The Later Girl

A lot of things in life that we consider to be great come later. We say that good things come to those who wait, or don’t wish for it wait for it and the right things will eventually come to be. Well, I call BS on the whole thing. In reality waiting around doesn’t get you very far. Waiting to lose weight, waiting for a guy to like you, and even waiting for an apology can be things that we will never see happen if we don’t take the initiative to make them possible. With where I am at in my life right now it always seem like impending adult responsibility is just waiting to kick my ass. I know a lot of people are freaked out about the future, but as it turns out I am not one of those fools. I know what I want out of life and I know that hard work is going to be the thing that gets me there, but that doesn’t stop me from ranting about stupid people on my blog now does it?!

I guess I am tired of being treated like a second option to people I put first. I don’t appreciate being put on the back burner. It’s like people seem to think that they can apologize to me later for being a crappy friend, date me later because I’m not one of those girls looking for Mr. Right NOW, or even get in touch with me later because honestly I’m just here to cater to other people and their whims. If you thought any of that was true you really don’t know me very well. I’m to the point where I don’t have time for meaningless crap in my life. I don’t want to be toyed with or used for my friendship or just in general. To these people I am the “Later Girl”. I am that one that will always be there waiting because that’s just what I do, wait for people to make time for me. I wait until it is convenient for them to decide they really want me to be there for them or vise versa.

Don’t get me wrong I will wait all day if I see potential. If I know that I am not just wasting my time I will put I the extra time it takes to make it work. Being a “Later Girl” sucks because I know that people mentally set me aside for when its convenient for them. To most men I am not a dateable option for this reason. I don’t care on that score, to be honest dating someone just to have someone there is stupid. It cheapens the real deal and when you have the real deal you put in the extra time it takes to make sure it is right.

Here’s the thing, for some people setting me aside for later might work for you, but I never said that it worked for me. I am not someone to be exploited for personal gain. Realize that I am not an object for you to use I am a person with value and feelings a concept many seem to have lost over time. I don’t have to wait around for things to happen I can make things happen in my life if I want them to. You can save me for later, but that doesn’t mean I have to save you for later. Sometimes that ship has sailed.

Unrealistic

The internet has made many things unrealistic. Everyday we see things that make us think the world is one way and then we end up realizing it is not completely true. One of the things that has been severely affected by the internet is expectations. The ones that we have for ourselves and for other people are now at an all time high. In some ways we have created this ideal world where everything is perfect, our lives are perfect, our bodies must be perfect, and our love life has to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist! I am tired of people thinking that it does and being held up next to something that doesn’t exist. This world that I am now being forced to be apart of is not real. It is unrealistic for anyone to think of me in that way.

I don’t always say the right things in real life. My body is not perfect and while it’s still a work in progress it will never be the ideal shape that everyone thinks it should be. Sorry I am human and this was how I was made. I can work hard and try everything possible to look my best, but at the end of the day me being a size two, having six pack abs, and a full bust will probably never be a thing. Stretch marks on the other hand seem to be a common trait for many of us. I wouldn’t want to look like a barbie anyway because that isn’t who I am anyway. I have goals that I want to accomplish. For instance I want to run a marathon so I am trying to start cutting some of the weight that I gained in Europe, but I know that I don’t have to look like a super model to be strong.

My love life doesn’t exist currently, but if it did I don’t think it would look the way that girls try to make it out to be on the internet. I don’t want someone that kisses the ground beneath my feet. When did men become doormats that only exist to buy us gifts? I must have missed that lesson in school or something because last time I checked they don’t notice anything and they don’t care. They never notice hints no matter how many you leave them. You spend all of your time and energy waiting for this perfect guy, one that will buy you a pair of Nike’s and write you the perfect note, but we all know that those girls bought themselves shoes and then wrote that note,  no guy has handwriting that good sorry.

It’s frustrating because these girls that have these expectations are the ones that continuously ruin it for the rest of us. I don’t expect a guy I date to be perfect I’m flawed so why shouldn’t he be. He doesn’t have to have the perfect body, or always say the perfect thing, and he definitely doesn’t have to worship at my feet, all  of the time, but knowing that someone cared about me as much as I did about them is what is truly important. I think this is why people feel the need to talk to more than one person at once. The girls that talk to five guys at once always make me mad. Friend zoned or not you are giving most of those guys the expectation that you are talking to only them, and that they matter to you as much as you might to them. I know that guys do this too, but I don’t see the point of focusing your energies on more than one person. If I want to get to know someone and truly get to know them I think they should have my undivided attention or none at all. it’s unfair to make them think otherwise.

Sometimes I think people forget what reality really is. I guess I am just sick of people wanting perfection because I know that it doesn’t exist. So as usual I am going to give my advice even if you don’t want to hear it. Your body is beautiful no matter what size you are. Don’t be content with your body if you don’t love it do something about it, but don’t hate yourself for now having six pack abs. In my personal experience only the freaks of nature can eat what they want and never gain weight. Most of us aren’t them so cut yourself some slack once in awhile. No guy actually cares if you get all dressed up to see them, you have to dress up for yourself or no one at all. It doesn’t matter if you have feelings for someone if they don’t for you, you will just end up disappointed if you dwell on it. Don’t dwell on it be friends and if it’s meant to be it will be. Know that guys have it just as rough as girls. Some of us have set unrealistic expectations for them and most of them will probably never measure up. If such a guy exists that kisses your butt and he’s “PERFECT” well he sounds like a pussy and I don’t want to meet him anyway.

Life is messy, it’s not perfect if you live it to the fullest it can be the scariest and greatest journey that any of us have ever been on.There will be bumps in the road. No road worth traveling is ever smooth and easy to travel upon. I guess you could say that life as tragic as it is beautiful truly is REALISTIC.

Call me Maybe

When I can’t quit dwelling I know that it is time to blog it out. This week is no exception, but my topic may be a little different than my European adventures. Instead I am going to write about my girly ones. The one thing that I have noticed about myself is I always manage to mess up social situations between myself and the opposite sex. I usually refer to this melodrama as “Being a Girl”. Most girls flip out over every little thing that guys do, and I have definitely been in their shoes. I am not sure why we feel the need to flip out about everything because chances are the guys either haven’t noticed or don’t really care. To be fair though life would be so much easier if they would just pick up on the “HINTS” that girls leave and save us all the trouble of freaking out. It’s times like now that I really hate living in the decade that I do. What is the deal with couples being a “Thing”? NO! If you are a thing with someone you’re basically dating just call it what it is. I also have found that while I can’t vouch for every girl I know most of us are masters at over analyzing the crap out of everything.

It’s still weird trying to figure out how to navigate this whole college thing. I have never really been in a serious relationship and usually I don’t care, and in many ways I still really don’t. It really just kills me that I can’t figure out how to flirt with poise and dignity. I always manage to make it awkward or boring or God forbid both. I absolutely hate to text people. I really don’t know how to social media. If it weren’t so embarrassing it would almost be funny. I never can quite make myself not talk about books, politics, nerdy things, and in general any topic that completely turns people off. The last party I went to people thought my cousin and I were trying to become a thing because I can’t talk to people that I’m not related to without going full on tard or insulting them in some way. Shout out to my main gal pal MARTHA! However, this doesn’t change the fact that I am still a disappointment to the way’s of 2015. Why are there so many rules? I don’t even understand half of them, and I’m a communications major that’s a little sad.

I guess what I’m trying to say is college hasn’t really taught me how to be normal. I am still socially awkward and even though I’m not shy, I’m also not good with words. I wish it could be like the eighties where people had to actually talk on the phone and go out on dates to get to know each other. The whole concept of texting someone seems like a foreign language to me. I never know if what I am saying is being read in the correct tone of voice that I meant it to be read in, or if people even get my awkward sense of humor, most of the time they don’t. I’m going full on girl and someone should just save me from myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is “Call me Maybe”.

I’m Back Baby

As many of you may know I am finally back home. I meant to blog sooner, but with the holidays keeping me so busy I haven’t really had the time to sit down and write. There are many things that I have noticed since I have returned to the United States that may actually surprise some of you. It’s strange because before I never would have noticed any of these things. I am really loving being home, but I am starting to miss Europe already, and I can’t wait to one day go back and see how much everything has changed since I left.

One thing that I noticed is that here in the U.S. we don’t really conserve energy. I don’t know if it is because we think we don’t have to because we have so many natural resources or what the deal is, but I have been extremely annoyed that there are no recycling bins next to the trash cans here. That alone would conserve so much and we aren’t doing it. In some ways I think that Europe has changed my outlook on some things and strengthened my resolve in other areas. I have never really thought about recycling before, but there they have recycling bins next to the trash cans in every public place. So say I bought a water bottle I could then recycle it instead of throwing it away. That isn’t the only thing.

Perhaps the greatest invention man has ever made has been making my life ten times easier since I have returned. That invention, the drier. It is so nice not to have to hang dry absolutely all of my clothing. I know it seems dumb but I have never been more thankful to have dry clothes in thirty minutes. Not that I dry all of my clothing, but not having to hang dry my socks has been amazing. That is one thing I do not miss about being abroad.

Another thing that has really been fun for me is to rediscover the American culture. The holidays were filled with amazing food and of course tons of Christmas movies! It’s great to be home and to see friends both old and new. I am getting antsy to get back to UNI and start the Spring semester. For now I am enjoying the rest of break by spending time binge watching Netflix and of course being a book worm. Here’s to 2015 being a great New Year.

I’m Back Baby

As most of you know I am now back from Europe, and with all of the craziness from the holidays I haven’t really had time to sit down and blog since I have been back. Well, I figured it was time to dust off the old laptop and fill you all in on a few things. I have noticed a lot of differences since I have gotten back to America. I am already starting to miss Europe, and I can’t wait to go back one day and see how much things have changed. For now though I have been enjoying being home and here are a few things I have noticed.

The first thing I have noticed is that recycling really isn’t a thing here. When I was in the airport in Chicago there was not a recycling bin to be found. At least none in plain sight that I could find. In Europe they have a recycling bin next to almost every trash can. This makes recycling so much more convenient. I don’t know if we don’t think we have to because we have so many natural resources or what, but I think that is one thing we should be doing. I have found that in some ways being abroad has changed my perspective on some things and strengthened my resolve in other areas.

The one thing that I have been loving since I have been back is in my opinion the greatest invention man has ever created. This remarkable invention is, the drier. I can not even begin to describe how nice it is to not have to hang dry my clothes. Having dry clothes in thirty minutes feels like a miracle. Not having to hang dry my socks may have been the best Christmas present ever.

I think the best part of being home though was rediscovering my home and some of the good ole’ American culture. The food and festivities over the holidays were amazing, but like most people it is a new year so it’s time to buckle down and get back to work. I am starting to get a little antsy to go back to school. I don’t know if I am ready for the Spring Semester to start because I have been enjoying binge watching Netflix, reading like the nerd I am, and catching up with friends both old and new. Like all good things break will eventually come to an end, and I’m excited to see what 2015 has in store for me. I’m back baby and I can’t wait to see what my next adventure will be!

The Sinking City: Venice

My time in Italy is coming to an end faster than I thought it would. I had a few more places that I wanted to travel to, and for my last adventure I decided to go to Venice. Venice is one of those places that is it’s own kind of place. There is no place like it on the planet and it is a must see for anyone that loves to travel. I went this weekend with my friend Colleen, who I met in Switzerland on a different trip, as a last big trip because towards the end of the semester we are too busy with studying and the old bank account is not what it was at the beginning of the semester. I have been extremely lucky to get to travel as much as I have, and now I have three weekend left to enjoy Florence the way that it should be enjoyed. I figured that if I lived here for the semester I should probably go see the sites in my own city. However, this blog is not about Florence it is about Venice.

Venice is one of the coolest places I have ever been. For starters the whole city is sinking so the streets are made up completely of water canals. Some things that Venice is famous for are their beautiful masquerade masks and their glass. When we went Colleen and I were able to see a glass blowing demonstration. The people that glass blow are typically men and the skill is passed from father to son through generations. You could tell when watching a demonstration like that, that it is a skill which has been acquired from a young age. The man that did our demonstration made a glass vase with a beautifully intricate handle in under five minutes flat. If that doesn’t impress you then I give up. Afterwards Colleen and I did what girls do best, we went shopping!

I had tons of fun in Venice and I can’t really tell you what I bought when I went shopping because some of you may be getting presents from there. 😉 Venice was definitely a beautiful place and I am beyond grateful that I was able to see so much and learn so much about such a unique city. It was definitely my favorite place in Italy that I have been to. For all of you travellers that want to conquer Italy make sure that you go to Venice. There truly is no way to describe it sometimes you just have to take it all in for yourself. My days here are numbered and I am going to take the chance to see the rest of the place where I live. Florence has been the experience of a life time for me, and I know that I will want to see it all while I can in the best way possible. I will see you all soon and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! Eat some Turkey for me! IMG_2155 IMG_2157 IMG_2170 IMG_2165

Breaking Barriers and Finding Myself

The thing I wanted out of studying abroad was to get away from Iowa and to figure out who I am. I wanted to see a different part of the world. I wanted to make new friends that liked to travel as much as I do, but maybe the most important thing I wanted to accomplish here was getting outside of my comfort zone as well as discovering what it is I truly want out of life. Sometimes when you have responsibilities back home it can be difficult to remember to work on yourself once in a while. As it happens I have been learning a lot, and I now know more than I did when I left home.

For starters the midwest including Iowa is very small town. Everyone is friendly and they have a can’t wait to get to know you attitude. If you are like me you went to school with the same people from elementary and then graduated high school together. Some of those people might have even ended up going to the same college as you. My best friend and I have known each other since we were little munchkins playing t-ball together, and to be honest it seemed a little impossible for me to ever think about leaving my family. I didn’t know if I would be able to handle being truly on my own. I guess the main reason I decided to go ahead with this crazy idea was because I truly wanted to do something different.

My neighbor, Brandy studied abroad as well as a few other girls I went to school with, and seeing all of their  pictures online  made me realize that, that was something I wanted to do. I was in no way prepared for the challenge I was going to face in the next few months. I didn’t know that I would be so homesick, but I also never expected to have so many great experiences along the way. If you get the chance to study abroad take it. Don’t just do two weeks, which yes you can do, but  it challenges you more if you have to go through a semester. You have to get used to a new way of living and a new cultural norm. I don’t think you really grasp how different until you have been in a different country for at least a month. I will never be used to the streets being so small. Seriously guys they are tiny!

I figured out how to navigate while in other countries, and if you know me you know that I am the world’s worst map reader. Seriously, I am pathetic it really isn’t even up for debate. Sure, I got lost for the first two weeks of being here and sometimes I still get turned around, but now I actually know where I’m going. It only took me a month before the end of the semester to figure it all out. To be honest though figuring out where I’m going and finding things like the grocery store weren’t even the hardest part of this experience. I know the hardest thing for me was living with people I had never met. Imagine throwing six girls who have never met each other into and apartment and then saying well have a good semester I hope this all works out for you. It hasn’t been the easiest experience, but it has taught me to keep my big mouth subdued… you thought I was going to say shut right, yeah dream on kids.

All of us have different personalities but the easiest way I can describe us is stereotyping. Grace from Massachusetts is the Betty Crocker/ Martha Stewart, she can literally do anything and everything. Courtney from Michigan is the mom, she makes sure we are all behaving and basically takes head count when we go out. Lexie from Colorado is the down for anything girl. She is literally up for anything whether it be skydiving, hiking, jumping off a cliff, or just going out she is ready to go. Trish from Michigan is the messy roomie, she will be the first to admit this too, she is also very funny. You can’t help but laugh with and at her antics. Andy from Michigan, who is my immediate roommate, is the flower child. She is very creative and into art. She is probably the most well read person I have ever met who is my age. We are also polar opposites which makes life interesting she is quiet, I am loud. She is a night owl that stays up until the wee hours, and I am an early bird which means I get up an hour after she falls asleep. If you haven’t guessed it by now my role in this group of girls is the drama queen, I know you never saw that one coming, but I guess I tend to make a huge deal out of everything. I prefer to say that I add flair and or finesse to the group, but to be honest they probably all wish I would chill out. As a group we have all learned a lot and grown not only as students, but as people.

I am beyond excited to be coming home soon, and even though thirty days seems like an eternity I know it is going to fly by. I will be home before I know it, and this was definitely the experience of a lifetime. I miss home so much, but there are also things here I am going to miss. I will miss the fact that no one is in a rush to really do anything. The first week in one of my classes my professor told all of us to chill out and take our time it wasn’t a race. This cracked me up because truthfully in America everything is balls to the walls get up and go compared to here. I will miss the rich history here. The city is full of signs of the renaissance. Every street you walk down breathes it. In fact the apartment building I live in was built in the 13th century, that’s older than our country! Most of all I will miss the people I have met here, and the experiences I have had along the way. Life is a journey and I truly believe that as people we are all meant to travel. Sometimes it just takes leaving your home to truly find out who you are.

The Beginning of the End

If you weren’t aware of this I guess now some of you will be. I suffer from terrible anxiety. Not only have I been extremely homesick I have also been overly anxious. I have to take medicine for it, and since I have been in Italy I have been having problems with it. I have been having trouble with it for quite some time so instead of worrying and fussing, I decided it was time for me to sit down and blog it out. It’s really hard for most people to understand that don’t suffer from it. It’s kind of similar to depression because if you haven’t been in the shoes of that person that is feeling this way you really have no idea what they are going through.There are many things that can mess with it and trigger a panic attack, some of which might surprise you. Basically as soon as I get home I am going to enjoy a lot of caffeine and a trip to the chiropractor.  At times it can be hard for people to relate to me and me to them because they just don’t understand why I seem to be acting so crazy. Trust me if I could hide the crazy I would.

It isn’t that I don’t like Italy. Actually it is quite the opposite I really love it, but it isn’t home and it is for that reason that I seem to be a ball of nerves. It has only gotten worse since we came back from break too. As fast as the time seems to be flying by it also seems to be going at a snails pace. Which makes me feel like I am stuck at the beginning even though it is about at an end. Every day I wake up I just keep wishing it was in my own bed with my own pillow and not in a foreign country. Study abroad is great, but it does not come without it’s trials. It has been the scariest and hardest thing that I have ever done. Yes, I am exceeding lucky to have been able to take this opportunity and use it to the best of my ability. However, that doesn’t stop me from missing what’s familiar and close to my heart. Being away from my family has been the worst part of all of this as well as being away from my friends. In case you didn’t know they are all pretty amazing people.

This week it seems to be eating at me more than usual. I have been taking a class that I don’t really like that much, but it is a good thing that I am in it because I am learning a lot. It just seems to not be as good of a distraction as I would like it to be. I still have a few places to travel to so that should offer a little relief, but I know that until the day comes that I am packing my bags and heading out the door to be reunited with my family I am just going to have to deal with a little craziness. It isn’t like I’m not managing, but it is still hard to do even though I’m almost done with the semester. I should probably stop counting the days because that only seems to make it worse. I don’t know how else to cope with it I suppose.

The one thing I really wanted to accomplish by writing this was to tell people that they are not the only ones that suffer from anxiety, and that just because you do it does not mean that you can’t do something crazy like study abroad for a semester. I also want people to understand that I’m not complaining about Italy and studying abroad. I am not venting because I hate it here so much that I feel it is necessary to write about all of the crap, no. I just want people to understand that it is hard for me to be outside of my comfort zone. I don’t like to feel uncomfortable, and I’m pretty sure that no one really does. But, I am sticking it out. I am trying whether it looks like it or not. So bear with me and try to understand that I am slightly deranged. It isn’t your fault that you think I’m crazy just like it isn’t anymore my fault that I have bad anxiety that occasionally causes me to go cuckoo. It’s the beginning of the end of the semester, and for me accepting it as such is the first step to feeling better.

The Eternal City

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Here is another blog coming at you from Florence, Italy. I can’t believe that I only have forty days left here after today. This seems kind of crazy to me. I am beyond excited to be coming home soon, but let’s be honest I still have a lot of traveling to do and such a short amount of time to do it. I still need to conquer Venice and of course the one place I really want to see Pompeii. I have been taking a lot of pictures and hopefully by the time I come home I will know a lot more about photography. For this past weekend’s adventure my roommate Grace and I headed to Rome.

When we decided to head to Rome Grace and I got our tickets the day of because before we could leave I had class. We booked out hotel the night before and in the early afternoon we took the fast train to Rome. I must say that I was really surprised at just how fast the fast train goes. What normally takes three hours took us an hour and a half. I was really excited to get to Rome, and our hotel was close by the station so that was really nice. Once we checked in we went to go see some of the city. We walked around a bit and went inside a church or two, but we were meeting up with Father Dellaert, a family friend, so we decided we had better get to the Pantheon to meet up with him.

Our original plan was to go and check out the Pantheon and then go meet up with Father, but that’s the thing about making plans they never turn out the way you want them to. Unfortunately at the time there was a Mass being held inside the Pantheon so instead we grabbed a seat on the stairs of the fountain in the middle of the square and people watched until Father got there. Then we received a personal tour of a very beautiful city by an amazing tour guide. It was really great getting shown around by someone who knew a lot about the city as well as some sites that we probably otherwise would not have gotten to see. We saw many churches which was really cool, and Father knew so much about the architecture and the reasons they were built as well as who built them and when. Like I said we had an amazing tour guide. One of the highlights of our night tour was seeing the site where Julius Caesar was killed, which apparently now is a cat sanctuary, who knew.

If you know Father, and I am sure many of you do, you know that he is one of the nicest people on the planet. He took us out to dinner at a little local restaurant after our site seeing, and the food was amazing. We shared a few stories from back home, some tales about our travels, and all of the things that go along with living abroad. After a really great meal and tour of the city we parted ways at the Spanish Steps, and we decided to meet bright and early the next day to tour St. Peter’s Basilica as well as partake in mass as it was a holy day. After parting ways with Father Grace and I were pretty tired from our travels so we went and got some gelato and then turned in for the night.

The next day we woke up bright and early to eat a quick breakfast and then grab a bus to the Vatican. We weren’t really aware that you were supposed to buy a ticket before getting on the bus because we thought you could just buy one once you were on, like in Ireland. So we kind of bummed a ride to the Vatican, but our bus driver was nice and he didn’t seem to be too upset that we were free loaders. Once we got there Father was waiting for us in the middle of the square. He told us the history of the square and some other stuff about the Vatican, but the real surprise was once we got inside. The line was short because we had gotten there so early. Tip, if you ever plan to see the Vatican the earlier you go the better chance you have of getting in without waiting in line forever.

The inside of the St. Peter’s Basilica is unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. It was so beautiful that it is hard to believe that human hands made it. Honestly the artistry that went into it alone is mind boggling. I mean I can’t even draw a tree!

There were several priests doing mass at the different altars for people, and we also received a little sneak peek into where the priests go to prepare for the masses they say in the basilica. Looking around there was so much beauty it was hard to concentrate on just one thing at a time. There was also a choir practicing so the whole place was filled with beautiful music while we were there. One of the cardinals was going to be doing mass at one of the bigger altars for All Saints Day so there was a good number of people seated getting ready to celebrate mass. After we had mass with Father the three of us walked around the basilica for a bit and he gave us more information about the place. We then went and had cappuccino at a little coffee shop not to far away said our good byes to Father, and then we actually bought tickets this time to get on the bus and head to the colosseum.

On the way to the colosseum we stopped and took in some of the Foreum. It was really cool to see the city ruins and imagine how they must have lived in the past and how it all must have looked. After waiting in line for about an hour Grace and I finally made it inside the colosseum. I am sure you would agree from seeing some of my pictures that it is quite impressive and must have been even more so when it was brand new. I can’t even fathom a place so big and old being new, but it must have been something to sit there in the crowd and watch people and animals battle to the death. It seems barbaric to think about when you sit there and realise that all of the people there gathered in such an extraordinary place were there to watch such awful events. The colosseum wasn’t just a place for death though they also put on plays and other things, but i’m guessing people got bored easily watching all of the fluffy stuff. We were done with all of the sites we had wanted to see pretty early so we got back to Florence in the late afternoon on Saturday.

All in all it was a pretty great weekend full of amazing memories and beautiful sites. I will say I was a little disappointed that I didn’t basically relive the Lizzie McGuire movie. No, I didn’t run into Palo and have my twin save the day while I rocked it at a  concert that everyone is overly excited to be at. Maybe to some of you it seems strange to think about a children’s movie in this way, but I feel like that movie may have been slightly exaggerated and that’s my childhood so sue me. At any rate it really made me want to watch it!

It was kind of nice that we got back to Florence when we did because on Sunday night Grace and I were able to go to the international market. Apparently each season they have a market and we were able to go enjoy the fall market. However, we will sadly not be around to enjoy the Christmas market as we will be heading home. People from all over Europe come to sell their products and there were even people from Brazil. I was able to take a lot of pictures, but sadly being the dumb blonde that I am I somehow managed to ruin my film. Nice going dork! It was okay though because I was able to get some good souvenirs and enjoy more than just the Italian culture. It is good to be back in Florence, and I am going to try to make the most out of the time I have left. I will see you all soon and hopefully it won’t be snowing too badly when I get back. I can dream!

Hillary Holub and the Fall Break Phenomenon

This past week I had Fall Break. As some of you may have read my last post you know that it was a much needed break at the time, but I am now relaxed and refreshed and ready to get back into action. I have been enjoying being abroad so far and this past week was no exception. My roommate Courtney and I went to Dublin, Ireland and London, England. For me it was one of the best trips I have ever been on and I was able to cross some of the things off of my exceedingly long and over the top bucket list.

We started our trip last Sunday with a train ride to Pisa and then an extremely long wait because our flight was delayed. So basically we spent all day hanging out at the airport waiting and waiting and still more waiting, you get the picture it kind of sucked. After we arrived in Dublin we took a bus to our hotel and checked in. The hotel was one of the nicest places I have stayed in Europe and for not very much money either. The Kildare Street Hotel is one I will definitely recommend. Anyway after all of this we made our way over to the restaurant attached to the hotel and had dinner. You can’t go to Ireland and not have some traditional Irish food so wouldn’t you know it I did. After we did that we decided to go out and have a drink. There was a pub we went to that brews almost all of their own beer so we had some of the house special and then called it a night as we were going to be going on a tour of the cliffs of moor the next day.

We woke up at the crack of Dawn, actually scratch that it was still dark outside so no we woke up even before then, and had to meet our bus. Wouldn’t you know it I have the world’s best luck. Our tour ended up getting cancelled due to a protest about water that caused our bus to be delayed. Needless to say neither of us was very happy. While we were still waiting of the bus though Courtney and I met two guys that were supposed to go on the same tour, Brady and Austin. They were both from California and were long time friends. Austin is currently studying abroad in London and I guess Brady decided he needed a vacation. We ended up spending most of the morning looking in to renting a car. While we were trying to get wifi Courtney and I took full advantage of the fact that Ireland has Starbucks and I was finally able to have a Pumpkin Spice Latte. After much walking and a lot of research we found out we were not able to rent a car like we had hoped. Technically to rent a car in Ireland you have to be twenty one, but there most companies won’t do so due to the car insurance rates of our age group.

Instead we decided to take a two and a half hour bus ride to Galway, a small city on the coast, and explored it for the rest of the day. We ate lunch at a local pub and then walked around taking pictures and seeing all of the sights. The city was beautiful and I took a lot of really beautiful pictures. Some of them I took from the inside of their cathedral because it was so pretty I just couldn’t help myself. After that we went to a local pub to listen to some traditional music and have a drink. Too soon it was growing late and we had to catch our bus back to Dublin. The next day Courtney and I went and explored the city of Dublin all day as well as a little souvenir shopping. We finished the day with dinner and a finally drink at the pub to toast Ireland and say goodbye.

We soon found ourselves in London. We had to take a two hour bus ride to get to the station for the fifteen minute walk to our hostel. We met a lot of new people while in London and I can honestly say I have no desire to ever go back to London because honestly it was crowded and noisy and basically a more spread out version of how I picture New York City. Maybe just a little less overwhelming. The day after we got there Courtney and I spent the day doing a hop on hop off bus. It was one of the best decisions we could have made because we were able to see all of the sights and take pictures. The next day though the real fun would begin.

Harry Potter at the Warner Brother Studios was without a doubt my favorite part of London. I went full on nerd and it was glorious. I took so many pictures that my phone ended up dying shortly after our tour ended. We had butter beer which tastes like a root beer float with butterscotch in case you didn’t know. I had such a good time learning about the filming and all of the artistry as well as the amount of work that went into the making of the film. It was truly amazing to see how they brought the film to life even if I am still not convinced Hogwarts isn’t real. I can dream can’t I?! After Harry Potter we went out and walked around the city and did the same thing most of the next day. We did go to Kings Cross Station to take pictures with Platform 9 3/4 and even though it was easily the geekiest thing I have ever done I don’t regret it at all.

We then stopped and had afternoon tea at a local cafe/ restaurant and then went out that night to say good bye to London. We met and Australian guy at our hostel, who goes by Taco, and he ended up going with us. It was definitely a fun night and a great way to say goodbye to such a great place. Our bus left at four thirty in the morning which meant we had to leave our hostel at three thirty in the morning so it was a long day heading back. I am not sure how I survived, but I am alive even though I had zero sleep coming back to Italy. I am now back in Florence and ready to take on the rest of the semester. Don’t worry I still have places to go and things to see so I will keep blogging. For now it’s Cheers! I will see you in Demember.

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