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Closing Remarks

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Happy holidays, readers, and hello for the last time! I feel like I owe it to all of you who have been following my journey to wrap up this blog with some closing remarks.  You know me, nothing goes unsaid.

REUNITED with X and Misher! (and yes, I changed my hair)

REUNITED with X and Misher! (and yes, I changed my hair)

Throughout the holidays, I have been so thankful for what I have experienced, and the people I now get to share that experience with. That includes all of you, some of whom have read all 90-something of my posts since the very beginning, when I created this blog in a Dunkin Donuts on a family vacation to Misquamicut, Rhode Island.

Readers, this has been such an amazing journey, and I am sad that I will not be writing to you anymore. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with me through everything. Blogging has become so much more to me than simply a record of what I have done and seen. This is a medium of expression for me, and I hope you know that you have now seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of this little lady!

Now, I will continue my adjustment back to living in Connecticut and at Villanova. At this point in my transition, it is obvious that American reality is much different than my Danish study abroad experience. Some people think I was simply “on vacation,” but I urge you to remember that taking five classes and dealing with the emotional ups and downs of culture shock, changing worldview, and developing transatlantic independence were no ride on the ferris wheel…

When all is said and done, this semester has been priceless in so many ways. I have grown as a person, appreciate a multicultural perspective, and gained countless friends and experiences. My journey only continues from here.

Much love, readers. Hej hej!

The Great American Transition

Hello from America, readers. I’ve been here since Saturday evening, and am just now sitting down to write my homecoming post. If I said it’s been an emotional roller coaster, would you believe me?

Coming home (to my original “home”) has been the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me. The BEST part of it was seeing my family and close friends for the first time, and realizing that nothing has changed the way that we feel about each other. I am so happy to be in close proximity to them once again!

Mom stalked the reunion of me and Bitty, who ran to me before I could even get out of the customs doorway. We missed each other so much!

I didn’t even make it out of the doorway of customs before Bitty attacked me. I loved it.

BOGUE family picture in the airport, that's how we do.

BOGUE family picture in the airport, that’s how we do.

Accidentally reunited with my very best friend Christina while trying on dresses in the mall. CRYING HAPPY TEARS IN PUBLIC

Accidentally reunited with my very best friend Christina while trying on dresses in the mall. CRYING HAPPY TEARS IN PUBLIC!

I know, so cute…

The WORST part was that coming back to America has forced me to start yet another period of adaptation and change. I have always been naturally resistant to change, but bored by routine. This means that I walk a fine line between upheaval and monotony, since too much of either causes me stress and anxiety. Returning home was upheaval for me. I was surprised by this, as I thought I would only be a little uncomfortable and transition quite smoothly. Apparently, I was wrong, as I have been struggling a bit more than anticipated.

I knew that I had fallen in love with Copenhagen, but I had not been aware how deeply the Danish lifestyle had become ingrained in me. For example, simply prioritizing what needs to be achieved/obtained today and what can wait until tomorrow is different in America because here, we try to do too much, overschedule ourselves, and bite off more than we can chew at times. While such ambition is usually a healthy challenge for me, coming back and throwing myself right into that was quite difficult for me to deal with. After a trip to the mall on my first day back, I had to cancel one of my reunion visits and take a breather before I could move on to an evening get-together.

Then, of course, there’s the Danish value of spending time with loved ones, getting hygge. My family has appointments, meetings after school, and my dad works two jobs when he can. Thus, the reality of life catches up to me, and I am left to fold up my fuzzy blankets and blow out my tealight candles until Sunday, my new, strictly imposed Family Day. I wish we could just slow down and be cozy together like the Danes do every evening, even in the city. I miss that the most.

Overall, though, I’m making progress on my transition. Today is the first day I woke up feeling like I was in the right time zone. I’m glad to be back, but I also miss my home in Copenhagen. That’s the trouble with being such a lucky little lady, I can’t seem to settle on which life makes me happiest. I love them all.

Much love.

 

The Last Days

Like I promised, I’ve made the most of these last ten days in Copenhagen. It’s 2:30 AM on my last night, so I couldn’t help but give one last recap, as you know I love to do. Up till now, I’ve been too busy squeezing the worth out of every minute in Copenhagen, so I have barely opened my computer! Here’s the scoop on my last few days in the city I love.

1) The Arts & Culture House Art Show!

We were inspired by the Danish museum called the Louisiana, which has a temporary exhibit called Self Portraits. Like the artists featured there, we each created a self portrait to reflect our “i-DANE-ity” and how it has changed our concept of ourselves since we came to Copenhagen! Mine is called “Place Like Home” and reflects the importance of my family as they accompany me on my yellow brick road of sorts, finding out that maybe Dorothy was wrong…

The Arts & Culture House (left to right) Vince, Emma, Anna, me, Rebecca, Carrie, Adriana, Ariel, Jamie

The Arts & Culture House (left to right) Vince, Emma, Anna, me, Rebecca, Carrie, Adriana, Ariel, Jamie

Me with my project, which I titled "Place Like Home"

Me with my project, which I titled “Place Like Home”

THE CLOSE UP. Just so everyone knows, I made that shoe out of newspaper and tape ONLY. skillz.

THE CLOSE UP. Just so everyone knows, I made that shoe out of newspaper and tape ONLY. skillz.

Vince and his project, made from his favorite foods and their wrappers!

Vince and his project, made from his favorite foods and their wrappers!

2) Tivoli 

Christmas time in Tivoli is so magical! Everything is lit up, and there are Christmas markets and a special water fountain show in the evening. Tivoli is the second-oldest theme park in the world, and was an inspiration to Walt Disney!!

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how they REALLY make aebleskriver (the Danish pancake balls that are traditional Christmas food)

how they REALLY make aebleskriver (the Danish pancake balls that are traditional Christmas food)

3) Christmas in the streets

If you thought Copenhagen was adorable during the summer, the Christmas season has taken it to another level! It’s easier to deal with the lack of sunlight when there are Christmas lights EVERYWHERE!

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4) Christmas at Ravnsborggade

As an honorary housemate at Mia’s house, I was delighted to attend her house Christmas party, which of course turned into the most gigantic festival ever held. My favorite part was the wall papered in gift wrap for a backdrop for pictures! While my freezing cold shower prevented me from creating an acceptable hair style that night, I did enjoy taking silly pictures with my friends.

Dylan, Aimee, me, and Mia attempting to be serious, like in the TV show "Skins"

Dylan, Aimee, me, and Mia attempting to be serious, like in the TV show “Skins”

5) Saying Goodbye to my Visiting Family

My visiting family has been so good to me this semester. Between giving me an extra duvet for when Mia’s and my heat were broken, taking me to the zoo, cooking me Danish food, and showing me how to make Christmas decorations, they did everything they were supposed to and more! Their patience, hospitality, and genuine affection made this semester much more enjoyable. When I went to their house this Saturday to say goodbye (and meet some of their friends), I was heartbroken to leave them behind. Finn, Marie, Siri, and little Vigga, I’ll miss you when I go back to my real family!!

6) Sticks n’ Sushi atop the Tivoli Hotel

Lousie took us out to dinner at Sticks n’ Sushi, a high-end restaurant located at the top of the Tivoli Hotel that serves Asian food. Mostly sticks of meat and sushi rolls, this restaurant also had an extensive bar with swings on one side, that overlooked the canals and a gorgeous skyline. We spent a good portion of the meal taking turns to sit on the swings, gawking at the A-listers that Louise identified for us as Danish celebrities, and thanking God that we’d finally found some edible Asian food. It was devine.

7) Christiania Christmas Markets

The Christiania Christmas Markets take place in the Great Hall in Christiania. Vendors of jewelry, crafts, ornaments, clothing, and other miscellaneous goods all come together to sell their wares among some interesting food selections and even more interesting people. While it was crowded, I was intrigued by the low prices and immense selection of homemade Christmas gifts!

8) Traditional Danish Christmas Dinner

If you thought I was all Christmas-ed out, you were wrong! Yesterday, Louise (my SRA and favorite Danish friend) slaved away in the kitchen to make our house a REAL DANISH CHRISTMAS DINNER! There was roast duck and pork (yummy pork skins, too, Dad), boiled potatoes, caramelized potatoes, cooked pickled purple cabbage, cold purple cabbage salad with oranges and pomegranate, Danish version of Waldorf salad, homemade pickles… so much food! I tried everything, but my favorite was the cold purple cabbage salad. We also drank Exotic Fanta, which everyone jokes should be attached to me in an IV because I absolutely love it! After the meal, we played the rice pudding game, which is actually more like torture. There was a HUGE bowl of Danish rice pudding in the middle of the table. Now, this dish is made with chopped almonds in it. The object of the game is to find the ONE WHOLE ALMOND in the pudding. Everyone has to eat the pudding until someone finds the almond. For each of the twelve people eating, that meant two full bowls of pudding if we were to get to the bottom of the bowl. AND WE ALMOST HAD TO, because MIA found the almond in the first five minutes AND HID IT UNDER HER TONGUE until everyone was literally falling off their chairs with fullness and taking shots of the pudding to try and make it go down easier. CRAZY DANES and their games. For her almond discovery, Mia won a pig made out of marzipan. Dumb prize, serves her right for making us so full!!

 

Other than that, I’ve been spending as much time as I can just talking to my friends and enjoying their company. I cannot express how much I have come to appreciate the people I have met here. We have seen each other through adjustment issues, mood swings, love problems, and all the other drama that inevitably happens within a semester. Although I never could have predicted it, I will come home with even more amazing people in my life. Somehow, I sincerely doubt that there is a luckier person on this planet than me. I’ve experienced so many different cultures, made new friends, and discovered a new home. I’m in love with Copenhagen. My journey is not over, it is just beginning.

Much love.

SLOW DOWN, TIME!

Time seriously needs to slow down. It’s 3 AM here in Copenhagen, and I’m starting to think that I’ll be sleeping a bit less in these last 17 (technically 16 now!) days abroad. 

In a sudden burst of energy, I finished my presentation and two of my final papers today! This ridiculous burst of motivation and energy usually happens to me once a semester, so I guess this was my one turbo-charged school day. Combined with my arts and crafts day yesterday, my obligations for the semester have been trimmed down to ONE remaining paper and ONE remaining final exam!! I couldn’t feel more accomplished.

Why, then, should I quit sleeping?! The answer is obvious: TIME IS RUNNING OUT!! Although I am getting excited to see my family and friends back home, I still feel like there is so much love I have yet to express to Copenhagen. More pictures need to be taken, more sights seen, more windows shopped. Even if I was here for a year, I probably wouldn’t do it all. While that is the amazing part of living in such a dynamic and beautiful city, the truth is, I’m a little bummed that I won’t be able to feel like “I came, I saw, I conquered.” 

In the end, I know that I will have made the best of my study abroad experience. Especially now, since much of my To Do List has been accomplished, I have room for more fun stuff!

Look out Copenhagen, here I come! (again, and probably not for the final time in my life, either)

Much love.

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving started for me on Wednesday and ended on Friday (of course). I didn’t mean to make it happen, but I’ve had so much to be thankful for these past few days that I just had to extend the holiday.

On Wednesday night, we made our own Thanksgiving dinner at Mia’s house. There were 22 people in attendance, including everyone who lives in Mia’s house, me, and my friend Anna. The spearheads of this operation were Emily, Mia, and Aimee, who did most of the cooking and coordinated other contributions. Mine was home-made cranberry sauce. Jhon and I also whipped up some cinnamon butter and helped with the mashed taters (so yummy). It was SUCH a HYGGE night!! I am so thankful to have all these great friends!

Group shot of everyone (minus Jhon) in Mia’s house, my second home. LOVE THEM ALL!

My contribution: homemade cranberry sauce (since Denmark doesn’t have it)

this captures the moment well

Thankful for this girl ❤

Emily, Mia, and Aimee: the three moms with their pies

picture-perfect “hygge” (Danish concept of cozy)

 

 

 

Thursday, I woke up still full (typical Thanksgiving problems). It was kind of a rough day because I missed my family and friends on this American holiday, and everyone in Denmark was acting like nothing was happening. I know that Christmas decorations are up, and they look great, but it’s just not the same. Thanksgiving is a day to spend walking around the house in slippers, cooking with people you love, listening to “Alice’s Restaraunt” (Dad & Ben!), failing at pecan pie… and instead I was expected to be in class. EWW.

Luckily, I had pre-arranged a coffee date with Anders Larson, a man who teaches and works in Housing at DIS. I never would have done this, but Nancy strongly suggested that I meet him, as he was one of her favorite people here. Let me tell you, I’m SO glad I listened to her. Anders is the coolest! He’s super cute, so easy to talk to, and as a real Dane, he knows what’s up around Copenhagen. Even better, we met up with his friend and colleague Lauren Chaney, who is a Villanova alum and has been traveling the world since she graduated ten years ago! It was nice to spend time chatting with such cool people, and I was reminded that there are so many people I have yet to meet here. With only 22 days left, it’s easy to check out mentally, but I won’t do that yet. There is too much I’d miss out on!

Just to top off the night, we spent Thursday night as we would on Thanksgiving Eve in CT. My dancing shoes are a little worn out now, let’s just say.

Friday, I thought the festivities would be over… but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I got an email about a package, and had been expecting my mom to send me my favorite sweater. Instead, I got TWO HUGE PACKAGES!

THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM AND ANNE!!! Opening these boxes seriously felt like Christmas and took away any lingering sadness I had that I was missing out on Black Friday shopping, another HUGE family tradition. I got a little taste of the wardrobe I miss at home, since my mom got me a million sweaters and legwarmers, an Alex & Ani (the teacher apple), and other stuff. Thanks Mom! And Anne got me a ridiculous amount of great American stuff, including A WHOLE JAR OF PEANUTBUTTER, DUNKIN COFFEE, AND HOMEMADE BROWNIES!! I haven’t smelled a brownie in months. THANK YOU SO MUCH ANNE!!

Really, it all comes back to being thankful. I have never before in my life had so many reasons to be thankful. It hits me just about every day, even when I’m sad or missing home. I am thankful for my wonderful, supportive family, my absolutely amazing friends, and of course, this experience. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Much love.

Pizza, Pasta, Prosecco, & (Mia’s) Parents!

On Friday, November 9, Copenhagen had the pleasure of receiving Mia’s parents, Paul and Andrea Savoca. Along with Mia, they are literally the sweetest humans on the planet, and they let me tag along on Saturday to see ome of our lovely city of Copenhagen.

Mia’s first Danish!

Mia & I with our Danishes (I know that’s not actually what they are called here but I can’t help it)

Paul, Mia, & Andrea at the lake at Christiania. Love them!

Our return to Nyhavn, still one of my favorite parts of Copenhagen!

During this day around Copenhagen, I got to participate in showing Mia’s parents all the places I would have liked to show mine. You’ve seen them throughout my blog as I’ve visited them (Nyhavn, the Glass Market, my house, the lakes, Parliament/Christiansborg Castle, etc.) but it was cool to show Mia’s parents in person. They also got to observe all the little things you can’t capture with a picture, like the guttural language, fast bikers, cobblestone streets, and windy grey weather. Most of all, they experienced the charm of Copenhagen that has made me fall in love with this city.

At dinner that night, we were casually chatting when Paul suddenly said, “Bri, why don’t you just come to Italy?” Mia was equally as shocked as I was, and at first we didn’t take it seriously. But, five hours later, I had tickets to and from Italy!!

I spent all of Sunday in bed with a stomachache, while Mia and the fam spent the day in Malmo, Sweden.

Monday started the trip! We flew into Fiumicino, Rome, and drove directly to Perugia, a few hours north of Rome. Being in a car was actually mindblowing for me, and surprisingly soothing. We enjoyed the ride to the 13TH CENTURY CASTLE THAT WE STAYED IN (the Savocas seriously know how to travel!), and later drove to a restaurant where we had an amazing culinary experience.

Seriously, for real, castle.

I finally found my knight in shining armor!

The view from our window, of the terrace and the Italian countryside beyond.

view from the terrace

Best tortelloni I’ve ever had, complete with mushroom pecorino sauce.

My eggplant parm. Delish!

Paul’s octopus, which I tried and actually kind of liked!

Such a great look for Paul, reminds me of my dad eating lobster.

Mia’s pasta, made with octopus ink. It tasted really good but the color just looked so strange!

The next day, Tuesday, we made the most of our location and toured the world-famous Perugina chocolate factory, known for Baci chocolate hazelnut kisses! We saw the production of Baci and some of the other chocolates that the factory makes, AND GOT A FREE TASTING ROOM! YESSS.

fooling around with my head in the trademark Baci kiss logo

Baci white and Baci! Love them both!

Promise I didn’t eat all of these, but honestly I probably could have if you gave me a few hours. So yummy.

Post-chocolate food coma, we explored the Italian countryside some more. The first place we stopped was Deruta, famous for its hand-painted ceramics, and Assisi, known for St. Frances of Assisi.

Deruta

Deruta ceramics

ceramic electric guitar (BEN!!) made strictly in Deruta, nowhere else in the world

Assisi

Assisi

Church of St. Frances Assisi. Pretty sure he’s buried in there under the altar.

I would just like to note that Assisi is one huge hill, which makes for gorgeous views BUT a LOT of walking uphill! We definitely walked off that chocolate!!

Tuesday night we drove to Rome and checked into our hotel, Hotel Villa San Pio. At this point in the trip, I basically picked up a glass of Prosecco and a fork, and never put them down for the rest of the journey. NO REGRETS, but this week the jeans are a little tighter! (EuroDiet was not in effect on vacation.)

Wednesday began with a visit to the Vatican to hear Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly address to the public. The thing is, he spoke Italian… but thankfully, Mia’s dad is fluent in Italian so he translated. SO INTERESTING: He spoke about St. Augustine, and Veritas, Unitas, Caritas, which is literally Villanova in a nutshell. We are an Augustinian university, and Veritas Unitas Caritas is part of our University Seal as well as our core values!

Pope Benedict XVI

For the rest of the week, we basically just walked around Rome, revisiting the Colosseum (of course, since I’m obsessed) and other sites. We took the Scavi tour of the underground cemetery beneath the Vatican/St. Peter’s Basilica where St. Peter’s bones can still be seen today. Inside the Basilica is super cool and intricately designed, and the remains of past Popes can be visited as well. We also went to Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori, an Italian opera (my first, and probably last, opera ever), and the Spanish Steps. Aside from that, we had great food and, of course, more Prosecco!

view of Rome over the Palatine Hill (the Colosseum is in the back)

Saw this right before the Scavi tour, super creepy as I’m about to descend into the depths of Rome

Mia took this artsy photo of the Colosseum, so proud of her skillz

Prosecco at the hotel courtyard

XTINA THEY MAKE SURE TO ACCOMODATE YOU IN ITALY

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the Scavi tour was under there!

Dad, orange trees AT MY HOTEL

These are posters for the strikes that took place all week. One even got violent.

before the Scavi tour, with friends of the Savocas who recently moved to Rome

The Tiber river was the highest it’s EVER been… Those are treetops. Covered.

Getting adventurous trying some meat (after a mostly-vegetarian semester)

On Friday, we did the most Italian thing I have done in Italy: we took a pizza-making class!!

cutting mushrooms

People who know me know that I am a pizza snob, but this has taken my judgement criteria to a whole new level! I will never be the same again after this delicious experience.

The next day, Saturday, we said a sad goodbye in the airport and went our separate ways. For the last time, I flew back to Copenhagen.

I cannot express how thankful I am to Mia and her wonderful parents. ADOPTED FAM, YOU ARE THE BEST!! This trip was fun, exciting, and refreshing. I am so glad to have you as my adopted family. I will never forget this amazing vacation.

Much love!

This Morning I WAS Sad.

This morning I was sad. 

Sleeping was not an option because of the jackhammering outside my window from 7:45 on. So I had to think of a new diversion. The gym worked wonders, but I still felt something missing. 

Then I remembered, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, all the amazing people in my life. Starting with yesterday on my Facebook, I looked back on ALL the pictures at the great fun I was having with great people. This semester, summertime, sophomore year, the holidays–all the time I’ve been smiling my head off, having a grand old time.

That’s when I decided, even though I miss home, I’m going to make these last 25 days the most fun days of the semester! (This will require that I bang out my bigscaryresearch papers and study smart for finals, but who says I can’t do that?) Tomorrow is “Thanksgiving.” I’ve got an art project in the making for an exhibition with my Learning Community. The streets are starting to look like Christmas. Hell, I’m doing just fine!

So now that I’ve given you a look into my mentality for today, I hope you will have a similarly uplifting experience today. Look around you, and think of something to appreciate. Laugh about a silly memory. Then, get up and go make another one!

Much love. 

Coming HOME to Copenhagen

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There’s no place like home.

All of my homes are unique. Northford, Connecticut has the small-town feel and the people I have always loved. Villanova University is the setting of my ongoing coming-of-age story, complete with an indispensable cast of beloved characters. Now, I have added a third home to my list with the cozy city of Copenhagen, where my little American feet have trotted the cobblestone streets of majestic Europe.

While I hesitate to use the term “home” to describe the many places I have rested my head, Copenhagen and I have developed the trust required for me to view it in such an affectionate way. When I can finally let my guard down enough to consider a place my home, I know that it has had a profound effect on me. The cobblestones in Copenhagen contain memories of my footsteps; the cash register at the grocery store holds my vegetable-heavy transactions in its hard drive; the mannequins in the shop windows have seen me wandering through sun, rain, and always wind. Just as I have seen the city, it has seen me, and neither of us will ever be the same.

But, it’s not just the setting that makes the story. As the main character, I have done some serious developing since starting this chapter. Just like when I left for college, I thought that, when separated from my family and friends, I would say stuck in my past with them. Without the people I loved around me, I thought I would be worthless, incapable of functioning as the person I am without the people whose lives I am lucky enough to affect. Honestly, I derive most if my self worth from the effect I have on others. Naturally, coming to Copenhagen, I faced the same fear of losing my meaning. But now I have seen, for the third time in my life, that I fit rather easily into the same interpersonal groove no matter where I am. At first I couldn’t believe it, but after more than two months here I can tell that I have the same function regardless of the people I get to know. Discovering this about myself has given me a new and exciting kind of confidence, not just that I can stay afloat in the social world, but that I have a real and concrete persona that other people can experience and relate to. I am someone, no matter who is around me.

Copenhagen will forever be my home for teaching me that.

As my plane lands in Copenhagen for the final time this semester, I look forward to spending the final seven weeks becoming more intimately acquainted with my home. The next time I board an airplane, it will be bound for America, and my semester abroad will be over. While I know that it will never be truly over, I am deathly afraid of that moment when I know that I will have to leave this home without knowing when I will return. I am not ready!

Much love to those of you in America, but I am dragging my feet to slow the passage of time.

Italy in Pictures

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Italy in Pictures

I wish I looked more Italian for my trip to Italy, so they would have recognized me as one of their own. Regardless of whether or not the Romans knew, when I got there I felt like I was coming home. The first three hours I spent in Rome, everyone looked like someone I knew: Poppy, Mimi & Pop, Gram Elaine… It really just made me want to hug someone. After that homesick moment, I decided that I would come back some day with my family. Bogues, remember this. Terrusas, Meagan, you’re invited. We might even have to stay in the Ivanhoe Hostel, whose owner was nice enough to host free spaghetti and cocktail nights! The only problem, I had to speak to him in Spanish because I can’t speak Italian and he can’t speak English. Spanish was our halfway point.

As you may have guessed, my Italian trip was peppered with memorable moments and casually-not-casual food & culture creations. Instead of rambling on about them…

This is an example of how the ruins appear. This is an old house, with some of the walls still standing.

More ruins on the Palatine Hill, which is a wide-ranging group of ruins next to the Colosseum which includes the houses and gardens of emperors and aristocracy such as Augustus!

Tunnel connecting two of the emporer/noble’s houses underground

A relief from the original decor of the tunnel that connects two old castles underground

People actually uncovering ore ruins! It was so cool to see them carefully brushing at rocks and categorizing what they found.

Aimee and I in front of a wall overlooking Roma on the Palatine Hill

I think someone died, because there is a mound inside this alcove with fresh flowers on it. Maybe it was Caesar.

Part of the Roman Forum

Aimee and Ben under a tree on the pathway beside the river that runs through Rome. We had to cross it to get from the city center to the area with all the cheap and delicious restaurants, per the advice of Salvatore (the owner of our hostel). It was so worth it!

Trattoria Pizza da Gino alla Villetta. Our favorite restaurant. We went twice!

An eggplant pizza and a sausage pizza. These are personal ones! HUGE!

Aimee’s interesting pizza. This is how they make pizzas with multiple toppings of this meat/vegetable nature.

wineeee

Speaking of food, Dad, look what I found!

What the streets looked like in Rome, especially the cheap food section.

Typical restaurant

Penis pasta. Sorry, it was everywhere.

Rome has spacious, decorated squares called piazzas. They are close together within the city. Usually, each one has a church or important building, as well as a fountain. Artists and vendors set up their wares there to sell to tourists and locals that hang out in the piazza.

Piazza Navona

fountain in Piazza Navona

beautiful building in Piazza de Navona

Me in Piazza Navona

The Pantheon, which I did not know is a functioning church and final resting place of the famous painter, Rafael. His art is also featured within the structure, along with an altar and pews that people still seem to use.

Us in front of the Pantheon, but of course I got distracted. The people watching in Rome is just fabulous.

Much better. Group shot at the Pantheon!

couldn’t stop taking pictures of the streets in Rome, they were so cozy.

Such a cute little car. Dad, how about we get this one next 😉 ?

Dad, chestnuts!! I almost got some, but it wouldn’t have been the same.

 

The next day was Vatican Day for us! We tried to beat the line again, but taking the metro to the Vatican was a bad idea. We had to wait in line, but it was still fascinating! Here’s the entrance to the Vatican Museum! Which, by the way, is one of entrances into the walls surrounding the Vatican. NOTE: Women MUST cover their shoulders and knees when inside the Vatican. 

An exemplary ceiling in the Vatican Museum. Such craftsmanship.

Rafael. In the Vatican. Where I was! So crazy. 

At this point, I experienced the most profound moment on my journey, when I went inside the Sistine Chapel! Situated at the end of the train of rooms in the Vatican Museum, it is the climax of the entire exhibition. In our Augustinian Culture Seminar (freshman year-long required class) at Villanova, Dr. Kelley’s class explored religion through texts and Christian art–including art from the Sistine Chapel. At first, I didn’t even recognize the pieces we discussed, because every inch of the Chapel is covered in scenes, so the only thing I noticed were the harmonious colors and general forms. Michelangelo was a sculptor, so his people are painted in ideal form like sculptures would be, with expertly positioned flowing garments. The skilled artist’s use of color was such that the eye is prompted to move throughout the piece without being drawn to any one figure, at first. After a few minutes, however, I began to notice figures of importance, like Jesus and Moses. The scenes from Mount Sinai are on the walls, while stories of Jesus’ baptism and teachings are presented on the opposite wall. For me, the most amazing thing was the story of creation that graced the ceiling. From the separation of light and dark, to the creation of Eve, to the painting of Original Sin, Michelangelo’s masterpiece literally floored me. I had a stiff neck when I was done staring up at this inspired work. After almost an hour, I realized where I was, and had to exit the Sistine Chapel for fear of being kicked out by the guards to make room for new tourists. Unfortunately, no pictures were permitted, and I did not want to disrespect the art by attempting to capture it in such an elementary and ordinary way.

St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica!

Aimee and I with the Basilica

Basilica shot! Imagine the pope sitting up there addressing thousands of people. Even for non-Catholics, that must be an awe-inspiring sight to behold. We were going to try to get in, but by that time there was a line of a thousand people waiting outside, so we had to skip it.

Part of St. Peter’s Square (Did you know that some of the art here was created by a Danish sculptor?! The only non-Italian to be included here.)

Me climbing the Spanish steps. We had to wear pants to the Vatican, so climbing these stairs in the sun was kind of a sweaty experience… but worth it for the view from the top!

Aimee and I at the top of the Spanish Steps

The view of the Shopping Street from the Spanish Steps. The shopping here is CRAZY! Louis Vuitton and Prada are some of the names you’d recognize.

Finally, the Trevi Fountain. In the Lizzie McGuire Rome movie, this is where she meets Paolo (in case you didn’t know, this movie was a huge part of Meagan’s and my childhood)

Me & Aimee with the Trevi getting close to the fountain took a little time because…

…LOOK AT ALL THESE TOURISTS!!

Stopping at the bottom of the Trevi for a photo op! We hung out there for quite a while, listening to the water and taking pictures.

Throwing my Euro-penny into the Trevi Fountain! I made a wish!!

Aimee’s hilarious selfy in front of the Trevi. I couldn’t help taking a picture of her.

Me, Aimee, and Ben at the Trevi

Toshi and Marshall (two friends we made at our hostel) came with us for this day. They were both independent travelers for extended periods of time, backpacking through Europe.

us with Marshall

We used this building as a point of reference within Rome (since we didn’t have wifi, Aimee and I navigated our whole trip with a paper map–BE PROUD). It’s called Ill Vittoriano – Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II.

Il Vittoriano – Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, from the side. I have no idea why this monument is so grandiose.

Me with Angelo, who I later discovered knows Antonella back in CT! The first night, we randomly went to his gelato shop, where he passionately creates new flavors and makes everything by hand. He was so friendly, and we ended up going there every night!

My mondo cannoli. Chocolate chip filling, pistachio crust. It took me four sittings to eat this thing.

Look how huge it is!

The bluest of skies as we mounted the plane from the tarmac. This was the flight home from Milan (we flew from Rome to Milan on Saturday at 1 pm, then stayed in the Milan airport until our 7:30 am flight to Copenhagen on Sunday morning). While we saved upwards of $100 this way, it was a long night in the airport.

That, my friends, was my trip to Rome! I know it was a long one, but now you know everything! You’re a lucky bunch, you readers.

Much love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Day in Greece

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Like a kid on Christmas, I did not sleep a wink the night we arrived in Greece. Today was the day of the Acropolis. I have a million pictures for you, so I will put them up in a slideshow with captions.

 

The basic outline of the day: 

climbing the hill to the Acropolis

wandering around shopping streets in the heart of Athens

 

lunch at an adorable restaurant: Greek salad and Moussaka

Moussaka, a Greek version of lasagne with eggs, eggplant, meat, potatoes, and cheese

strange grainy orange flan. GROSS.

finding the Fish Kiss pedicure (in which I did not partake)

stumbling upon the ancient burial ground called Kerameikos

more of those first-day gyros for dinner!

finishing out the day by hanging out on the rooftop bar at the Pella Inn.

Here are the pictures from this glorious first day in paradise. The weather, by the way, was sunny and 86 degrees. What a perfect change from the 50 degrees and clouds of Copenhagen!

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Much love.

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