The Rest of the Holiday

So my vacation has come to an end, and because I’m writing this a little later than the actual post date, I’m gonna give a rough summary of the last days of my vacation. Thursday involved the Islands tour, where I visited Lipari and Vulcano Islands. Friday was our last day in the city of Milazzo, and we ended the week with a sweet seafood meal at a local restaurant. Saturday we stayed on “the farm,” but we took a trip out to Tindari for a few hours. And 3am Sunday, I was being driven back to the airport to catch my flight back to med-school-land. The boyfriend and his family stayed for an extra week, so at least I got the added bonus of being able to FaceTime in the same time zone. And with that, here are a few pictures.

Pine Trees and Cacti

Today was pretty uneventful for the most part, so here are a few pictures.

And then the excitement of the day happened…

It was probably around 20:00, and we were waiting for my BF’s dad and his friend to come home so we could all eat dinner. Only, he had gone off with some old childhood friend, had been gone for several hours, and no one had any idea how to reach him! So I’m there thinking that everyone’s worrying over nothing – I mean, two old men are out, catching up with friends they haven’t seen in years.

They called everyone they knew. They even went all old school and whipped out a phone book to look up phone numbers. Finally they reached someone, and we’re told they they were at the hospital…

My BF’s dad had some nausea and vomiting, which concerned his friends, so they brought him to the hospital. It turned out to be nothing too serious. Just some exhaustion. But I guess everyone was right to worry. At least nothing serious happened. We went home after discharge, and that was pretty much my night…

Reunited

I found it too sticky to sleep under the covers last night, so I put on my one-time-use-hospital-scrubs-turned-pajamas on and just crashed on top of the bed. I slept like a baby.

Woke up early and went for some breakfast. Initially, I was the only one there. Sweet! But I saw that the buffet had been disturbed, so I’m not the only guest at the hotel. But I’m still the only one in the large dining area saying “Buongiorno” in my best fake Italian accent to the waiters.

I believe less than a minute after I took that picture, the hall slowly filled with 6 more hotel guests. I tried not to eat like a pig, had some coffee, and then went back to my room to pack and loaf around before heading back to the airport.

The hotel shuttled me to the airport quickly. Actually, I arrived earlier than I wanted to. So I had nothing to do but read and wait. On top of being delayed two hours initially, my boyfriend’s second flight was also delayed, so I had an extra hour to kill.

As his flight landed, I went over to the arrival gate to wait. I was just standing there when all of a sudden, I hear my name being called in an Italian accent. My boyfriend’s Italian family, who I hadn’t seen in about 6 years (and only met once), actually recognized me and found me. At least I wasn’t alone now. But sadly, I don’t speak Italian and they don’t speak English, so we had a few minutes of awkwardness between us as we waited for my boyfriend and the rest of his family to make it out.

The reunion was nice, and all eight of us hurdled ourselves into something that was like a mini bus, but not a mini bus. We drove for about an hour and a half into a rural part of Milazzo in which I dub ‘The Farm.’ Everything about it was great – except for the mosquitos that ate me alive. But there was crops, growing fruits and veggies, and cats! And surprisingly, I was able to remember most of the people that were there.

Later, we drove into the city where we’d be staying. At this point, everyone was pooped, but more random family members kept stopping by. This is so weird for me – I come from a family of 6, but both my parents were only children – so while seeing my bf’s extended family and trying to keep them all straight, I wish I had kept a family tree diagrammed somewhere (with pictures).

And just when we thought the day was over, Grandma U calls less than five minutes after leaving us, saying that her apartment had been broken into! A whole bunch of us rush over, literally by just hopping across the street over to the next block, and investigate. The apartment door had been tampered with, but I have to say the apartment was still in pretty good shape. Apparently, the thieves had only appeared to be interested in the jewelry and money. And it seemed like they knew where to look for it… Hmm… A bit suspicious, no?

At this point, I’m waiting for them to go all gangsta-mafioso … But nothing happens. They call the cops, but the cops aren’t available (This Is Italy). We end up going back to our place for the night. I can’t wait to see what excitement tomorrow will bring!

A Crazy Start

I have just started my one week getaway to Sicily, and things have been insane already!

First off, the day started off great! I woke up early and still hadn’t packed. But that was OK, because I knew I had time. And I did. I had time to pack, do laundry, put the dishes in the dishwasher, vacuum the entire apartment, and even mop the kitchen and bathroom floors.

Two hours before my flight departure of 13:30, I figured it was time to call a cab. “Sorry, no one’s available right now. Call back in 2-3 minutes.” I wasn’t stressed, this always happens. Only – I called back and there was still no cabs. Shoot! I called another company and had a cab come.

Now I had about an hour and a half until my flight took off. No problem. It was still enough time to check in and board. The cab company I called wasn’t who I thought they were. And I ended up paying double what I normally pay! On top of that, the driver was chatty and annoying. And he dropped me off at 12:26! “4 minutes until it’s one hour until departure,” I thought. It was just enough time. I was the only one checking in (because I was probably the last passenger).

12:45. I’m standing in line waiting to go through customs, and they’re calling my flight to board. “Wow, that’s 45 minutes before flight departure,” I though. It seemed a bit early, but whatever. So I get to the gate and I’m waiting to board, and I take the time to check my flight itinerary in my email…

13:10!

My flight was leaving at 13:10 – not 13:30 like I initially thought! Oh boy, I felt like I got lucky that time. I made the first flight. With a one hour layover in Rome, I was now hoping that I’d have no more problems.

And I didn’t. I made it in without problems. Had a bit of a headache so I bought myself something to eat. And I made the second flight without worry.

I land in Catania. The airport has no wifi. I don’t really know where to go. There’s supposed to be a free shuttle between the airport and my hotel, but I have absolutely no idea where it is. I ask Information. No help. I go out to where all the buses are, look at the signs, ask around. And I’m still lost. I know the hotel is really close by, but one of the bus drivers advised me against walking, and considering there was a gypsy begging for money as soon as I walked outside through the airport doors, I figured I’d take their advice.

So I call the hotel, hoping that all my phone credits don’t get eaten up by an international roaming phone call. They didn’t!! In fact, the call cost me like $0.30! Awesome! However, it didn’t help because I still couldn’t find his shuttle bus. So instead of stressing and worrying, I was just going to suck it up and take a cab. Only, I had to make sure I could pay by card cause I only have like €9 in change on me.

After being shuffled around to what was probably the cab area that rips off tourists, the guy says he takes credit cards. I know I’m about to be ripped off, but at this point, I’m not gonna stress over it as long as he gets me to my hotel. I paid €15 for a cab ride that lasted less than 5 minutes to go to a hotel that was less than a kilometer from the airport. But looking at the scenery that I’d have to endure if I had walked, I was glad I ended up using transportation other than my own two feet.


So now I’m here, blasting the AC, treating myself to snacks in the mini fridge, and watching Italian poker on TV. The room even came with a nice pair of hotel slippers! I’m about to breathe a sigh of relief, when my boyfriend, who is supposed to meet me here tomorrow with his family, tells me that his flight has been delayed by two hours!!! He’s flying out from YYZ, and his 16:00 departure has been pushed until 18:00! Which means, he’ll miss his layover, and he’ll be arriving to Catania at a later time than initially planned. And I only have my hotel room for one night…

As long as he arrives tomorrow, all will be well…

And this is just the beginning of my Italian family vacation!