So yes, I am home at last, on American soil. Not quite home in St. Paul yet, as I made it to my sister's home in Wisconsin at around midnight last night (midnight CST = good morning in Rome! Oh boy.)
I already spent my energy writing a large e-mail this morning, so I'm going to cop out right now and just reuse what I already wrote (so if you were one of the ones who got that e-mail... this is old news!)
I got up at 5am Rome time yesterday to take a last wander around the city before getting to Bernardi - I wanted to say goodbye to the Pope for all of you, but even he wasn't up yet. :) The luggage all made it ok, I ended up having to pay a bit for one suitcase though - 10lbs over. Oh well. The first flight was Lufthansa - sweet! But the last flight (Air India!!) was delayed leaving Frankfort, the flight time was extended due to the windspeed, and then the luggage took forever to get out... Finally made it out to meet the parents at around 6pm CST (1am to me!)
For the record, Air India is quite decent to fly with, the plane was stinkin' OLD which had myself and the other American girl next to me a tad worried... Also, this is going to sound like bad stereotyping on my part, but I have to admit it was kind of unsettling coming onto this ancient plane with Hindu writing everywhere and seeing the first 8 rows composed of elderly Indian guys in the traditional garb (first thought: where's the cobra in the basket?) and various Indian women in saris and caste marks. However - I adapted soon, the people were very friendly, it was a joy to see so many families with kids (yay - even when they cried, I didn't care, God bless parents!), everything was in English (oh yeah - former British colony), the flight was quite calm, and the food was *amazing*. They fed us both a lunch of chicken curry (we could smell that the whole way... that was odd.) and random Indian food items (veggie dumplings, cake, bread with Indian cheese, German yogurt - huh? - and Toblerone candy!), and a dinner of (get this Susan) - agnello! :) It was really good lamb actually, with lots of side dishes to try. Unlimited drinks, Indian tea (Fr. Carola!) and coffee in particular. Stellar really. I highly recommend them if for no other reason than the food. It is a bit like an Indian cattle car (wait - maybe a sheep car for them? or a goat car?), but a *nice* cattle car. So there you go Thanos [residence director at Bernardi], it was something of enjoyable, as far as a tightly packed trans-Atlantic flight in a tin can 747 from the late 80s goes. A thumb and a half up, and recommended for future students on a budget!
In a few hours I get to drive back to St. Paul, in my own car (wow), but with an expired driver's license (!) and so the cops had better not come anywhere near me... Thus I begin the next adventure, rearranging a life... Good grief. It's all good though. It's just going to be very busy for a few days, and quite weird for a few weeks readjusting.
Well, I REALLY need a shower at this point, as I basically collasped on my sister's couch 6 hours ago (thinking it was almost 8am... ARGH.). Not sure what I'm going to wear at this point for my last journey back into St. Paul... most of my clothes are filthy AND piled randomly in my suitcases because what started out as organized quickly descended into chaos with each repacking. Should be a fun day! :)
More to come... Dell says my laptop power cord should be in my hands tomorrow, so this weekend I will devote some time to photo posting and sorting through a year's worth of digital photos... Yikes, last I checked it was upwards of 18 GB of photos on my hard drive! I am thinking that I just might try my hand at DVD creation - anyone have suggestions on good (cheap?) programs to use to create DVD slideshows with music?
Buona festa a tutti voi!
Sts. Peter & Paul, pray for us!