An unglamorous exit from Italy, and off again to Norway

I'm writing (or at least posting) this blog post from my home in Ås, Norway! There are slightly more details about this in the About section, but trust there will be more explanation coming soon. I have been working on the following post for a few weeks now, it was one last memory I wanted to share from Italy that still makes me smile when I think about it.

After deciding to come home I was able to find a flight for the next morning: Perugia to Rome, Rome to Boston. My flight was at 7:30 in the morning, so like a good international traveler I aimed to get there at 5:30, and booked a private car to pick me up.

At 5:15 am, I was waiting outside in the dark with my mountains of luggage, with no one for company but the alley cats, when my ride turned the corner onto my tiny cobbled street. When I got in the car he said he’d tried to call me on the number I’d left with the reservation (there was no way to not leave a number, and no way to say “I don’t have an international plan and you can’t actually call this number”) but that the airport doesn’t open until 6. It was too late then to do anything about it at that point, so we left. Like any time when I’m alone in a car with a man I don’t know, I had a vague concern that I might be murdered, but was relieved to see we were indeed following signs to the airport, and I remembered also that the online reviews were positive and mentioned nothing of murder. But then I thought of how a murdered person wouldn’t write a review. I quickly put an end to this line of thinking and decided to focus on everything else that was stressing me out.

It was still dark, and I was sad that I couldn’t see the lovely countryside I knew must be out there. When we got the airport, it was indeed closed—I had never thought about an airport being open or closed before, but the gates to the entrance were shut, and no one was around. I had held a faint hope that maybe the driver would let me stay in the car with him until it opened, but no such luck, as he promptly got out and took my luggage from the trunk and plopped it on the ground. I thanked him, and then he drove away, and I was left on the side of a seemingly remote country road with my mountain of luggage. It was cold out, so I immediately opened my suitcase and bundled up, and mentally added “find out what time the airport opens” to my ever-growing travel checklist (in good company with “go to the correct airport” (thanks Scotland) and “remember to bring your passport when crossing international borders” (thanks Ireland/Northern Ireland).

I felt more vulnerable than I had in the car, and decided to listen to some podcasts to keep my mind off of it, occasionally jumping up and down for warmth. Despite all the negative emotions I was feeling—sadness for my mom’s injuries, fear for my mom’s recovery, mourning the end of my time in Italy, uncertainty for the future, anxiety over my current vulnerable position, loneliness from being so totally alone—I couldn’t deny that being dropped outside a closed airport in the Italian countryside at 5:30 in the morning in December was also kind of a hilarious situation.

After about fifteen minutes of waiting there, a car pulled into the mouth of the driveway and idled. I must have looked pathetic, and they did not come out of their car to say hello. At 6 am, another car came, someone popped out and punched in the code to the gate, and it opened. After the cars drove through, I gathered up my stuff and walked down the long driveway to the airport, adding “enter an airport’s grounds on foot” to my list of experiences I’d never thought I’d have.

The next seven months (yikes! that long?!) was full of a lot of stress, and not so much fun to write or read about. But now I'm in Norway, and the adventure continues. Later today I'll head to Oslo for the night, and then fly to Stockholm to go to Herrang, the swing dance camp I went to last year. This time, I'm going for two weeks and couldn't be more excited about it. After that, it will be two weeks of traveling in Germany, then back to Norway for the start of school.

As always, thanks for reading! I'm hoping to write more regularly once I'm back on campus and settled in.