I can’t believe all that has happened this week.
With the increasing regulations on the corona virus here in Italy I was getting pretty anxious. I needed to get out and ride. I filled out my paper and hit the road. I had planned a long ride. I wanted to go about the 56 miles mark but fell short. This was because I was pulled over.
La Polizia pulled me over around 30 miles. I handed my paper to them, but didn’t have my identification on me. I learned that it is expected for you to have your ID on you when you are in Italy. I showed a digital version of my IDs and the paper but they weren’t pleased. I had explained that I have a company that it is my work to ride and document, especially my mental health through isolation. I think some of that was lost in translation. They took me into the station and questioned me further.
After a few hours I was released and told to go straight home. I was happy to oblige. I didn’t know that it would be a bad thing to go out on my bike. I am happy to obey the rules and laws. I was under the impression that if it was part of our work we could go out. Apparently not.
After that point I was scared to go out at all. I now had a record and if I did it again it would be worse. But that Friday something happened that changed everything.
Emilee and I woke up with the distinct impression to look for flights back to the states. We started looking and what we found was distressing. We found a travel advisory level 4 that asked those outside of the states to travel back if you didn’t have plans to stay outside for an indefinite period of time. We knew we needed to return around the first of June. As we looked for flights we couldn’t get one. They were all being canceled.
We started to panic. After a moment we calmed down and formed a plan. Emilee would work on getting a flight home and I would work on getting us ready to fly out in the morning. It was really good because it gave us something that we could focus on and accomplish. Since we had objectives we didn’t have time to be anxious.
After several phone calls we were stuck. We couldn’t get a flight. We prayed. After 20 min we called Delta again. My wife asked “how can we get home?” The amazing Delta representative, Julie, found us a flight.
We only had about 20 hours to pack up everything and get on a plane. We worked hard, had to say some hard goodbyes to some blankets and left. The hardest part about leaving was not being able to say goodbye to our friends. We love them and couldn’t even see them. We did, however, get to see Reyna. She gave us a ride to the airport.
We had to take a few trips to the airport, one for the family and on for our stuff. We first arrived around 3:00 am. There was only one flight for the whole airport, ours. It left at 7:00 a.m. I headed back to the house to get all our stuff and load it up. Reyna and I arrived the second time at around 5:30. When we were in line to check everything in there was a young man and his sister not being allowed to pass through the United States to make it home to Canada. They couldn’t board the plane. They were stuck.
We got everything checked in and our tickets and said an emotional goodbye to one of our greatest friends. It was emotional because of her, and because she also represented her family and all of our friends. Within 30 min we were seated on a plane to Rome.
We still didn’t know if we would be able to make it home. The flights were all being canceled. When we arrived in Rome we are all tired. We had all been awake for about 32 hours at that point. We had a few hours until our flight would leave. We got to the gate in an empty airport. Our flight was one of the few leaving. On the board almost every other flight was canceled.
After a great relief we were in the air heading to NY. We didn’t know what would be awaiting us at NY but we knew we would at least be on American soil. After a brief screening we were heading to our flight to Utah. It must have been funny to see a family of 6 trying to lug 18 pieces of luggage, a check in, a carry on, and a personal bag for each of us. After a little bit we were safely sitting on a plane in the air going towards home.
My Father dropped off our car for us. He is amazing. We weren’t able to see him as we were self quarantining and wanted to keep him safe. Because we didn’t know if we would be stuck in NY or not we hadn’t made accommodations yet. We had no where to go and too much luggage for our 4Runner.
Emilee quickly booked a hotel near the Airport for the next few days. We found an AirBnb in the area we were looking to live for two weeks and left. With no one and not being able to meet anyone, we embarked.
Now we are resting in a wonderful AirBnb looking for somewhere to live for the next little bit. This was an extremely stressful experience and several times we both collapsed or broke down. It isn’t over, but, as we have learned on several occasions, life moves on, and so must we.