Monday, May 16, 2011

The journey to Cosmprof Bologna...

Preparing to leave for several weeks to Cosmoprof is an overwhelming task in itself.  I felt like a bag of nerves filled with excitement but major stress as well.  It is very difficult to work normally on the road.  A consistent internet connection is not guaranteed, so I had to plan as if my daily work would be non-existent for two full weeks.  The packing process was intense!!  In my mind I had convinced myself that everyone at the show would be dressed magnificently, and that I would look like a country cousin in comparison.  I know John thought I was crazy to worry so much…but it is easy for him to pack a few nice suits.  Ladies have much more to worry about, right?
I was traveling with Stephanie Johnson, our International Sales Manager.  Phew!  A seasoned international traveler that I could just follow around.  We arrived in Milan safe and sound only to realize that our luggage did not arrive with us!!!  After all of my wardrobe planning, I was left with nothing.  I tried not to freak out, telling myself that they would deliver our luggage before we left to Bologna for the show.  And they did…but those hours of not having luggage felt like forever.
I do not know why they insist on scheduling Cosmoprof in March/April.  It is cold and rainy in Italy during that time.  Not great for sightseeing and most importantly shoppingL.  Stephanie and I had two days to shuffle around Milan and acclimate to the new time zone.  Jet lag was seriously INTENSE for me this trip.  I swear I wanted to sleep every four hours.  Beyond sleeping, we spent our time in Milan shopping in the pouring rain.  Milan has amazing expensive shopping…there was actually a street that sported TWO Prada stores!!  And people were actually in them.  There are several streets dedicated to shopping and they all lead right up to the Duomo cathedral in the center of town.  Here you will see the only picture we took of our adventures in the rain.  Gothic looking, right?  It really is beautiful though, and you never find anything remotely similar in the United States.  Here is another picture of the Duomo in better weather from one of my trips two years ago. 
Soon enough, our time in Milan was up.  We scrambled to catch the train to Bologna.  Stephanie was stuck lugging two ridiculously heavy suitcases into the train area.  For those of you that have never traveled on European trains, heavy luggage is not something you want to be stuck with.  And people are always annoyed with you as they watch you struggle to get the suitcases on the train.  But, it couldn’t be helped and Stephanie was such a trooper managing it allJ.  We finally settled in our seats and I was just about to drift off to sleep when I start thinking about my bags and if there is anything people could steal while I was snoozing.  The train started moving just as I realized that we both left our passports in the hotel safe!!!  OMG….seriously?  The one rule while traveling abroad is not to lose your passport.  I jump out of my seat to find Stephanie to deliver the news.  She was much calmer than I expected telling me that it was okay and we would figure something out.  The passports seriously did not arrive in Bologna until the night before we were supposed to fly to Spain.  Once we got them, Stephanie told me that she was seriously a nervous wreck over the situation but that she was trying to stay calm for my benefit.  Bravo!  I swear I couldn’t even tell that she was nervous.  She told me that the second I walked back to my seat on the train, she was on the phone in a major panic…ha..ha!!

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