It has been quite the week, not just for me, but for everyone. Of course, there was the Christmas holiday and certainly I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. This past week was overshadowed by the winter storms that impacted and is still impacting travel, as roads and airports were closed, and delays and cancellations were the story of the week. Of course, there was tragedy as well, hearing about the many accidents, some deadly and the deaths from people freezing in their cars, after getting stuck. It impacted such a major part of this country and at such an important time of year for many. As you know, I left for San Francisco and escaped all of this, as I left before the storms hit the east coast, and will return, after the dust has settled, but has it.
The impact was immediate and still lingering and will be for a while. I had clients who were supposed to leave from Minneapolis on Christmas Day to go for a weeklong family adventure to the Mayan Riviera and their flight was cancelled, and according to the notification, for operational reasons. MSP is one of the best airports for handling weather, and unfortunately, they and thousands of others were and still are being impacted. They have been protected on a flight on Tuesday and we are working on extending their time, so they still get their full week. Stay tuned on that. Spending hours on hold and it was at least 4 hours on two different occasions, to try to help them, but with the holiday and the storms and probably staffing issues still lingering, and they also were on the phone and even went to the airport, even though I advised against it, a resolution is still pending.
I am sitting here in the ITA lounge awaiting my flight back to the states and write this post with a very heavy heart. I have just spent the past 5 weeks on the road here in Europe and the last 10 days with Rosa, here in Roma, and last week in Venice, Gorizia and Trieste, as you know. The 6 nights here in Roma were much too short and now, it may be until April when I see her again.
She just dropped me off less than an hour ago, yet, it seems like an eternity. I don’t want to keep doing this, but simply stay here and my goal, stronger than ever, is to move here and be with her. She knows it and I have reiterated this many times as everyone knows. Each time we part, a bigger piece of my heart stays here in Rome. I know it will happen; yet, it can’t happen soon enough. She and I will be very busy in the next few months sorting this out, but my goal is single minded, to be here.
The few days we had together here in Rome were truly wonderful. We spent the first two days exploring the bowels, sorry, the underground of the Colosseum, which I had never done before, not only with Rosa, but momma. It was wonderful. She is a retired teacher and it was fun to experience, not just the underground, but their interactions. We enjoyed the morning, into the early afternoon, parted ways, momma heading home, Rosa to the library where she works, when she is not guiding. We had taken an apartment near her momma this time, so we could walk there, which we did.
The next day, we met up and experienced the Roman Forum, again, Rosa, momma and I and the interactions were wonderful. It was so much fun and I truly saw things from a totally different perspective. It also strengthened our relationship. The weather those two days was also fantastic and that was good as the next two days, it poured and poured and poured. Turned out to be this past Saturday and Sunday, so she and I stayed in and simply enjoyed time together. The exception, both nights, we attended two birthday parties of her friends, one at a friend’s house and last night, an all you can eat Japanese restaurant. Both were fun, and fortunately, English was spoken in part as the Italian hasn’t come as quickly as I would like. In any case, I learned more and more each day.
In the end of these 5 weeks, I reflect on the many people I met, reconnected with, business and personal and I feel this was a very successful trip. Learned some things, closed some old wounds, cleared the slate in others, experienced new destinations and will use these experiences to my advantage moving forward personally and professionally. Certainly ate well during my time on the road and now able to get into somewhat of a routine again, until I hit the road again, which, as you all know, will happen sooner than later.
Thank you as always for your support of this wandering puffin and keep up the optimism in this crazy world in which we live. Stay safe and stay healthy as we approach the holiday season!!!
In any case, leaving Turin for the second to last leg of my journey this time around included a 2-day conference in Venice and while I liked the format, improvements could be made. The conference hotel was well located, only 250 meters form the train station, but the storms had headed in, so getting drenched with my luggage for the 5 to 7 walk was not fun and the food offered at the hotel was nothing special. The meetings I had over the next few days, were good for the most part, but too, too many. Almost 30 each day and no coffee breaks, so honestly, I am not sure I would attend such an event again. I understand everyone wants to have a meeting, but by the end of each day, I was, as I am sure many were, exhausted and by then I was on the 4th week on the road. The prize at the end, this past Friday, was meeting Rosa at the train station in S Lucia, and I took a local train across, dropped the luggage at the hotel and returned for her arrival.
The past 4 days, one in Venice, one in Gorizia and two in Trieste from where I am writing this post, were wonderful. Did we have ideas of what we wanted to do? Yes!! Did we accomplish them all? No, of course not, but that does not mean we did not do a lot and we had a wonderful time together, ate local foods and walked many a kilometer, on average, over 10 kilometers a day and our longest, the first day in Venice from the Jewish Ghetto to San Marco and many other back areas of Venice where we end up on the lagoon, away from the crowds. We tried squid ink pasta and other foods here and also included a walking tour of the ghetto where I actually learned something new. That is the ghetto comes from an Italian word getto, which means family, so the whole history is fascinating. In any case, we were off and running with 16 kilometers, yes, it is possible, even with how compact Venice is. Remember, she and I were together this summer and we did time here also.
Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin