After a couple hours of sleep on a row of seats in Heathrow (that's my bed in the photo to the left), I got my ticket, went through security, and spent my last few pounds on a breakfast sandwich. In a few short hours, I was back in Italy.
This is where things started to get hectic. I took the first shuttle possible from Malpensa airport to Milano Centrale, but it didn't arrive until 11:07, and the train I wanted to take from Milano Centrale to Sanremo was scheduled to leave at 11:10. I sprinted down the platform and across the station, but my plans were foiled when the conductor told me that buying a ticket on board the train would cost me an additional fifty euro.
I did that sad Charlie Brown walk with my head down and my heels dragging over to some chairs, and called Jimmy to double-check that there was actually room for me in Baiardo (there was). Then I tried to buy my train ticket and got another lovely surprise: out of the dozens of automatic ticket kiosks in that train station, none were working properly. With the line for the ticket desks stretching out the door and across the lower level of the station, it was more than an hour until I actually had my ticket in hand.
I finally arrived in Sanremo on the six'o'clock train. I didn't mention this before, but the primary reason I was hoping to get there early was to run into some of my favorite returning tutors as they waited to welcome new tutors to the final orientation of the year.
My dear Josephine was there. If you remember, we spent seven weeks working and vacationing together in 2009, but I hadn't seen her since July of 2010, so we had a lot to catch up on. And then there was Laura, who had been my partner in crime last August in Baiardo. She was also the person who kept me sane through Facebook messages when I hated everything about Argentina. They're wonderful girls, and two of the most hilarious people I've ever met in my life.
But all too soon I had to take the bus up the mountain. When I got to the top, I found things more or less as I'd left them: there were only a handful of people, but they were people I knew from before; I would be staying in the loft once again; and the wine was still three glorious euros. We made a quiet night of it by watching a movie all together in the loft. It was a great start to another great week.