Oh the places I went!

Oh the places I went!

I feel much much better!! Woooo!

Now on to my adventures…

We all slept in on Saturday which wasn’t a big surprise. I went to church that evening at The Basilicata di Santa Maria in Trastevere which is the neighborhood that I live in. Even though the mass was conducted in Italian, it was beautiful and just what I needed after a few stressful days. Like all churches in Rome, it was very ornate and pictures don’t do it justice. I hope to go back during the day to take better pictures. We also made our first dinner in the apartment, which was pasta and sautéed vegetables, which actually came out great (shoutout to Alexa for her cooking skills). On Sunday, the school planned a trip to IKEA so we could furnish our apartment.  It was our first experience in an Italian mall and let me tell you, it was very interesting. We boarded the bus around 10:30 and had about a 30 minute drive outside of the city to get there. From the outside it looked like a typical American mall. The bus driver had to drop us on the side of the autostrade because he wasn’t allowed to pull into the parking garages. We had a bit of a treacherous walk to the mall, but we all made it in one piece. First thing I noticed when I walked in: DOGS!! There were dogs everywhere! Some sleeping on the marble floor others barking at each other; something you would never see in the states. I’ll be honest, it was fun to look at them and comment on how cute they were, but it was all very strange. This mall had an H&M and many other American stores, but a few were strictly Italian. We walked in and out of stores, marveling at how much cheaper things were compared to back at home. We made our way over to Ikea and then grabbed some lunch at a place called WOK which was an Asian restaurant. It was pretty good considering we are in the land of pasta and pizza.

We got back to our apartment at about 5, hung out for a bit and then decided to take a walk over to the Vatican which is only 10 minutes from our apartment. We got there just as the sun was setting and it was absolutely breathtaking. If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I go to church every Sunday and have a great affection towards anything that has to do with the Catholic church. It’s much smaller in person, but as amazing as you may imagine. I took some great pictures and even though I’ve been here for only 6 days, it might be my favorite place in Rome. I stood there for a while and just stared. After, we headed back to our neighborhood and ate at Pimm’s Good which is an English inspired restaurant. I ordered a Ceasar Salad and it might be the best I’ve ever had. We also shared bruschetta; dad, I think I like tomatoes now…. We’ll be back there I’m sure because there is a 10% discount for JCU students.

Today (Monday August 31) was the first day of class for all JCU students. I didn’t have class until 1:00 so I could sleep in and finally get those extra hours of sleep that I desperately needed. I left the apartment a bit before 1:00 and walked to the Tiber campus where my class was. The walk is so nice and by that time of the day people are out and about and the sun is high in the sky which means it’s also hot. I think it reached 90 today which isn’t all that uncommon. My first class of the day was Italian and I was right at home. I could understand what the professor was saying and as a bonus the guy sitting next to me was from New Jersey. After class I walked down to the Guarini campus for my Popes of Rome class. The professor is really nice and he is one of the 69 (?) certified tour guides of the Vatican in the whole world. He hopes to take us into the tomb of Saint Peter, but it is very hard to get into now because of the “Francis effect”. I was out of class around 4 and was hungry so I decided to walk to the local fruit shop in the hopes of buying some watermelon, but the owner of the store said it wasn’t good today so I settled for some grapes. Around 7, my roommate, Ashley, and I crossed the Tiber and made our way over to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Both were amazing to see in person and once again I got good pictures, but I want to go back when the crowds die down so I can actually go inside the Pantheon. We ate at a place called Vacanze Romane on Piazza Navona and shared a pizza and had bruschetta once again. I’m still amazed at how late people eat here. Back at school I eat dinner at 6! I guess it’s all part of the adjustment process.

My roommates and I planned a last minute trip to the Amalfi Coast for the weekend and I can’t wait!

XOXO

Maryrome

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Navigating the Cobblestones

Navigating the Cobblestones

The last few days have been overwhelming to say the least. Yesterday we saw the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, the place where Mussolini spoke to the Italian people, Largo Argentina, and found our way through Termini Station. I can’t wait to explore more over the next few weeks! My body is finally adjusting to the time change and I feel much better. I haven’t had any gelato yet, so obviously that has to change! Everyone is so nice here and I’ve been trying to speak Italian as much as I can. Sometimes it’s hard to understand them because they speak so quickly, but I’m trying! The nightlife here is amazing and there’s always something to do. Can’t wait to see what this weekend brings!

Buongirono Roma!!

Well I got here safely. These past two days have been kind of rough though, trying to combat jet lag and nausea. Still haven’t eaten any super great Italian food yet, but I hope to feel better tomorrow. We had a customs presentation then a campus tour that I skipped out on because I wasn’t feeling well. My roommates are super nice and their names are Ashley, Brianna, and Alexa. Brianna actually lives in Dunmore and she knows Marywood and people that go there (YAY). I’m so overstimulated so it’s hard to think straight at times but over the next few days I’ll hopefully get better. The neighborhood I’m staying in is very beautiful but not what I expected at all. Can’t wait to get out and explore the neighborhood and the city more!

Visa Process

So since I had to get a student visa for my trip I figured I’d share some dos and donts with you all…

DO make an appointment as early as possible. You don’t want to be scrambling a month before your trip trying to find a consulate office that has openings.

DO get your forms together as soon as possible. You will be able to figure out what you have and what you need to get out of that dusty filing cabinet in the basement well before your appointment.

DO get a nice folder where you can keep all of these forms together.

DO make a checklist of all the forms and check the list before you leave for the consulate. Nothing is worse than getting into the little visa office TWO hours away from home and realizing that you forgot a few of the most important documents and then having a silent panic attack in the waiting room and then explaining your situation to the lady who was actually nice to you even though she wasn’t nice to anyone else (THANK GOODNESS). And then you have to overnight your forms to them and you hope for the best. Did this happen to me? I’m not sure.

DO make copies of all the forms you are giving to the consulate. You won’t get those forms and documents back. I was lucky that I took a picture of my travel itinerary because I didn’t make a copy and I didn’t get it back.

DO get to your appointment earlier than your actual appointment time. There will inevitably be a bunch of people ahead of you, but you never know.

DON’T be rude to the people working in the office. Even though it might be slow, they are doing their best to process all the applications and make sure everything goes smoothly. I’ve found that the nicer you are to people, the nicer they are to you.

DON’T worry. You’ll get your passport back in time. The consulate knows when you are leaving and they know that you need your passport back.

DON’T forget anything!! I can’t say that enough.

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!!

Once again I am on my couch watching the Yankee game and they are playing the Indians… again. Not looking so good for the Yankees right about now but I feel a rally coming on. Rudy is curled up next to me, while daddy’s away Rudy will play (or sleep where he’s not supposed to).

I leave for Italy in TWO days and I couldn’t be more excited and nervous. The past three months have been full of preparations and planning that all lead up to Monday. I can’t believe it’s actually here. My best friend Emily left for Sicily this evening and I have been tracking her flight and she is currently over the Atlantic Ocean (very specific, I know). We both made some changes to out hair before we left; she got ombre and I now have some honey highlights which I couldn’t be more in love with. Just another minor change… Ever since our Italian class in our freshman year of high school we have always wanted to go to Italy together and in a way we are (LOVE YA EM) We hope to plan a trip somewhere within the next few weeks/month and boy will that be fun. Everything is coming together, piece by piece.

I can’t wait to get there and start snapping pictures and blogging about my adventures.

Bittersweet…

So I’m sitting here on my couch at 12:17 AM. The Yankees just lost a heartbreaker to the Indians in 16 innings and the Indians won in walk-off fashion, of course. 5-4.

Throughout the day I have been going through pictures on my computer and deleting those extra blurry ones to make way for the blurry ones I will take in Italy. I couldn’t help but stop at almost every single picture and reminisce on the moment captured. Whether it was a picture of a meal at Naz or of my friends and I at a hockey game, I couldn’t help but smile, sometimes laugh, and then feel a bit sad. Now that sadness isn’t because the memories are bad, but because the realization that I will be leaving my friends for a semester is settling in. Don’t get me wrong, I am sooooo excited for Italy and a new adventure but at the same time I’m going to miss those silly, sometimes stupid, moments that were made almost everyday. Allison, Gabby, and Thaisha have been there for everything; the good times and the bad (even though we haven’t had that many bad ones). The four of us have known each other for only 2 years, but it feels like a lifetime and it’ll be the first time we’ll be apart for more than a summer. It sounds silly, but I’m really going to miss them. I hope nothing major happens while Gabby and I are away and that Thaisha and Allison don’t cause too much trouble. I’ll miss those little moments where we’re watching a movie on a Friday and night Thaisha will say something totally irrelevant and we’ll all just crack up and that will be the running inside joke for the rest of the weekend. We won’t be able to judge the incoming freshman class together, eat dinner together, go to homecoming together ( :[ ) or do much of anything together. All I have to say is, THANK GOD FOR FACETIME AND VIBER!!!!

Sorry for the emotional//personal post, just trying to keep track of my ever-changing emotions… Time for me to stop being emotional and remind myself it’s only 3 1/2 monthsIMG_8118

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – Winnie the Pooh

Hello August!

Well… It’s the month of my departure! Can’t believe that it came so fast and that it came at all. I still have so much to do before I leave, but I’m so excited!  Who would have thought going abroad for three months would be this stressful?!