Living the Beautiful Life

Hello everyone, I really apologize for my absence but as time passes faster and faster I am finding it harder and harder to sit down and write a good post… which really is actually not a good idea because as I do more and more I have more and more to write about! But then again, what a problem it is to have too many amazing things to say and to not be able to find the time to find the words because I’m too busy taking advantage of that time! Exactly. So I am very sorry for being MIA for about, well, two months, but I’m back! Who knows when the next post will be but I do want to keep this blog up so I’m going to do my best. Here we go!

Okay, so when we left off I was beginning a series of spring voyages which would take me all over the place, the first of which was a weekend with my good friend who lives in Como. We had a lovely day exploring the lovely lake and town (and a little tiramisu always makes the day a little brighter, let’s be honest). The next weekend, I headed off to Venice with Rotary which was something I’ll always remember as, of course, the city is absolutely phenomenal, but add extremely strong rain, thousands of people, and Carnevale, and you’ve got a day to remember. It was absolutely wonderful and I wish I could have had more time exploring every little street and looking through every little window. There is just so much history and so much culture in every Italian city. It’s one of the things I love most about the country. The next weekend I was invited by a good friend to her house on the ocean in the Mediterranean, and we spent three beautiful sunny days on the sea and in the sun, exploring Rapallo, Santa Margherita, and Portofino. It was an absolutely amazing weekend which reminded me once again of the immense generosity and hospitality I have experienced here. Everyone has been so welcoming and has wanted to give me every opportunity to see as much as I can. This year would not have been the same without the support, kindness, and late-night pasta given to me by all the wonderful Italians I have met. I am so, so very lucky to have them. Two weeks later, I was once again off on a field trip, this time with my school! We went away to Florence for three days, visiting David (yes, the real David), the Uffizi Galleries, Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo, and having a great time while we were there. I have made some pretty amazing friends here and this trip with them was one of the most fun weeks of my whole exchange! One week later, I was once again off to Florence, this time with Rotary! We went just for the day but it was so much fun. One of my greatest memories is just how much we laughed, to the point where our faces and stomachs hurt so much we couldn’t feel them anymore. I have also made lifelong friendships with the other exchange students and I just love every time we get together. Definitely never a dull moment!

The next week passed by in no time flat and soon enough I was spending birthdays with my host family and two days later I was in a new house with a new family and a whole new aspect of this adventure! I was with this family a grand total of three whole days before setting out on a grand Easter Holiday vacation, which is something I will always remember. We went first to Trieste, a beautiful port town on the Adriatic Sea, on the east coast of Italy. After a tour of the beautiful city, we went to Hungary and met my host family’s son who is spending a year there. We spent one night on the beautiful Lake Balaton, explored two amazing towns (Tihany and Veszprem- no words to describe how beautiful they were), explored a castle, and maybe even experienced a bit of culture shock all over again! I also ate my first goulash. Just. yum. After that, we headed to Budapest and spent four days there. The first was actually spent in another town where we had an Easter picnic, drove bobsleds on a mountain, explored another castle, and explored another fantastic town, followed by another delicious dinner. The next three days were spent exploring the phenomenal city which is Budapest. We swam in the world-famous pools, saw the Opera, shopped in the local market (a bit of Granville nostalgia may have snuck in at this moment), and explored all the monuments such as the Citadel, the Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Green Bridge, and the famous Cathedral.

After Budapest, we made our way to Vienna, Austria! Although it was raining the whole time and we didn’t really come with a plan, we still had a great time exploring the city and seeing all the sights. It was absolutely gorgeous. I would love to have the opportunity to go again and see it better. One of my highlights was the Leopold Museum. So much art and history, a very cool thing to experience! After two days in Vienna, we said goodbye to my new host-brother and made our way to Postojna, Slovenia! That night we crashed and the next morning we went to see Europe’s largest caves. I have to say, it was legitimately like being in an India Jones movie! So absolutely stunning and almost difficult to believe how these things exist. After that we headed home together, all a little more tired than before, and got some much needed rest. It was one of the most memorable trips I have taken this year and I will be forever grateful to my brand-new host family for their extreme generosity and hospitality. I had a truly wonderful time!

Yesterday (which was Monday and we got back Sunday night), I woke up bright and early and headed with my class to Torino! We went and visited the Cinema Museum, which was very very cool. I would love to go back and get a better feel for the city but what I saw was beautiful.

So that brings us up to the present! One and a half months to go. Where the time goes, I don’t know, but I have been so blessed to be able to experience all that I have in these past eight months. The language is going really well (not fluent but making my way there!), I’ve made lifelong friends, my new host family is amazing, and i am working now at making the most of my last few weeks. Wow. Last few weeks. Ew. Weird. Anyways, I’m going to decide not to think about that and rather think about living every day to the fullest. That’s what’s the most important, right? 🙂

Sending all my love to everyone, wherever you are. I hope to write soon but if I don’t, don’t worry, I’m probably on a beach in Sicily. 😉

Until next time, ciao ciao,

Laura