I was standing at check-ins at JFK Airport. My stomach was in knots. My head was spinning. I was bursting with excitement.

Books I’d flipped through prior to leaving and also brought along with me:


Meet and Greet: Jen

Say hello to Jen, the blunt Brooklynite from New York who will be my trip buddy! First impressions: she is one tough cookie. Very tomboyish. I mean, who do you know carries dumbbells with them on a trip? Well, I was soon to learn my first somebody who does as we waited on line at luggage checks. We made an initial pact of some sort – just for a case of “emergency” in Italy. She could be my bodyguard. Just one intimidating look from her, and anyone better not be messing with us.

Well, I did get to quickly learn a flip side of Jen. She does at least wear dresses. And, let’s see, “cute scary” might be the description for many of Jen’s objects of affections.

Such as the features of this mascot toy during a stopover at Madrid.




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