Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bumpy Beginnings

Well, here we are back in the good ol' US of A, feeling fuzzy with jetlag and waking at ridiculously early hours. Is it just me, or does jetlag always seem to hit worse when traveling westward?

We had a fabulously easy check-in at Fiumicino, thanks to a guardian angel, who we met while purchasing mozzarella di bufala some months back. He works at the airport and, when we told him our departure date, he pre-arranged for a streamlined check-in so that we would not have the headache (or backache!) of juggling our seven large luggage pieces (plus carry on bags) through the snaking line. Wonderful! Afterwards, he wanted to buy us coffee; after much insistence we got him to relent and allow *us* to buy *him* a caffe. He also gave us a piccolo pensiero (little gift) in the form of chocolate. How I'm going to miss these Italiani! Their amazing hospitality and thoughtfulness are what have made these past three years so incredible for us.

So, here we are in Cleveland, Ohio at my sister's where we feel pretty comfortable...due in large part because half of the furniture scattered about her house is ours! We are sleeping in our own bed, relaxing on my Ekornes chair, and dining at our Mission-style table. We've explored the boxes in the attic, having forgotten what half of our stored possessions were. It seems so long ago we stashed them away. They'll remain up there a while longer, since we still don't know where we'll eventually end up.

Meanwhile, Bryan threw wide the door to the garage to reawaken Arnold, my sleeping Mustang, from his three-year slumber. He reconnected the battery, tinkered around, and pretty soon the motor was purring. Bryan called the Ohio DMV to ascertain the steps needed to get the car licensed, as the plates expired shortly after our departure for Italia. Turns out, Ohio has a bureaucratic system reminiscent of Italy. Go to Point A for an inspection; take inspection slip to Point B for an Ohio title; proceed to Point C for registration and license plate.

Off he went to Point A, or more accurately, a nearby car dealership where the vehicle inspection could be completed. No problem, car passed the test, and Bryan was ready to ride off to Point B. That's when the bump occurred, in the form of a very stupid woman driving a very large truck and towing a very large trailer behind it. Woman turned wide, trailer swung out, Arnold suffered the blow. Seriously...the first minute he emerged from the garage in three years and gets creamed in a parking lot?! Unbelievable.

Fortunately (blessedly!) the newly-purchased insurance kicked in at midnight, so it was active a whole 9.5 hours before the assault took place. The adjustor has already been here and he took quick action, so Arnold is now on his way to the metal hospital to be repaired. But, I have to say, it doesn't seem a very auspicious beginning.

The next two weeks will be busy, but as jetlag wears off and culture shock sets in, I'll be posting along the way.


erin :: the olive notes said...

i got to get the name of your airport friend ;)

gotta love car insurance, huh! what a crazy beginning...things will smooth out though. I'm excited to see what's going to happen with you in the US now.

J.Doe said...

Welcome back!

Laura said...

Ciao Valerie! Ciao Bryan! Oh, yes, jetlag always hits me much harder going back to the States. I have never been able to determine how much of that is psychological though. :-) I am so sorry for the car complications and Arnold's brutal attack! Hang in there! Keep us all posted on how things are going.

carol in dc said...

hi valerie, OMG your poor car. Bet you never even had an incidente driving in Italy! Love your airport story!!We had a similar situation at the Napoli airport.Pasquale took care of me and my mom, helped with rental car pick-up, recommended and escorted us to a wonderful restaurant, assisted our wine thru security and even hit on my sister!!!

Mary in Umbria said...

So glad to hear your news, which I will follow eagerly with participation and high hopes that you find your new place and purpose. With every best wish, Mary

Valerie said...

Erin - everyone should have an airport angel like ours!

J. - Thanks!

Laura - Ciao! Glad it's not just me, though I have wondered about the psychology aspect, too. Poor Arnold will be in the hospital until June 9 or so. Will keep you posted!

Carol - Aren't those airport angels wonderful? I couldn't believe how sweet and helpful he was. Maybe I should my sister to visit your's, though...she could use a good flirt! :)

Mary - Thanks for following along and for your well-wishes. We plan to get back to Italia asap, but will certainly be posting along the way. Take care!

janie said...

Wow- nice welcome back! Hope your immersion into life back here is a good one. I can't even imagine how it must be after 3 years!

Gil said...

Welcome back! I have the same problem when I come home from Italy or head from the East Coast to the West Coast. Good luck in your future endeavors.