lunedì 25 novembre 2013

every road home is long

I'm back on Canadian soil, but only for a moment and not without difficulties on the way.
I wrote in my notebook during the way back, and I'll just type it on here.

November 21st, 2013

Suitcase all packed up, I was ready and excited to make my way back home.
Because life always surprises me by being ridiculously tumultuous, my Milan to Paris flight was cancelled. Little did I know, the 22ns of November happened to be a national-wide airport strike day. Thanks for notifiying me beforehand, easyjet. The day before makes it kinda close yaknow.
Anyway, I had to make my Paris-Montreal flight the next day at 11:00am, and I had little time to find a solution.
Being beside myself in frustration and sadness, I somewhere still unknown found the drive to find another option as soon as possible. It's a little funny since only the day before, I was speaking with Gab about changing discouragement into motivation. It was the perfect time to put that into practice.
After looking for flights like mad, I realized those wouldn't get me on time to Paris, and the few ones who would cost a whopping 900$. I seeked my father' sand Gab's help, being both of logical and emotional support.
I looked into the option of taking the train. I finally found one that left in two hours time.
Zipping up my heavy suitcase as fast as I could, I bolted through the door feeling terribly unprepared. Nicola, a photographer I shot with and who lived next door, had offered to drive me to the airport. Since that plan was so unceremoniously changed, I notified him and he nicely agreed to bring me to the train station instead. The plan was to depart from Milan, transfer in Dijon to grab a TGV, and arrive at 8:30 in Paris at the Gare de Lyon.
But, of course, it couldn't be that easy.
There are several train stations in Milan. My train left from Lambrate station, but the ticket office was closed. There were only ultra sketchy resellers and I did not trust them not one little bit.
We thought that perhaps if we went to Centrale station, we could get a ticket there, and then come back to Lambrate.
We got at Centrale 10 minutes before their ticket office closes. A guard at the door does not want to let us in since there is already a small lineup inside and they close shortly.
He does tell me, though, that I can buy a ticket on board the train from the controler, if there is room for me.
Back to Lambrate we drive. Throughout these bumps in the road I  try to remain excited rather than stressed and positive rather than doubtful. Honestly I was laughing at what today threw at me.
Once on the platform, I eagerly wait for the train's arrival, still not certain if I'll be able to ride it.
Once it does, I speak with an employee, and she tells me to get on, go to wagon 3 straight away and I'll find someone to buy a ticket from. I get there and a group of police officers tell me to get off the train and that it is full.
After a talk with yet another employee on the platform and seriously being worried about this ordeal with each passing minute, he tells me to get back on. He'll find a spot for me.
*sigh of relief*
I am placed in a 6 bed compartment and I feel like I was on The Darjeeling Limited. Only things aren't colour coded and there's nobody to artistically direct my surroundings.
I'm on the top bunk and the to-and-fro of the train is a little sickening while writing.
I'll get off in Dijon in 6 hours and transfer to a faster train to Paris. Then I'll have to take a bus or a cab to the airport and make my flight to Montreal on time.
Stay positive!

November 22nd, 2013

I set an alarm for 6am on my phone that was by them almost out of juice. I set the luminosity to its lowest setting and put it on airplane mode; the two power outlets in the cabin weren't working. Falling asleep was a little difficult, the train rattling, noisy, and on a tiny uncomfortable bed. At least I got a little bit of sleep, even though it was often interrupted.
When I woke , I asked a train staff if we were running on schedule. One told me we were 15 minutes behind, another told me we were half an hour behind. For real, we got to Dijon one full hour behind. That made me late for my transfer onto a TGV,  but since the train I was already on also wen to Paris, but slower, I just stayed on it, and resolved to make my way to CDG airport as fast as freaking impossible.
After arriving at the Gare de Lyon, I hauled my suitcase across the place as outside into Paris! Wou! I walked about to find the shuttle that would bring me directly to CDG. I only waited a couple minutes for it, then sat back and watched through the window a city my father is so scared of me never coming back from if I ever set foot in it. He did specify the night before that inward to go straight to the airport! Even with just that, by that time, it was pretty obvious that I wouldn't make my flight. :(
Why can't one thing ever go smoothly with me and my travels? 'Cause it wouldn't be as much of an adventure, I guess.
Once at the airport, I called my dad to let him know I missed my flight. I walked around the huge, maze-like airport to an aircanada desk, having noticed that they had a flight in an hour and a half.
After two more collect calls to my dad, we decided to get me a ticket on that flight.
By that time, I just really wanted to get home.
I texted Gab with the news, who was already resolved to see me only the next day.
The lady at the desk was quite nice, giving me a window seat in an empty aisle. I got to spread out and get a couple more minutes of sleep, the night on the train not being the best (but sill surprisingly pleasant). I had already noticed my back and neck being sore, and I hadn't noticed how hungry I was until the flight attendants started bringing food. Having dashed out so quickly last night, the ont thing I had for foot in my bag was the last quarter of a bag of mixed nuts.
Here I am at 38 000 feet, on my way home as another adventure comes to an end.
Oh but not to fret, I'm never on my feet for too long: next trip begins on Tuesday, New York bound!

Strive to keep a childlike curiosity at heart


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