Home At Last!

After a long flight and the long wait, I finally got to greet my family in New York. I was finally home! I could just lounge on the couch and watch TV. I could also hold my cat—and give her a ton of kisses and pet her a lot. I think I missed the smell and feel of my home the most. Yes, I did have my own room, but that isn’t the same as your home. Nothing feels like your home does.

Leaving England, I was a little sad, but I was ready to be home and see my family. I will miss going into London whenever I wanted, but I love my little town. London is great, but it can be overwhelming with the big crowds. I will miss hearing the British accent a lot, but that is only because the way they say things makes everything sound much more posh than when we say it. But nothing is like home.

I didn’t really have culture shock when I returned to the United States. The food upset my stomach a little bit, but not too much. London was fast passed, so getting back to the incredibly fast paced New York was not that big of a shock for me. I did have a little bit of jet lag, but it only lasted a day. I went to bed at 10 PM and woke up at 5 AM ready to take on the day, but the following day I slept until 9 AM. I will miss London, but I am enjoying being home.

Family Trip Abroad

The past week, my family came to visit me. It was very nice to see them, but it was even better to travel with them. My family has traveled a lot of the East coast of the United States, but we never traveled abroad together. My sister is the only one that ever got out of the country and that was because she studying abroad. We stayed in London for a few days where I took them around to the museums they wanted to see and the stores they wanted to go to, but then we were off.

Our first stop was Florence where my sister studied abroad. I have studied Italian for 6 years, but I never got the chance to actually go to Italy. Florence was by far my favorite city I have been to. The town is just so cute and small, yet so Italian. I am definitely going back there with my sister in a few years. The food was also very delicious. Also, for future reference, the streets are all cobblestones so don’t wear heels or shoes you care about because they will most likely get ruined. There are so many museums there and so many famous artworks there. I highly recommend everyone see Florence.

The final stop on our trip was to Rome. Rome was very different than Florence. Rome has historic sites very spread out where it is a long walk to each. We didn’t do much while we were there since everything is spread out, but what we did see was amazing. We went to the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. They were all beautiful, but we walked so much while we were there. If you go to Rome, make sure to pack sneakers and make sure you have a break at the hotel/hostel during the day.

Just a Train Ride Away

Travel in my opinion is really what brings your study abroad experience to the next level.  You crank out so much money, and travel so far to come start your life in a new destination.  However, upon arriving you learn just how cheap, and how close other new, exciting places are to you.  You have to make sure you don’t go too travel crazy, but with study abroad, the world really is your oyster.  Or for any Friends fans, the world is your tub of ice cream and just like Ross we all must leave our comfort zones, and grab a spoon.

MK, Taylor, and I take on the Duomo!

MK, Taylor, and I take on the Duomo!

Now keep in mind I have only been away from the United States for three weeks, but I already have been so many places, and have so many more trips planned.  I have been around Milan, because you really should explore your home and become familiar with where you live.  I love Milan, and can’t wait to explore it even further!  Visiting other places also put my life in Milan in perspective, and I do not take for granted a single second how blessed I am to live here!

Touching Giulietta's right breast is a sign of good luck in love

Touching Giulietta’s right breast is a sign of good luck in love

Beyond Milan, I have also tackled the famous V Italian cities: Verona, and Venice.  As for Verona, what they say is true, Verona really is the city of love.  I was enamored by the culture that Verona had to offer.  LOVE is in the air, in this little Shakespearean utopia.  I made sure to touch both Juliet’s right breast, as well as write a note to her for her wall.  I think Juliet’s wall was one of my favorite things about Verona.  It is just cool to see how many people have written to her, and then to become a part of that.

#NPsocial in Venice for Carnival

#NPsocial in Venice for Carnival

The key word for my trip to Venice was: adventure.  That was the only way to describe it.  Our ESN network at school offered a trip to Venice for Carnival, however unfortunately it filled up rather fast.  Fellow New Paltz Hawk, Kara, and I were determined to experience carnival in Venice, truly a once in a lifetime experience.  For me as cheesy as it may have been, this article that I received via email months ago was one of my driving factors behind the voyage: http://ilovefreeconcerts.com/20-amazing-festivals-around-world-must-see-die/

Kara and I did make it to Venice for carnival, which is all I could have ever asked for!  The energy in Venice was just so electric, I was so in awe of the fact we had made it there.  Plus spending Valentines Day like this wasn’t too shabby either.  Don’t worry, I made sure to bring Kara some chocolate earlier that morning, because every girl deserves to have some chocolate on Valentines day.

Rainy day in Lugano!

Rainy day in Lugano!

Next up was my first trip out of Italy, however still by train.  Ironically enough traveling to Switzerland proved to be even closer then any of our Italian voyages.  I went to Lugano.  Despite the weather not compromising with us, paying in Franks as opposed to Euros, and one miscommunication where I set off an emergency exit, I bought countless bars of Swiss chocolate & hot chocolate mix at the Schokoland and ate countless free samples.  Being quite the chocoholic, this really made the trip worth it.

I am ready for many more adventures, all I can say is bring it on!  These once and a lifetime opportunities will not be taken for granted by me.  I am just ready for whatever comes next.  Thanks for reading!

Till next time, I leave you with this photo of the magic that is Juliet’s wall in Verona: