Allora oggi . . . after nearly ten hours of flying and a nine-hour time difference, I arrive in Paris around 11:00 am. This is my first opportunity to check email and discover where I will be staying in two days . . . TWO days! Alleluia, there is good news in my email inbox. Not one BUT two messages related to my housing arrangements during my three week language program AND luckily, one of the families is associated with the school where I am registered. I am relieved . . . actually more than relieved – comparable to being over the moon! In addition to having two options about where to stay in Firenze, there is a message from Istituto Michelangelo. Oh yeah . . . NOW they respond to my email! In fact, their response is related to my cancelling the enrollment because I have not heard from the Istituto Michelangelo. They say “we are really sorry for your cancellation. As you can read in the following email the Housing Office sent you the exact address on September 12. (I departed California on the 11th) Evidently there is some problem with our general email firstname.lastname@example.org and your comcast account. We will see together with our technicians what we can do to resolve this problem So that it want (I think they intended to say won’t) happen again in the future.” SERIOUSLY, there doesn’t seem to be a problem NOW! Is what I screamed in my head while also reminding myself there is a lesson here in nonattachment and another “learning opportunity” in trusting that every thing happens for a reason. What ever! Or as the Italians say “va be”.
So technically, I went from not knowing where I would be staying to having three different options during my flight over the Atlantic . . . who knew. Additionally, I am also enrolled in three different language programs. Mamma mia! The Italians say that too. If you are thinking hey all’s well that ends well . . . I can assure you it is not over yet. Allora, the school thing is settled and I acknowledge the email that I will be staying with a woman in her 60’s. Her address will be sent to me later in the day. I hold off on rejecting the other housing option because . . . well you never know.
My preference is to fly directly into Roma from the U.S., after flying across the Atlantic, I want to be “there” and having a connection in Europe before Rome makes me nervous. As it turns out I needed to be concerned. The plan was: arrive in Paris; 1.5 hour layover; arrive Roma before 3:00pm; take train from airport to main train station in Roma where I would take another train to Florence arriving around 6:00 or 6:30pm at the latest. Well . . . Alitalia does not have a plane at the departure gate which is never a good sign when you expect to stay on schedule. Again, I remind myself this is a lesson in nonattachment. The bed and breakfast where I have a room reserved for two nights closes their reception of guests at 6:30pm. Luckily for me, this particular bed and breakfast does not have a problem with their email system and we have already communicated about the possibility of my late arrival. So the short of this story is, flight nearly two hours late out of Paris.
Once we arrive in Rome, there are two separate baggage carousals handling two different flights from Paris. It is not clear which carousal is handling the bags from our flight. In fact, I see folks from my flight at BOTH carousals that have received their suitcases. So I patrol two carousals, by the way, these carousals are NOT next to each other. BHAM, my bag arrives, I grab it and head toward the sign that indicates where the non-EU citizens go through immigration. Finding no such sign, I ask a gentleman in a uniform where I need to go. As directed, I go through the door and voilé, I am out of the airport and there is no immigration line for me. It’s a bit of a trek from the airport to the commuter train platform and once there, I read a note posted on the ATM type ticket purchasing machine stating, in Italian “sorry but there is a problem on the track and the trains are running late”. WHAT??! At this point I am not interested in walking back to the airport for a cab. I decide to take my changes with the train and low and behold the train shows up on time AND more importantly departs on time!