Well, today was my first day back to classes at Cornell after my semester away. And, let me say, some things never change. That is, it was still in the negative digits in Ithaca this morning. Way to be consistent. But after a week of being cooped up inside of 411 Thurston Avenue, participating in my second Alpha Phi recruitment, it was nice to finally get outside and get focused again. Since being back, not too much exciting has happened in my life, hence, the lack of posts here, but I feel that I should give you a synopsis of the drama that led to my fleeting exit from Florence, Italy…
Twas December 17, 2010. The roomies of Corso dei Tintori, 6 were out for a lovely last dinner at our favorite restaurant Il Cantinone.
The magic of sharing that last family style meal together was only enhanced by the dusting of snow that had begun to coat Florence throughout the day. Hailing from the East coast, this light dusting would probably only be enough to cause a 2 hour delay from school or perhaps a whole snow day if we were lucky in Pennsylvania. But, in Florence, what began as a majestic dusting of snow, fit for the most epic snow ball fight ever …
quickly turned into a weather catastrophe that almost kept me from getting home for Christmas. Basically, with the lack of a plow (yes, not even one plow) in the city of Florence, and probably a lack of salt as well, we knew Nikki’s early flight was canceled the night before. Ann was the first the next morning to venture to the Florence airport bound for the U.S. Ann was met with refugee camp-like conditions as 3,000 students packed the closed airport trying to get out of Florence. She described the scene as utterly traumatizing. Ann may never be the same. Meanwhile, Tom and I found out our flight was canceled before we even left the house, so this gave us ample time to wait on hold with Swiss Air for the rest of our lives. Swiss wouldn’t be able to get us out until Thursday! And even then, they couldn’t promise us Christmas in the States.
Enter Dr. Al. Dad made a quick decision to get his little girl on the first flight out of Rome the next day and get to Dublin, one if the few still functioning airports in Europe at the time. This meant I needed to get myself to Rome in the next 24 hours to catch my Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. Luckily, I was able to get one of the last few seats on this plane, because my other option was to fly Aeroflot (the Russian airline) to Moscow and then New York. Good thing I didn’t, because it seems they have some logistical issues over at Aeroflot: NY Daily News Article.
Ann and I decided to get on the first train we could to Rome and stay the night so we could get on flights in the morning. After the most miserable experience lugging all of our life’s belongings across the good middle portion of the country of Italy, we decided to order hamburgers at the Courtyard because we were pretty checked out of Italy at this point. The next day went rather smoothly. I hopped my plane to Dublin; got a sweet Irish passport stamp; and met Dr. Al and Carolyn at JFK. The rest of the break was occupied by the removal of my wisdom teeth, going to the casino with mom, and buying my 85 year old grandfather a smart phone (this was especially time consuming).
While these things seem benign, it really was nice to have time to spend with my family, and some down time to make the adjustment back home much easier. Now, being back at Cornell, some things have changed. I’m no longer living at Alpha Phi, so having my own space to live in, and no roommate for the first time in a while (shout out to my ex roomies, i love you guys) has been very relaxing. In general, I feel more relaxed and more focused than I did before my trip. The little things just don’t seem to bother me as much any more. As for classes, today I was overjoyed to walk into restaurant management and see 3 of my roomies from Italy had saved me a seat for the wine tasting we did, some things just don’t seem to change. I am speaking at an info session for study abroad on Thursday, and I am super excited to share my experience with other people, because I truly feel like it changed my life.
For those of you still interested in following my daily pursuits back here at Cornell, here is the URL for my new blog, “A. Lalo back from the Flo.” Subscribe to it and pass it along to friends! I promise to keep things interesting!