Olbia, Sardegna, Italia

Olbia, Olbia, Olbia. Good ol’ Olbia.

This weekend I had the pleasure of getting away to the island of Sardegna (Sardinia in English) with my gal pal Addie. Oh Addie. We always manage to have the best of times.

For those of you who don’t know, Sardegna is an Italian island that lies right between Italy and Africa. It’s a quaint little place, which is quiet and relaxed during the tourist off season.

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Addie and I flew in early Friday morning, and after checking into our Air Bnb we explored around the city center. Olbia is small and adorable and always smells like campfire and smoked meat. The people are genuine and the food is delicious.

 

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“Ti amo tanto”//”I love you forever”

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On Saturday, we woke up early for the adventure of a lifetime. We got picked up by a great Italian named Corrado (similar to Colorado, but without the “L”) and taken to Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) where we kayaked in the Tyrrhenian sea. I was a bit apprehensive at first.. I’m not a big fan of water I can’t see through and I was terrified of falling in the freezing water! But after a few rows of the oar I knew it was going to be alright. We kayaked for 5 km (3 mi) up and down the coast exploring different beaches and bays. It was exhausting and glorious and amazing all at the same time.

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Triumph

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Our amazing instructor Corrado

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After our adventure, I took a much needed nap, and we headed back into the center of Olbia for well-deserved wine and dinner! The wine was good, but my company was better.

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La mia gioia, Adeline

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We love vino!

Today, our last day in Olbia, we took a 4 euro (roundtrip) train to Golfo Aranci to explore. Golfo Aranci translates to Gulf of Oranges. Although I didn’t see (or smell) any oranges I saw something so much better: paradise. The water and the beaches and the sun, they were paradise. We did some crazy hike up a hill and looked out over the sea to see as far out as we could, where the water met the horizon. It was gorgeous and totally worth the blisters on my feet and the wind burn on my cheeks.

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Paradise

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It was more than a little windy.

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It was a lot windy.

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It was a long hike.

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I am sad to be leaving our little paradise in Olbia tomorrow, knowing that I will be entering a tundra on the mainland. But it’s all okay because the adventure continues! Next stop: Dublin!

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The Final Goodbye

Early this morning my Mima and Aunt Lisa left Italy and headed for the tundra we call Colorado. I said goodbye to them last night and it was tough. I’m not so great with goodbyes and I have been feeling a bit homesick lately and I felt like I was sending away the two things that made me feel like I was at home! Don’t get me wrong, I think I’ve done a pretty great job of making Italy my home, but I really enjoyed having some piece of my Colorado home here with me for a while. Plus, there is nothing better than some good old fashion family time.

I could not be more grateful for my family visiting, and for such a long period of time. We are so blessed!

So Mima and Lisa arrived two weekends ago in Roma. I left Milano on a Thursday after school and met them at the Roma airport where a driver picked us up and drove us 3 hours to our hotel in Sorrento. It was this quaint little place with amazing white and blues tiles all over the floor.

We didn’t hold back their first day in Italia! We woke up early and got on the boat to Capri where we were approached my an older gentleman, Salvatore, who offered to give us a semi-private tour of the island. We gladly accepted his offer and off we went to explore Capri and Anacapri. The island is absolutely gorgeous and I highly encourage anyone who visits Italy to head south and check out the island.

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Capri views

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Our second day together, we toured up and down the Amalfi coast. We had a driver, the same driver who picked us up from the airport actually, who drove us up and down the coast as he spewed facts about each town we drove through. We stopped in towns like Ravello, Amalfi, and our favorite Positano. Each town had its own character and finesse. I thoroughly enjoyed that tour as well.

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Volcanic sand black beach in Positano

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Lunch with the most amazing view.. ever

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My aunt is better than yours.

The next day we headed into Rome on the fast train. Rome was an adventure. It’s a gigantic city with so much to see. I was pretty proud of us.. we managed to see the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum and a few other smaller attractions like churches in just one and a half days. Go us! I loved how the Colosseum was in the middle of the city and people just zip by it in their cars every day like it’s no big deal. I mean, how amazing is that.

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I swear we are twins or something

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The Mendicino girls model in their free time

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Roman Forum

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Yes, I took this

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Things get crazy when you learn to bargain for a selfie stick

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Poppy made it to Rome too!

Then it was time for me to head back for school. They sent me away with lots of love and kisses and headed on their own Italian adventure without their translator (me).

Finally, a few days passed and I got to see them again! Woohoo! I felt silly being in school and not with my family, knowing they were in the country to visit me.

Mima and Aunt Lisa arrived in Milano and I took them to the best duomo in the world, Duomo di Milano. It takes my breath away every time I see it, and it never fails to impress. We toured around the inside, and of course, my favorite place in Milano, the rooftop. The views of the city from the top of the Duomo are indescribable, probably why it’s my favorite place in Milano. After our touristy morning, we spent the rest of the day shopping and enjoying each other’s company.

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Yes, we bought all three

After a few more days of hanging out in the city, it was time for the fam to leave. I didn’t want them to go! I love them so much and I love family time too much to say goodbye! That was hard for me. But I find comfort in knowing that I just said my final goodbye. In the next 5 weeks I will be packing up and heading back to Colorado where I will be saying one million hellos!

Until then, I will continue enjoying my time here in Europe, even if I do get a little homesick from time to time (it builds character). On to my next adventure.. Amsterdam!

Il bacio.

Jay

Barcelona, Spain

This past weekend, in celebration of finishing midterms and one of my favorite holidays, Halloween, some friends and I made the journey to Barcelona! Best idea ever.

Barcelona is by far my favorite city I’ve been to, dare I say I may love it more than Milano, which is crazy talk because I am so absolutely in love with the city I reside in. But let me explain why Barcelona is giving Milano a run for its money.

  1. The Culture- Barcelona is a city full of culture. Everywhere you turn there is something new to see and experience, and you can truly never get bored.
Candy at La Boqueria Mercat

Candy at La Boqueria Mercat

2. The People- The people I met in Barcelona were amazing. Everyone was genuinely kind and seemed to have a generally positive attitude and outlook on life. I specifically remember going to a small cafe with some friends and the woman behind the counter being so happy. She was whistling and signing and laughing at herself and she had a giant smile on her face and her attitude was completely viral. She made all of us feel instantly happier and lighter.

3. Gaudi- Antoni Gaudi is truly a genius. His work is displayed all over the city and each piece is completely unique, yet entirely distinctive to Gaudi. I think I could stare at his work forever and never be bored.

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Floor plan Sagrada Familia

180 degree shot of Sagrada Family

180 degree shot of Sagrada Family

Park Guell

Park Guell

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Park Guell// From left to right: Addie, Arianna, Jordan, & Riley

4. The Beach- I am so completely in love with the beach, and I always say that it is where I belong. The beach in Barcelona is gorgeous with soft sand and restaurants and clubs lining the shore. It reminds me a bit of San Diego, but better of course.

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5. The Vibes- My soul really just felt completely happy and content in Barcelona. It’s almost an indescribable feeling, and even now I am having trouble finding the right words to write. I was just happy there.

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In a world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself

6. The Food- I love Italian food, how can I not? But holy cow I love Spanish food too. There is just nothing like some good guacamole. I was getting so tired of Italian cuisine and being able to fill my tummy with some amazing authentic Spanish food was a treat. Now that’s something I don’t see myself getting tired of.

Chicken paella on the beach

Chicken paella on the beach

The best Sangria at Cerveceria Catalana (recommended by a friend and totally amazing)

The best Sangria at Cerveceria Catalana (recommended by a friend and totally amazing)

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Hop on over to my Facebook to view all the photos from Barcelona!

I was entirely happy to go home back to Milano after a very exhausting few days, but I was also so sad to leave. I will most certainly be going back to Barcelona one day. Maybe to live there? Who knows.

On to my next adventure: Sorrento and Capri with my Mima and Aunt Lisa!

Il bacio.

J

4 Days From 2 Months

Four days from now, I will have officially been living in Milano, Italia for 2 months. No, I’m still not fluent.

My last post was 22 days ago.. I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by, and more importantly my lack of time to write! I’ve been insanely busy with traveling, working (that’s right even while I’m abroad I managed to find a job), school, and spending time with my family (yes my family visited!) and spending time with my friends.

Let’s go back track to the beginning of October, post Oktoberfest. School really started picking up and I spent most of my time going to class and sleeping. I got really sick, probably from lack of sleep in Germany, and spent many hours resting and trying to recuperate. Being sick is just a drag, but it was even worse in this amazing city- it felt like such a sin to be laying in bed when there is so much out there to be seen! Needless to say, the rest was helpful because I am finally feeling better.

Just as I was starting to feel better my family came to visit! I didn’t realize I missed them so much until I finally saw them in the airport, and started crying like a giant baby and making a huge scene in the airport! There’s just nothing like hugs and kisses from your parents and sister (except ones from your aunt and Mima– lucky for me, mine will be here in less than two weeks). I met the fam in Milan and we drove to Florence where we stayed in a gorgeous farmhouse on a vineyard. Protip: Airbnb has been the best when traveling. If you want a nice place, and to meet locals, this is the thing to do. We did a quick trip to Pisa and then headed right back to Florence to see the city! In Florence we ended up tagging along with a group of 30 New Yorkers on a private tour of a castle and dinner, followed by a 5 course dinner and wine tasting. We felt so blessed to have happened on this opportunity because we met the most amazing old Italian man named Gino. He was so sweet and full of life, wisdom, and passion. We had some amazing conversations with him, and I think I could have sat and spoken with him for hours on end. He reminded me of my Poppy so much and I am so grateful we met. I will never forget Gino’s words and kind heart. // After Florence, the fam went to Rome and I headed back to Milano to attend classes. After their adventures in Rome, the fam met back with me in Milan where we stayed for a day to explore. We went around the city and explored Piazza del Duomo and the inside and top of the Duomo. It was a great day to relax and explore the city. // Finally, on the last day of their stay in Italia, we took a train to Venice and did loads more exploring. We rode in a Gondola and bought plastic cups of wine to drink every place we could stop– we had a lot of wine and I am not complaining. I think my favorite part of Venice was when we headed back to the train. We got incredibly lost and were too stubborn to take a water taxi back to the train station- oh no, instead we sprinted through the streets of Venice and made it on our train home with two minutes to spare. I guess I can check “Running Through the Streets of Venice” off my bucket list. I don’t think I’ve done so much running in my life, but I also haven’t laughed that hard in a while. You can laugh with your friends and with your peers, but I am convinced that you will never have a laugh like one with your family– maybe it’s just me but I think family just makes everything better.I hadn’t been feeling homesick before they came, and as strange as it sounds, I think I was feeling more homesick when they left. I really miss that bunch and I can’t wait to see them when I return!

Typical Tourist- Holding up the incredibly sturdy leaning tower

Typical Tourist- Holding up the incredibly sturdy leaning tower

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Views from our quaint farmhosue

Views from our quaint farmhouse

My parents are the greatest

My parents are the greatest- and seriously so adorable

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Share a coke with your favorite blogger- somewhere outside of Florence! I swear the bottle says "Blogger"

Share a coke with your favorite blogger- somewhere outside of Florence! I swear the bottle says “Blogger”

Duomo di Milano

Duomo di Milano

Views from Duomo di Milano rooftop

Views from Duomo di Milano rooftop

The Mendicino clan loves Venezia and we love each other too!

The Mendicino clan loves Venezia and we love each other too!

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Since the family left, I’ve been trying to explore more of Milano alone. Sometimes it’s nice to just get out there and experience the city with yourself. It’s important to me to be happy and content all by myself. It is my new goal to check out as many art museums as time will allow while I am here!

So I mentioned a job earlier. That’s right folks, this workaholic just couldn’t stand not working. I know, I sound crazy. I found a nice Italian family who wanted an English Mother Tongue nanny to watch their young children for a few hours each week. The kids are adorable and well behaved and don’t speak a lick of English! Just let that sink in. Im babysitting two young children who don’t speak any English, and as much as I like to think I’m fluent, well I’m most certainly not fluent in Italian. There is definitely a language barrier there, but we are figuring it out and its an adventure. And I am all up for new adventures. Plus, a little extra cash at the end of each week doesn’t hurt either.

I can’t believe October is rapidly coming to an end. This weekend is Halloween and I will be in Barcelona, Spain! Woohoo! I still have no idea what to dress up as.. any suggestions?

My apologies for the novelesque (definitely not a word, but you get it) post! There was so much to say and you all deserve all the best details! Keep an eye out for all of the photos from all my adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Cheers to finding more time to sit down and write blog updates for my loyal readers! Much love. Il bacio.

J

Oktoberfest- München

Good afternoon everyone! I write to you today with a little bit of a sore throat, as I am just getting over strep throat! Gross! Nothing pains me more than getting sick in Europe. I’ve been bed ridden and annoyed because I haven’t been out exploring this beautiful city and that is just a sin! But, I needed to rest to get better, so here I am, writing. What is the cause of this strep you may ask? OKTOBERFEST. I had the best weekend of my life, and getting strep was pretty much worth it.

So here it is. The tale of my adventures. And of course, a short video to follow.

Last weekend, about 10 friends and I headed to München (Munich) from Milano on an overnight bus. We finally arrived in München around 6:45 AM, and decided to explore the gorgeous city we were in. It was freezing cold outside, but the sights were totally worth seeing. We saw some amazing architecture and history, bought our dirndl on the side of the street, and walked around 15,000 steps. Finally, it was our time to head to the campsite. We reserved a camp site that provided tents, beds, sleeping bags, two meals a day, entertainment, and unlimited beer and sangria for the entirety of the weekend instead of reserving a hostel or Air BnB for our trip because it was cheap and.. why the hell not? Best. Decision. Ever. I have never met so many amazing people in one place (there were around 2,300 people camping that weekend) and I have never had more fun camping. It sort of made the whole trip amazing.

Each morning we cinched ourselves into our dirndl, drank some unlimited beer (at times too early to mention, but whatever it’s Oktoberfest), and headed to the beer tents. Let me tell you. That in itself is an experience. Lines were long and people were drunk and crazy and usually speaking a language none of us could understand, but that’s part of the experience.. part of the fun.

I won’t include all of the crazy details, but basically we drank bier, bier, and just a little more bier. I think my diet for the weekend included more bier than it did actual food (probably why I got sick, but whatever its OKTOBERFEST).

It was a crazy weekend, and I feel so blessed to check that off my bucket list. I HIGHLY recommend anyone and everyone to at least once, make it to Oktoberfest in their life, and camp with Stoke Travel!

Camping with Stoke Travel

Camping with Stoke Travel

Check out the short video I made HERE.

Il bacio,

J

Playing Catch Up

Good morning readers! It is early afternoon here in Milan on a rather gloomy day. The fall weather is beginning to roll in, and I am rather enjoying. I can finally say goodbye to the insane heat and humidity, and my least favorite part of Milano, the aggressive mosquitoes! Woohoo! Welcome cold weather and gorgeous fall fashion.

Last week was my first week of classes, and I am so happy that’s done. The first week of class is usually exciting because it’s something new and you get to see if you have friends in your classes and if you like your teachers, but for me it is also overwhelming and a tad stressful because it is an overload of information and dates, and I always struggle keeping every thing straight in my head! Now that the second week has begun, I can finally get on a schedule and stay completely organized.

So far I am enjoying my classes, and I think I will continue to enjoy them throughout the semester. I am expecting to be challenged, and I am expecting to come out of this semester a better student and young professional.

Right before classes started, to celebrate the beginning of a new semester, my dear friend Addie and I took a day trip to Lago Maggiore at Laveno-Mombello. Laveno-Mombello is a small lake town right on the water’s edge and it’s nothing too touristy, exactly why we chose to visit. It was absolutely gorgeous and we had a ball exploring around the town and hiking up the top of the mountain. Check out my short video HERE. Pro tip: if you are ever in Laveno-Mombello, there is a cable car at the bottom of the mountain that will take you straight to the top for only 10 Euro. Do it. Completely worth the money.

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This weekend, to celebrate surviving the first week of classes, a group of friends and I went to Oktoberfest! Woah! Keep an eye out for the next post detailing my wild experience!

Il bacio.

J

Venezia Day Trip

I truly love this country and this experience. The luxury of just buying a train ticket and leaving the city is unlike anything I have ever experienced before and it is both a blessing and a rush! On Friday, some friends and I decided we wanted to take a day trip to Venezia (Venice), so we booked our tickets Friday night around 9 and Saturday morning around 6 AM we were on our way! It was crazy and awesome and amazing.

We slept most of the train ride there and when we finally got off around 10:30AM we were excited to finally stretch our legs and explore the city with no roads. It is so beautiful and cultural and inspiring and just plain unreal. Everywhere you look there is a juxtaposition of bold colored buildings and emerald water. Each and every corner was bursting with culture and art. Even the trash was inspiring! The feeling you get when exploring Venezia is similar to the one when you hold a really adorable baby and you just want to either squeeze it or eat it.

The only regret I have about this trip is not bringing a journal, and writing while I was there- I was feeling so inspired and I wish I would have gotten some of that on paper.

This week I decided to try something new and make a short video of the trip. Watch it HERE.

Let me know what you think!!

Il bacio,

J

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Cinque Terre

This past weekend I had the privilege of visiting Cinque Terre on the coast of Italy. Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coastline in the Italian Rivera. It is in the Ligurian Region of Italy, and the gorgeous Ligurian Sea splashes on the gorgeous sandy beaches. Cinque Terre is comprised of 5 (cinque) small towns that cannot be reached by car from the outside. The 5 towns: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are all connected by paths, trains, and boats. Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the steep, rugged landscapes, some reaching the tops of cliffs overlooking the sea.

I have never seen anything more beautiful in my life. When I imagine Italy, I imagine Cinque Terre, but somehow the colorful terraces with clothes hung out to dry and cascading flower pots, blue sea, sandy beaches, and black cliffs manage to be so much better than anything I could ever imagine on my own. The view will literally take your breath away.

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If you told me 5 months ago when I applied to study abroad in Italy, that I would be playing on the beach in Monterosso on a gorgeous sunny day with some amazing people, I’m not sure I would have believed you. I am so blessed for these amazing opportunities and adventures, and I can’t wait to see what adventure I embark upon next.

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arianna and j

squad

Salute.

8 Days Down

Hi readers! I am FINALLY in Milano! Woohoo! I write to today from my twin sized bed in my newly decorated my room. I didn’t decorate my room until yesterday because I couldn’t figure out how I wanted it to look. But I got a tapestry at the beach this weekend (Cinque Terre! you can read about that on my next post) and I was feeling inspired and I finally got some color in my room and covered the painfully white and plain walls! I love having a map of Milano and photos of my family, and letters from my Aunt Lisa that I can read whenever I am feeling homesick hanging on the walls. And of course, I’ve got my trusty hat hanging on the wall. That thing is about to endure a lot of adventure. This place is finally starting to feel like home.. thank goodness because I’ve got about 15 more weeks in this place!

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Speaking of the apartment, bet you didn’t know I live with 2 guys and 3 other girls! That’s right there’s 6 of us in this place, and it’s co-ed. And let me tell you, it is the best thing ever. We have got a really great dynamic going (knock on wood) and I really enjoy spending time with them. We are the Boscovich famiglia!

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From left to right: Dominique, Emma, James, Austin, Jordan, Valeria

The first week in any new country can be a bit unnerving. Especially when you don’t fluently speak the language. My adjustment however has been going fairly well. Right away I got on a great sleeping schedule (because we all know I need my sleep and that was a top priority) and I’ve completely adjusted to the food, because the food here is incredible, and I’ve mastered using public transit, but I haven’t quite adjusted to the small silly things that people don’t tell you about when you talk to them about going abroad. For instance, the incredibly small showers. Still not used to that. And the incredibly small toilets that don’t have toilet seats.. there’s just a rim! What the heck. It’s very strange and definitely hard to get used to. And they recycle like crazy here (a good thing but still not what I am used to)!! And now, so do we- otherwise we get hit with a mighty 500 euro fine. Another thing I’m not quite used to is all the walking! I don’t mind it because the city is gorgeous and the weather is nice, and I’ve been eating so much food, walking is the best choice anyways- but holy cow, my legs are so sore! And my feet usually feel like they could fall off by the end of the day. But it’s nothing a glass of vino can’t fix. Vino fixes everything here.

This first week has been quite the adventure, and I don’t expect that to be slowing down anytime soon. Here’s to 15 more weeks of amazing times, good food, and great wine.

Cheers.

No Turning Back

My dearest followers,

I write to you this late evening from the gate at DIA on my way out of the country! EEEEEK! This is it, it’s finally happening and there is absolutely no turning back now. I feel so excited and let me tell you, just 5 minutes in, the adventure has already begun.

As I was waving goodbye to my family in line at security I felt confident and excited, and also a little embarrassed cause they were all standing there staring at me! I made it through security with no problem, only to be sitting on the side putting my shoes on and receive a text from my Aunt Lisa… I forgot my suitcase (which I packed my favorite Steve Madden boots in) on the line!! Ha! How could I forget my suitcase and my Steve Madden babies?! Laughing hysterically at myself I ran over and grabbed by once forgotten luggage. Rest assured, I will never be leaving my things at security again!!

Anyways, although I will miss my family and friends dearly, and I’ve never travelled alone, and I’ve never been to Europe, and my Italian is a little rusty I am just so darn excited. I have worked my tush off to get to this point in my life and I refuse to let anything stand in my way! Not even leaving my suitcase at security! This is about to be the adventure of a lifetime, and I will return a changed woman!! I intend to enjoy it all, learn, and grow. There is… no turning back.
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