Getting back to L’Aquila with the promise of a shortly incoming visa, all that was left was to wrap things up at the lab, pack my things and vamoose. Aye… On paper, that was simple.
Let’s start with work. By tuesday afternoon, most of the things I was supposed to ship back, i.e. half of the freakin experiment, was still underground and in use. Nevermind about the 40 tons of lead and polyethylene, those are staying a bit longer as per an agreement between the two opposing parties and the funding agencies (thank God!). But all the acquisition electronics, cables, computers… Those I had to plead and negotiate for one by one, over lunch, over the phone, inbetween jokes to keep the moral going. It was a lot of fun. Eventually friday came, and almost everything was packed and ready to go except for a couple of gizmos that would, I was promised, see their way upstairs and into a cardboard over the week-end. Seeing as how I was scheduled to leave Italy monday at noon… no stress, right?
No choice, in any case. Over the week-end, I had other cats to chase: my apartment was still full. I spent two days packing and cleaning and throwing things away, from 7 in the morning to 10 in the evening. Everything also had to fit into the corsa… an interesting challenge, to say the least! In the end I had no choice but to leave a number of things behind, including but not limited to: my tired office chair, the lounge chair, the foldable balcony table, the vacuum cleaner and even my trusty blanket that had followed me all the way from Lyon. O, woes!
Monday came and at 6am I was still scrubbing the floor and trying to figure out how to fit everything in the car. Left early for the lab in order to finalize the Fedex shipping, fruitlessly spent an hour driving around trying to find roof rails to hold my extra bags and at 10:30 I was back at the apartment to meet with my landlord and the realtor lady. Gas, water and electricity counters were checked, the apartment was deemed in need of professional cleaning (what did I just spend two days scrubbing for? Who knows…) AND the bathroom wall was found to be starting to rot. My bad, I guess. Didn’t pay enough attention. In the end, out of the 1000 euros security deposit, 500 were retained for the past month’s rent, ~350 for utilities of the last few months, 80 for cleaning and the rest was not enough to cover works on the rotting wall. Therefore I had to make another check for 500 euros before I could finally leave. Yay…
Eventually managed to take the contents of one bag of clothing apart and stuff socks and shirts in every possible free corner remaining in the car. That being done, I started the engine and proceeded to the highway, direction: Francia. it had been hard, but at least it was over.