It is always hard to say goodbye to home, even if it is just for a few short months of excitement. Despite the joys of travel, the things one learns about him- or herself, the amazing sights one sees, or the incredible new experiences, life abroad is always a bit tougher. The unforeseen issues that you run into that add up – those seemingly minor activities you take for granted are made only slightly more difficult due to a lack or local familiarity and numerous cultural differences, not to mention a new language. And of course, it is always difficult to say goodbye to loved ones, even for brief periods of time. However, I imagine this summer will be a bit easier in some ways than my last (for those of you who need a refresher, sit back and enjoy: http://tuttleinafrica.wordpress.com/), though equally difficult and new in others. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I will – let the Roman journey begin!
The trip to Italy only had one minor hiccup – that being that bringing two checked bags on Lufthansa incurs an extra $100 fee. Oops. However, I did manage to get an aisle seat with extra legroom on the first (7hr) flight to Frankfurt, and a window seat in the exit row on my second (2hr) flight to Rome. I’ll consider the $100 as a required seat upgrade fee and call it even.
After briefly practicing my German in Frankfurt with the security guard (I asked him whether we need to take off our shoes or not for the security screening, and his response was that Germans are afraid of stinky feet, so no), I get to learn pieces of a whole new language here in Rome. My recent foray into Spanish will absolutely help, and my semi-immersion will make the process faster than usual. I say semi because I will be speaking English at work, yet I’ve already been thrown into an all-Italian situation, as my landlord and his family speak only bare bones English. Off to the races, no ho bisogno di un interprete!
The rainy train/metro/walk to my new place at Borgo Vittorio 18, very close to the Vatican, was fairly uneventful. Some of the landlord’s family and friends helped me into l’appartamento al secondo piano (second floor) that will be my temporary Roman home. We managed to communicate about the washing machine, the gas dials, the locks, etc. with only a significant amount of difficulty. But it got done, and they seem like very kind-hearted, lovely people that will be there to help if needed.
I’m off to my first day on the job tomorrow morning (please note, this post was written on Sunday – spoiler: first day rocked), just a short jaunt down the Tiber to the FAO headquarters office. I’m looking forward to meeting a great group of folks who pulled some strings to get me here for my Mediterranean adventure!