I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now and am trying to readjust to a time zone that’s 9 hours behind what I’m used to. However, the previous 24 hours were extremely long and tiring as we journeyed from Rome to Seattle.
The morning started out pretty early, we had to be up, packed and in the Moderno Restaurant by 8:30am to meet Bruno who would help us with debarkation and loading our minibus. We all had one last breakfast in The Haven, said goodbye to our towel animal friends who had kept us company for 21 days and took a couple last pictures.
After the 1.5 hour drive from the boat, we arrived at the airport which is very odd. Well, maybe not the airport but the check-in flow.
We walked in and went up to a counter that we assumed was the check-in counter (we had already checked in online, but apparently had to do it again at the airport). There they looked at our passports and asked us the standard questions: have your bags been in your possession since you packed them? Did anyone ask you to take something for them? Etc. Once we passed that test we were handed a clear plastic bag and told to put any and all cameras and electronics in the bags. This may seem like a simple endeavor but for me I had my iPad, computer, cell phone, camera, extra lens, power cords and chargers. By the time I got everything bagged up and closed all my luggage I had only voiced my complaints a couple of times I had a plastic bag that was ready to rip. I was hoping that once I went around the corner security would be the next step. Wrong.
Once around the corner we got into another long line to check our baggage. This time we had to scan all our passports, weigh our luggage and officially get checked in. (What the heck was the first check?!) By the time we made it through this line my clear bag was closer to ripping but we weren’t done yet.
My mom had bought a ring tax-free (??) that needed to be declared, so we had to go to the customs office to get something signed. One step closer to my bag ripping.
FINALLY we made it to security and could put all the electronics away before they went crashing to the ground.
It wasn’t long before we boarded our plane that would take us to JFK in New York City.
The 8.5 hour flight from Rome to JFK was great and shockingly the time flew. I watched three movies, a couple of television shows and before I knew it we were landing in New York.
This is where the fun started as we had about an hour to make our connecting flight.
Grandma needed a wheelchair to get from gate to gate so we got a personal escort, who ended up becoming a lifesaver in helping us make our connecting flight because the customs process at JFK was a long nightmare.
We started by scanning our passports and receiving a receipt, standing in line and going through customs. Then we had to go claim our luggage and drag it 10 feet to another line which was super long. At that point Grandma’s wheelchair pusher took matters into his own hands and cut through the HUGE customs #2 line. All eight of us were running behind him to not get lost or stuck in the line. Had we waited in line, like we should have, it would have been at least a 30 minute wait, time that we didn’t have.
We made it through customs line #2 and now had to rechecked our luggage. At this point we had about 20 minutes until our flight began boarding. Again, Mr. Wheelchair Pusher pushed us to the front of the line and assisted us in the rechecking process. He then told us we needed to keep-up as we would be moving extremely quickly to make our flight, especially because we still needed to go through security…again.
This time we didn’t cut to the front of the line, but we went through the employee and VIP line and made our way to the security machines (what are they called anyway?). Once again we emptied our pockets and bags of electronics & liquids, took off shoes, coats, and waited for our turn to go in the machine. I apparently was in a rush because I stepped into the machine and immediately through my arms over my head so I could be scanned. I must have startled the TSA agent because he laughed and said “this looks way to natural for you”. Hmmm….
We made it to the gate to find out that the arriving plane was delayed. So in the end we ran for nothing! Oh well, it was nice to have a chance to use the bathroom and get water before boarding our flight to Seattle.
Flight to Seattle
We were hoping that the 5.5 hour flight to Seattle would be as smooth as the transcontinental one we just got off of, but no such luck. This plane was much smaller, with far less leg room making it really hard to get comfortable. To make things worse we were exhausted as it was now well past midnight in Rome.
About two hours into the flight we hit major turbulence and were stuck in our seats for the remainder of the flight. I’d never felt turbulence this bad before, the captain even made the flight attendants to buckle up for more than an hour. It was crazy bumpy. At first it was fun, but after awhile I began to get anxious and suddenly it wasn’t that much fun anymore. I was happy when it stopped and we began to fly normally again.
We landed in Seattle about 10:30pm (7:30am Rome).
It didn’t take us long to collect ALL of our bags and make it down to ground transportation to meet the van that would bring us back to Duvall. However, the driver was NOT prepared for the amount of luggage we had with us. He loaded up the van and then realized he only had half the bags. He panicked and called his supervisor to tell her it wouldn’t all fit in the van. We calmly told him that we had the same size van and amount of luggage when we headed to the airport and that it all fit. He wasn’t so sure and when his supervisor came over she laughed at him and told him….”Well, this looks like you have some work to do. Pretend it’s Jenga or Tetris and MAKE THE LUGGAGE FIT!!” He didn’t seem to like that answer, but with the help of my mom and dad (who actually loaded most of it) we headed home.
We got home about midnight and it was a mad rush for a shower and to find something to eat. By about 1am we were winding down, but still pretty well wired however, by the time my head hit the pillow I was out.
Today was LONG. I woke up about 7am (early for me) and was wide awake. By about 1pm I was soooooooo tired, but had to stay awake so I can sleep tonight and hopefully reacclumate to the time. Right now it’s 9:30pm, I did it!! Now it’s time to go to bed!! GOOD NIGHT WORLD!!