As they say, the end of one adventure is the beginning of the next. Or something like that. That’s what I say, anyway. I whiled away the rest of the time in Pisa journaling and laying on the beach and turning lobster red because I was too cheap to buy sunscreen. The best part of that was the white bow shape on my hip from my bikini. All thanks to the Mediterranean sun.
I was antsy to start something new, but also terrified to rejoin society. For five weeks I had been indulgently frolicking across the continent, keeping my own company and having no obligations to anyone but myself and my stomach and my urge to see the next thing. I had become most at ease at train stations and adept at navigating in non-English languages. When I did have company, it was with fellow backpackers at the hostels, free-spirited, rootless wanderers like me. Now I would be joining the ranks of 50 or so other college students from all over the States. I would be rejoining the ranks of students, full of social dynamics and unspoken rules and fashion sense, all of which I felt inept to face.
The hotel was in a small beach town, where we would be having our two-week orientation. Everyone else was flying in and being brought on a bus in one horde. I arrived a few hours before them to mentally prepare myself. There was a cafe directly across the street with lots of lovely looking tables and chairs on a patio. They were nice enough to serve me even though it may or may not have been closed for the two hour pausa (everything closes in the afternoon, like a siesta). I had a fantastic panino and read on the patio.
All of a sudden, across the street, a bus pulls in front of the hotel. It hisses and opens, and I am filled with panicky anticipation. Out pour scads of girls. One after the other, all girls. And a handful of guys. Then they open the bottom of the bus, and out come hundreds of colossal suitcases. Each girl starts claiming mountains of suitcases, and they laugh together, flouncing into the hotel. I was out of my league.