Despite the fact that I don’t speak Italian and possess the unfortunate quirk of imitating (and probably poorly) the accent of the person I’m talking to, I felt ready I for my Italian adventure to begin. And by that, I mean I felt ready to enact the Lizzie McGuire movie and find my very own Paolo during my month’s stay in Rome. After double, triple, and quadruple checking whether or not I packed my passport, phone charger, and seven extra tubes of deodorant, the time had arrived to depart.
Despite my collegiate athlete status, I struggled to carry my (ginormous) suitcase down the stairs. Needing a break, I dabbed off the sweat dribbling down my forehead, ate one handful (or four) of m&m’s, and let out an involuntary grunt before continuing into the garage. As I wheeled my suitcase down the last stair, the back wheel broke.
And by broke, I mean completely fell off.
At first, all I could do was shift my glance between the cracked wheel and the hole on the suitcase where it used to be. In an attempt to stay positive, I tried to drag the suitcase to the car.
Not only was this unsuccessful, but the dragging made the already gaping hole even larger. However, it wasn’t until after my mother informed we didn’t own a replacement suitcase that I cried a little bit.
“If you flip the suitcase over, it still rolls pretty easy,” my dad said, trying to be helpful. “You just have to find the angle, Shan. Pause, and find the angle.”
Looking like a hobo gala-banding through the airport, I barely made it from the the parking lot to baggage check-in. Waiting in line to weigh my bag, I nearly hyperventilated. Between my 40+ scarves, fringe boots, and emergency Recess peanut butter cups, I knew my bag might exceed the 50 pound limit. Sweating profusely, I watch the number on the scale rise to 49.5 pounds––score!
If I’m not so lucky on my way home, I thought to myself, I’ll just break off another wheel to decrease weight (YOLO).
However, after the damage caused by dragging the bag through the streets of Rome on the way to the hotel, I’m not sure I’ll have a bag left to bring home. Although I tried to “find the angle,” I got hopelessly, desperately lost. Already emotionally distraught from hours of not knowing whether the person sitting next to me on the plane was gazing out the window or glaring directly at me, I wondered whether we would ever actually reach the hotel. Sweating (and this time, literally dripping), blistering on my palms, and nearly crying, the front of my suitcase began to unstitch, and my mind involuntarily flashed to images of my underwear lying all over Rome.
Fortunately, this didn’t actually happen, but as always, the sweating part proved all too real. Between sleeping the same room with a bat, catching swine flu at the Wisconsin Dells, and fainting in a potato field––twice––I regret to inform you this agonizing trek down the cobblestone streets is the worst travel experience I have ever had.
I’m sure I made a great first impression with this city. Let the adventure continue!