Every year I go Home to Italy for as long as I can, usually 6 weeks or longer.
This year the trip was put off and put off until I found myself in November and not in Italy.
I don't usually travel in the winter because, yes I am a wimp, the heating is not turned on in many buildings until November 1st.
Sleeping in my coat, as I did last year is not my idea of a travel event. But the impending cold months of winter was not what changed my trip this year (2012).
After a two year wait I had my Italian dual citizen meeting for the 3rd week of October. So I planned to leave from the meeting with the Italian consulate for Italy. Soon I hope to be going to the airport with my Italian passport and hoping that no one asks me a question in Italian!
This is why I was in NJ in October and why was I flying Home To Italy so late in the season. What I did not plan on was Sandy. She must not be Italian because she attacked an Italian American stronghold on the coast of New Jersey. No soon than I arrived in NJ the police drove down the streets announcing that EVERYONE had to be evacuated. Of course I decided I would stay and that no one would know. By 9 am the next morning the patrol cars were back insisting we be OUT by 1pm.
I am not on the water but within the 1,000 feet evacuation zone. As I drove to higher ground of course I detoured by the home closer to the bay. There was already 2 feet of water in the streets and the storm had not even come close! This is on the BAY side of the ocean, separated by a BIG barrier island.
Later that night while sheltering with an ex boyfriend of my niece and 9 other strangers the power went out and the storm hit in FORCE. The o nly fear we had was downed trees since we were 8 or more miles from the shoreline..........
Although we were told NOT to go home, I drove back to the house the next morning. It was back to my house or to a shelter. No showers NO bathroom for 8 hrs. This was bad, what turned into 12+ days for others was not imaginable.
My aunt Nancey was praying for us because the house was standing, the water had receded and I had power. Now the reverse happens: everyone moved into my house.
Another post on living with people you only see on holidays, later.
With NO TV, NO telephones, NO Internet we were cut off from what was happening. The downed wires prevented driving even locally. All stores were closed, all gas stations, all banks etc. Think of what you CAN NOT do without electricity. No just hair dryers but you can not cook. Eating packaged food or cold food gets 'old' after even one day.
Out comes the board games and people actually talk to each other. Not always a good thing.
But back to how Sandy changed my trip to Italy.
Since I could not pack for the trip in the dark, could not make any hotel reservation and could NOT get to the airport because the gas stations did not work without power for the pumps, I changed my trip as soon as phone service was available. New dates, change fees etc later, we were hit with a snow storm! What would be next?
Finally, it was decided that I would move out of the house (I has somewhere else to live) and my niece and her family would move in. Have you ever tried to pack an entire 1700 sq foot house in 3 days? Well it is not possible when you have no help so once again I moved my flight. Now the fees were a problem. But the final straw was British Air. They deserve a separate post. Their fees and addons convinced me to either NOT go Home to Italy or make other arrangements. At some point you have to draw a line.........British Air would not let me use my return ticket even though I could not make the outward bound ticket.
Not to worry, I will be Home to Italy in November. I have to use my FF points that were tagged for my trip to Australia next year. That trip has taken 10 years of saving points but something tells me I need to go Home to Italy now. As my sister always tells me, 'you could be dead next year'. Such a cheery thought.
So now Italy is flooding in Venice and Rome. What new adventures shall I have when I am Home to Italy?