This year has been one full of many different things: traveling, emotions, friends and family.
Traveling: I was fortunate enough to visit and/or live in 12 countries. Visit loads of different cities full of all new culture and sights.
The United States: Rochester, Buffalo, New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Ithaca
Jamaica: Kingston, Treasure Beach, YS Falls
Scotland: Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee
Italy: Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Via Reggio, Rome, Cinque Terre, Trento, Verona, Venice
Germany: Munich, Berlin
France: Paris, Cannes, Nice, St. Paul de Vence, Eze
Czech Republic: Prague
Croatia: Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes
(I also was stopped at a train station in Vienna, Austria for about three hours, I don’t officially count it)
Friends: I have been extremely fortunate enough in my travels and in my everyday life to have met some amazing people. I met one of my best friends in Jamaica and Im so happy for him to be studying abroad too. I also met some wonderful people studying abroad that I look forward to keeping in touch with and visiting while home in the United States. During Study Abroad and being away you realize who your true friends are. This played into the emotions and losing friends along the way. Its unfortunate but something good always comes from it. Like a new boyfriend per say. I know the people I will strive to be friends with for life and I know the people that are not worth my time. Working on me and knowing who I am is something that I have been shown this year.
Family: Where would anyone be without family. I am truly blessed with a great one. I have two amazing dogs too!
Three surprises down and no more to have. I think the best reaction would have to be my grandmas this morning(sorry mom and Dan). She was sitting in church and saw me walk in she was so surprised. Her body jumped in her chair. I walked over and was like “surprise, happy birthday” and she was so happy. I was really glad I waited to tell her I was home it was really nice to be able to surprise her too on her birthday. And to think I would still be on a flight home right now if I didn’t switch my planes.
Since my aboard experience is done I probably wont write on this blog much any more, and my daily challenge thing kind of fell through :( I guess one should have been to not let it fall through. Life is going great and I cant wait to see what these next few weeks have in store.
Overview: SURPRISE! I came home Thursday night. I spent the entire day traveling and surprised my mom. Her reaction was less that what I expected. I wanted the waterworks and all I got was a “what?”. Any who its been amazing being home. The dogs have yet to leave my side. Yesterday I spent the entire day adding my patches to my blanket. I realize that I have many years and travels until it is full. Today I went to the market to get food and supplies to make a dish to pass for one of my best friends annual Christmas party. At this Christmas party only 2 of the 30 some odd guests know I am home and coming. It also was part of my surprise. Most importantly I am surprising the guy (Dan) I have been talking to over my entire semester. He has absolutely no clue and I am going to have the host of the party make him come outside to help “someone” get stuff out of his or her car and its going to be me. Im hoping for a much more exciting reaction from him (sorry mom). Tomorrow morning I will also be surprising my grandmother for her birthday. She has no clue Im home and I plan on showing up to church with the family and surprising her too.
Im just full of surprises. I look forward to posting Dan’s reaction to the surprise that I have in store for him.
Day One Hundred and Nineteen: Shooting in Florence
Overview: I had a productive day, went shopping in the morning and now I can say positively that I think I have all the gift I want to buy. Sorry if I forget anyone. I went out to lunch at a new restaurant with a friend I met at the beginning of the semester. I got Ribolitta which is a famous Tuscan soup. It was really nice to just sit and have a nice meal with good conversation. After I went to my first exam, while taking the exam the first 30 minutes in our teacher gets pulled out of the classroom and returns to tell us there is a killer on the loose in Florence. We were not allowed to leave the classroom until we got more word about the condition outside. As we were taking the test you could hear helicopters flying. Thankfully the situation cleared itself out before I finished the exam. For some reason I stayed really calm with the lack of information we had, must be the years of living in the murder capitol of the US aka the ROC and hearing about murder every other day. I walked home after my exam and studied for my second one. After about 45 minutes I went back into the streets of Florence and took a second exam. I heard every ones different take on what had happened earlier in the day. Some people saw it happen, some were stopped by the police, some just missed it and some couldn’t leave their apartment. Any how, one more exam and one more practical and I am done for the semester!
Overview: Wow its finals week and I will be home in a week. I cannot believe this experience is almost over two more days and I will be free sailing. I usually do good over finals week I have motivation and take steps toward studying. This weekend and all of today I have had none. The tests sound “easy” to me so Im not putting effort into them. I know going home in the end is motivation but its not enough. I unfortunately have no motivation. There is too much going on and I cannot focus. I am basically packed and I have no clue where I am going to put the rest of my stuff that I wear this next week.Well I guess I should get back to studying.
Within the first week of arriving in Florence we heard about this place called a “Secret Bakery”. It is a place where magical things happen, but really it was great. Basically there is a bakery that bakes all of the things that the stores sell. Every night they bake so that everything is fresh in the morning. They open their doors at 2am and allow people to buy fresh croissants, doughnuts, and pizza. You just have to follow your nose. Finally in my last week in Florence I went to the secret bakery. It was funny and sketchy at the same time. There was a line outside of the door. It opened a head popped out and handed the people in line a bag grabbed their money and closed the door. She brought the change and asked for the next order. The croissants were filled with creme, chocolate, or nutella. It was so good. If I had known it was literally three minutes from my apartment three months ago my pants would still fit and I could say I actually gained weight in Italy.
Overview: My abroad experience is winding down I cannot believe that I will be leaving soon. It is crazy to think that all of my classes are done and now I have four exams, two papers, and one cooking practical. Today I had one of my exams and something about it did not rub me the right way. Hopefully I did better than I think. After classes I had my last day at the kindergarten class I have been volunteering all semester. It was a different agenda today the first part was learning and the second part was with more volunteers from my school. Two wonderful girls created a lesson to teach “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” to the kids. It was a really hard song for them because they barely know any English nor do they know who Rudolph is. Our very unorganized choreography may have gotten the message across to them. Im not sure if it did or not but they were really happy to get cookies at the end of it. After the other volunteers left I wanted more pictures so I let the kids take my camera and have fun. Boy did they have fun. Approximately 50 pictures later the camera was taken away by the teacher and I thought that would be a good time to leave. Now I sit here waiting for my interview to happen for a summer internship and I am going out to dinner at Gusta Pizza with Chelsea, Lacey and Adam our Australian friend from Croatia. YUMM!
TODAY WAS A FAIL. I was extremely busy and wasnt able to challenge myself. Ha I mean my exam was a challenge and leaving my Kindergarteners for the last time was a challenge. SO maybe it was LEAVING MY KINDERGARTENERS WITHOUT BEING SAD.
One Bucket List Item Accomplished-See a European Soccer Match Live
Photo of the Day:
Overview: It was rainy and overcast, but nothing kept us from seeing the Fiorentina v. Roma soccer match. Fiorentina won 3-0, they had received 2 penalty kicks and scored on both and it seemed like Rome was down players the entire time. I knocked something off my bucket list and I am proud to say I did it in unfavorable weather. Home in 2 weeks!
I was very productive today. I made two finals study guides, finished part of my internship application, had one internship interview, finished a paper and finished the second season of How I Met Your Mother.
THE ONE THING I CONTINUE TO LEARN IS TO LOOK UP. There is always something that you could be missing by looking forward all the time. Florence began around 59BC and the buildings and streets show that history. I have been in Florence for 78 days and out of those days it has rained 4 times. I look out my window every morning and see a beautiful blue Tuscan sky. While walking past apartment buildings at night I look up into the ones with the light on and usually I can see a beautiful fresco on the ceiling. When I enter every church, every building, every where I immediately look up. Most of the time I see a beautiful design, painting or something else that I would have never seen if I did not look up. Its not like I am stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new its just doing something you would never think about if you live in a place that does not have such a rich art history. Try it some time try looking up at a random time. You may find something beautiful.
Overview of the Weekend/Week Until now: Saturday I returned from the trip and went to the laundromat to catch up on laundry. Two minutes after I started my laundry the power went out. Yep everything stopped. A man came in right after and called the emergency number. The fix-it man came about 30 minutes later. While I was waiting people were coming in and out and I met some really interesting people. There was a pair of sisters that I started talking to. They were American and on a tour for about 2 weeks together. They were doing a load of laundry to have fresh clothes for their second week. They asked me all about Florence and what I was studying. As we were waiting one of the sisters said she needed a bobby pin. Luckily I needed to go break a 20 so I could dry my laundry. We walked to three different stores and no bobby pins, she also wanted gelato so I showed her around. She was willing to buy my gelato but I still needed to break my 20. I bought my own and we went back to the laundromat. The sisters laundry was done so they thanked me and left. Before they left she slipped me a 5 euro bill. Goes to show how far being nice can go.
On Sunday I used that 5 euro to buy myself a blanket from IKEA. I caught up on everything and got ready for class the next day. On Monday I had class, and it was HALLOWEEN. I dressed up as a bandit and only spent 1 euro on facepaint. We had a great night at the bar just hanging out. On Tuesday I did not we had the whole day off. I spent it catching up on my blog and uploading pictures. I also skyped a ton! I caught up with everyone and it was nice. I sat in my kitchen for 8+ hours boring I know but necessary. The day off was great. Today I had a delicious meal in class with pappa pomadoro, roasted pork, potatoes, and custard cake. It was so good! I also saw the kindergartners today. They continue to make my Wednesday’s wonderful. I continued to skype and catch up with people. Life has been great.
Two different Asians with maps asked me for directions within 5 minutes of each other
Nineteen days til I come home
Photo of the Day:
Quotes from Marcello(my Quarters of Florence Teacher who talks in the 3rd person):
"Women who have seen more ceilings than walls…if you know what I mean"
Overview: Today I had to wake up at dawn to go to a meeting to get my permit of stay paperwork completed. I got to the meeting point and realized that I forgot my passport. So I was about a 13 minute fast walk away from my apartment and they were leaving in 20. Therefore I walked very fast to my apartment at some point I ran grabbed my passport and returned in about 26 minutes. I was hot and sweaty and some man pointed to me and said “ha freddo”. Which means shes cold. I honestly wasn’t cold because I had been running for about 24 minutes at that point. Thankfully the group had not left for the Questra and I was able to walk with them. Now for the waiting game, basically the Questra is where immigrants get their permit of stay. It is a dirty dirty version of an international DMV. I sat for about two hours before my name was called. Thankfully I had heard of other horror stories and brought my book (which I proudly finished later today). I left the “DMV” and signed up for ravioli making! Yet another thing that is going to get me out of the house and away from homework this weekend.
I went to class and had a presentation. I think it went well. I made the MLB ads for it and everyone seemed to really like the advertisements that I made. I thought they were decent. I got an email from my summer internship application and I have to take two more tests one for editing and one for personality. Im doing pretty well! Looking forward to these next 2 and a half weeks!
Overview: Today was pretty lazy and uneventful. At night I went to mass with my roommate Evelyn and other roommate Ashley’s mother, Suzy. The Duomo is the second largest Cathedral in Italy and they offer a 5pm Saturday night mass in English. As soon as we walked in and took our seats, a priest came over and asked if one of us wanted to do a reading. Very easily could we have said “no”, but I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of mass in such a beautiful church on such a wonderful day in the Liturgical year. Yes I know I’m going all Catholic on my blog post but Ill explain. Today/this weekend marks the first day of a new liturgical year, the first day of advent, and the first day of brand translations of the original text. Going to mass made me miss home and Canisius a lot. I’m looking forward to Sunday night mass at school; its a time to see everyone you haven’t seen in a week.
Today’s message was live everyday like it is your last. Well in some sense these are my last in Florence. I leave for home on December 18th so 23 days and I will be home. Im packing a lot of different activities into these next three weeks. For example yesterday I went to an farm with an olive grove and mill. We were shown the olive oil making process and we had a tasting. It was so cheap and the view was gorgeous. A few more events are a Florentina Soccer game, Gelato Making and a Fashion Show that was created by my event planning class. I will be busy but not too busy to see all the Christmas lights in the streets and hit up a few restaurants I have been dying to try. Other than that I am looking forward to being home.
Cried Three Times for the Beautiful Messages I Recieved
Second Holiday Away From Home :(
Photo of the Day:
Our center piece was stolen from an American Kindergarten room.
Overview: Such a not so normal day I would say. I woke up and went to the Academia. I saw the real David sculpted by Michelangelo. He was a lot bigger that I thought he was going to be.It was AMAZING. I was waiting for him to walk off his stand and come talk to me. It was so lifelike and you could tell that a lot of care went into the work. You could see his veins! I would recommend that everyone needs to see him in their lifetime.
After I went to a Thanksgiving dinner with some wonderful people. A week ago I had no plans for Thanksgiving and was talking to a girl in my Italian class. She invited me to their celebration at a restaurant. We had a group of 13 girls I met some new, very nice people that I would have never met without this evening. The meal began with the lights turned off and us singing the Star Spangled Banner… not thanksgiving but it was American. The cook in the back had his hand out like he was heiling Hilter and the waiters had cowboy hats on. We got so much food on one plate and it was good. I wouldnt say as good as home but it was close and just what I needed to get me through these next three and a half weeks. We had an amazing time.
I returned home and was able to skype the family :) it was absolutely AWESOME to see everyone really quickly. Today I was really missing family and it also is just what I needed to get me through these next three and a half weeks. I also received a few emails and messages that mean a lot to me from friends from home. You know who you are so thanks.