Webster’s Dictionary defines jet lag as follows: a tired and unpleasant feeling that you sometimes get when you travel by airplane to a place that is far away. I have no particular reason to take issue with that specific definition, yet it does not capture my current experience. It is 3:26am in Rome, Italy. I’m typing this entry in the quiet and dimly lit lobby of the Victoria Hotel. This is not jet lag. I do not know what to call it, but I must confess that this is a new one for me.
My wife and I scheduled this vacation several months earlier. It has been a good experience so far except for this bout of sleeplessness. This is to be expected traveling from Los Angeles to Rome. What else does one do at this hour except write a blog post? I will force myself back to sleep after I regurgitate a few words. Later this morning, the adventure begins with a tour of Vatican City and the major points of interest. Tomorrow is a visit to the ancient Rome district, which is home to the Colosseum and the like. I cannot wait to see the pigeons.
Joel is a good friend of mine from Milan, Italy. We spoke for a few minutes before my wife and me boarded our flight. I asked him for any pointers or suggestions. He said, “Don’t be a typical American, and we don’t tip in Europe.” If I want a simple and direct answer, Joel is the man. We have known each other for almost two decades. He is still the same. I recall his own travels between the Western US and Milan. He would share about the sleep adjustment being hard. Now I completely understand what he meant by hard. I can almost hear him say that it’s annoying.
There is a phrase that comes to mind. It goes something like “and this too shall pass.” This sleeplessnes is brief and momentary. In the grand scheme of things, it amounts to a drop of water in the ocean. I’m in Italy, the seat of the Renaissance explosion. Two of my favorite Italian Neorealist movies were shot in Rome: Roberto Rossellini’s Open City and Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves. The city that inspired those two directors gets to exert itself upon this American from Miami. Part of me wants to think that I will not behave like the stereotypical American in this wonderfully electric and ancient city. My goals have been set higher. I am more than meets the eye.
The time is now 4:00am. I will end this post for the sake of posterity. Maybe I can squeeze out two more hours of sleep. It seems like the adventure already has begun in a most unusual way. I expect many more surprises to come. To all my readers, ciao tutti.