Departure and arrival: Rome

First blog post! After spending a little over a week in Rome, I’d like to tell you about my 24 hour journey to the Eternal City.

Flying from Seattle to Rome was one of the most exhausting events I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. The night before my flight, I decided that I wouldn’t start packing until 8pm. Being stuck in procrastination station, I finally finished packing around 1am. After a quick nap, My mother drove me to the airport at 5am. We said our goodbyes and I had some time to burn before my first flight to Philadelphia. While waiting for my flight, rushes of excitement and nervousness went through me, but it could have been the Pumpkin Spice Latte; my final goodbye to lovely city of Seattle.

Once boarding time came, I joined up with the masses and watched everyone else board the plane before me. The only benefit of being in boarding group 6 is getting a glance at who could be my potential neighbor for the next five hours. Tightly seated, knees locked, and shoulders hunched, we were ready for takeoff. With the situation that happened in Chicago, the airspace above was deemed unsafe, thus taking our route further south and adding an hour to our flight. Although I was fighting sleep (my plan was to carefully time my naps to make the time change easier), uncomfortably squished, and unprepared for the upcoming series of events, the in flight complementary ginger ale made the first leg of my trip a touch more bearable.

Due to the delay, my original two hour layover in Philadelphia was cut to around 30 minutes. We landed around 5:45 local time and I had just enough time to very quickly walk a mile to my next gate and stretch before the 8 hour flight. When I arrived to my gate, sweaty and starving (the last solid thing I ate was a handful of granola at 5 am) the plane wasn’t even there and the flight was delayed 45 minutes for maintenance reasons. Driven by my hunger and love of irony, I gave into those beautiful golden arches not even 20 feet from my gate. A Big Mac, fries, and a coke: an appropriate last meal in the US before studying the world of Italian food.

While scoping out my potential seatmate for this flight, I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the people on this flight were well over 50 going on vacation. Lucky for me, I had an aisle seat and no one in my 4 seat row except a man on the opposite end. I was especially excited for this flight because of the complementary pillow, blanket, and dinner. For some reason unknown to me, I could not fall asleep on this flight. I tried everything and nothing worked. The only good thing about this flight is that the in flight entertainment included the new Beyonce album.

We landed in Rome around 9 am local time. Having not slept for 20 hours, all I wanted was to get to my apartment and pass out. As much as I wanted to do that, I couldn’t. A better title for my first blog post would be “How I managed to land in Rome and completely forgot to look up directions to the UW Rome Center.” The wifi in the airport wasn’t working on my phone, so I had to rely on asking for directions every 5 feet I traveled. All I knew when I landed in Rome was that I could take a 5 euro bus to Termini Station, at least one bus could take me within walking distance of the UW Rome center, and that the center was located in the Campo de Fiori. Armed with a crudely drawn map of my destination and no knowledge of the Italian language, I carried my 30 lb backpack around Rome for 3 hours.

After 24 straight hours of traveling and getting lost, arriving at the Rome Center was the most euphoric feeling; like the light at the end of a very exhausting tunnel. Getting to the Rome Center involved asking for directions from 7 different people, lots of walking, a very crowded public bus, almost crying several times, stairs for days, and the initial fear of being in a foreign country for the first time. Shout out to the incredibly nice lady who looked up the address of the Rome Center for me on her iPhone and making me write it down.

I’m happy to report that I am alive and well, enjoying my time in the beautiful city of Rome! Stay tuned for future blogs about food, culture, and my experiences!