Ciao a tutti!
Welcome to blog 2 of 6 covering my second week in Rome, Italy.
Before we begin I would like to thank you for all of the positive feedback and words of encouragement on last Sunday's blog. It fills me with so much joy to know you are loving this new series!
Allora, let's begin.
Week 2 we began to fall into a routine. Walking to class together, finally eating dinner at an acceptable time for Italians, using the tram with ease, and most importantly - walking around with only a little bit of GPS assistance.
Monday after class Lily, Megan, (one of our instructors) Iago, and I explored the area surrounding AUR's campus and discovered the most beautiful lookout point. No photo could ever capture this view, but of course I still had to try. When I turned my back to the Italian landscape I was faced with a massive white fountain casually hidden in the hills of Trastevere. That's one of the many things I love about Italy, and Europe in general, there is history and beauty interwoven into everyday life. The city was built around these artifacts that have become normal landmarks to locals, but a new discovery for tourists like me.
After our mini adventure we hunkered down and finished the day's assignments. By the time we were finished it was time to reenergize with, you guessed it, pasta! Lily, Megan, and I took the tram into Rome and feasted at a quaint restaurant tucked into an alley while watching an old man with a boombox dance to Micheal Jackson. We ended the night with a reunion at the Trevi Fountain and a peaceful walk home.
Tuesday was a long and hot day. Classes finished up earlier than usual to give us time to hydrate and refuel before our tour of the Colosseum. The group had intended on visiting a crypt after the tour so a majority of students were in modest clothing covering knees and shoulders. Now, let's remember it's well above 90 degrees and shade is a hot commodity. Luckily a majority of the Colosseum tour was in shaded hallways while our tour guide unleashed her plentiful knowledge of Roman history... roughly 2 hours later (and a full outdoor tour of the Roman Forum) there was no way we were making it to the crypt.
The tour ended and we rushed to find refreshments and pizza. A little slap happy from the sun, my girl friends and I shared a delicious early dinner near the Colosseum. We chilled the rest of the day doing homework and chugging water, then decided we must get gelato. I walked with my roommates into downtown Trastevere and splurged with a 3 flavor cup of gelato.
Wednesday was exam day. 8:30 AM Italian class was canceled to give us time to take the computerized test at home. Due to some complications and miscommunication about the time of the exam we ended up having a free morning. We spent the morning in a cafe near our apartments as I cautiously ordered a cappuccino. I say "cautiously" because Italian caffeine will have you awake until 25 o' clock with heart palpations.
I ended up taking the exam in the AUR garden and attending class shortly after. The day was quite lovely until Carolyn and I had the bright idea to try out the all you can eat sushi restaurant next to our apartment. I must say I do not regret this decision given the sushi was amazing, however, I had never been so uncomfortably full in my life. Quick side note, the restaurant had a rule "whatever you don't eat you pay for" and, well, Carolyn and I got ambitious and ordered a lot. I reached my breaking point and unfortunately had to shove a few pieces in my mouth then spit them in the toilet... TMI I know!
Moving on, the rest of the day consisted of shopping, digesting, wandering the streets of Rome, and packing.
Thursday, I went home. Yup, you read that correctly, Thursday I hopped on a flight back to Michigan to be home for my little sister's graduation party. I am SO thankful and indebted to my parents for letting me make this weekend trip back home to Troy. The timing of my study abroad program has unfortunately made me miss milestones I would have loved to have been present for, such as my little sister's prom and graduation ceremony.
The day I left to go back to Michigan was definitely a test of my independence. I walked to the train station and hopped on a train that conveniently took me right to the airport. Then, I got in line for Covid testing with all the Americans, received my negative result, and scurried to security. The line was flowing very smoothly and I got to my gate with an hour to spare.
Fun fact: I love airplane food.
I happily ate my Delta meal and cried while watching Eat Pray Love, then slept for like 4 hours. After a layover in Boston, I made it back to Michigan where a double rainbow greeted me upon arrival.
Friday was prep day. I helped my mom in the morning set up all the lights for the tents and moved around tables and chairs that had been dropped off that morning. My mom, Mia and I then bought all the white and green flowers we could find. A bouquet making party ensued with our neighbor and dear family friend, Ms. Bester, and created centerpieces for the tables.
The day ended in typical American fashion - Dave's Hot Chicken with Tarek, Top Gun at MJR with Leya. Success.
Party day! Saturday began with loads of prepping, picking up the food, decorating, and finishing touches. To our surprise the house was filling up right at 5 PM when the party started. Quickly the house was packed with mingling people chowing down on Mia's choice of Mexican food from Mi Pueblo restaurant in Detroit.
I am so thankful to have had the chance to talk with relatives I haven't seen in ages, see my uncle and his fiancée who flew in from Indonesia(!!!), spend time with Tarek, and see Mia basking in her special day.
The party was incredible. I hope my parents pass down their party throwing abilities to me when I'm older so I can recreate these amazing memories in the future.
Sunday, time to fly to Rome.
I am writing to you with gratitude just hours before I board, thinking of all the people who came up to me yesterday saying they follow LIV in Style. You taking the time to read my stories is something I will always cherish.
Until next time, ci vediamo Domenica!