May 29, 2013
Today we went to the Remida Recycling Center as a group. It was neat to see how the community uses these recycled materials. About 200 companies in the Reggio area supply materials to the Remida center. The Remida center highly values connecting industry and education; that’s their whole premise. We did a workshop with the teachers at the center that was supposed to help us understand creating without purpose. I really enjoyed it! It helped me to appreciate the small, unexpected details in everyday materials. After the Remida center, we got ice cream and then rode bikes to a really beautiful park with Chiara and her sister. It was nice just to talk to them and enjoy a nice day in Reggio. For dinner, we ate with the group at a pizzeria. I ate an ENITRE margherita pizza. Delicious! Then we joined our host families for deserts at Reggio Lingua. Because my host family wasn’t there, I left and joined them at their soccer game. It was so sad to leave those girls. I really appreciated their hospitality.
May 30, 2013
We went off to Rome today bright and early! We toured the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Emily’s parents paid for our tour! I really loved seeing the Sistine Chapel. It took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling. It hurt my neck to look up for a minute! I can’t imagine doing it for YEARS. The Vatican was absolutely astounding. The wealth within the Vatican City walls amazes me. Bronze statues, gold statues, gold trim, marble floors, and more precious materials are everywhere. It’s truly remarkable . I can’t even describe Rome. It is so enormous! I love that it’s also a major world city, unlike some of the other towns we’ve visited that only thrive on tourism. I have a snapshot in my head of these men in business suits standing right in front of a beautiful fountain, conducting business. I mean, just imagine having all of ROME as the backdrop for your day-to-day activities. No big deal. We walked to the Trevi Fountain and, of course, made wishes as we threw our coins in. Then we walked over to the Spanish Steps and had gelato while we enjoyed the view. This day would have been perfect expect that Masey got pick-pocketed on the metro… by a bunch of little girls! They basically stormed the metro and then rushed to get back off the train, like they accidentally got on the wrong train. Instead, they were just pick-pocketers! Masey’s money was INSIDE her purse, under a button flap and a zippered pocket. I just can’t believe it. Tonight, we went out to a dinner at a restaurant right by our hotel. It was delicious! We had such a good time flirting with our waiter and enjoying great food and a couple bottles of wine. Our hotel was such a cute little place. The Sweet Home Hotel. The staff was so, so helpful and gave us tips on getting around Rome. I would recommend it to anyone staying in Rome! It was perfect for us four college girls!
May 31, 2013
Today, we woke up pretty early and walked to the Coliseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill. Beware of the gladiators! They tricked us into giving them 20 euro for a picture!!! Sneaky sneaky sneaky! The Coliseum was so cool. I wish that we could have done a tour because I would have liked to know more about the history there. It was awesome just to see it. When I get back to the states, I want to read up on Rome. I should have done it before, but I was so busy preparing for the trip. The Palatine Hill was also really neat. It was just a great big green space for promenading around a castle or something… It was really pretty. I love gardens. I could just walk around and explore for hours. After the Coliseum area, we walked over to the Pantheon. It ended up taking a lot longer than expected to walk over there… like an hour. We took a few wrong turns, but hey, we got there. I wasn’t as impressed by the Pantheon. It was cool, but not as magnificent as some of the churches or the other things we’ve seen. Near the Pantheon was a church, San Luigi dei Francesi, which contained some original Caravaggio’s. Emily really wanted to see it, so we walked over. The Calling of St. Matthew was really impressive. There was some information on it around the church so I did learn a lot about that particular piece! For example, the subjects in the painting are not all clothed like they would have been in Jesus’ time period. That’s to symbolize extending the “calling” across generations. We took the bus back to our hotel and collected our things. The metro on the way to the other train station was PACKED. I barely made it on, pushing my way onto the coach. It was ridiculous. There’s no way we could have done it with our big bags. Many, many thanks to our host parents and professors for letting us leave our huge bags with them! We took the Italo train back to Milan. HOW NICE. It was expensive, but worth it. The train had wi-fi! It was just so clean and spacious. Better even than flying in an airplane! After we got into Milan, we paid wayyyy to much to take a taxi to our hotel. We ate with our group at a great restaurant near the hotel.
June 1, 2013
Early flight back to Frankfurt and then to Atlanta. I am sitting here writing this on the plane and I can barely hold my eyes open. My brain is so tired. This trip has by FAR been the most exciting trip of my entire life. I loved it even more than Paris, London, Scotland, Canada, Barcelona… Out of anywhere and everywhere I’ve ever been in my life, this trip was the best. I think I liked traveling alone and more independently. I learned a lot about myself. I mostly surprised that I am ready to be home. I always thought that I would love to live abroad and I still think it’d be awesome BUT… It’s just SO confusing to be in another country without knowing the language. I’ve been confused this entire trip! Eventually, you get tired of being perpetually discombobulated and you want some normalcy. I also missed my family! I know that I’ll never tire of traveling. I’ll be ready to be home for a little while but then I’ll get restless again and have to go somewhere. I think that’s a great way to be. I never want to be complacent in anything I do. I just want to forever explore, be forever curious. For now, I need to sleep. I’m so thankful for every single experience on this trip. There’s so much more that I’ve already forgotten. Hopefully, these brief journal entries will help me to remember what I know will forever be one of the greatest experiences of my life.