Much To Be Thankful For

Today is the first day of the trip so far that I have nothing planned. And boy am I loving it. Don’t judge me when I say it is 2:30 in the afternoon and I haven’t even had “breakfast” yet. I’ve been sitting in bed, enjoying the fresh air from the window next to me, and catching up on the journaling I haven’t been doing this week. Aside from writing the blog to keep you all in the loop, I’ve also been keeping a personal journal. I little more detailed version of what I give you, so I can look back and remember names of places, people, inside jokes, etc. that happen throughout the day. I’ve been doing this since my first trip overseas sophomore year of high school and it is such a fun thing to have and read later. I strongly encourage anyone who travels to try it. I’ve really loved my experience.

Orientation began on Tuesday. Paperwork, tours, info sessions, the whole nine yards. Certainly not some of the most exciting stuff but important still. Tuesday also was my first full night of sleep. Over 12 hours and it was blissful to say the least. The bags under my eyes aren’t the cutest from traveling and staying up late, so it was nice to catch up a little.

Wednesday was my first Italian tourist outing. And it was a good one. We’re slowly starting to get more comfortable with the layout of the city and finding our way around. Basically as long as you know where the river is from where you are standing, you can probably find your way home, even if it is a 2 hour walk. Even though it’s not super fashionable (everyone here LOVES boots) I’ve resorted to my little tennies for heavy walking days. I’m getting used to walking a lot, but it is certainly an adjustment from home where we drive basically any and every where. Speaking of driving…… IT’S CRAZY HERE. I would have a panic attack if I tried to maneuver these streets. If you think the one ways in the cities are confusing, think again. And then add three times as much traffic, road rage, and narrow the lanes (if there are any) down a little. Don’t think I’ll be trying that while I’m here.

Stop number one was the Spanish Steps. I haven’t quite figured out how to post from my iPad so pictures are above.. or below? idk. Anyway… We climbed to the top and took in the view. The area around the steps has a lot of shopping so it was quite the busy area. Very, very fun people watching, as is any tourist attraction.

We then ventured to the Trevi Fountain. My favorite site so far. Even on an overcast day it looked beautiful! I definitely plan on making it back to the fountain, hopefully a sunny day and I would also love to see it at night when it is a little quieter. I threw my coin over my shoulder, forgot to make a wish (shoot), and got gelato. Italian tourism at its finest.

Shopping ensued. Euro to US dollar conversion makes things tricky. You see 10 euro purchases and think $10. Not the case with a 1.3something conversion rate. Come on US economy, beef up so I can get a little more bang for my buck!

Even though it is winter here, it hardly compares to MN. Sorry to those of you who have been freezing your butts off at home, but winter here is like 50 degrees. Can’t say I’m complaining too much. Surprisingly though, the dampness in the air does make it feel cooler than 50. We’ve been wearing jackets, vests, scarves, etc. I can’t help but laugh out loud when I see Italians bundled up. Imagine your warmest winter coat, boots, scarves, maybe a hat. In 50 degrees. Such a sick joke to any midwesterner.

Finally figured out that FaceTime in my apartment isn’t going to work but Skype does. So Saturday afternoon (morning at home) I got to really talk to my parents for the first time. So glad I got it figured out, because texts and emails would not have cut it for a whole semester. That’s for sure.

I woke up this morning, opened my window, and thought about how crazy it is that a week ago today I was getting on the plane. I seriously have so much to be thankful for. SO MUCH. And whether you’re abroad, have been, or ever will be, if you’re able to read this… and have had this much free time to read through it… you’ve probably got it pretty good. Not that Italian is some poor, uneducated country by any means… But the fact that I’m able to come here, use my eyes to see all of beauty here, use my legs to walk miles everyday, use my voice to try and say words I can’t pronounce is a blessing in itself. I’m so lucky.

I’m so excited to see what else is in store. Not even a full week here and I feel like I’ve done and learned so much. No reason to be anything but happy with where I am at.

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A view from one of the “studying” terraces at school. My beautiful neighborhood.

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A church near our residence. We sat in the square on the fountain steps here, ate gelato, watched children run and play, and enjoyed Rome yesterday.

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