It all started with a trip to Philly. Sarah and I had tagged along with her sisters, who headed off to a Bridal shower while we made our way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was mid-July, and I was extremely excited because I was finally heading back to Rome in seven weeks after being unemployed for over a year and a half. Though I had been teaching yoga and started selling my photography work at The Flywheel Gallery, it was nowhere at the level to consider myself self-employed. I was volunteering as the Marketing Director running our social media accounts, applying to countless jobs, and receiving no responses; I was ready to make a significant change and take a risk. So when Lexi asked me in April of 2021 if I would like to sublet her apartment while she was on leave, I jumped at the opportunity—bringing to full circle the fact that I met Sarah and Lexi in Graduate School at The American University of Rome. And ever since, both have had an immensely positive impact on my life, and I am eternally grateful for having them as friends and hope everyone finds friends like them.
The first time Sarah helped me find a new job, I had just returned from working in Venice, Italy, as Program Coordinator for the European Culture Academy. I loved that job, but unfortunately, I couldn’t stay because my student visa had run out after the six-month grace period and because it was too expensive for the Gallery or me to pay for a working visa. So while working apart-time at Carnegie Hall in the education department, a spot had opened up at Archaeological Tours, and Sarah asked me if I would be interested. We worked together at Archaeological Tours for over eight months. Until one Wednesday morning, we arrived to work and couldn’t log into our network system. Soon after, the Financial Director showed up at our office from the UK Headquarters to inform us they were closing the New York office effective immediately and we should consider this layoff permanent. So after calling our parents, Sarah and I decided to spend the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and finished the day off with Tacos. We spend a lot of time in museums; they are our happy places.
Naively optimistic about finding new jobs, our schedules were picking up with interviews, and Sarah started working for Lindblad Expeditions in January 2020. It looked like I was to follow; I had second-round interviews for several travel companies. My options seemed promising, and then covid hit, and my third interviews postponed, and then radio silence. So while I continued to apply to other jobs, I decided to take the opportunity to work on some personal goals. Having practiced yoga for over 15 years, I finally took the time to receive my certification to teach and began teaching yoga at Pure Bliss Yoga in Fort Lee, New Jersey. As fate would allow, it led to meeting my boss’s boyfriend, an Artist from The Flywheel Gallery, which led me to reach my second personal goal of selling my photography work. Leading to the reason I wanted to return to Rome; besides missing it, I was running out of photographs to sell at the Gallery and wanted to start a new collection. So while Sarah and I discussed my plans for Rome, walking past the Rocky statue to the museum, she mentioned that they were looking for people to work on the new ships and that it couldn’t hurt to pass my resume around. By the end of the week, I had an interview scheduled with the Director of Artisan Development. Three weeks before I left for Rome, I was offered the job as Global Gallery Manager aboard the National Geographic Resolution heading for Antarctica in November. And here is where the fun begins.