Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Final Bittersweet Stretch

Ah the last week... such bittersweet.

Positive: Michel was gracious enough to let us have a dinner and wine party at his house the Wednesday before we left. Firstly, he has never done this before for any of the other semesters, and secondly, he was more than gracious to have us in his home. It was the sweetest house that was in all essences Michael. He had the whole thing catered and I felt instantly at home, which was quite a humbling experience. We were all able to bond as a group and even played Singstar for at least an hour. Just being around all of these new people that I did not know a month ago, and now being able to call them my friends is a great feeling in my heart. It proves that I am a personable person who is easy to get along with an outgoing personality. Sometimes I seem to forget this and it is really nice to have other people trust me so easily, and open up to me so easily. Its a reaffirmation that I am a good person and more importantly a good friend.

Negative: As cliche as it may sound, the worst experience of this week was leaving Italy. That is honestly the only bad thing about this week. This last week in Italy was one of my favorite, because we were able to do whatever we want. Since it was our last week, I was able to revisit all of my favorite places including churches and monuments and I was so awe inspired by them. It was the perfect end to a perfect month. Traveling was quite painful, but that is nothing compared to leaving such an incredible place that has changed my life so greatly in such a short amount of time. I feel as if I am such a different person. I think about things differently and I have a more relaxed and lackadaisical approach to life. italians believe that we need to live every minute as much as you can, but also enjoy what you are doing. The Italians do whatever they want and are very proud of that outlook on life. I would love to be able to encompass that idea of confidence and outgoing demeanor into my own character. I have learned about ancient pieces of art, I have learned about the Christian religion, but despite all of the book smart I have acquired, I have learned so much more about myself. And for that, I will forever be grateful for my expereince in Rome. I wish I could have made Roma My New Homa for more than a month, but that just gives me more reason to come back later in my life. And as they always say, all roads lead to Rome.


Three Down, One to Go

This entire month is going by way too quickly! I want to stay for another two months like a regular semester, because I feel as if I'll miss everything! But this week we did a lot of new and exciting things.

Positive: Liz Lev is such a knowledgable person in so many different aspects. She was actually the host for our wine tasting, which was quite unexpected! She seemed to know so many finite details about endless paintings, I feel like she would at least know something about wine. I was pleasantly surprised! The setting emitted a great ambiance and we were all excited for the wine. Her good friend, who I believe was also a professor, was our self proclaimed wine connoisseur. He was fabulous and made some of us come up to the stage and give our ideas about how the wine tasted. This experience was so different than anything I would have ever experience in America. Maybe it's because I am not of legal drinking age yet, but drinking here in America is so different! Americans drink to get drunk and not remember, while Italians are so used to have them with meals, they savor all the different flavors. It basically comes down to savoring a drink and chugging one to get the alcohol in your system. I loved being on the savoring side of that distinction. I adored seeing that other side of it, and hope to start my own wine collection when I am older.

Negative: Later this week, we took our Southern excursion. We were in Sorrento and then took a ferry ride over to the island of Capri. This normally takes about 20 minutes and this time it took over an hour. Normally I do not get sea sick or car sick, and of course this time I almost get sick. The water was so choppy and rocking back and forth. The motion was unreal and unlike anything I've experienced before. Everyone around me was physically getting sick, which did not help one bit! I had to go down to the bottom deck just to get away from the people constantly throwing up. This was the worst experience of my trip so far, because I have never dealt with anything like that before. My mom is a nurse so she usually tells me what to do whenever I'm sick, and since this has never happened to me before, it was also interesting to try and figure out everything for myself.

Two Down, Two to Go

Halfway point! Don't know how it has gone by so fast already, we just have to cherish every moment.

Positive: This Wednesday we had our Vatican Day. We started in the morning with the Pope's mass and then took a tour with Liz Lev. As previously mentioned, this was one of my favorite days here! Some of us may have seen things differently, it was such an eye opening and awe inspiring experience. This day was one of my favorites because I felt like such a distinguished person. There are only a small amount of people throughout the entire world that were lucky enough to see Pope Francis speak at his Wednesday masses; I am one of those lucky people. To me, that moment made me feel like I was finally part of something bigger than myself. Honestly, this may sound extremely cliche, but in that moment at the mass, I felt most connected to God.

Negative: This weekend, we took an optional trip to Florence and were in charge of obtaining our own hotel accommodations. Again, as previously mentioned, it was just an overall bad experience. We were all on edge, frustrated and just wanted the situation to be over. From this experience, I learned that I need to learn some more Italian and have better communication skills. Also, I tend to be the one who always stays calm and collected in certain situations, and for the most part I feel as if I was for this situation. I realized that this quality of mine is essential! I wouldn't have been able to handle the situation the same way if I had a temper or wasn't patient and understanding.

One Down, Three to Go

Week 1! What a nice week! We finally got all settled in and got rid of our jetlag, thankfully. It was our first week to take in all the sights, learn the public transportation system, and learn some italian.

Positive: Its our first week and Rome, there were so many positives this week. However, my favorite part of the week was actually the day we got there. After two long flights with a five hour layover, it was nice to finally be in Rome! After we got settled at the convent, Michael took us straight into the city and explored. As a true Italian, he showed us all of the major monuments and areas around downtown. In that moment, it finally hit me that I was in Italy. It was awesome and nerve wracking at the same time! I was starting this new adventure that would have such a large impact on my life, I was beyond excited and nervous at the same time. This moment finalized that this dream that I have had in my head for seven months is actually coming to fruition.

Negative: We thought we knew how to use the bus system, and we were wrong. We had stayed in the city for the night and were faced with the decision of taking the night bus home or call three taxis. We were foolish enough to try and take the night bus. Being so new to the area as it is, we missed our stop and got off about three miles from the convent, in the dead of night. I don't mind being lost in a new city, but the fact that it was at night put me on a whole new edge. I was extremely worried and kinda freaking out a little bit. In that moment, I feel like a foreigner who was lost in a strange city; I feel that's what I hated most of all. Next time, we're taking a taxi!