I’m home, well fed, and up with the times ( I watched the new Harry Potter first thing when I got home). This is my final post from my journal but I will post at least one more as a reflection in a few days to a week. Basically once I get some down time from family and work. I would like to thank everyone for the positive response that I’ve received and also to thank everyone that donated money to allow me to go. Also I’d like to thank you for dealing with my non proof read posts, I’m sure they were rife with unintended words and grammar infractions. I’ve learned so much and have grown not only as a musician, but as a person as well. I hope that you all enjoyed reading my daily happenings as much as I enjoyed living them.
Thanks again and best wishes
Today I will get the rare opportunity to travel backwards though time. In fact I get to experience what basically everyone asks for at one point in their life more hours in a day. My day today will be 31 hours. As this blog is about my travels you will not get my full day today as I will be done traveling by 5pm (Chicago time), exactly 18 hours after my day started. The three of us who stayed together in a hotel room had 3 separate wake up calls starting at 5am (Rome time) and then one ever hour after that. I made sure that the only thing that I had to do when I woke up was to pack my bathroom materials and then go. It meant that I was up later than I wanted to but that was probably a good thing because, as I was extra tired, I was able to sleep almost 4 hours on the plane which means that I began my time correction on the plane.(I was wide awake by 8am Chicago time after my nap. So it worked out well.) However, before I get to the plane ride I got to add one final chapter to my already bountiful compilation of this trip’s “Travel Travesties!” The first shuttle left the hotel at 7am, I arrived 25 min early so as to make sure that I did not miss this bus. (a good thing too because luggage room filled up fast.) I arrived at the terminal around 715 almost 3 hours before my plane had to leave (the number they recommend. As the shuttle was coming in I saw that terminal 1 held my airline and in huge letters stated “INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS”. I thought “great there is no way I miss that. The line to check in was very very long and took me a good hour and a moved at a pace that would make my stepfather look like The Flash (for those unfamiliar with my stepfather I will inform you that he jogs at the speed of snail, Women with strollers have passed him). An hour and a half later I arrived at the check-in counter only to see the cheery eyed desk worker’s expression switch to concerned and apologetic. This “INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT” terminal check-in point which was of my airline was not for international flights going to the US. She said she was sorry and that I had better run to terminal 3 as my flight now left in an hour and a half. I did indeed run to terminal number three, a good 8 min away (every min felt like an hour and added 5lbs of stress to my heart), and luckily found the small area far against the wall devoted to U.S. flights and advertised almost nowhere, huzzah. The line was shorter but would have probably taken a good 45 min to wait through. There was a man on the same flight as me who had arrived moments before me after experiencing the same difficulty and I was about to try and jump to the priority check-in lane to see if they could open it up for us when a desk worker came down the line to make sure that everyone on the 10am flight to Chicago was checked in. We quickly told her no and she took us to our own private station where we were checked in, well he was and I got half way and was told that I needed to go to the ticketing counter to pay for my second checked bag and that she couldn’t do it there for a reason that I did not understand. The ticket counter had no line but the lady behind it must have previously worked for the DMV. I came up to her about a min after she answered a random persons question on where to go and the conversation appeared to have ended so I made my presence known. I was received with a glare and “just a moment gesture” confused I waited a moment as she stared at him and then tried again. She then snapped at me that she knew I was in a hurry but that I had to wait; I wanted to say “wait for what? For you to finish admiring the back of this mans head?” but instead I apologized and waited until she become content that the conversation between them was over, a good 3 min. Finally, she was free to deal with me and I explained to her what I needed and about half way through she picked up a phone call which lasted another 3-5 min, great! I thought it was odd how I can’t interrupt a nonexistent conversation but a person on the phone can interrupt me. Once she had finished she took my info and my credit card and began entering it into the computer. She had this wonderful 2 finger poke technique which really sped things along. Not to mention she had to keep hitting the arrow buttons backward to fix what I assume were mistypes, which blows my mind as she only had to think about one finger on her left hand and on finger on her right. She began making confused faces after 5 min and I was interrupted by another phone call which took another 3-5min. By this time it was all I could do to keep a mask of patience and pleasantness when all I wanted to do was to ask her to just tell me what need to be typed in so I could finally move on to checking my bag. Finally after she filled out 2 receipts (because she filled the first one out wrong) and after printing 2 forms (because she had typed in the wrong information) I was all set and I got to receive the information and receipts after she received a 3rd phone call, if I had a cell phone and was smart I would have just called the desk after the 1st call and I’m sure I would have been out of there will plenty of time to spare. Finally I had everything set and paid for and after a quick stop at the check-in counter from before I was given my boarding passes and was told that she had sent my other bag along already because if she hadn’t it would not have made it to the plane. I thanked her and got on my way. Security was surprisingly quick and I had 45 min before my plane left. There was a final passport checkpoint that I had to cross and wouldn’t you know it, the line I was directed to was the one that people in the fast lane got to jump into. This was especially fun when a vehicle full of old ladies pulled up and the man behind the counter took 2 min straining his neck to examine the women a good 40 ft away from him. I passed though quickly and ran to my gate, only stopping briefly to pick up peanut M&Ms because I did not have time to grab breakfast. I arrived at my gate with 25 min to spare and found that almost no one had boarded, in fact they had gotten quite delayed for some reason. I counted my blessing and found 2 friendly faces in the crowd. One was a lovely soprano from the program who lives in Cincinnati and the other was the relived face of Brian Leeper. I told them about my adventure and shared a few laughs. We were all boarded by 10 and took off a good 30 min late but I was just glad to be done with the stressful part. The plane flight went well. As I said before I slept for a good third of the trip, watched a few crappy in-flight movies for another third, and read for the final portion. We had 2 meals served. The first was a very tasty lunch with a braised beef with potatoes and peas. The second was, I think, supposed to be a square of pizza but it looked more like garlic toast topped with baby vomit. I ate it anyway because I was hungry and it tasted like a mixture of green beans, unsalted bread, and soap. (My Italian neighbor and I exchanged equally disgusted looks. The coffee which came after was only better by a small margin and only because I dumped sugar into it. The grounds had been so burnt that it tasted vaguely like it had been brewed with an old cigarette in the grounds. Oh well, food is food and caffeine was the important part. Before we began our decent into Chicago I got up and chatted with Megan (the lovely soprano) about her time in Rome. I headed back to my seat as the seatbelt sign was lit up and I was ecstatic to see the familiar ground beneath me. I was not looking forward to the rest of my flights and layovers from Chicago to Detroit and then to Milwaukee, finally arriving at 8pm (I had asked Delta if they could just end it in Chicago and they said they could but it would cost me $300 more dollars!), and became optimistic at a possible change of plans. This optimism came from the newly gained knowledge that I would have to receive my baggage and recheck it after this flight. My thought was ok screw them I’ll just leave my seats unused and take a bus to Milwaukee. This is exactly what I am currently doing. My father is enroute to pick me up and I am miles away from my home town, life is good. I think I may try to see Harry Potter tonight before I make my rounds to see family tomorrow and then it’s back to work on Tuesday. This trip has been absolutely wonderful and I’ve learned so much! I will miss all the new people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with but I’m sure I will work with many of them in the near future. I’m more excited to keep at my practicing and growing my voice. This is the final day of my journal and I hope that I one day get to continue my travels in Italy. So long for now!