Made it to the airport in Rome. I'm so happy to finally be on the way home. We had a rough start this morning when security threw away the glass pizza cutter I bought in Venice. Since we had already checked our bags, it would've cost $100 to check the tiny pizza cutter box. I'm reminded again of why I hate airports so much. A 10 hour flight to New Jersey, a 2.5 hour flight to Nashville, and an hour drive home!!! Can't wait to be back in America!!!
Today is my last day in Europe. Although it's sad to know this experience is coming to an end, I am so excited to be home again! Rome has been great. The first day we went into the colosseum and visited Ancient Rome. I enjoyed this wayyy more than I thought I ever would. Yesterday we took a guided tour through the Vatican. We saw many of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. Everything was georgous and I learned so much about the history of the artwork in these places. Today we walked around and visited many churches throughout Rome. It seems that on every corner there is another huge, beautiful church. Every time we saw a new one, I would think that it couldn't possibly be as good as the one before, and I kept being surprised. The details and artwork in each building here is simply amazing. Throughout our days here we also saw the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. The most terrifying thing here was the metro. It was packed with people, and sometimes they weren't the nicest people to be standing around. Needless to say I will be glad to get home to the comfort and space in my own house and car. See you tomorrow America!!!!
Today we went on a wine tour through Tuscany. This region of Italy is full of vineyards on huge rolling hills. It was absolutely beautiful. We started the morning at 9:00 at the Tuscan Wine School where they taught us about the wine and how to properly taste it. We had a glass before starting the journey to wine country. On our way there, our van driver dropped us off at Piazza Michelangelo. the view of Florence from there was amazing. We could see the entire city! Then we got back in the van for our trip. Our driver was actually an American who has lived in Italy for 30 years. She had done great insight in culture differences that were really interesting. After 45 minutes we finally arrived to our first winery. The view of the vineyard was great and we also got to tour the cellars. It was interesting to hear the process that each bottle of wine must undergo! She also explained different varieties of wine and how they are made differently. We then got to sample 4 glasses of wine and some extra virgin olive oil. Even though I rarely drink red wine, I surprisingly enjoyed some of the flavors. After this, we went to the second winery. Here, we again had a tour and explanation of how they made their wine and olive oil. We then had four more glasses of wine and lunch. They served appetizers, pasta, and dessert for a "light lunch." It was very good and I enjoyed the wine even more paired with food. After all this wine, it was time to head back to the city. We then went to a couple museums and a huge garden. The garden had many hills and steps which was a struggle in the heat after all of the wine I had consumed! It was a pretty garden though with many great views and statues. Florence is a little city with a lot to see and experience! Tomorrow we head to Rome for the final chapter of our trip!
Today we left Venice and arrived in Florence. I took my first European train ride which turned out to be pretty nice. Upon arriving here we found our bed and breakfast and then took off walking toward the city. Florence is so small we had walked to the other side of the city in no time. We saw many ornate buildings and went inside a church. It was pretty inside, but nothing will come close to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona!! I am loving Italian food and an finding that I always want to eat!! We also found an outdoor market today that had so many shops! I got some Italian made scarves which I am excited to wear. Tomorrow we will take a wine tour through Tuscany. I am do excited!
Well today was the day I officially graduated from WKU. Even though I wasn't there physically, I am proud to say that I made it through my four years of college and graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Because of this, I was honored as a scholar of the college of education and graduated summa cum laude. It was sad not to be there, but so so exciting to be traveling Europe with my mom! Today we left Spain and arrived in Venice, Italy. It was weird to leave Barcelona after spending the past four weeks there. The city had become my home away from home. Despite all of this, Venice is beautiful! Nothing can compare to a city built on water. It has been different seeing how early the city closes down. In Spain, dinner wasn't until close to 10:00 at night. Here, all of the stores and restaurants were closing at 8:00! It is a change for sure! We were able to walk around a lot of the city tonight and explore the little Italian alleys. I also had my first Italian meal (lasagna)!!! I am excited to see more tomorrow!
Today has been a great day with my mom in Barcelona. It is weird to think that after a month of being in this city I will be leaving in the morning. Today we went to see the Sagrada Familia which is a huge, beautiful cathedral that has been under construction for nearly 150 years. The architecture was absolutely amazing. The outside was full of elaborate sculptures and the inside was breathtaking - full of columns and stained glass windows. I am so glad I got to visit this before I left Barcelona! After that I took mom to the city center for lunch and some shopping. We shared some traditional Spanish tapas and saw the main road of the city. We also walked down to see the port and the Mediterranean Sea. I then attempted to take her up to Mount Tibidabo. Unfortunately, by the time we walked half way up the mountain, the tram was closed. We instead looked at the city from one of the lookout points and headed back to the city center for dinner. Although I was disappointed I couldn't show her the breathtaking view from the top of the mountain, it has been a wonderful last day in Spain. Hopefully I can make it back here some day! Tomorrow morning we head to Venice, Italy, and I am very excited!!
Today was the day that everyone else from wku left, and I stayed behind in Spain. Although I'm missing graduation, I couldn't be more excited to travel with my mom through Spain and Italy. She arrived this morning, and we began exploring right away. I took her to Park Guell and we got to go inside to see the beautiful mosaic work. Even though I had visited this park previously, I had not yet seen the mosaics, and they were beautiful. We then experienced a little bit of the city center before heading back to the hotel. I also had the opportunity to introduce her to my host family throughout this experience. The kids all greeted her with kisses, and we had a wonderful conversation with my host mom. As we were leaving, I had to tell my family for the past 3 weeks goodbye. It was sad to leave as the kids told me they will miss me and that they hope to see me again in the future. It got me thinking that I really would love to make it back to this beautiful city some day. Tomorrow my mom and I will go to the Sangrada Familia which is a huge cathedral here. I have not yet gotten to see it, and I am very excited!!
Well today was my last day at school here in Spain. It was definitely a bittersweet feeling. I am so excited for my mom to arrive tomorrow and to get to experience Europe with her, but I will miss the kids and my awesome teacher. Today my fourth graders made me a card while one student distracted me by talking to me in the hall for 30 minutes. I knew what she was trying to do, but it was so cute to see her trying so hard! The school also had a big reception for all of us and our teachers. They made us pizza and my teacher made me a cheesecake for dessert! It was so good! I then had my last class with my sixth graders. They all made me a card during class and were trying to be secretive while doing so. They also wanted my email address to keep in contact with me in the future. I will truly miss all these girls with whom I got to work! It was hard to walk out of school for the last time as all the girls were running up to tell my goodbye and give me a hug. It has certainly been a great experience of a lifetime, and I'm excited to continue it with my mom starting tomorrow!!
This was a very relaxing last weekend in Barcelona. Yesterday I went to the beach with a couple other girls. We stayed there all day, and got really sunburnt!! But it was so pretty and calming. The people on beaches here are not modest at all, and many women, including young girls, chose to sunbathe without a top on. We found this very odd and slightly disturbing! After leaving the beach we relaxed at home for a whole before heading down to the city center to shop and eat. We did some more shopping, ate dinner, and then returned home to rest. We wanted the night to continue but everyone was so tired and in pain from the sunburn, we decided it was time for bed. This morning I woke up to a bunch of unfamiliar faces in my house. Since the twins with whom I am living had their first communion yesterday, a lot of family was in town. They celebrated today, and the kids some some awesome gifts that they couldn't wait to show me. I relaxed at home for most of the day, and then spent the evening seeing Barcelona with my host mom and sisters. We went up to a lookout from Mount Tibidabo and they showed me a little bit around town. We then met the boys for dinner at a place called Hollywood. The food was very Americanized and yummy! I enjoyed talking with my family and spending time with them outside of the house. Tonight, Spanish Master Chef is on, so we will watch it before bed. I was able to watch last week, and even though it is all in Spanish, I found that I can follow along easily. I am so excited for Thursday, but we definitely miss nights like these with my host family!
This week has been a long one but a good one. I was able to survive two days alone without another teacher in the classroom as well as three other days with her. Today, I got to show my fourth grade girls a PowerPoint I made about the Kentucky Derby. Since I missed it at home this year, it was exciting to teach others about it and share some of the traditions with them. They loved the pictures and especially loved asking me if I had ever won money at a house race! They are so cute, and I will truly miss those girls. I was also able to start a project about the Olympics with some sixth grade girls. They will have to create a presentation in English about a city that they think should get to host the Olympic Games. Since I am slightly obsessed with the Olympics, it was fun to talk to the girls about it. At home, I have been playing with my three kids all afternoon. Two of them will make their 1st communion tomorrow, and they are very nervous. It is an exciting time on their lives, and I am glad I get to see them experiene it! Despite some hard times living with a new family in the beginning, it has been a great experience, and I have grown to love them so much!