The entire, *insert enraging adjective* story of everything (few and far between) that took place in downtown Rome, Italy.
Note: this story is an excerpt from my notebook entry the day after this all happened, from a prior adventure while living in Italy. Some parts may sound like I was ranting. I was. Just stick with me until the end.
I hope you brought candles, because when it comes to having the most ridiculous adventure on your first time in Rome, Italy, I take the cake. Sit back and enjoy the show, because this is going to be one rather informative blog post. iAndiamo!
It all started with my Au Pair host mother, telling me I have weekends free to go travel around Italy and do as I please. She shouldn’t have told me this, because I like adventures (and gelato). Next thing I know, I’m booking a room off of Airbnb.com. It’s an awesome website, great concept, good layout, but there are those certain incidents where you get a not-so-great experience.
*cue my adventure last night*
So I had booked this lady’s room, she seemed really nice, had great reviews, everyone said she was a wonderful host, so I was like “Junk yeah! I wanna stay there!” The reviews all said she picked them up from the train station, provided dinner, and was super friendly. Well, I asked her about it beforehand and she was like “Yeah, no problem, I’ll see you then!” (Side note, she barely speaks English.) So I arrive at the Roma Termini after a four-hour train ride, only to find out the train station doesn’t have any signal for wifi, and that was the only way I could get in communication with her due to the fact that I don’t have an Italian cell phone number.
After wandering around trying to ask police officers (who ALSO don’t speak a lick of English) where I can get wifi, one finally told me about this little restaurant upstairs, so I ventured up there and sat in that stinkin’ restaurant for TWO hours attempting to get service to talk to the lady that is supposed to be picking me up from the station. After two hours of sporadic messages, she finally just tells me to meet her at 11 pm at this pizza restaurant called Da Baffetto’s (which oddly enough translates to “By Mustache”), and I will just go with her back to her house from there. Okay, not too bad. It was 3 miles away. Wah.
So I was like, okay, I wanted to walk around Rome anyway, maybe this will be a good chance for me to see some places on my way to the restaurant. And by this time, my phone was on like 15% battery, due to lack of outlets in train stations. Wah.
So I start off down the road, following the ways of the ever-loving Google maps, and it leads me down the wrong way. So I walk and walk and walk and I try to ask people where to go, but sweet sassy molassey, there were moments when I really felt like I was the only stinkin’ human that speaks English in Italy, so no one knows how to help me out. Fast forward an hour and a half, (it’s 11 o’clock), my pHONE DIES. The only sort of communication device or map I have, IS DEAD. GONE. DONE. (Also, I apologize for my ranting, I just have a lot of EMOTIONS right now. Forgive me.)
So I find these people who look like they speak some English, and congrats to me, they do. He looks up the place on his phone and shows me where to go. It’s like 2 miles in the other direction. Long story short, he gives me this bus pass and just tells me to take Bus 64 and where to get off. Sweet human. He’s super nice and I like him.
So I get to the pizza place, by now it’s like 11:30, and I was super afraid she was already going to have left for some reason.
*insert ironic foreshadowing here*
I walk in, and I (attempt to) talk to the old hostess lady to ask if there is a Rachele there. She is like “GKJFDGHFDKNDFSKGJH (Italian) LFKDGDF NON CAPISCO” So this is where I awkwardly walk around the whole restaurant asking if they are Rachele. You would think that I was holding a fire breathing dragon or something, these people were giving me the weirdest looks.
After a good five minutes of this, the two ladies at the table RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOSTESS are like, “Elisa? Elise? Is that you?”
Anger aside of the fact that they obviously heard me asking all around, I was relieved. So I sat down and I talked to the friend because she spoke more english than Rachele and was kind of like our translator. At this point, I just want to get in a bed and pass out, dude. So they pay, and we walk to the car. This is where the story gets fantastic.
Turns out, she has a Smart car. If you didn’t know, Smart cars can literally only fit two people (i.e., Rachele and her friend). So we get to the car and she starts talking about how I need to buy a bus ticket to her house and I’m like “Che cosa? Number one, I was supposed to be picked up by you, at the train station, five hours ago. Number two, now you want me to buy a ticket for a bus?” (Another side note, and I’m just chock full of these, before she suggested we just meet at Da Baffettos, she told me to buy a ticket for Metro A and just take that to her house. I bought it, and I walk downstairs, and APPARENTLY, the crew of the Metro had decided to go on strike, and they shut down Metro at 8:30 pm.)
So I had already gotten a train ticket that didn’t even work, and NOW she wants me to buy a bus ticket? Then she goes, “Yeah, and the bus doesn’t stop at my house either, you’ll have to get off at Governo Vecchio and walk, but it’s only about 4–5 kilometers, you’ll be fine.”
Son of a bisquik, WHAT? I just waited two hours, then walked 3 hours to a restaurant, was going to buy a bus ticket if that’s what it took to get some stinkin’ sleep, and THEN you tell me I’m going to have to walk 4–5 more kilometers? (Excuse my complaining, again, I’m sorry). Her friend had offered to buy my bus ticket (she was at least a little bit decent), and Mrs. Rachele tells her NO. And then starts laughing, and then they both end up just laughing, and I’m standing there like what on earth is going on.
And here comes my FAVORITE part of the night.
I’m just super confused at this point, because as a host, she was supposed to pick me up and all that jam, so I was just asking her about it all, and she goes, “You know what? It’s late, and I’m super tired, I think it would be best if you just find a hotel around here. Goodnight.”
So the emotions jump out and I hop on her case like Nutella on strawberries and I’m like ARE YOU LEGITIMATELY LEAVING ME IN DOWNTOWN ROME, AT 1 IN THE MORNING, TO FEND FOR MYSELF AND FIND A HOTEL? So after that whole ordeal, I walk off, and the only thing I could think to do was go back to the pizza restaurant and see if I can charge my phone again. As I’m there, the owner, a precious old Italian man, tells me that the front of the store is about to close and I am more than welcome to come sit in the back of the restaurant and charge it so I can find a hostel online. He realizes I haven’t had a good night, so he makes me sit down at this big table and proceeds to bring me tons of food (he already knew me too well). My heart proceeded to melt. So I sit down at this table, and I eat with the whole staff full of old Italian men for over an hour, and I just felt so thankful.
Finally, after I’m done, I leave and hop (sneak) on a bus and I go get myself a stinkin’ room in a hostel, at two in the morning.
So I walk into my hostel room, quietly lay down, and think about the only thing keeping me sane: coffee and a chocolate croissant in the morning, to accompany me on my sight seeing double decker bus around Rome. I DO love me some chocolate.
Earlier on my way to Rome, I was thinking about the fact that I wanted to eat an authentic, Italian meal while I was there. Eating with the staff of Da Baffettos may not have been my initial plan, but I sure was thankful Jesus led me to them. When they saw a girl who was obviously helpless at 1 in the morning, they took her in. They charged her phone. They fed her pasta. They laughed in only a way that old Italian men can laugh. They cared for her, and that was something that I had not felt all night: care.
Another thing I love about Jesus, is that He trains us. He keeps us safe along the way, but He prepares us for the (Roman) road ahead of us. He knows what we will need to learn for the future, so He puts us in situations that build us, that give us a better sense of direction. He may remove things out from under you (i.e., my place to stay with Rachele), but He will provide another way (the hostel). He may change your plans (having a nice dinner with Rachele at the house), but He will replace them with even better plans, His plans (the behind-the-scenes dinner with the Da Baffetto’s staff).
So the moral of this story is: don’t buy a smart car. Because you’ll turn into an insane old Italian lady who leaves her guest stranded in downtown Rome at one in the morning, with nothing but Jesus and gelato.
But who needs more than that?