Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? My fiancé drove me 2 hours to JFK airport, trying to keep up with the flow of New York. When we arrived, the airport looked like a glimmering city of cars, planes, and bustling people. Everyone seemed to know where they were going except me. Once I found the terminal number on my itinerary, I was able to enter the correct terminal, which is an entire building. Keep in mind, this was my first time flying: What an experience! After I entered, I checked in, where I received my boarding pass. At the same station, I also checked my baggage. Afterwards, it was time to say goodbye to my fiancé because only people with passports who are flying were able to pass through to the security check-in. It was heartbreaking, but I know we will be very happy to see each other when I get back next month. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? After our goodbyes, I proceeded to the security checkpoint, in which the line was wrapped around the entire 2nd floor of JFK airport terminal 8! Though, I was surprised that this line only took about 10 minutes. Aside from being a bit lost, the lines went very fast. Once my passport was scanned, I followed the signs for my correct gate. I was flabbergasted! There were strings of fancy shops filled with travel essentials and bars. It was like walking down Hollywood Blvd. I didn’t mind waiting the hour until my flight because of how awestruck I was by this airport.
After I boarded the plane and the engine turned on, rattling the seats, my anxiety set in. Unfortunately there was a 2 hour delay because of a storm. Luckily I had a layover in Germany for 4 hours anyway, so the delay only cut down on my time spent waiting in the German airport. Once we were in the air, it took 7 hours to reach Berlin. After a few hours, I was used to the high altitude. Once I arrived in Berlin and my passport was stamped, I bought myself a coffee in euros (yay, I got to use euros for the first time!). Then it was time to get on the plane to Rome. This plane was much smaller and I had the opportunity to sit in the window seat, which was worth it. Best view ever.
I finally landed in Rome after around 2 hours in the air. I then followed the hoard of people to the baggage claim, where I waited 20 minutes for my luggage to be spewed onto the luggage belt. I then exited my terminal and standing right there in the crowd was my professor. The excitement ran through my bones like a winter chill. Through 10 hours of flying, I was here. In Rome. Finally. This is what I have been waiting for my whole life.
My professor drove me through the twisty roads of the Italian countryside to the hotel in Artena, 40 miles outside of Rome. The hotel is beautiful! It is lodged very high on the mountain where Artena lies. There’s a terrace connected to every room. The view of all the orange roofs of the villas and the mountains is certainly one of a kind. After settling in for the weekend, we embarked on the 5 minute journey from the hotel to the excavation site (seriously, only 5 minutes). Parts of the site are 4,000 years old. When we arrived, we weeded the land and peeled off the tarps covering the excavated land from last year. Then the real work began. With my 100 SPF sunscreen, bug spray, my dorky hat, and a very sharp tool, I weeded the land for about 4 hours. Today was the first day of the excavation and I am excited to begin digging. I already lightly uncovered a red pot, which I cannot take out of the dirt until we are done weeding the site. And so my real journey begins: The true learning experience of a future archaeologist.