My boarding time had inched close enough to the present that I began to sweat a little. It was only after I had to remove a pair of shoes from my oversized travel bag at the check-in counter that I became nervous.
“See, I told you taking out the boots would help cut enough weight,” my dad said as he grabbed the pair of shoes I removed from the large purple bag. I rolled my now 50-pound bag through that little section of the airport check-in counter. I just kept throwing in extra stuff that I thought I would need during the summer abroad without thinking about the overage charges. Nearly everything in my room was able to fit in that mobile monstrosity. I had just enough time to get rid of a perfectly good water bottle and take a deep breath before stepping into the back of the airport security line.
“What is art?” A short older lady with graying hair asked the high school intermediate art class. She waited for the small group of students sitting behind art supplies that were laid out on top of long wooden folding tables to slowly raise their hands. She pointed at a girl sitting near the back of the room. “Yes, you.”
“Art has to be beautiful,” she paused for a moment. “It should be a realistic reflection of all the good things God has created.”
Mind you, I was attending a private Christian school, and everything anyone said about anything had something to do with Jesus.
The last day that I was in Rome, Italy landed, appropriately, on a Sunday. I had been sick that weekend either from travel fatigue or from my fellow travelers suddenly falling ill to what seemed like the plague, and the rain that flooded the streets the night before wasn’t helping at all.
A friend of mine, who was also Catholic, had mentioned that she wanted to attend mass while she was in Rome. I wasn’t the most religious person, but I agreed to go along because it would be kind of cool to say to my other Catholic friends that I did. We both got up that morning in search for a church with a service that was held in English, but, we had missed many of those already and didn’t think it would be worth it to sit through mass in Italian. We ended up wandering around and meeting up with another friend at the hotel that we were staying at. “Did you guys want to see the Pope at the Vatican?”
Loud noises consisting of people yelling in all different languages filled the Italian train station as I took cover from the excruciating heat. I had nothing but my ratty purse, well spent from traveling, and a backpack for my weekend trip to Barcelona, Spain. Written down on a piece of binder paper were walking directions from my Florence apartment to the train station, and from the train station in Bologna to the airport where I would meet up with a group of other traveling American students.
I was standing by myself with my backpack and purse held tight. I leaned up against the wall so that the zippers couldn’t be accessed without knocking me over. I was nervous and very concerned for my safety. Never in my life have I wandered off in a foreign country by myself, and I’m very sure it showed all over my face.
Then, from behind my overgrown side bangs, and out from the corner of my eye, I saw a young man approach me. He stood directly in my blind spot, and I started to quietly panic. Continue reading ““M” is for Milan”→
My last weekend abroad ended with me traveling by myself on a train to Pisa that Friday, on a train to Venice on Saturday with a group of fellow students, and by bus and train to Cinque Terre with a cheap tour guide group. I snapped a lot of pictures, got soaked to the bone standing in the rain waiting for a gondola ride in Venice, and hiked from the town of Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare.
In Vernazza I “cliff jumped” off a small rock into the Italian sea and befriended five girls from Florida who were also studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Together, four of us hiked up steep mountain cliffs under the Ligurian sun and swam in Monterosso’s salty ocean for hours before traveling back to Florence.
I had jumped on a train with scores of other students throughout the entirety of the Study Abroad program and squeezed my way onto an Italian subway next to a man who was playing saxophone with his daughter asking for change. I had to run to keep up with our tour guide, who had to be an Olympic sprinter bent on losing us in the city of Rome, because when I made it to the top of the steps past the smelly metro, I had only a brief second to snap a picture of the Roman Coliseum.
Today, I woke up to my alarm, grabbed my running shorts, and shoes and left my Italian apartment to go running around the Fiume Arno river. The cool breeze brushed my sleepy face as I tried to take it all in. It was then, even after the fourth morning doing so, that I realized I was running not too far away from Cathedrals built during the turn of the Renaissance and in a country housing famous art pieces such as Michelangelo’s David, and the Pope. I managed to make it back to my apartment and headed for the shower, but several seconds after I shut the door I heard the water coming from the other side of my bathroom entrance. Continue reading “While Studying Abroad: Benvenuti in Italia”→
So, in honor of my month-long trip to Italy, I thought it would be appropriate to reintroduce some easy Italian-inspire dishes. This pasta recipe is probably the easiest thing you can make, and it’d pretty tasty too. The Vegan Sausage, Olive Oil, Tomato and Basil Pasta dish is really great for a last minute dinner at the house, and it goes great with a little garlic bread too. Buona Apetit!