Italia: First Week – Part One: “Don’t Get Taken”

Timespan: 06/01 – 07/01

I woke up around 6:30 am  to get ready for the trip to Italy. I knew I wanted to leave the house around 8:15 in order to make it to Cleveland-Hopkins airport by 9 just to get through customs and security.

The days leading up to my departure, and even on the car ride to the airport I still had ambiguous feelings about being in a different country. I could not pinpoint my feelings, but I knew I felt a little anxious. Surprisingly it wasn’t overwhelming. I was able to see my family a couple weeks before I left, my mom, step-dad and my dad all saw me before I got I went through security. That could be why I didn’t feel as nervous.

I can also say that I was excited, but not overwhelmingly excited. Before I left, my mom made me check to be sure my flight would still leave on time because of the threatening snow storm the same day. When we left the house it was snowing, but not as bad when I finished getting through customs and security.

It was a complete white out when you looked outside.

Heading to Atlanta
Heading to Atlanta. This was all I could see from my window seat.

Once we were on, it took about 30 extra minutes to de-ice the plane with this cool orange and green stuff. It didn’t seem environmentally safe, but I made it safely to Atlanta where it was sunny. (Apparently, it was snowing before we got there. There was no evidence of snow.)

We waited about a hour to get the gateway that would take us to Paris, which was the longest flight. I would say it was about 8 hours, but it was hard to keep track between the movies and struggle naps.

The plane to Paris was pretty nice, but maybe it’s because I’ve never traveled abroad before. We had a chance to watch all types of movies. I was so excited. Disney, Action and Adventure, Recently released, classic, movies in different languages.

I got a little out of control and made a list. But I made sure that I wouldn’t watch “Taken”. Many people told me not to get taken, but it was mainly my sister who kept saying it. She made a post about it on Facebook that she had specific skills to take someone out. (She takes pole dancing classes and she’s pretty muscular.) But back to the movies. The first thing I saw was “Lady and the Tramp”. It is my favorite Disney movie and it made me feel really nostalgic when I started watching it.

Love this movie!
Amo questo film! (I love this film!)

But  something on the plane was doing something it wasn’t supposed to and something had to be turned off for 45 minutes. Maybe it was less. The pilot told us that we would have to start our movie all over again. I was but being the Trekkie I am, I watched Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was pretty worth it even though I got sleepy toward the end and I fell asleep. I had seen it before, so I didn’t fight my sleepiness.

When I woke up I watched Mean Girls and only 30 minutes of Pacific Rim. I’m going to try and stream it online while I am here when I am not traveling for the weekend. But after the eight-hour flight I was ready to be in Italy.

After all of the excitement and catching a plane from Paris to Italy, I was starting to feel tired. We had technically been up for two days with only a couple hour naps in between. My friend, Caity couldn’t even sleep.

Since I never experienced jet lag I wasn’t sure what to expect.

When my roommate, Alicia and I got to the apartment I started unpacking when she had gotten in the shower. This was when I was starting to feel sluggish. Our beds were ready to be laid and slept in, but we heard from people that you shouldn’t sleep because it can mess up the sleep schedule.

Eventually I got into the shower and I felt a little better afterward. Both Alicia and I took a break from pack by sitting or laying down; we just never closed our eyes.

Then we heard the bell (it’s a very loud buzz). We were really unsure of what was happening, but the bell kept buzzing, even while I went down several flights of stairs to answer the door.  On the way down, I ran into my other roommate, Aislinn. She was trying to get into the apartment below us.

It was Nina from our housing agency.

“Do you not know how to answer your door?” Nina asked me. Well clearly, I had to walk all the way down here. I led Nina and Aislinn to the third floor* of the building.

Nina gave us a tour of our apartment, showing us the basics of how to work things, what to touch and what not to touch. When she finished we went back into our living area and pulled out papers we had to fill out and turn in later. That’s when we realized our wifi wasn’t working.

But before she left, she told us was others had.  “Don’t go to sleep…”

Upon hearing that, I swear it was the worst thing I heard. Telling a jet-lagged college student not to sleep.

Before we departed to our apartments,  we were told to meet at the steps of the Duomo to get dinner and a small tour of Florence from the Dean of CCI and his wife. But that was at 5.

Alicia and I suffered after Nina left, which was at 1:30 ish. The sense of sleepiness was setting in and I was feeling sluggish. Luckily, Aislinn had some candy and decided to give us some to keep us awake.

When five rolled around I was happy and ready to get out of the apartment. To do something that would keep me awake.

But that was a lie.

I was walking with the group and I started to zone out hardcore. There were times where I felt like I was falling sleep or about to pass out. It sucked cause I knew I would barely remember where everything was. It was dark and I am in a new city.

Walking around the city, half awake.
Walking around the city, half awake. Note the blur.

But when that I was over and Alicia, Aislinn and I got back to our apartment. Both Alicia and I crashed when we were finally settled in. (Aislinn had arrived the day before us and didn’t suffer from jet lag as bad as Alicia and I.)

*The Italian floor system starts at zero and not one, like in the US.



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