Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ciao from Roma!

I'M HERE! I MADE IT! I can't believe this is actually happening! The past 36 hours have been a monsoon of emotions and stress and just general bezerk-ness! I said my goodbyes to my precious parents and sister Caroline at DFW on Monday at 11 am and hopped on my flight at 12 which took me to Charlotte for a three hour layover. If there's something that I've learned over the past couple years is I'm a crier. Like an ugly crier. I think in the past 36 hours I nearly broke down about five different times. But Charlotte was definitely one of the highlights of my travel. Since I often fly out of there when I'm at school, I know the airport, so it was a wonderful blessing to come back to something slightly familiar! I puttered around the airport for the full three hours and finally boarded my flight to Rome at 6:15. The flight itself was pretty good, I had a good seat, sat next to a nice girl who was also on her way to study abroad (as was about 1/3 of the plane!) and somehow managed to get four hours of sleep! Hallelujah! I was positively giddy when I noted that our flight path took us straight over Winston-Salem and I made sure to wave hello to all my friends who are back at school!

After nine hours of flying, we landed in Rome at 9:30 am on Tuesday! Ah! Crazy! I still can't believe it.... I'm in ROME. I grouped up with some other girls I had met on the flight and we successfully managed to navigate to the baggage claim, get all of our beloved belongings, and trek through customs to find our ISA greeting party! From there we were given information about the day and then sent off in different vans to our apartments!

I'm living in a lovely and considerably spacious (by European standards) apartment with five other lovely girls. Our apartment (affectionately known as D9) has a little entryway, a spacious kitchen/breakfast room/living room combo, two singles, two doubles and two baths PLUS a balcony! I'm in a double with a really sweet girl from Arkansas and we're getting along great! My other roommates are from Arkansas, Nevada, Indiana, and Hawaii and they're all just as wonderful! We were given the day to settle into our apartments and relax and explore. So we did just that! I unpacked, organized, showered and then took a two hour nap. Then three of the girls and myself went out to explore the neighborhood and in search of some necessities such as shampoo, detergent, food, and the mother of all necessities: toilet paper. Thank goodness we found some, considering we only had half a roll left. CRISIS AVERTED.

Then, at 6:30 we met up with some other girls who live in the building to start our 30 minute walk to school where we would meet up with the rest of our group and be whisked away to a lovely dinner. And, as I suppose is necessary for any college student travelling in a foreign country for the first time on her own, I and all the other girls got terribly and miserably lost. I mean, we had no clue where we were. I did my best conversing with shop owners and pedestrians with much gesticulating and pointing in an effort to get us to our destination. Needless to say, the supposed 30 minute walk turned into a 70 minute walk. Yippee. Oh, and did I mention that it's in the 90s? Granted, there's a good wind, but that's negated by the fact that there's no air conditioning in our apartment. However, despite the frustrating (albeit enlightening) adventure we met up with the group and proceeded to our wonderful first Italian dinner!

It was fabulous. The restaurant was just outside of Rome in a nice rural setting and a great atmosphere. The dinner consisted of a french fry appetizer, a HUGE multi-variety pizza (honestly the largest pizza I've ever seen in my life) and a delectable nutella pizza to finish it off in that wonderful Italian style. Post-dinner, we were bused back to our apartments and now I'm sitting on my bed writing this, with the windows open in a desperate attempt to cool the room.

Tomorrow we have some orientation in the late morning and a walking tour of Rome tomorrow evening, with lots of time in between for more exploring!

Hopefully I'll write again soon!

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