I am officially nine days into my adventures abroad and already have so much to tell everyone. I have already seen so many amazing places, encountered so many different situations, and met so many fabulous people, that I don’t even know where to start!
So due to my lack of creativity, I will start at the beginning, because I have been told that the beginning is the best place to start…
Making the decision to study in Florence.
As a sophomore in high school I took AP European History with Mr. Hawkins. Aside from the fact that I found my teacher to be positively dreamy in my 15 year old mind, I loved the class. I left every class wanting to know more, but lets be honest, I rarely actually made the effort to find out on my own though. But I can say that I did find out that Santa Clause is real, and his alias in the off season is Scott Hawkins. He likes to write letters to his students to let them know that Santa is always watching. Especially when my friend Kaylea and I got caught cheating on quizzes together… Oops!
About half way through the year he announced that he along with my swim coach, Mr. Gast, would be taking a group of students on a “European Adventure” and he would be handing out more information if anyone might be interested. To make a long story short I ended up going on the trip with a few of my friends, Mary Catherine, Mallory, Ellie, and a few more. We visited Germany, Amsterdam, Belgium, France, England, and Scotland. The entire experience was phenomenal.
The fallowing year I met Frazi. She was the foreign exchange student that I had U.S. History with and conveniently lived next to the boy I was dating at the time. Over that year her and I became very close and I hated to see her leave. We kept in touch, and still do, so Sarah and I planned spring break of my senior year to go visit her in Germany. I love the fact that after having visited her twice, spring break and then again this past May, I have made friends abroad.
I thought it was amazing that while I speak absolutely zero German, and most of her friends and family spoke little to no English, I was still able to build a relationship with these people.
I have had such amazing experiences abroad, one day I decided that I am going to travel to every country in Europe before I die. I am fully aware that this is a very ambitious and probably unrealistic goal, but a girl can always dream, right?
I believe that learning from other cultures and diverse people is much more effective that sitting in a classroom. Reading about the experiences and adventures of others is great, but I wanted/want to have my own personal experiences.
For a little over a year I have been talking with the international office at my school trying to plan my semester abroad. There were so many options of places to go. So why Italy?
To be honest, no reason in particular. Mainly because it was somewhere new and different. And the though of Italian men with creamy deep brown eyes and romantic accents didn’t hurt either.
So after a year of preparation, a fair amount of stress, a semester of Italian, and tons of expectations, I have finally made it to Italy!!
January 22-27. 2011
I left on Saturday from a swim/dive meet and headed straight to the airport to catch my flight. I left from Louisville with a connecting flight in Philly and then on Sunday morning at 9:00 am (3:00 am back home) I got off the plane in Roma.
I got a shuttle to Grand Hotel Palitino where I had booked a room for the night, and once I was all checked in I went to the room for a short nap that turned into 5 hours. (Thank you jet-lag)
Once I finally drug myself out of bed, It was time to explore…
As soon as I saw the Colisseum, all I wanted to do was go fight a lion in the middle of a fully packed arena. But then I realized that would be absolutely humiliating and not to mention fatal.
To walk by this a remember learning about all the events that took place inside was unreal. An amphitheater with the capacity to hold 50,000+ people that was able to be filled and emptied in less than an hour, that serious business.
The idea of the place is interesting. In ancient Roma it was said that all Roman citizens were entitled to tow things: ‘pane e intrattenimento’ Bead and entertainment. Therefore all citizens, nobles and peasants were all allowed to attend events at the Colisseum for free. Maybe America needs to take a little lesson from the Ancient Romans, but of course not all of their practices!
Fontana di Trevi
This was by far my favorite place in Roma. I wanted to just sit and stare for hours! I only saw it at night when it was lit up, but I can’t imagine it having the same breathtaking effect during the day. The first night I visited I threw a penny in the fountain and made my wish. I wanted so badly to use a â‚¬ instead but I didn’t have any change yet, which you would think would make me incredibly sad, but not at all. It gave me an excuse to go back the fallowing night and toss in my â‚¬.01coin.
Something about the lights and the idea of simply tossing a coin over my shoulder so that I can return to Roma, that makes the Trevi Fountain magical.
“Friends, Romans, Countrymen. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him…”
In the old city forum there are columns and ruins. Without a guide I would have had no idea what anything was. I took all kinds of pictures and then realized I had no idea what they were of exactly. But I can tell you that the city forum buildings were rectangular and held up by columns. Not very exciting and innovative information, but something I learned.
“E tu, Brute?” -Ceasar
Julius Ceasar’s grave in the city forum. How happy do you think Brutus and the other guys that plotted his death were that he was still buried right in front of where they went to work every day? Flowers still grow right behind that wall.
Arch of Constantine
Vatican city almost needs no explanation but because I found it to be so amazing I have to write about it.
Because it is privately governed by the Pope it is considered the smallest country in the world. Completely contradicts the idea of separation of church and state, don’t you think? The walls surrounding the Basilica and Chapel are big, but not nearly as big as I had imagined considering that it is its own country.
There was not a single inch of the city that was not absolutely beautiful. I felt like it was sacrilegious to talk to loudly or even walk to quickly. The hall of hand woven tapestries with scriptures is indescribable, and because they do not want camera flashes to fade the fabric I wasn’t able to get a good picture. The Sistine Chapel was equally as breathtaking. I had anticipated it being a disappointment because I have heard about it so much and seen so many attempted replicas of the images. When I walked into the chapel though I was in awe. I wanted to lay on the floor and admire all of the intricate work. I wish I could see the area during a mass, that to me would be the ultimate experience.
After hours of typing today to document my travels thus far for everyone, I am exhausted, and should probably get some sleep so I can stay awake and attentive in my classes tomorrow.
Sorry that I didn’t get to Firenze or all of my amazing room mates, but it gives you something to look forward to.
Buona Sera e tropo mi amore!