I made it! I’m here. After an amazing flight (who says that?) – ok, it was a business class seat thanks to my ex-husband (thank you, Mike!) who contributed a bunch of miles to me for my flight from NYC to Rome. United Airlines partners with Swiss Air (now I am a huge fan!) and it did not disappoint. Wonderful lounges at JFK and Zurich along with delicious food, any drink you could want, and a relaxed, easygoing vibe, both on the ground and in the air. The flight attendants were attentive, understated and sweet. After one heard of my plan to spend a year in Europe, a couple more stopped by to hear more.
When I arrive, I meet Nicola, a polite, yet serious host of the B&B-type accomodation that will be home for the next 12 weeks. I am thrilled when I walk through the gate. It’s secure, it’s clean and it has a lovely outside patio and kitchen (including pizza ovens!) for lounging when one does not want to be in the room – perfect! I was amused to find that every furnishing in our room is by IKEA! I saw the IKEA store on the way in from the airport and smiled, not knowing that I would be living with it’s several items from it’s shelves. I know IKEA furnishings, so, in a way, it was like home. It is interesting how some familiarity in a new place can be so comforting.
As Nicola shows me to my room, it’s about 3pm and we wave the card in front of the fancy security system and it buzzes. We wait and finally the door opens to a very sleepy 21 year old, Emily, who has just awakened. Later, she tells me that her plan was to wake up at 8 or 9 that morning! I come to love Emily almost immediately! She is sweet, whip-smart, and funny! She is super considerate (since we’re sharing a room), and so mature. Is this how the average American 21 year olds are these days? Impressive! Emily is refreshing and delights me anew, each day!
I hurriedly unpack and take the Metro into the City Center. I am giddy with excitement (ok, and maybe by lack of sleep) and I see within the first few minutes of getting off the subway a couple of monuments and the Spanish Steps and the shopping, and the people, oh, there are so many people. How much fun will this be??? All I can think is, wow, I did it. I took a leap and I can feel in my bones that it was a very good decision!
See my first impressions via the pics below.