Let me just start by saying, ten hours is a really long time to be on a plane. As previously stated, I have never traveled outside of the country, or very far from the east coast, so this is the longest time I have ever had to sit on a plane. Fortunately I got very lucky and secured a window seat with no one next to me, which allowed me to spread out a bit during the flight. We just hit midnight here on the plane…well, at least in Eastern Standard Time. I was hoping there would be a little celebration or something on the plane, but instead there was a very lack luster “Happy New Year Everyone on behalf of your Delta flight crew,” which most people promptly ignored.
Right now I expect that I am somewhere over Europe, a little past France and should be landing in Rome in a little over an hour. Due to the fact that my Italian is limited to what Rosetta Stone was able to teach me in a little less than a month, I’m just hoping that I am able to navigate Rome’s airport well enough to make my next plane. But, I might be able to find a little help in getting there.
When in the Atlanta airport, I stopped to get some hearty food and a drink in hopes that it would help me sleep better while on the plane. Plus airplane food isn’t all that great. And when I say not all that great, I actually mean pretty terrible. While sitting at the bar at the airport Friday’s restaurant, I was fortunate enough to make a friend. I had mentioned on my phone call with my mom that I was traveling to Sicily and when I got off the phone, the man sitting next to me asked me if I was traveling to Catania like he was. Turns out, both of us are on the same flight to both Rome and then Catania after! He is a US Marine who is currently stationed out that way and is returning after going back home for the holiday. Lucky for me, he had been living in Catania for the past six months and was able to answer a lot of questions that I had about making my way through Sicily. We discussed everything from where to find a good price for a pre-paid phone and how to get the best rate on my currency exchange to local customs that I should be aware of and how they may differ from what I’m used to. So even though I couldn’t even tell you this kind stranger’s name (since neither of us ever asked), I still like to think that I made a friend, even if only for a brief period of time.
So moral of the story, always be open to meeting new people because they just might surprise you…or at least be on your flight. But regardless, whenever traveling to a new place, especially somewhere foreign, try to meet as many people as you can. It’s part of the experience.