How is it that I have only one week left of my JYA experience? I’m not ready to say goodbye to Italia yet!
This past month has been absolutely fantastic. To start, I took two amazing trips: one to Venice and the other to Rome. Venice is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. There are absolutely no cars or vespas. Instead, there are tons of boats and bridges to connect the city and its inhabitants. I loved getting lost on the tiny streets and stopping in cafes for a quick pastry or two. I was freezing the whole time, but it was worth it. Besides, there was cioccolata calda (aka melted chocolate in a cup) to keep me warm. By far my favorite spot in Venice was the Jewish neighborhood. I was charmed by it at first sight. My love grew after tasting their local Venetian pastries and stopping by the adorable jewelry shops that lined the streets.
Returning to Rome, though, was perhaps the best trip I took during my time abroad. Don’t get me wrong—I had an amazing experience when I first visited Rome in September. It was warm during that trip, and I got to see all of the sights for the first time. However, visiting Rome when it was decked out in twinkling lights and Natale decorations was just perfect. I went to all of my favorite food spots, including Giolitti for Oreo gelato, Aristocampo for the perfect panino, and La Carbonara for (what else) pasta carbonara. I also enjoyed simply walking around the city with my friends and feeling amazed when we saw the Colosseum down the street or the Roman Forum around the corner.
However, some of my best experiences abroad have been the little ones. At the beginning of the month, I was able to go to a makeup event at a local beauty school with my housemate. Not only did we get our makeup done, but we also got free prosciutto and cheese. Needless to say, the combination of makeup and cured meats was pretty great. I’ve also been cooking a ton, which is probably from which some of my most enjoyable memories come. My friend and I made some of the most amazing burgers ever for my roommate, complete with Tabasco sauce and guacamole. We’ve also whipped up Nutella cookies, apple cake, meatballs, and tons of pasta dishes. I’m aware that most of my diet now consists of pasta and pizza, but I have absolutely no problem with that. There are tons of possible variations on those two dishes, and I’ve had fun coming up with as many different meals as I can.
Now that it’s almost time for me to start packing my suitcase (horror!), I’ve become even more appreciative of my time here in Italy. This has been the first point in my life that I’ve really been able to travel, and I’ve loved knowing that I can take the train to an amazing Italian city whenever I have some free time. I’m quite proud of the choices that I’ve made here, such as choosing to travel only throughout Italy and making friends with both the Americans in the program and the Italians in my dorm. I will definitely miss my lifestyle here.
It will be nice to come back home and to Vassar, though. I’m beyond excited for Christmas at this point, now that twinkly lights are everywhere and I’ve done a decent amount of shopping for my family and friends. I’m also looking forward to a Harry Potter movie marathon and eating chocolate chip cookies with my sister. Getting back to Vassar will also be great; I’m counting down the days until I can make Sunday morning Babycakes runs with my friends and check out the plays and acapella performances. Before any of that can happen, though, I have two tests to take, one suitcase to stuff, and quite a few more pasta dishes to eat. I want to take advantage of my remaining days here and make each one of them count.