So one week has officially gone by, and so much has already happened! I'd just like to start off by saying thank you to all my friends and family for making this trip actually happen and for supporting me throughout the whole process. I'm so fortunate to be here and to be able to experience this because not everyone is as lucky. While I have been homesick this past week, I just keep reminding myself that this is something I will never be able to do again in my life. This experience is truly something special, and I am extremely blessed and thankful.
Now let's get into the details of my trip so far. The trip to getting here at John Cabot University was a long and tiring one, but it was worth it because it is so beautiful here. On the day of our arrival we met up with John Cabot at the Hilton hotel, which was connected to the airport we arrived at, and they were very welcoming and helpful once we got there. FYI to those in the future- lugging two huge luggages, a carry on, a backpack, and a cross body bag all the way to the Hilton is not as easy as one may think. I was exhausted, and I'm pretty sure I just packed too much, so remember that less is more because it will help you with all the traveling! Anyway, we waited in line outside of John Cabot's room to get all the documents we needed, sat down and ate and drank while meeting new people from all over the world. That day I met people from Norway, Puerto Rico, and all over the states. I was fascinated by their lifestyle and their different accents. It's incredible how many people you will meet here from all over the world.
Once we got our name called while sitting down, we took all of our bags and got in a van that drove us to our new home for the next four months. I remember sitting in that van with total strangers, and everyone was pretty silent. Some were sleeping, some on their phones, but I just kept looking at all the scenery surrounding me as we were driving. The architecture of these houses, the colors, the nature surrounding everything, it's absolutely breathtaking. I also remember how scared and nervous I was though. In the beginning it is definitely overwhelming, and it was hard to adjust the first couple of days. Even today I'm still adjusting! It's totally different, but in a good way. I just need to keep an open mind and these next four months will be everything I imagined and more.
Not only am I fortunate to have this experience, but I am so lucky to be sharing this with my two best friends while I'm here. My one best friend, Ashley, goes to St. Joseph's University and we are rooming together throughout the duration of this semester. My other best friend, Stef, goes to Rowan University, and although she is attending American University of Rome, she is still close to us and it's amazing that I'm able to do this with not one, but both of them! So Ashley and I are rooming together, and we have eight other roommates. The setup of our suite reminds me a lot of our dorm back at SHU, North, so that was comforting. The girls in my suite are also so nice and sweet. I love them all! There are three girls who are best friends too, they all go to Madison University, but two of them are from Chicago and the other is from Minnesota. We have another girl from Minnesota as well, one from San Antonio, and another girl from Chicago as well. Everyone gets along really well, thank goodness!
On the first night Ashley and I went to a restaurant right around the corner from our dorm with two of our other suite mates, Lauren and Daniela, and I got my first Italian meal of the semester, which was obviously pizza! The pizza is unreal here, it's so fresh and thin. The next day, Thursday, we had our first day of orientation. We had to wake up at 8am to be at a meeting at 9am, and saying Ash and I were exhausted is an understatement. The time difference was really messing us up, as we only got four hours of sleep the first night. We were like walking zombies in the morning, but the adrenaline started kicking in once we went on a tour of our campus and Trastevere. That night I met up with my friend from home, Michelle, who was studying at AUR for only two weeks and we went to this amazing pasta place where this cute old lady sits in the window and makes homemade pasta with her own hands all day long! Needless to say, the pasta was without a doubt the best pasta I have ever had in my entire life. We also got some cheese appetizer and it included a mozzarella ball stuffed with ricotta.. I'm drooling right now just thinking about it. That has been my favorite restaurant so far, but I don't think you can eat one bad meal here!
On Friday, our second day of orientation, we were taken all around Rome. We saw the Colosseum, some ruins, and different piazzas. It was incredible to see the Colosseum in person especially! I've seen hundreds of pictures of it, but seeing it with your own eyes is a different experience in itself. The next few days of the weekend ended up with us just roaming around Rome even more. Ash, our friend Theresa, and I went to see the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, and the Spanish steps, which by the way are closed off until August 4 so that was a bummer. Seeing all these landmarks though is incredible, and knowing that they are only about a 30 minutes walk away from us is even crazier. I have also never walked this much in my entirety. The amount you walk here is insane. I got a Fitbit for Christmas purposely to track my steps everyday, and I'm so glad I did because I feel so much better about myself, especially when I order meals such as pasta and pizza.
Monday we started classes and it was as good as school can get haha. The only thing better about it here is that the views from our classrooms are incredible. So this whole week has been filled with classes, starting on homework, bonding with our suite mates at night, in addition to starting to plan trips! Speaking of planning trips, we are going to tour the Vatican Saturday morning, as well as going on a day trip to Florence next Friday, which I'm so excited for. It has been an eventful week, and to think I have about 14 more weeks to go is mind blowing. I'm going to make sure I soak up as much Italian culture as I can, as well as stuffing my face with pizza, pasta, and of course gelato, which is also outstanding. So for now, I'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures so far, and I'll make sure to keep you updated soon. Ciao!