JFK is a lesson in misery. The Aer Lingus gate agent that checked us in looked like she wanted to puke on her own Kelley green uniform and tell us all to fuck off. She settled with forgetting to give us an essential form we needed when we landed Dublin. I, with my non EU passport, was poked and prodded a little before the Garda would let me go. My mother stood there laughing and calling it payback for all the times I'd had to wait for her on the other side of US immigrations.
We went to get breakfast in one of the only Terminal restaurants, a pub. One of the natives ordered a pint of lager at 5 AM, while the rest of stared over our wilted croissants and milky tea. I had attempted to ice mine, but the machine had spat out a miserable three ice cubes. And this pub had clearly engendered the Nazi Ice Cube Brigade. They told me some nonsense about starving children in Africa when they said I couldn't have more. Right, I'm sure the ice cubes will be helpful, we'll just send the excess over on the next air lift.
For a good forty-five minutes it was just my mother and me waiting at the gate to Roma Fiumicino, but the Irish school-trip hoards descended on us. They were running around like they were jacked on speed at 6 AM, and didn't shut up for the entire plane ride. By the time we got through immigrations, a slapdash affair in Italy, that didn't slow them up long enough, my mom decided to take the shuttle rather than get on the train and bear their company for another forty-five minutes.
Of course the shuttle-driver summarily cheated us, but we made it to our apartment at around 12. After months of subterranean temperatures and the sudden dump of snow back at school, Rome seemed a paradise. A few days later, I determined I never wanted to leave.