Sunday, May 29, 2011

How My Homecoming Was God-Worthy

Hey lovers.

I had this lovely entry a few pages long typed up but as it is, this isn’t my laptop and so I’ve been trying to deal with a shitty (albeit working) computer. That story will come in a second.

I haven’t written here in so long. I became unbelievably busy by the end of the semester. I was running around trying to see everyone and do everything I possibly could before my time ran out. I knew this was going to happen- I’d make a huge list of things to do (as I have a liking to do) and since I didn’t try to do some of them weeks ago, I would run out of time.

In any event, I said all my goodbyes. They weren’t sad, I knew that I would see the people I cared to see in a matter of time. After three sleep deprived days, I boarded the Alterini bus that would take me to depart from the city I first arrived in, in January.

We left for the bus at 10PM Friday, May 13th 2011. We departed at precisely 11PM. Around 1:45AM, we arrived at the Roman Fiumicino aeroporto. I can’t describe the pure irritation I had at the fact that we had to get there SO early when my flight wasn’t taking off until noon. But we dealt with it.

The shuttles to the international terminal didn’t run until 6AM, so I slept on the floor (with a break of an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on my laptop) until then. We shuttled over to terminal 3 which was really a warehouse with guys holding machine guns. And there we sat on the floor until 8AM. I departed from Kat and Haven, saying a partial goodbye because we weren’t sure if we’d meet each other on the other side at the gates. As it would turn out, that’d be the last time.

After we checked in, I went through security. Worried about my photo paper that I was desperately trying to take home, I threw all of my things into 4 separate bins. One for my boots and jacket, one for my bookbag, one for my messenger bag, and one for my laptop. I tried to explain to them why they couldn’t put it through the x-ray, and they understood because they’d done this before. They were kind about it. I stood there and waited for them to hand check it, and when it was over, I put my shoes and jacket on as I talked to them, and grabbed my messenger bag at the end of the belt. I almost walked off without my bookbag, and at the last second remembered and went to grab it right as it was coming out of the belt.

I sat at the gate until almost noon. I talked to Kara and Mallory until they had to go to their gate, and hugged them goodbye. I was pretty bummed I hadn’t hung out with Mallory more.

The flight would be a total of 10 hours. It wasn’t a big deal considering the bus trip to Croatia.

About 6 hours in, I grew bored. The windows were all closed, Liz was asleep next to me, and the lights were dimmed. The movie choices were a bit boring. So I reached for my laptop.

That wasn’t there.

What ensued was literally a whole hour of uncontrollable crying, nausea that nearly ended in vomit in my hands, and hand tremors. I have never felt that sick or upset in my entire life. Literally.

I continued crying for the four hours and it slowed down when I tried to occupy myself with in-flight movies and shows, but I would break out in crying every so often. I never cry audibly in public but this time was definitely an exception to the rule.

Add in my sleep deprivation- you’ve got an unstable girl. I had just had a conversation with Kat a few weeks ago about how I never cry anymore. But again- exceptions. There was nothing I could do for 4 hours.

This chunk of metal was worth $2000 of my life, more than everything I have combined, I’m sure.
Long story short, I went through several people who basically told me there wasn’t anything they could do except give me the number of FCO’s Lost and Found.

I landed in Philly, frustrated beyond belief. I was so close to home but I wasn’t home yet. I slept on the 20 minute flight from Philly to BWI to keep myself from going more insane. And when I landed, I waited another hour and some until my parents got to the airport. As I sat there, I started crying again. I wanted to fly the 10 hours back to get to my laptop. And then when my parents walked up, I burst into tears. My parents never see me cry. They haven’t seen me cry since probably about middle school.

After two days and countless phone calls (some that ended in no response or a hang-up), I learned that it was still there and wasn’t blown up.

I’ve been so unbelievably stressed out about it that it’s been throwing my balance completely off.

On the bright side, I had the best welcome home. I’ve told a lot of people this; it’s not like I didn’t expect people to miss me because well, I HAVE friends. But I’m surprised by how much people missed me. Even though it didn’t happen, I was touched that Allison and Alex tried to throw a surprise party for me haha even though some people backed out and it died. Oh well. It would have been nice. I’ve always wanted a surprise party which is part of why I like throwing them hahah.

Anyways, I came home and Alex was the first on the scene. :) 15 years of friendship, who else could I expect? I almost cried when I hugged her. She hung out with me that night until I almost fell asleep. I got ready for bed and laid on the couch until I got a phonecall… the guys were trying to get me to come to their after-prom. I had to.

I jumped in the car and gave Mikey a huge hug and gave Scott and Seong their hugs when we got out. It was great to see everyone that night. I had missed them so much, and Kelsey picked me up when she saw me. Eventually I would come to see Ronnie also.

Wednesday, I came into the studio. I parked at Donnybrook- my old stomping grounds. It took about 20 minutes to walk from there to the library (which was so much faster now that I had spent 4 months walking the length of a city every day), where I met my sister and almost cried hugging her. We spoke only for a few minutes but then we left.

I walked to the CFA. It felt so odd walking around, I felt like a stranger but then I felt like I knew everyone at the same time. I ran into Lois and Hannah and talked to them- the people I met when it all started in Jewelry 1. 2 years ago. Impossible.

I hung by the displays outside of 2017 waiting for the Casting crit to finish when I heard “OH. EM. GEE. LOOK WHOSE BACK.” And I turned around to of course, Damon. :) We ran to each other and he picked me up with a hug and we chit-chattered about everything. Probably one of my favorite welcomes.

And Anna’s. She walked out of the door (WITH SHORT HAIR) and almost jumped me to the ground! She just kept saying how much she missed me with a lot of “OH MY GOD’s” and with the door half cracked, Lindsay Fortier inside gasped and said “CATHERINE!” And the rest of the classroom sounded with “what?”s and stirring. But Anna shut the door and said “NOT NOW!” and took off for her next final, but not without another hug.

Minutes later, the rest of them filed out and all gave me hugs. Kelsey was in her studio sweats, apparently, and carrying her work as we gave each other a hug. Seeing Dirty Kelsey/Kelsey in sweats made me laugh because it just reminded me of what I missed. bahhh it was so great to see everyone. But I was still searching for Amy. And I turned around to see her- I just remember running up to her and jumping into her arms.

I was home.

I talked to Tai after he walked out and man I missed my sass-a-frass. I missed EVERYONE. The only person I didn’t get to see was Jan, and it would have been nice to see Savanna, Drew, and Parang to congratulate them on graduating.

I hung in Amy’s Space and with Jieun for awhile before I headed home and stopped to hang with Meg for a bit, and Matt Taylor, who I had blown off like every day to be in the studio. And to my relief, he didn’t hate me :)

At 8, Ashley came to pick me up (THANK YOU!) and took me to dinner at Anna, Denise, and Margo’s. It was just a blur of happiness and crazy excitement. That’s really all I can say to describe it. We caught up on the semester, or as much as you can in a couple of hours, with wine and GREAT food compliments of Kelsey. And literally within minutes I also became good friends with Ashley.

I went home thanking almost wondering why I ever left (but not forgetting why and how great it was that I did).

Then the next day at work, about an hour in, I picked up the ringing phone with a “Hello, thank you for calling T&K Salon, this is Catherine. How can I help you?” and got a “Catherine? DAMNIT.” It was Jodi. Minutes later, she came running in with Mia (her daughter) and had a huge banner put up that said “WELCOME BACK BABY CATHERINE.”
The third time I was almost in tears.

The rest of my weekend working was a mess of “BABY CATHERINE!” and old ladies saying “OH DEAR/THANK GOD YOU’RE BACK!!” And a total of $120ish in tips. WHOAHOHOHO it felt good to be back.

I was slightly worried about having a home-culture shock but these welcomes made it SO easy. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It just felt unbelievable to know that I was cared about by so many people and my god, if you ever wanna know how lucky or loved you are, just leave for a few months because when you come back, you’ll know the full force of it.

I had a welcome home that would make the gods jealous.

And now my summer has been full of living MY American dream.

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