5 Things I Learned in Italy

Things I learned in ItalyPhoto of the ruins in Rome, Italy.

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know that I spent Spring holiday traveling around Europe with my best friend from back in the States. It was definitely a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity for the two of us, and we tried to make the most of it by visiting as many sights as possible as well as strolling around to see where the side roads would take us. Here are a few of the things that I took away from our adventures in Florence and Rome that I thought may be helpful to remember in the future!

1. Street Crossing-You know those little zebra crossings located in busy parts of the city? Become best friends with them! Unless you are super bold and are willing to risk your life crossing the street you might want to seek out a proper cross walk. Especially when trying to cross the road near a roundabout, and chances are you’ll encounter many of these. If you are feeling daring, you kind of just have to go for it and hope that the cars will stop, but please please be safe and just opt for the marked walkway.

2. Directions Please?-The cities we visited in Italy are not on a grid system like streets in the U.S. are, and often times the signs are tricky to find. For two girls who struggle with directions, you can only imagine all of the wandering around we did looking like complete idiots. If you have an idea where you are going beforehand this will save quite a bit of time, but just remember streets change into other streets and soon enough the city will have you walking in circles!

3. Food Glorious Food-Don’t be too quick to judge a place based on the prices, some of the best food we had was not the most expensive out there. Our Belgian friend we met in Prague advised us to find places far away from tourist attractions for the cheaper, most authentic options. As for the gelato, just because it looks beautiful doesn’t mean it’s the best. Try out a few places and see what you like! (But honestly, can you ever really go wrong with gelato?)

4.Tickets Anyone?-If you want to spend less time in line to see the sights of Italy, reserve tickets way in advance! We made the mistake of not doing this and I’ll just say that next time the minute I know about a trip I’ll be popping on my  computer ASAP.

5.Relax-Because there are so many tourists and people seem more relaxed, life moves a bit slower in Italy. Chill out and take a leisurely stroll to each venue. In the U.S and even in London, things seem more fast-paced, but sometimes it’s good to take some time to soak in all that a new city has to offer. When in Rome right?

Let me know what you’ve learned from your travels in the comments and any tips you have!

Until next time,New blog signature 2

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Let’s Take A Walk Down Memory “Laine”

A year in review 2A few highlights from my first semester at Uni in London. From top left: A view of London from the Tate Modern, Christmas time in the city with Lidia, eating waffles in Amsterdam, rehearsal for my dramaturgy class, New Year’s Eve with my cousin McKenna, and a final night out before the end of the semester with April.

So this post is only a month overdue . . . All that aside, now that we’ve welcomed 2014, I thought it would be a nice little reminder for me to look back on some of my favorite memories from my fall term abroad. I’ll have to admit, after having a month off of school to celebrate the holidays in the company of my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins, it was quite difficult to return to school not to mention get back in the habit of regularly blogging (as is evident by my lack of posts since the new year celebrations). Of course I had a wonderful experience during my first semester, but I was returning to University with the knowledge that so many of the close friends that I had bonded with over the previous three months would not be there to reunite with after the holiday season. While I knew that I would get to meet so many new people to share close conversation with, I’m not going to lie, returning to Uni a few days before classes started up again was a bit lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have my alone time too, but through my experiences at University, both back home and abroad, I’ve learned that I’m someone who needs social interaction for the sake of my own sanity ha ha. Reflecting back on my first term arriving in London with little knowledge of what to expect and not knowing anyone, to eventually watching some of my closest friends wheel their luggage out of their flats one by one, I can truly say that I have learned so much, not only about other perspectives on life, but also about myself. My Aunt was definitely right when she told me that you connect with people in a different way when you are put in a new environment where you’re all starting over in a sense because everyone wants to make friends. You bond quickly and closely. Goodbyes have always been difficult for me, even just thinking back to the times I would part with my cousin at the airport when we were young I remember always being emotional about her departure. (Now that I’m older I’ve gotten pretty good at concealing my emotions to the public.) But with goodbyes come new and fresh beginnings which propel you to venture out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and understand more about yourself. I’ve discovered and accepted the fact that I have a hard time with transitions, something that I feel I’ve always subconsciously known about myself but tried to deny. I’ve discovered that I have a serious fear of missing out on opportunities because I won’t have the same experiences as other people to share and laugh about. I’ve discovered that I don’t really speak up for myself when something has affected me in an effort to avoid any unnecessary drama or problems, whether that is a good or bad thing I’m still  unsure of. And I’ve discovered that I need to learn how to live in the moment and not worry so much about things that have happened in the past or may happen in the future. Most importantly, I just feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I’m able to stay for another term because I will be able to connect with more people and acquire a greater sense of independence and maturity. I can’t wait to look back on this new term with fond memories and if it is anything like first semester I know I will have a lot of fun! Thank you so much to my friends both old and new and of course my family for making this experience both possible and positive, it is an adventure I will always remember!

Until next time,New blog signature 2