I made it to the airport in plenty of time, and got my seat assignment, despite the temperamental USAir computer system, which was on the fritz. As I went to board my plane, the person taking the tickets said "Who is Manuela Resch?". I replied, "Who?". What was this, a trivia question? Did I have to know this to board? No, Manuela Resch was the name on my ticket. The computer system had given me the wrong ticket. They weren't going to let me on the plane. At first, the idea of heading back to Pisa was rather appealing, but at this point, I could feel the mental damage from sleep deprivation (seriously) and doubted I'd make it that far. They called up one of the main guys from USAir who came to investigate. I basically told the guy that I was getting on that plane, regardless of what the computer system had done to me. He said not to worry. They got things straightened out, but I had to deal with it all over again when transferring through Philadelphia. There was no reservation under "Rickert", just "Resch". Where was this person anyway? Travelling around as me? Who knows?

As I was flying back from Rome, I was looking forward to being somewhere that everyone spoke English. I still had remembered my new years resolution to learn a new language, and now that I had met someone I would keep in touch with that was Italian, it seemed the only clear choice. (My Italian classes at Northern Virginia College start January 19th). I had 10 hours to sleep, but had too much on my mind, and probably only dozed off for an hour or two. I thought about Irene, I don't really know when the next time I'll see her will be, but I know that our paths will cross again. People have asked if we're dating. Please, get serious. I don't know what we will ever be. Maybe just good friends, maybe more, I just don't know. All I know is that from the minute I met her, I knew that she was supposed to somehow be in my life. There were too many weird coincidences surrounding the way we met.

There's others, but I cant remember them all right now.

On the plane, I really thought about a lot of things, and realized that there was so much more of the world that I wanted to see, and wanted to do.

I made a decision to follow my dreams, and travel the rest of this world. I've been, what I would consider, pretty successful in the information technology industry. I could stay here in this business for the next 20 years, and likely do pretty well. By that time, I'd probably have a nice house, some cool cars, and a good deal of money in the bank, yet I could still be poor, but just in other areas of my life. Even though you need money to survive, and it can help you get the things that make you happy (even help you travel), if you don't follow your dreams, I don't see it being worth a whole lot. I've mentioned to people that I'd like to grow wine grapes in Italy. I'm serious about this in a way. In the way that I'm trying to illustrate how much of a change I'd like to make in what I do. Don't get me wrong, I love the IT industry. Its awesome, and it has made me fortunate beyond what I ever expected. But I've done the IT thing, and in a couple of years, it may be time to do something else, I think. (Read the Alchemist to understand this one). I don't want to spend the next 20 years doing this. I want to live in other places, and meet other people, and live other ways. Theres a sacrifice for all of that, and that is the joy of settling down, which I know I will do someday. Its just going to be on an unconventional time frame. I don't know if I'll travel alone, or with someone. Who knows, maybe Irene, maybe with a stranger I meet on my way to the airport as I get ready to leave.

I had learned so many things, about myself, about others, about what I wanted, and about what I thought. I learned that a smile is the same in any language. I learned that people are generally good natured, something which is easy to forget. Most importantly, I learned that there is so much more that I want to learn…………….

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