(Bonus points if you can cite the title of this post without using Google)
So, thanks to a friendly reminder from my blogging buddy Noel, I realized that it has been far too long since I’ve updated my blog. And for that, I apologize. The last few weeks have just been stunningly busy in the best way possible, but unfortunately the first thing to fall by the wayside was updating the world about how busy I had been.
What exactly have I been up to, you might ask? Actually, I doubt anyone who is reading this blog would really ask that, since you are also probably my friend on Facebook, which I have not neglected to update. Regardless, you’re here, and you’re reading this, so I’m going to give you the whole story from the beginning. 🙂
At the end of July, my family and I left the country. Specifically, we went to London, Paris, and Rome for an eleven-day celebration of my sister’s graduation from high school. Traveling Europe has always been a dream of mine, and I was beyond excited to be able to hit three of my dream cities in the same go, especially since Chad would be coming too. I also did a lot of feeding off of Lyndsey and Chad’s excitement, both of whom had nursed the same dream of traveling abroad as me. There was just a good deal of excitement buzzing around, even on the six-hour transatlantic flight, the seats on which should have been small enough to stifle any feelings whatosever.
Soon enough, though, we had landed at Heathrow, and the adventure began. (We were seeing Europe with a tour group, so the actual adventures were minimum. Maybe a better word would be “sightseeing”.) We spent three days in each city, which was just enough time to get the flavor of the area and see some of the more famous sites. I know I should spend way more time writing about the history of each building we saw, and its significance in the grander scheme of things, etc, but I actually just recently had to do that for the study abroad class I took this summer (which also took me to London and Paris), so I’m just going to give the skinny on each city, along with my totally non-academic opinions:
-The food is way better than people give it credit for. It’s not 5-star cuisine, but it’s definitely edible, and I didn’t have one meal that I didn’t enjoy
-The people are dressed to kill. On our first day there, my entire family set out to see who could find the first poorly-dressed person, and we only saw one lady that fit the mark the entire time we were there (she also may have been a tourist, so there’s that)
-I love their public transportation system. It’s by far the best I’ve ever used, with D.C.’s running a close second
-The city is SO clean, it’s crazy, especially for how few trashcans we could find.
I’m going to have to stop there with London, because I’m slowly realizing that I love everything about that city, and I could easily take the next five days going into every little detail.
-The people can be just as rude as their stereotype, but they can also be very helpful, if you are humble and try to speak their language
-My whole experience in France has given me a lot more sympathy for the people here in America who are on the receiving end of the “THIS IS AMERICA YOU SPEAK ENGLISH” craze. (I purposefully left out the comma in there because the people who are the most adamant about only speaking English seem to frequently abuse the language themselves.)
-The food is
good great. Especially the french fries (or frites, as they’re called there) and the chocolate-y things. And the bread. And the everything.
-The city is very dirty, much more so than all of those “I ❤ Paris” movies and souvenirs would make you believe, but when you are walking down an avenue lined with cafes and flower stands, and you can see the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower at night, it’s easy to see why they call Paris the City of Love.
-The history is awesome (but that applies to each of these cities, really). Also, I dare you to go an entire trip to Paris without getting at least one song from the following stuck in your head (provided that you are even familiar with these movies) : Beauty and the Beast, Anastasia, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Moulin Rouge.
– THE FOOD. The end. I will have a later post dedicated to a food I didn’t know existed until I went to Rome, and that I can no longer live without. You’re welcome.
– The history. OOOH, the history. Those who know me well know how much I love my history. Let’s just say that Rome was like stepping into my own wildest fantasy come true. There’s really nothing like walking through downtown Rome (if you can really call any area of Rome “downtown”) and seeing a statue of Julius Caesar that was sculpted during his reign on the side of the road. There were so many ancient ruins scattered throughout the city, the way that we would have parking lots or Starbucks here (also, no Starbucks in Rome. Fun fact.) that after a while you kind of stopped noticing them.
– Rome is laid out very oddly, and its public transportation sucks in the coolest way; they can’t build an underground system because every time they try to dig tunnels for it, they stumble across ANOTHER ANCIENT RUIN. Seriously, I’m currently experiencing an historical mindsplosion right now.
– The city is even dirtier than Paris, and is COVERED in graffiti. But fun fact: while you might associate the graffiti with the Mafia, since our American graffiti is usually gang-related, and what bigger gang is there than the Mafia? (at least, that was my thought process), it’s actually all happy graffiti, like “Lorenzo loves Veronica” or “The Medici family was here”. Happy graffiti, because how could you NOT be happy in Rome?
-Oh, well there is the heat. Rome= Florida in environment: hot, humid, and very sunny. Fortunately, Romans are a bit more on the ball with their construction techniques than we are, and you could rarely tell how hot it was outside when you were in one of their buildings, even if the building didn’t have AC (which was most of the time). Example: the AC in our hotel room was broken the last night we were there, and I slept like a baby UNDER THE COVERS.
I’m sure there are a billion other things I could talk about (how friendly the Romans were, how pretentious I felt trying to mimic the British accent in London, how I honestly almost cried when I saw the Colosseum for the first time…) and I feel kind of bad for glazing over the trip so quickly, but it’s either a post of this length or a Dostoevsky-length book, to be honest.
I am happy to be back, though. This should be a fantastic last semester at USF, and I am really excited about the classes I’m going to be taking. After the awful burnout that was last semester, it’s refreshing to have back that academic enthusiasm that I’m used to. I think the main cause for that is how much I was able to get done this summer, while still having plenty of time for R&R. I’m starting out the semester ahead of schedule on my big projects like my thesis and grad school applications, and so that stress that I’d normally feel for procrastinating is gone. Right now, I’m just filled with this ebullience and I hope it doesn’t go away any time soon.
It feels great to be blogging again, and I know I’ll have a lot to blog about in the near future (recipes, photos from Europe that I didn’t feel like adding to this post, MY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEKEND), so look for more updates soon! 🙂