Its been awhile, and a lot has happened in the past 3 weeks. I’ve gotten tonsillitis, gone to Spain, England, and had the most delicious hidden treasure of Florence! But first I will start off with the Italian doctor whom I so luckily came into contact with (sarcasm) here in Florence.
When it finally seemed like I was getting healthier since arriving in Italy, I became sick again the weekend before Barcelona. I felt it coming as I dined on apertivo in a sushi bar. Apertivo, essentially a “pre dinner drink,” you enjoy while nibbling on buffet foods or little snacks at a fixed price, and usually end up disregarding dinner all together. It’s kind of like going out for drinks with friends and receiving samples of food throughout your time there. A lot of restaurants in northern Italy do apertivo from 7pm to 9pm or so. And every place does it differently. I went to Komo for sushi with Kerbi and Lily, where we sat in a dungeon-like lounge and drank Prosecco with sushi and curried chicken and other little snacks. Prosecco is a good drink to have while eating, and my personal favorite, because it opens up the palette. Other apertivo drinks include fruity cocktails, Brachetto, a sparkling red wine, and other spumantes or sparkling white wines. Other Apertivo drinks. Afterwards, the girls brought me to their favorite gelato place, Gelateria de Neri, which is THE BEST gelato place I have been to in all of Florence; all of my travels within Italy. On a little side street, you know you’re approaching when you see people eating gelato outside the door. Their cookies n cream, and frutti di bosco, which is like a mixed berry, are my favorite flavors. You can get a 50 cent cone there if you must, but you’re going to be missing out! After our gelato, we met up with Kate and her dad, who was visiting, and we decided to try and get a pastry from the secret bakery, even though it was only 11, and it doesn’t open until after midnight! we figured we would take a chance. Lily knocked on the foggy glass doors and we got excited as shadows began to appear. A man opened the door for us! We got cream filled donuts that were sugary and warm, and I swallowed it down with delight, ignoring the shooting pain in my throat.
A few days later and I am on Via Porta Ross trying to find the doctors office. My school booklet read that the office is at 1 Porta Rossa, where the Farmacia is, so I went in there and asked if I was in the right place. I was already stressed out from having a discussion, if it even was that, with an Italian woman at the phone store about my phone plan that I didn’t understand at all, plus I couldn’t swallow and felt like I was going to explode with tears any second. The old lady from behind the Farmacia counter nodded her head and led me outside, around the corner, and and to a blank, skinny wooden door. She unlocked the door and waved her hand signaling that I go in. I did not feel like I was going to the right place. I walked up the narrow concrete staircase and into a dark waiting room. There was no one else up here and I couldn’t find the light switch, so I sat and cried and prayed I did not get kidnapped. I occupied myself for a short time by typing a description of the room I was in into my phone; for a future blog post, or as future evidence to an unsolved murder.
After a half an hour, some guy peeked his head from the staircase and promised the doctor would be in soon and he was running ten minutes late. Ten minutes later, an old man peeked his head and nodded at me, then disappeared. “Uhm..ok.”
As I followed him into the doctors office, I tried to find evidence that he was a real doctor. Where are the certifications hanging in frames? Whats in his briefcase? Loose papers. Why is it so empty in here? Where is his stethoscope? After he had me do about 10 deep breaths, he told me I have tonsillitis, and a respiratory infection. He gave me a prescription for 3 unknown medicines, and then gave me a bill for 50 euro. I had no money because my school booklet said that appointments were free here with my insurance card. I told the doctor this, and he shook his head no. “We do not follow that contract anymore.” “Well, I don’t have any money,” I whispered, as I began to cry AGAIN! It’s unavoidable people, I really can’t stop it.
So he let me run to the ATM and the lady there wouldn’t help me unless I showed her my ID, which was stolen, so I went back into his office and told him that, so he pointed to another ATM to go to, and I finally got money, paid him, then paid another 40 euro for the medicines, and sprinted home with cloudy eyes.
The main reason I was so disappointed was because I was so excited to go to Barcelona, and now I had to be sick and on antibiotics in my most anticipated travel opportunity. Regardless, I was still pumped, and after a succulent sausage and pepper meal in cooking class, I packed my jean jacket, ballet flats and t-shirts into my travel backpack. I made a successful batch of granola with dried fruit, almonds, m&ms and banana chips. I discovered that my granola was a failed attempt the last time, due to my oven being in Celsius and my instructions being in Fahrenheit, and not putting two and two together…
Side note: The m&m’s in Italy taste very different from the m&m’s at home. The chocolate center has a much more distinct cocoa flavor.
On Friday morning, we woke up around 3:30 a.m. to catch a 4 a.m. bus to Pisa. We met Taylor and Alex outside our apartment, where Ashley and I had gone through our mental checklist multiple times, as we always do. Our bus ride was an hour long through the Tuscan night, and when we arrived at the Pisa airport we met up with Lily, Kerbi, Kate and Erin and then had an hour and a half wait for our flight.
Our flight was an hour and 50 minutes. Most of slept the whole way, and when we got to Barcelona it was still only 10: 40 in the morning! The view flying over the coast of Spain was absolutely priceless. The water was dark turquoise, fading to crystal as it touched the beach sand shore, lined with glass buildings.
Once we landed in at Girona airport, we had to take an hour bus ride into Barcelona City Center, where we stumbled upon a gorgeous park and water fountain on our way to the hostel. The water fountain was designed by Gaudi, like many of the most famous architectural buildings in Barcelona. Gaudi is known for his unique and eccentric designs; he didn’t like straight lines. It was a bit chilly, but the sun was bright and gazed down on the fountain and all the little Spanish kids were playing soccer and tag.
Our hostel was called “The Mediterranean Youth Hostel” and it was extremely accommodating! Upon arrival, we payed 1,50 euro for sheets, locked our backpacks, and ventured to a suggested restaurant for some long awaited Spanish food! First, I ordered the seafood salad, consisting of octopus, clams,shrimp, fish, and other seafood, covered in a strange vinaigrette dressing. Second course was Spanish sausages which were extremely tasty, besides the one that was stuffed with mushrooms and Gorgonzola cheese. This came with fries and cheesy baked beans.
After our meal, we ventured through Barcelona City to Park Guell, which was also designed by Gaudi. It is a huge park the overlooks the city and coastline, made up of stone benches covered in colorful patterned glass. There are palm trees, cacti, and other forms of vegetation throughout the park, and it kind of reminded me of Animal Kingdom in Disney. The structures throughout the park range from droopy, mud like ceilings, to immaculate marble-like pillars. There are people everywhere taking pictures, or just chilling and enjoying the view. Before the sunset, we noticed three cross shaped structures in the distance, and ran there as fast as we could in our curiosity through the park and up the stairs to see what it was before the sunset. We finally got to “Tres Crosses” and the view was magnificent; we could see the whole city and shoreline. On our way up to the park, Ashley and I bought a bag of chocolate truffles and shared them as we watched the sunset amidst the three crosses and our friends.
Once the sun went down, the image of the orange painted skyline over the Spanish buildings had lifted our tired spirits for the long walk back to our hostel. Once we were back at the hostel, we met up with our dear Australian friend, Simon, who promised he would come to Barcelona with us, before he visited Madrid and then went back to Australia after his 4 and a half month backpack journey across Europe! We rested for a bit in the hostel, and then took the metro to the coast for dinner.It was very cold, but all I brought was my jean jacket! How silly of me.
For dinner we had Spanish tapas, which consisted of 6 dishes of food to share. We ate green peppers, ham croquettes, shrimp, potatoes in spicy tomato sauce, octopus, salmon, and sun dried tomatoes and artichokes. The table also shared sangria, but I could not drink because of my antibiotics. -___- Even though I was pooped from the days activities and being sick, I couldn’t be more happier to be in Spain. Listening to everyone speak Spanish, and trying to communicate with them was really awesome. My 7th grade self in Spanish class would have never imagined that my 8 years of Spanish would be put to use in actual situations. Their language is so smooth and beautiful.
On Saturday, we woke up and had a quick breakfast at a little diner. I got a pastry filled with vermicelli or something of that nature, and covered in powdered sugar. A green tea, and orange juice. One of the most amazing things about Barcelona was their freshly squeezed orange juice! So ripe and and refreshing. We had planned on trying to find Dunkin Donuts, which is actually called Dunkins Coffee, that morning, but we were running late for our bike tour and hate to improvise. We rushed to the metro and headed to the shore. Sadly, we missed the bike tour that we were really excited to do, so we walked along the shops street to try and find another bike tour or activity to do. It was taking quite a long time to decide, and Ash, Tay and I only had limited time because we had a concert to go to later, so we had to separate from the group. We had found another bike tour, but we needed our ID’s as a collateral, and we didn’t bring them with us. Instead, we visited the shore and dipped our feet in the sand, stood by the sparkling clear water of the Mediterranean Sea. I was captured by Barcelona; truly in love. The beach was surrounded by a large sidewalk lined with palm trees, and filled with runners. The beach was otherwise empty, but I could only imagine how packed it would be once the weather got nicer. Towel to towel, naked people roaming around, with their blackened skin blinding, and the drinks too cold. The W Hotel stood high and mighty at the end of the beach, so we went to see what it looked like up close and personal.
In the sky, we noticed a gondola riding a power line over the harbor. We decided to check out the price to ride it. I was so nervous but I figured that millions of tourists do this everyday in Barcelona, and I wanted to be able to say that I did it. We paid 16 euro for a round trip adventure. First we had to ride an elevator up to the top of a tower, waited in line, and then once we got in the gondola, we lifted from the base, suspending us in the air thousands of feet of the ground. I did not look down, and was relieved once we arrived across the harbor on a mountain covered in trees and a secret garden overlooking the city.
After our gondola ride, we sat down for lunch at a cute little place by the shore to order paella. I remembered learning about paella in class in high school. It is a dish made of Spanish rice and seafood. I ordered for us in Spanish, and felt so powerful. We got bread that we dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, and paella and muscles marinara to share. The paella was absolutely delicious; orangey red, warm and soft, a hint of spice and sea salt, bursting with juicy fresh fish and shrimp that we had to crack open ourselves. The muscles marinara was also mouthwatering, as I dream of it right now. Plump little muscles covered in a light red tomato sauce. After our lunch, we bought headbands and an anklet from a street vendor, and then took the metro back to our hostel to get ready for the Justin Bieber concert. We took a taxi there, and upon arrival, we were extremely embarrassed. First of all, we were wearing the complete wrong outfits that made us stick out like sore thumbs, we were freezing, and we were in a line filled with little boys and girls, families, or groups of 40 year old woman. The audience was undescribable. There were dads there. The people next to us in the crowd were sobbing the entire time, their right hand reaching out towards the stage, their left hand covering their mouth in awe. I could not believe how intense the vibe was, or how emotional people were getting over this 19 year old boy. Regardless, Jbeebs puts on a hell of a show, and no matter what people say, he is a truly talented singer. It was fun.
After the show, it took us about an hour to find a taxi to get home, because we didn’t have phones to call to get a ride, and the taxis waiting at the venue would not speak to us. It was very strange. Once we got back, I wasn’t really in the mood to go out, and I could not drink anyways. I knew I would be miserable around a bunch of drunk people the entire time, but it was Taylor’s birthday so I just decided to go.
But I went home early.
The next morning we had a quick, and questionable breakfast, and trudged through the rain to see La Sagrada Familia, the giant Egg, and get some souvenirs. Barcelona was absolutely gorgeous, and I would like to live there for a year or so if I could. I wish we had a longer time to visit, and that I was not sick so I could have been a part of the infamous nightlife. I would consider going back there if I had more time this semester. It felt good .
After Barcelona, we had midterms week. On Tuesday, I studied for wine tasting with Kerbi at the student library. For lunch, she took me to the infamous Pinos, FINALLY! which is a place where you can get sandwhiches starting at 3, 50 euro. I got the “Emily” which is mortadella, pesto, tomato, pecorino cheese and artichokes. You can also get a side of homemade pasta. Pino has owned the place for a long time, and is well known in Florence. He makes the sandwich right in front of you, and if you can, get a glimpse of his stormy blue eyes. After our satisfying lunch, we went to this little shop filled with Italian Easter eggs, which are basically giant chocolate Easter eggs, ranging in all sizes! They also had loaves of bread covered in chocolate and sprinkled with hazelnuts. Inside was a little menu for Caffe Affogato, which Lily explained essentially means “to put out a fire” in Spanish. Here, it was a cup of gelato covered in coffee. UHM YES PLEASE! I ordered the vanilla almond crunch gelato, an watched him scoop out the feathery gelato substance in a plastic cup, and then pour freshly ground coffee over it. After awhile, it melted, and I drank up the sweetened coffee and chewed on the leftover almonds as we walked into the first peeking sun of the spring.
The week went by quickly, and I couldn’t help but splurge a little on cafe affogatos between class, and buying a tyedye maxi skirt and some shorts, for the sun had made life a little happier the next few days. My roommates and I also went to Gusta Pizza twice that week, because we were too busy to grocery shop with midterms, and because Gusta Pizza is JUST THAT GOOD!
After my last mid term on Thursday afternoon, Ash and I packed our travel backpacks once again, and went through our checklists. We both felt ourselves getting sick, and our attempts to sleep failed. We left our apartment at 945 p.m. to catch our train to Pisa Airport at 10 35 p.m. We walked down the cobblestone street in good moods, with a little hop in our step, excited for the famous Camden Pub Crawl and Harry Potter studio tour that waited for us in London! Once we arrived at the train station, we realized our train time was not on the board. The only thing relating to Pisa Airport was a bus that was leaving right then. We rushed to the bus stop, but all we had was our train tickets and all our money was transferred to pounds and we needed to buy a bus ticket. We had ten minutes so I sprinted back up to our apartment, grabbed my 50 euro out of my sock drawer, took the elevator, and sprinted back down to the bus station, almost dead. The bus had already left.
Next, Ashley and I asked the police, an assistance man who rushed us out of his closing office with words that did not make sense, and a conductor who spoke no English, and did not understand Ashley’s simple Italian, and finally decided to just buy a new train ticket to Pisa Centrale. (our train ticket said Pisa Airport on it. We would have to take a taxi from Pisa Centrale to Pisa Airport.) As we were buying our tickets, the machine kept blinking that the train was leaving in 4 minutes. I stuffed my 50 euro bill into the machine and it kept spitting it out, so I tried my MasterCard. Didn’t work! I stuffed my money back in my bag and we sprinted to the train with my backpack unzipped and straps flying everywhere. We decided that if worse came to worse, we would have to pay a fee for having the wrong ticket. Fortunately no one came around to check, and we got to Pisa Centrale safe and soundly. After we arrived in Pisa, we had to take not even a 5 minute taxi ride to the Airport. The ride ended up coming to 15 euro, I have no idea how. Once we got to the airport, we had to wait 3 and a half hours in the freezing cold, with a cold, until 4 in the morning when the INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT opened. OH. In order to keep myself entertained, I sang a little song about my life, tapped my feet, stood up and then sat back down, paced, and reminisced about the Dining Hall food in Keene with Ashley. We decided that once we got inside the airport, we were never to speak of what had happened ever again, because it was just too painful to think about. We really didn’t think that things could get any worse, so we freaked out a little when our flight was not showing up on the screen, but it just wasn’t posted yet, so we sat and waited. There is also a rush of adrenaline and nerves when you get your bag checked to see if it fits in the compartment, but our backpacks always do. Its really sad to see the girls whose bags don’t fit and they have to check their bag and pay for it. They are always crying and really stressed. I could not even imagine at that point.
Once we got on the plane, Ashley and I were getting really sick. She passed the eff out in the window seat, and I got stuck in the middle, next to some Ray Bans wearing clean cut Italian man. At first, I thought I was good, until he started talking to me and trying really hard to say things to me so that I would understand. I just wanted to nap. He started showing me his tattoos, and would not shut up. He tried explaining his grenade tattoo to me and how he flies planes and shoots down bombs or something, so I started getting scared, like, why are you talking to me about bombs on a plane, as if I am not scared enough as it is? As we took off he screamed “Vamos!” and started clapping and being obnoxious. his conversation with me started to get aggressive in his attempt to have a conversation with me. I closed my eyes and turned my head towards the window, telling myself that everything would be okay and that he is probably not a terrorist. (Being sick makes me even more vulnerable than I already am.)
We finally got to the UK, even though there was turbulence as we were landing, and obnoxious Italian next to me was saying his prayers. Once we arrived, Ash and I had blow our noses and get tissues, then take an hour bus ride to London. The hour bus ride to London was absolute hell on wheels. The bus squeaked and rumbled, braked too short, it was like a sauna in there, I was in and out of consciousness, had not eaten, and felt delirious. Once we got to the Victoria Bus Station, Ashley and I stopped at the first place we saw to get food. Garfunkel’s. We got a kettle of English Breakfast Tea, and some hot breakfast. Took some Advil, and made our way to the Astor Victoria Hostel on 71 Belgrave Road. We couldn’t check it until 2 pm, so we laid in the common room and tried to sleep. I really felt like I was dying. I was filled with misery and aggravation at being sick. I just wanted to enjoy being in London! Yet my body needed sleep and tears were pushing at my eyeballs. As I was sleeping on the couch, two people dressed in animal costumes came in carrying two bottles of whiskey and vodka. “Wanna take some shots with us on the roof? Free shots if you dance with us?” I could not even begin to think about doing that. “Maybe after we nap…Thanks though..”
People gathered in the lobby to go up to the roof and drink and do a rendition of the Harlem Shake video. AND WE WERE NAPPING! IN LONDON. But it had to be done. Once we checked in, we napped for a good 2 hours. We then went out into the night to a place called “Sea Fresh” for scallops and fish n chips and hard cider. We wanted to go out, but we figured we should get some rest for a long day of Harry Potter world on Saturday, and we wanted to feel better for the pub crawl on Saturday night.
What a detailed description of my favorite drink! Lovely. I’ve never seen a description like this on a menu.
The next morning, we ate breakfast in the hostel kitchen; oatmeal and toast with apricot jam & tea. Thank god it was included! We then headed to the Victoria Bus Station to board our Golden Tours bus to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. It was a rainy, snowy, cold day in London. We passed a seemingly foreign Walmart, and many European houses, all white and brown, red bricks, and little, like something you’d see in a picture of Europe, and dream of going there, or dream of what its like to live there. I also saw the the Dorchester, which is where the Kardashians stayed when they were in London, and Dorothy Perkins, where their clothing line is featured and the reason why they were recently in London! So rad!
The Harry Potter studio tour was absolutely fantastic. It was so cool to see all the behind the scenes props, drawings, and everything the goes into the movie. The tour really valued the behind the scenes workers that made everything possible. Everything was done in such intricate details. There was character in everything built, painted, and made for the sets. We saw masks, outfits worn by Dan, Emma, and Rupert, Dumbledores Office, Bellatrix Lestranges wig, we had Butterbeer, we saw the chest pieces used in the first movie, Diagon Alley and the actual Hogwarts castle that they used in the film. There was also a green screen room, where you could ride on a broomstick, but the line was extremely long and we had to catch our bus at a certain time.
Once the tour was finished, we rode back to London in our double decker bus. These things are EVERYWHERE. London is made up of red telephone booths, double decker buses majestic castle like buildings and rain rain rain. Ashley and I went out for dinner at Georges Tavern, where I ordered a Crabbies ginger beer. It was soo good! My new favorite beer, since I don’t like beer anyways. It was light and had a hint of sweet ginger. I don’t know if we have them in the States, but I hope so. I ordered a steak and onion on ciabatta bread with horseradish sauce. Ashley and I didn’t know how we were going to survive a pub crawl that night, we would be miserable and tired the whole time, and we figured we probably shouldn’t drink if we want any chance to get better. We made the adult decision to go to bed and rest and skip out on the pub crawl. Sad. Instead, we prolonged our stay at the tavern and ordered sticky toffee pudding and banoffee sundaes (banana, toffee pudding, and vanilla ice cream.)
On our way back to the hostel, we found a convenience store that had SKITTLES!! so we had to buy some, along with my personal new favorite candy bar, Mars bars, and waters. We munched on these, along with Ashleys chocolate frog from Harry Potter world as we, no shame, put on Spy Kids in the common room and watched it. Then went to bed.
Sunday morning, we took the metro to Abbey Road, to touch the ground the Beatles walked upon!!!. Never in my life did I think I would get to to this. Actually, I can’t remember what life was like before being there. It was a snowy, frigid day. Ashley and I waited to meet the twins at Abbey Road, who were in Paris the night before and came to London that morning. Once they arrived, we were so excited, and took pictures crossing the street. There was a lot of people there taking pictures, and cars were beeping and honking like crazy. Don’t they know this is Abbey Road! Take another road to work, geeez. Across the street was a brick wall the people wrote lyrics all over. And behind that is Abbey Road Studio. The street, obviously, looks extremely different on the cover of the Abbey Road album, but some of the buildings visible in the distance are still present, and it is cool to think that just a normal, everyday crosswalk became such an emblem worldwide.
Once we finished there, we took a metro to Kings Cross station, where they have a platform 9 3/4 dedicated to Harry Potter ( because in the book, that is where he is: kings cross station in London) the line wasn’t too bad, and the cameramen in conductors uniforms were British speaking comedians that kept us laughing while we waited. We took pictures with the carriage going into the wall, and then went to Fullers, for lunch. I ordered the cauliflower and bleu cheese soup for a starter. It was life changing. It was light and creamy, topped with rosemary croutons, glazed with olive oil and little clumps of melted cheese. Every bite was heaven, especially as it warmed up my freezing body parts. Then I got two poached eggs with spinach on English muffins. We didn’t take too long because it was already 3 and we still had to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and the London Eye.
We rode the metro back to near where our hostel is, because Buckingham palace was right around the corner. We stopped at a few souvenir shops, and the stumbled upon a place called Charlie’s Sweet Emporium. We walked in and were so excited to see Root Beer, and Pop Tarts! The Pop Tarts were at least 10 pounds, though, which is crazy expensive. Pounds totally jip you of your money. 300 US Dollars, for example, is only 100 pounds. I transferred 250 euros to pounds and only got 160 pounds for the weekend. Everything is London is pretty pricey, too. Anyways, in the back of the candy shop there was a wall filled with candy jars of candy we had never even heard of before, with names like “Humbugs” and “Bon bons” and other unique names. The man behind the counter, who we now know has Ryan, was like Willy Wonka. he was so sweet and cute with his English accent, and he kept us laughing as we sampled at least 50 different candies, or just me, because I couldn’t make up my mind of what to get. I ended up spending 6 pounds on a bag filled with blue rasberry bon bons, coconut tea cups, chewy toffee, peanut brittle, sour watermelons, sour gummy worms, and chocolate covered ginger. One thing that I sampled was a Rueben and Custard bon bon which Ryan said was really popular in England. It was pretty tasty! My favorite was the blue raspberry bon bons, I couldve eaten a whole bag of those! There was also a series of chocolate bars called GNAW that are made by the Queens vacation house that are sold at the candy store, with a letter from Queen Elizabeth! SO cool. We thanked Ryan, and ate our candy as we voyaged to Buckingham Palace, through a park where we met some English ducklings, through pictures at the red telephone booths, Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Tower bridge.
The view of the London Eye from the river is a sight that people dream about, and I now understand why. We walked along the bridge and from it, the boats are all lit up, the city is all lit up, Big Ben, this beautiful clock structure standing tall in the night sky behind the blue lit London Eye against the night. Across from the London eye is a palace like hotel that you could just marvel at for hours. On the bridge was a man playing soft melodies on his guitar, and people romantically stood by the edge. As the other girls rode the London Eye, I drank some Lemon and Ginger tea and walked around taking pictures. I heard one girl ask her mom where they could get Nerds candies, so I tapped her on the shoulder and told her about Charlies Sweet Emporium, because they had tons of Nerds there! And the girl was so happy, she said,” I’m from Norway and their my friends favorite candy so I must get them for her here!” I then went into the London Eye gift shop and saw a whole shelf filled with Nerds, so I ran out and up and down the waters edge to try and find the girl to tell her but I couldn’t find her!! Damn.
After that, the twins had to go check into their hostel, so Ashley and I went to see the London Tower Bridge. On the way there, a wall filled with old war posters was displayed on a street and it was really interesting. We then took the metro back to Victoria Bus station, and got McDonalds with our scarce money that was left. my meal turned cold by the time we got back to our hostel, but I scarfed it down and headed to bed, while the rest of our hostel blasted music and chatted loudly in the kitchen about all their different homes lives. Ashley and I had to get up at 4 am to catch our bus back to the airport. We didn’t want to leave London, it felt like we were only there for one day. It was so nice seeing ingredients and instructions and menus ans signs all in English. And everyone’s accents were so happy.
It really is so crazy to think about all the life that goes on in other countries. I wish I had at least a week in every place that I wanted to go to. It seems like even though I am here for four months, that really is not enough time, especially with school. I wanted to see Prague, Amsterdam, Belgium, Naples, Sicily, Croatia, and Switzerland. There is so much to see, so much to do, so many things to try, so many people! And at the same time that I have all of this in my hands, I miss home. Sometimes I have really vivid dreams that I am at home, and I’m like wait, I was just in Europe, I’m not done there yet! I’m not finished! And that dream is actually really scary. Because I don’t know if I will ever make it back here. It isn’t that easy. But I wish it was.