Today I packed up the last of my belongings to take a cab to the airport. I said goodbye to the B&B that had become my home for the last week. I wouldn’t mind staying in Italy longer, but I do have people and obligations to return to back in the US.
When I got to the airport, I spent some time waiting in the Alitalia lounge, which is still a new experience for me. I have to say that Italian Design really is a thing — the Rome airport was no generic airport you’d find in the US, comfortable but finely crafted chairs, unique flooring, lighting, etc. In the first class lounge, there was a breakfast buffet and a barista to make my last classical Italian cappuccino in the country before I departed.
I stopped at the duty free shop on the way to the gate to pick up souvenirs and postcards to take home for family and friends. The plane was fine, it was better flying during the same daytime because I’d planned to be awake anyway. I watched a collection of movies, enjoyed the service and napped a little. I enjoyed it being daylight enough for me to look out the window and see ocean, sun, clouds, and sky rather than just a wall of darkness.
Upon my return to the US at JFK airport in NYC, I had to claim all of my checked luggage along with my newly acquired assets from the duty free shop in Rome, which included a couple of bottles of Italian wine. I had some issues when we had to go through the security again because I didn’t know about this extra step, and containers with liquid over 3 fl. oz. are usually prohibited. The security agent took the sealed bag of the bottles, looked through it, and then resealed it, all while we chatted about TV shows we liked (she recommends The Good Doctor). She re-sealed the bag all officially, and then I was able to go into the customs line. The customs line was very long, until I saw a sign that recommended using the mobile passport app. I downloaded it, answered the questions and snapped a cam photo, and it greatly speeded up the line in which I was processed. Each gate agent from Rome to NYC each sneered a little at my having a temporary passport, like there was something wrong with me, asking where my passport was. I had already answered all those questions at the embassy, I didn’t know I’d have to do so again.
I made my connecting flight in NYC to Boston and finally flew home. My husband picked me up at the airport, and I crashed right into bed as soon as I got in the door, I was so tired. I already missed Italy, but there’s still no replacement for one’s own bed. And I had to return to work in the morning. I have a feeling that 6 hour jet lag will be pretty strong in the morning.