America! It was such an amazing, surreal, and long awaited feeling. While waiting for my next flight to Portland CNN was on the TV at my gate informing me of a new plume from the volcano which undoubtedly grounded more flights. I was beyond grateful to be in America. Four and a half hours later I was in Portland hugging my mom and dad. There is no place like home.

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