We have the opportunity on the daily to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Whether one goes through their day searching for good deeds to be done,
or simply takes advantage of random opportunities to spread love,
every action (or inaction) has a resounding impact.
The question is: Is your impact today going to be positive, negative, or indifferent?
I have been told that one person can't make a difference.
I affectionately call these people "dummies"...
Those who actively try to hold the rest of us down,
those who would rather watch you drown than help you soar, those who can't grasp the power of positivity to create change.
Whether it's a great recipe found, or an uplifting story to share, you can be sure to find it here.
Let's start a Positivity Revolution, and drown out the dumb!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Italy Gals Don't Cry

It's our first trip out of the country; with no guide, no real plans, and only a pocket translator (thanks, Lee!) to help us decipher what others are saying around us.

Thank goodness we are staying for 11 days, because today has been a traveling disaster. We left yesterday morning on 3 hours of sleep, and at this point are nearing hour 28. It will be closer to 30 hours once we finally arrive to our hotel! We are stinky, exhausted, and a little stressed out; which is too stressed for vacay. Each one of our flights was delayed, resulting in us strong-arming old ladies out of our way as we sprinted (more of a run-shuffle, in flip-flops) to our next airport hub.

We arrived safely, albeit sweatily, in Milan around 1pm this afternoon (5am our time). We quickly discovered that although traveling without knowing the language of the land is easy in an airport, the train is another beast altogether. We purchased tickets to Malpensa from Milan, with a connection to Milano Centrale train station (or so we thought). Upon arriving in Malpensa a little over an hour later, our driver told us we had the wrong tickets. There was an obvious communication gap, leaving us with bags in hand and nowhere to go, and we ended up leaving our bus to find another way to Milano Centrale.

We purchased tickets for a train to Milano Centrale using a different company, and we relaxed on a speedy train for another hour, basically heading back in the direction we came. Awesome! I dozed off, and when I awoke, we came to the conclusion that it was time to get off the train. What we didn't realize was that we were getting off a full 3 stops early! Again, train travel is harder than air travel.

We sped around this new station, trying not to look too lost and foreign in this foreign land. It appeared there were literally zero kiosks or employees to ask for assistance from, but we finally found an English-speaking attendant who helped us purchase the correct ticket for our seemingly elusive destination.

Entering the Milano Centrale train station was exciting and chaotic. The architecture is beautiful, and the people even more so. We found a dark-haired, blue-eyed (married) police officer to assist us to ensure we would not miss our train to Monterosso. He graciously advised that we could keep an eye on one of the many monitors around the station for our gate assignment, and to pay special attention 10 minutes prior to departure. Whew! We were 40 minutes early. No sweat. We shopped, payed to use the restroom (weird), re-hydrated, and kept a watchful eye on our gate position.

So...our gate never comes up. We ask another officer, a different kiosk, and finally, a fairly grumpy man who is being shouted at in all languages about travel. Cathie takes the lead, pointing out our destination and the time. "You are 35 minutes late; that train has left. These displays are not working." So THAT'S what the many announcements (mind you, all in Italian) were for! Perhaps we should have become fluent before making this excursion?

Not to be deterred (although we both are on he verge of tears, red-faced and wide-eyed...Will we ever reach our little village?), we sweet-talk our attendant on Trenitalia to throw us on another train. She does, but fails to mention that since we no longer have seat assignments, we get to play musical chairs for anyone that enters our cabin. We end up moving about 3 times, each instance creating more anxiety than the last.

We finally settle in, and an angelic attendant sits with us to write down the times and names of the towns we will need to hop off in order to reach our final destination. Holding onto this piece of invaluable information, we successfully, nervously, hop off our train to Monterosso. We pass through the tunnel towards the exit, with absolutely no idea of what we would see on the other side...

...the view is breathtaking, even at 11 o'clock at night. The sea greets us amid softly-lot pathways that travel all over the village. People are everywhere; beautiful and put together and stylish. We finally made it.

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