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Things I’ve noticed when traveling through Europe

Tips for travelers that I have discovered or re-discovered throughout my semester abroad:

1) Siestas are effective (eat lunch late, rest from early mornings, eat dinner late, and make and use of nightlife)
2) Nightlife= wee-hours-of-morning life
3) The dollar fluctuation actually matters in the real world!
4) Use of the metro is SUPER convenient.
5) When packing a suitcase to travel, it’s better to pack an L.L. Bean backpack instead (airlines are a crapshoot and sometimes tell you that suitcases are too big, re-wearing jeans is necessary evil, you may be doing extensive walking on cobblestones so rolling bags are not ideal, weather can be difficult to pack for so be realistic about the forecast and be prepared!)
6) Americans are not always well received, especially by rude Italians
7) Overall levels of trust and social responsibility are different in every country. Thus, you and your possessions will be safer in some places than others.
8) YOU must find you own balance between wandering vs sightseeing/doing both.
9) People within certain cities act differently (Italians have a more leisurely walk than Danes, Greeks sit around in squares, Italians spend much time at cafes/trattorias, London metro is brisk)
10) ALWAYS have a charger for all devices AND an extra adapter (or else our plugs are useless)
11) 3 things to never leave home without: debit card, granola bar, shower flip flops!

With these tips, everyone can learn from my mistakes and misconceptions. I hope you have safe and comfortable travels!

Much love.

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SIX DAYS!

Posted on

With under a week remaining until takeoff, I am starting to experience the calm before the emotional storm.

In the past two days, I have:

  • purchased all toiletries necessary for 4 months of cleanliness
  • found a gorgeous pair of Steve Madden leather boots, thank you Marshalls!
  • borrowed a huge suitcase from my friend/coworker Melissa
  • packed EVERYTHING into two suitcases (this is a HUGE deal because packing is super overwhelming for me, I have too many clothes. I used Space Saver bags, though, which take the air out of everything)
  • taken passport photos for any IDs that DIS needs to make when I arrive
  • chatted on the phone with my sanity, Nan (who has taught at Villanova and DIS!)
  • bonded with my bro, Ben, over¬†Wrath of the Titans
  • planned a luau for the End of Summer Party for my nuggets at TLCC (more on them later)
  • planned a fun week of goodbyes/social events for my last week!

After all this, I am beginning to think that Copenhagen will come as a relief!

But honestly, I think this interim part between being physically ready to go and actually¬†going is the best part. It’s at this time when the reality of the situation starts to sink in. I am going away, and I will not be back for a long time.

More importantly, I love the way people act during this final week of spending time together. Everyone laughs louder, cries a little, and hugs more. We are all reminded of how much we truly love those around us, and that time with them is precious. It reminds me of one of my favorite pieces of wisdom I learned when I was a little girl:

“Live every day like it’s your last, ’cause one day, it will be.”

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