sabato 21 maggio 2011

All Roads Lead to Home

Welp, the end came and went. I ended Rome on a beautiful note. Happy and healthy and full of love.
So heres the update:
Barcelona rocked my world. John, Tyler and I are the ultimate traveling trio. We do work.
I got good grades in all my classes, batted a hundred average for pretty much all of them. Ballin.
I bought an outfit for going home, so that I might land in the US lookin fierce. It worked. Thanks Zara for the ballin hot punk blazer.
I made all of my flights on time. It was magical. It was smooth flying because I popped a Nyquil pill and KOed for the entire 10 hours.
Crystal, my mom, and Luca picked me up from the airport and I promptly got an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
Now I am home. I am without car because my Dad's got stolen (price you pay for livin in Springfield). Im happy to be home. I missed my fam, my dog, my bed, beans, goya, etc.
It feels weird to be home, but its a good weird.
John and I are going strong, doing the distance thing. Because we're bosses.
Im happy. This is the happiest Ive ever been in my life. Im focused now. I know what I want. I know who I am. I know where Im going. It's a good feeling.
I no longer rely on people for things. I know that I am fully capable of doing things all on my own.
I no longer care what people think, because it doesnt matter.
I have a more profound sense of self. I am more grateful for my family, the opportunities I have, and the blessings I've been given.
I've learned that Karma is, in fact, a bitch. But only if you're a bitch.
I feed off of people's energy, and I no longer put up with negative people.
Life is great. You but only if you make it so.
If you want to suffer, you will. If you want to be bored, you will be. If you want to be fat, you will be. You control everything in your life, minus natural disasters and the weather.
So be happy. Be fierce. Be free. Just be. Life is too short to be miserable all the time over things that dont matter.
I loved Rome, and it will have a piece of my heart forever. But I will take everything I learned and use it here, to make my life even richer than it already was. Because that's what it's all about. Living, and learning.
Thanks for following me through this journey of adventure and growth and eating hahahaha I wont write here anymore because I am no longer in Rome, so this seems counterproductive. But, if you just LOVE my blogging skills (or lack there of) you can follow me on Tumblr. I post less eloquently, but it's better than nothing?
Until we meet again<3

lunedì 2 maggio 2011

All we need is just a little patience...

Rome. It's all coming to an end in 13 days. And looking back on it, the main lesson I have learned from Rome is patience. Patience with the metro, with the people, with the language barrier, with my roommates, with my teachers, with the social rules, everything. Everything. But most importantly, patience with myself.  To learn that I dont have to learn everything at the speed of light, that I dont have to go a billion miles an hour. I can just be, and that's ok too. Also, prior to Rome, I had a bit of an issue with people not liking me. And looking back on it, I probably hated it so much when people didnt like me because it was a reflection of things I didnt like about myself. But now, I know myself. And I am sure of who I am and what I stand for. So when people dont like me, I can gracefully brush them off and know that it doesnt matter, because I like me. Which is all that ever mattered. Not to say that a lot of people dont like me, but there are a few who dont, that's just the way the cookie crumbles. People are going to talk crap and hate on you for no reason, but that is for the same reason I couldnt handle people not liking me; because they are insecure with themselves. So Rome has taught me that when confronted with people you dont like, keep your mouth shut. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING good comes from running your mouth. Usually you take it too far and then you end up with your foot in your mouth. So follow all the cliche rules. Dont say anything if you have nothing nice to say, do unto others, etc etc etc. Kill them with kindness. Because talking trash does nothing but spread the filth. Who wants to live like that? My role models all my life have been preaching this to me, and in typical teenage girl fashion, I ignored them, thinking I knew best. Now I know why EVERYONE (everyone worth their salt) preaches it. Because it's true. And it's the best way to live. Above the bull.

In other news, Rome is a zoo right now. The Beatification brought over a million tourists. We went to go see St. Peters, just for the sake of seeing what a million people looks like. It looks like a zoo. It looks like a lot of litter. It's claustrophobic and takes away from the beauty of Rome. I wasnt feeling it at all. I dont like to be touched. Especially by strangers. So being body to body with a bunch of sweaty tourists was not ideal.
There were trucks parked all over the place just handing out food and water to the masses. Fruits, veggies, snack boxes, juice boxes, etc. All for free. And people were going to town. People get wild for free things. They wait in line even if they have no idea what theyre getting. I hate those people. It's why I hate black friday. You wake up at 3AM just to save 2 dollars on an ugly sweater? Ridiculous. People have their priorities all out of whack. Rome has massive amounts of homeless people, if the left overs didnt go to a homeless shelter, I would be so disappointed. There was just so much to go around. For free. Why cant we do that more often for people who actually need it? And it was healthy food, carrots and apples, not McDonalds, the things people actually need. I dont know. The longer I live here, the more I realize that I cant continue to live my life without helping people less fortunate than myself. Because I am extremely fortunate, Im not rich, but I have a great life and a sound mind and body. I want to use what I can to help. it only takes one person right?

Speaking of Zoo's, apparently they found and killed Osama. I say apparently because they're burying him "at sea" and didnt show the body. The only time I am into believing without seeing is when it comes to God. Other than that, seeing is believing, and when it comes to a man we've been hunting for 10 years, I'm going to need some proof. And showing blood on some random floor, well, that just doesnt cut it. But hey, whatever, lets just say we did catch him, why the heck are we rioting at UMass? Really? We riot over winning the World Series, and killing someone...? No offense UMass, but have we really exhausted all the reasons we could think of to get wasted? I also know for a fact, that the majority of the people rioting had probably forgotten all about Osama, so this is a little immature and ignorant, dont you think? If I had a dollar for every ignorant fb status I read this morning, I'd be able to pay for an additional bag on the flight home. And this isnt just from college kids. Adults too. Guess stupidity isnt always something you grow out of.

In other news, it's almost finals week, so I have two more papers to bang out and then I have to start studying for finals. But I would be lying to you if I said that studying was going to take priority over making sure I soak up as much of Rome as I possibly can. I love Rome. It has become my second home and the boys have become my second family. So leaving will be tough. But I am ready to be home. To hug my brother and squeeze my dog. To speak Spanish with my mom and tell stories to my grandparents. I'm even looking forward to my dad telling me "youre an idiot" for my nose ring, because it will just be a healthy reminder that when everything in life gets twisted, turned, and flipped upside down, you're family is always consistent. And you gotta love them for that.

Wednesday is Barcelona! I cant wait. I cant wait to speak another language and be advanced in it hahaha
Should be a good time, it's the last trip I'm taking in Europe, so I have to cherish every moment I can. Cant believe how fast time went. Time flies when youre having fun!

venerdì 29 aprile 2011

Let my people go!

The title of this blog has zero to do with anything except for the fact that I have been on a Prince of Egypt craze. The soundtrack, the movie, I'm just all over it this week, idk why. Maybe it's because of Easter? I am into biblical Disney films? No idea. All I know is that the soundtrack is on repeat in my brain. Good times.

So I am blogging today to do what I did with the Palermo blog, to teach the rest of you to learn from my mistakes. Because I am just so kind like that, that I can put my pride aside, for you.

So here it goes: Today was a lovely Roman morning (now it's pouring, wonderful), so Alex and I decided to walk to the API offices. On the way there, as my ballet flats rubbed a massive blister into my heel, a car pulled over on the side of the road and asked Alex and I for directions. He was looking for Piazza Del Poppolo, and Alex quickly informed him that he was going in the wrong direction. And once we whipped out our trusty map and told him where to go, we assumed that we were free to go. But this man decided he wanted to tell us his life story. He was an Armani sales rep, from Milan, who was lost in Rome, with a rental car that was running out of gas. He then whips out his portfolio and shows us all of his stuff. We nod and smile, he continues with more stories in broken english and mainly italian. He then asks me if I can understand italian because I am italian. I kindly tell him no, and that Im in fact mexican. He gets all excited and tells me that Mexicans and Italians think the same. And Im just like "Oh ya, totally, mhm" and then he looks at Alex and askes "Is this your girlfriend?" Now, you see, I am a little worried that this guy is trying to ask me out or put me in his car and drive away, so Alex and I give each other tentative looks like "This guys is super sketch" and Alex puts his hand on my shoulder (in an awkward Ive-never-touched-you-in-my-life kind of way) and calmly says "Oh ya ya, she's my girlfriend." So Milan man proceeds to say "Do you mind if I give your girlfriend a gift?" We say no and he whips out a purse and says "This is a prototype, it's Armani, dont sell it ok?" Then he asks Alex what size shoe he wears, and reaches in the back and give Alex this fancy pants socks. Once again he reminds us not to sell these things, and explains how expensive they are. After all is said and done he says, "All I ask in return is for any kind of money for gas, my credit card is broken" (shows us the card). I legit have no money on me so I say sorry, no can do. But Alex does have money on him and gives him a 20 because he is a genuinely nice guys, and sympathizes with him. he says thank you, tells us to enjoy the gifts, and drives away.
Immediately when he leaves my mind starts Nancy Drew-ing this entire strange encounter. A) a Sales Rep for Armani from Milan, probably not driving himself anywhere. But I mean, whatever. but then...B) His portfolio was a little sketch, and it was plastic, not in a brief case, and it was just there and ready to be shown. But ok, that's fine too...BUT! What really caught me, was his watch. C) I know fashion, I know labels, I know what you wear if you also know fashion and labels. Even if you are fashionably inept, if youre rich, you have fancy things. Homeboy extended his hand to shake my hand (btw, weak, weak handshake, dead fish, wippy) and I immediately looked at his watch. It was meant to look nice, but it wasnt. It was a Seiko watch. Which for a regular bro is fine, but an Armani Sales Rep is not going to be caught dead with an a Seiko watch. Not once, not nevah. The minute he left it all comes rushing back to me and I'm like "lets see this stuff". The socks were socks, but no label. But the purse, aside from it being ugly (Armani or not) it was the most fake bag I've ever seen. And I know bags. I dont know much, but I know bags, and I can spot a fake from a mile away. This bag was the saddest fake I've ever seen.
Once we get to the API office, we dont even get to properly begin the story before Luca (advisor) has already finished it for us. Apparently, this guy is famous. But we were lucky. He usually just takes peoples wallets and guns it out of there. So we werent upset, we were actually kind of impressed hahahaha.
All and all, we got scammed I guess you could say. Neither of us bought it, but we still gave him money, but at least Alex got socks, and can give his actual gf a new purse.
Rome cracks me up. The fact that this guy spends his days pretending to be something he isnt, to make money, is just funny. But then again, I guess people do that everyday. Pretend to be something or someone they arent, to get ahead in business, or get a promotion, or beat someone out for a position. So what separates them from him? Nothing really. Cheating is cheating, neither is more honorable. It also made me kind of sad for him too, he is living his life, always pretending to be something more than he is, which is just a common criminal.
It's a funny story. It reminded me of Dan the Man from Paris (if you can recall that story), except Dan was for real, but still very strange.
Moral of the story is, always look at what people are wearing, it tells you everything you need to know. Idc what people say, what you wear says everything about you. hahahaha But really, dont take any wooden nickels, or fake purses.

This weekend is the Beatafication(sp?) of Pope John Paul II, so Rome is going to be crawling with people, theyre expecting at least a million tourists. I'll be there. I'm a little nervous to be surrounded by that many religious fanatics, but it will be the experience of a lifetime. There is also a bunch of free concerts this weekend too, so it's gonna be a good time. But when is Rome not a good time?

Lastly, on the bus ride home today I saw some graffiti that said "Si no sei felice, prova amare" meaning, "If you arent happy, try loving." I love that. I love love. I dont know much, but all I know, all I know, is love will save the day. <3

lunedì 25 aprile 2011

And the award for worst blogger goes to...

Ya I know, epic fail. But in my complete defense I have been really busy. Combine that with the fact that it's been gorgeous out, well, you could see why I wouldnt want to spend my time inside.
So here's the speed update:
SpringBreak! It was fantastical! Hit up London, Scotland, and Ireland. It was absolutely incredible. Minus the rape with no lube that happened due to the Pound. That was rough, but I got through it. Spring break pretty much broke my bank account, but it was well worth it. Three countries in 8 days is pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.
Crucial events of each city, ahem: I saw EVERYTHING there is to see in London, if there's a site, I saw it. So I wont bore you with the specifics.
-Pierced my nose. Love it. I dont really care if anyone doesnt like facial piercings. Keep your opinions to yourself.
-I climbed on a giant steel lion monument with Erika and a man had to boost us up and it was the most awkward/ ungraceful moment of both of our lives haha
Scotland- By far my favorite of the three places, just a lovely place to go, I fell in love instantly.
-made friends with a bag piper named Neal, he told me I have an excellent handshake and gave me his card to download his MP3's.
-Went on a ghost tour.
-Saw where JK Rowling got a lot of her inspiration and where she wrote her books (Elephant Cafe)
Dublin- Meh, not my fav...We were kind of in the hood, and it was just like America. Idk, I also dont drink, so I mean...there is half the appeal of Dublin right there hahaha
-Saw the hills of moher and went to Howth, both insanely beautiful.
-got followed by crackheads
Also, spring break allowed me to drink my body weight in over priced Starbucks coffee. It was magic. The main lesson learned from spring break was that not all accents are created equal. Legit, you think these accents are charming until you realize that only the British, Scottish, Irish people in the movies speak perfect english. Once you get there, everyone has there own dialect and some people might as well be speaking Chinese. Kind of funny. At one point a guy said to Erika "you dont speak english, you speak American." hahaha oops.
The following weekend I went to Tivoli with API, got some delicious food and got to see Hardians Villa and tan (clutch).
Then Arbrenne and Nate showed up, and I gave them the Meghan Goodine Express Tour, you know showing them everything you possibly can in a really short amount of time.
Monday at 1 I dropped them off at the train station and at 2 I picked up Yelena and Raisa, and gave them the Meghan Goodine Express Tour Part II.
Yelena had some ticket issues and ended up staying later than Raisa. Wednesday rolls around, and Im thinking its going to be just another day. I bring Yelena to school with me, and we enjoy a nice and awkward Art Therapy lesson, and when its over Im like, "Lets go to the park", and yelena very intensely tells me that she NEEDS to go home and change first. So we do, and then she tells me that we should go to the guys apt. Now, after two express tours, Im beat. So Im like ok but I need coffee first so I dont strangle innocent people. So after I drink my coffee in peace, Im sitting outside of the guys place, waiting for them to get back from their fieldtrip. As  I look up to their window I could SWEAR I see a girl pop out of the balcony. But Yelena assures me Im delusional and changes the subject to shoes (well played Yelena, well played). Well in come the boys, and John shoots past me, with a little "hello" that barely has time to linger in the air because he ran past me so fast. And you see, John had told me he was sick, so I was for some reason, under the impression that he crapped his pants. Why is that what I thought, I honestly couldnt tell you, but I did. So there I am, wondering how I am going to even look at this kid in the eyes if he did, in fact, shit himself.
I get inside and I look around for signs of crapped pants, and theres nothing. I breath a sigh of relief and look to my left, into the bathroom, and see a pink makeup bag. Right away I asses that it's not mine, and none of the guys have visitors, so I go inspect the makeup, without making a sound. I stare at it. Why does this makeup look so familiar? I use my pointer finger to push things around without totally invading some "strangers" privacy. "Who's makeup is this?" I shout. Giuliano, as per usual, has a smart ass remark "oh it's the girl I banged, she left her shit here." False. I was with you Julie bear, so thats a lie. I leave the bathroom and out of the corner of my eye I see pink luggage in Johns room. My female protective instinct kicks in for about 3 seconds and is like "THIS MOTHER EFFER SAID HE WAS SICK AND HES GOT A BITTY UP IN HIS ROOM?! DA F%@#?!" And then I open the door.

I leave such a large blank because thats what my brain did. It just kind of malfunctioned. I was convinced that I had neglected sleep for too long and my brain was now hallucinating. But I wasnt. I could see, smell, touch, hear everything just fine. So that only meant one thing: CRYSTAL PEREIRA WAS IN ROME SITTING ON JOHNS BED!" I almost fainted. I couldnt make words. Everything I wanted to say seemed stupid in comparison to how big of a deal this was. So I just cried and make noises that were so high-pitched that only a dog could hear them.
Was it the best surprise of my entire life? Yup. Was it the happiest I've been in Rome? Absolutely.
So I obviously gave Crys the Meghan Goodine Express Tour part III, I might have been more tired if I didnt have pure adrenaline running through my veins the second I saw her.

After she left, I had major school work to make up. considering I had put school on the back burner from thursday to saturday (as in 10 days, not 3 ha).
And this weekend was Easter weekend. It was really lovely actually. John, Tyler, and I booked Spain for the weekend after next,  went to the park, went on the Tyler Parry express tour, in which Tyler showed me a lot of the stuff in Rome I had no idea I was missing out on, and went to church on easter sunday.
This Easter was obviously different for 2 main reasons. Reason A) being I am in Rome, where Easter gets on and poppin. And B) I wasnt with my family. And that did bother me, but I was fortunate enough to be with people I love, so it wasnt bad. Im very lucky. I love a lot of people, and a lot of people love me. And that's true for basically everyone. So if you keep that in mind, the other crap doesnt really get you down. "Too blessed to be stressed" right? ha
I went to a baptist church for Easter Sunday, which was a huge change from a Mormon church hahaha
For starters, you can say Amen pretty much whenever you want. You can clap. And you stand up for the Hymns. Why go to a baptist church in the catholic capital of the world? Ummm because of everything fun I just listed above. haha

I've given up sugar in my coffee and soda, because I eat 16 pastries a day, so I need to take a chillaxi taxi on the sugar before I go into a diabetic coma. So I sit here blogging to you, drinking my home made coffee black, out of my shakespeare mug, feeling like I've got my theater kid swag on high. I should be writing a paper. But I have all day because I dont have school today. Which means I will procrastinate like it's my business, because it's raining outside and I have nothing better to do.
But you see, I avoid these sort of days, the "lazy days" as people call them because I A)feel disgusting and like I'm wasting my life and my youth (yes, I think all of those things multiple times when Im being lazy, Im neurotic.)  And B) It gives me too much time to think. Which doesnt seem like a bad thing, but as my departure from Rome looms over me, it kind of is. You start to think about the relationships you've made, and the ones you could've made, and the ones you wish you hadnt and its all so trivial because it's all stamped with an expiration date the second you get here. Making friends is easy. Keeping friends is hard. I just hope that the ones that matter most will be an ever present aspect of my life, because I do love them, and I am no good at goodbyes.
I am excited to take everything I've learned about myself here, and bring it home. I probably look the same, I talk the same (I might swear more, I'll blame julie bear for that) but I dont feel the same. It's hard to explain. But it's a pretty cool thing to experience.

In less introverted news... I ws told that the next time I blog I must give credit to Giuliano for all the wonderful things he's introduced into my life here. Starting the list with kinder eggs, little cake treats (idk what theyre called..), rice balls, some weird hotdogs thing (get your mind out of the gutter), and of course #10, Totti. Thanks Julie Bear! I'd be 10 pounds lighter without you! hahaha jk jk, kinda..

I promise, reader, that I'll finish this trip out strong and blog better. I have too. Not because it hipster fabulous to blog, but because I need to preserve every memory in every way humanly possible. And if I can entertain some people along the way, well that's just a plus.

mercoledì 16 marzo 2011

Humidity is fun for everyone! Everyone who wants to be ugly.

I have mexican hair like it's no ones business. Just when I think my bangs cant curl up anymore, they surprise me with a new type of curly nonsense. So I'm not even fighting it. I'm going to be walking around all day and night in the rain, so I might as well embrace the chaos on top of my head, and whip mah hair back and forth.
This week was midterm week, which was like the first time I've cracked a book since being in Rome. Which makes the fact that I was complaining even more ridonkulous. But in an unexpected twist to my character, I actually studied! Ya, I know, big deal. But that's just because I knew my Art History exam was going to be horrible (it was) so I couldnt just BS it, as I usually do. I think I did aight, it wasnt perfect, but I knew more than the people sitting around me, who were eating the flesh off their nails in a panic. I spanked my film and mafia midterm without even trying because I actually pay attention in that class (weiiirrrrdddd) partially because I like the material of the class, and partially because I'm scared that my teacher is in fact in the mafia and will have me bite the curb if I dont pay attention.

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful out. 70 and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. So naturally I broke out a very spring appropriate outfit. And while I was at school, I decided that between classes I was going to sit on the balcony and try and absorb as much vitamin D as I could, because I'm the color of milk and I'm not havin it.
So there I am, sitting, minding my own business, in my new Ray Bans (that Im in love with), not doing or wearing anything provocative, when all the sudden a window across the street opens up and like 7 men in business suits start giving me a round of applause and telling me to spin around. Scuza, shouldnt you be doing business type things in your business suits? Not harassing innocent tanners? Just sayin. Oh italian men, so forward, so awkward, soooo metro. haha
I spent the rest of the day trying to be outside as much as possible, but quickly remembered that I had woken up at 5am to study, and decided I wanted to take a nap before my make up class at 9.
The nap was a bad idea because it just made me want to hibernate instead of go to class, but I mean, I put my big girl pants on and proceeded to go to school.

Now I wasnt in class on friday, so I had no idea why we were having a make up class on a tuesday night, at 9, the night before the midterm. But I was rolling with it.
I get to school and my italian teachers boy friend is there to "pick us up", and by pick us up I mean walk with us to the metro and then take us to our teachers apartment.
Now, I dont really trust people or their intentions, ever. So was I a little sketched out about walking down dark allies with this bearded man that I dont know? Yes. But again, rollin with it.
It takes us like half an hour to get to my teachers place from school, which is annoying because it's getting later and I'm so tired, but whatever. Sleep is for the weak.
We finally make it to her place (because her bf wasnt a creepy bearded rapist, but actually a really nice guy) and her crib is BALLIN. Like when I grow up I hope my apartment is so well decorated. She has excellent style though, so I wasnt entirely surprised by her superb decorating skills.
But we all sit in the living room and they bring out antipasto's and beers and wine, and soda and juice (which I think was specifically for me because she knows I dont drink) and then brought out some dank pizza. Naturally, as to not be rude, I stuffed my face and indulged in some pineapple juice.
We were supposed to be studying for the midterm, but that wasnt really working because we kept getting off topic and cracking jokes (in italian, holla) so it wasnt the most effective method of preparing for an exam. Especially since we didnt get home til midnight. It was really fun, but it felt weird seeing my teacher all googley eyed with her bf, looking at all her private things (like the poster that sex "FUCK" in her bathroom, or the poster of people fucking in the bathroom hahahaha) and then having to take her seriously this morning. But she definitely got it in last night after we left because this morning she was all giddy and hyper, glowing and jumping around. I mean, get it girl with your hipster bohemian bf.

So that was yesterday, today has been fairly uneventful, minus that I got eiffel towered in the metro today by some huge creepy dudes, so that wasnt fun.
Oh, and I took my art therapy midterm. It literally took me 15 minutes. It wouldve been 10 except I had to make photocopies of my doodles for her, so that took some time. It was like three questions long, and she gave us the answers. Woman is out of her mind. But it's all good. It's both entertaining, and an easy A. She gave me a hug today. She is literally to my boobs. She's so small, yet so strange. It's almost impressive that so much crazy can fit into such a small vessel.

Tonight should be fun. It's Roma's 150th bday tomorrow so all of italy is getting buck wild. Tonight there are fireworks at the colosseum at midnight, and I'm pretty sure we're all going out to party in the streets with the locals. Im gonna by like 11 redbulls. Ya, it's going to be THAT epic. Nbd.
Tomorrow is also St. Patty's day, so I'm sure everyone is going to pretend to be Irish and get shammered. hahaha So I guess I should probably buy 22 redbulls so I can disperse then out equally throughout the days. Except I should probably save a couple for friday morning, seeing as I'm leaving for Pompei at 7am... and then...SPRING BREAKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm pumped for spring break, minus that I have to fit 8 days worth of clothes into one backpack and have it not be heavier than 22lbs (its not as easy as it sounds...). But I've pretty much accepted the fact that these 8 days will be the ugliest/ least fashionable I have ever been, and I'm just gonna rock it. Idk how...but I am... I just dont know what I am going to do about shoes. What if we go out?! I need shoes!!!!!!! I might hyperventilate while packing for this trip. Im going to need a paper bag to breathe into.

Happy Hump Day everyone!

domenica 13 marzo 2011

Palermo. Aka Meh, I've had better.

Ok, so I'm willing to hurt my own ego and tell all of you all of my mistakes in relation to this trip, so that you may all learn from my experiences and hopefully do it better than I did. Because this trip was not my favorite, nor was it the most successful, but as for everything in life, there were many lessons learned, and good stories to tell the grand kids (or nieces and nephews seeing as I probably wont procreate).

Also, this is me actively avoiding studying for my midterm. I know, procrastination is a bitch.

Ahem, anyways... Lesson #1: Dont go anywhere with out your passport.
Seems kind of counterintuitive to travel europe without a passport right? I know. I KNOW. Dont judge me, well us, this is what went down.
This week started out with John's sister Joanna and her friend Mariana coming to visit, so that was the main reason for going to Palermo. Trying to get more bang for their buck, ya dig? But the night before we left, we decided it would just be absolutely brilliant to go out. Ehhhhh not so much.
I might have failed to mention that we had a cab coming to get us at 4:30am.... Ya. No bene.
So we get to sleep around 3....wake up at four, and when I say wake up Im using the term very very loosely.
So we get in the cab, half asleep, half alive, some still a lil drunk, and begin our adventure to palermo.
Well, half way there someone realizes that they dont have their passport. Now here's the part you're going to look back on and say "Wtf?" but please bare in mind, we were all kind of asleep, and all the way stupid.
So we turn around and get the passport. Making the cab ride a little more expensive than we had been hoping for but I mean, hey, that's fine.
Except for when we get to the Check-In counter and two more people realize they dont have their passports either. See what I mean about the wtf? hahaha
Copies of your passports dont suffice, that is only if you're traveling on a bus or on a train. And to be fair, we are always told to not have our passports on us when traveling with in the country (Palermo is in Sicily). But in this case, it just wasnt going to happen. So what do we do? We hop in a cab and head back home, 45 minutes away. We have exactly an hour to check in, or else we miss the flight.
God must have been on our side because we run outside and there is a cab right in front of us, and instead of getting in that cab I look to my right and say "lets get in that one". At first this guy is saying something to me that I cant understand at all, which hasnt happened in italy yet. But I was so tired I could barely speak in english. So we walk away and then he flags us down and we run into the cab. Now, I am not sure if it is the desperation in our eyes, or if this guy was just the man, but homeboy should have driven from NASCAR. Instead of getting there in 45 minutes, we got there in 18. And we got back to the airport, with time to spare! And then we get to the security line, and there is no one in line! It was a legit miracle. I mean minus the 150 euro we spent on cab fair. But you win some you lose some right?
So things kind of start looking up from there, at least for a little bit, until we land and realize we have no effing idea how to get to our hostel and we have zero cash left to get a cab. Oh, and there is not an ATM in sight. And normally warm, sunny, Palermo, is cold and rainy. Peachy!
Cue Lesson #2: Dont go anywhere with out planning your transportation to and from the airport.
All I kept saying to myself this whole trip was "Thank God I speak italian", because literally, no one spoke english. But the problem is, Sicily speaks a really heavy form of italian dialect. So watching me in my tired haze try and communicate with these people was probably the equivalent of watching a monkey bang a coconut. You dont really know what's going on, and it isnt pleasant to watch, but you kind of hope something good will come out of it. Or at least something funny.
Luckily, I was able to tell the cab driver, Father Time, that we needed to get to our hostel, but needed to stop at a bank first, in order to pay him.
This man was probably the worst driver of all time, probably because when he got his license, the Flinstones taught driving school, and you put your feet through the floor board to move the car. But that is neither here nor there.
We get to the Hostel and it is actually beautiful, it's more so a hotel than a hostel. Which none of us had any problems with. But the minute any of us see the bed we immediately crash. Literally, fall on to the bad and pass out. For about 4 hours.
I know we needed it, but I really loathe sleeping that much and wasting time, in the middle of the day. It feels counterproductive. Mainly because it is.
But after we all awake from our comas, we decide to walk around. We come to find out that Palermo has a lot of open markets, which was pretty cool, minus the intestines hanging from clothes lines. hahaha Legit everywhere you turned you would see some kind of bloody intestine, brain, live, skinned baby animal, fish, eye ball, hoof, snout, literally, any part of the animal you wanted, they had it. And I mean it was actually pretty vile, and made you seriously question why you werent a vegetarian. But I wasnt as mortified because Mexico is pretty similar, minus that in between all the bloody meat hangings, are pinatas. The only this that got me was the entire body of a skinned baby cow, eyes still in tact. It was horrific.
So after walking through house of a thousand corpses, we took a little detour and found....SHOES! Ya, I got two pairs of leather (again, using the term leather loosely) for 19. 90 and then got red chucks for 10 euro. Try and beat those prices, ummm because you cant. So, that cheered everyone (meaning me) up by a lot.
Oh, I forgot to mention the coolest guy ever at the open market! He was selling strawberries, and to draw you in he would clean a strawberries, and put whipped cream on it and let you try it. What a great idea! Because we obviously bought some after that. But that's not why he's the man. After giving us or strawberries (for a very reasonable price I might add) he handed us his business card. But not of the berry business, oh no, but of his singing career. He calls himself "The Voice of Sicily" and the card said to check him out on YouTube. Bahahahahaha what a boss. That made my day.
We were still exhausted, so we crashed pretty early. But because this vaca was just the greatest, at around 1am I get a phone call from my dad. And he never calls me that late. So I knew something was up. I picked up the phone half asleep, and his voice was too happy, too chipper to be casual. At first he was just asking me why I was asleep and I told him I was not trying to walk around at night where the mafia was started, and he poked fun for a minute and then was like "Well honey Im just calling because I didnt want you to see it on fb from chuckie or anything and freak out, but Grandma fell down and broke her knee and has to go to the Hospital, we're on the way there now. But everything is fine. Dont be upset or anything." But because my dad knows me so well, he knew I was already crying by the time he said "Grandma fe..." But I got to talk to her at around 3, and she sounded strong and ok, so I was able to keep my composure better.
In the morning we wake up and decide that today is going to be a better day. The sun is shining, we got some sleep, things are looking up. Welp....
Enter Lesson #3: Never get on a bus and forget to stamp your bus ticket.
In italy, when you ride the bus, you dont pay when you get on, you buy a bus ticket, and then there is a little machine to stamp your ticket inside. In Rome, we dont worry about it because A) we rarely take a bus and B) we have a monthly pass so we dont have to. Well Palermo is intense, and we get on the bus, on our way to the beach, ready to have a good time, when all of the sudden the bus police ask for our tickets. Oh ya sure, you can totally have our tickets. Except they arent stamped. So he whips out a little notebook and asks for our documents. Shit. I try telling him in italian that we are tourists and didnt know the rule (not entirely true) but bro is not feelin it, and proceeds to demand 103 euro. Fuck. All I have is 15 euro, and I tell him that, so he hops off the bus, with our passports in hand. So I'm like "Shit, follow the guy with our passports!" After some serious groveling, he says we only have to pay 27 a piece. So it was still shitty, but so much better than 103. But the whole ordeal kind of killed some peoples moods, which sucked.
But we did make it to the beach! That was a plus. And it was the prettiest beach I've ever seen. Crystal clear water, surrounded by mountains, it was amazing. Still wayyyy to cold to swim, unless your name is John Schmulling. In which case you swim anyways, like a tard. Must be a Boy Scout thing.
The rest of the trip was fine from that point on really. Nothing too epic or too bad happened. It was fun, and we had an amazing dinner that night (I mean, minus Mariana, who only ate gelato) So things got better.
Most important lesson #4: Your attitude really makes the experience. Negativity will get you no where. And I know, for a fact, that positive things happen to positive people. Time and time again, on the best of trips, on the worst of trips, this has been proven to me. So always see the silver lining. And it is always easier to do so if you....
Lesson #5 DONT STAY UP LATE THE NIGHT BEFORE A FLIGHT! It's not worth it. It really isnt. I know I always rep the "Sleep is for the weak" motto, but when traveling, especially somewhere where you are 100% fluent in the language, you need your wits about you. You never know what could happen. As I've clearly illustrated here today.
I probably made this trip seem like such crap, but it really wasnt. It was just a bummer blowin money on correcting things that went wrong, but it was fun.

Now I have to try and multitask and do laundry and study for my art history midterm. I have no idea where to even start for that. That's the class where the teachers voice lulls me to sleep. Also, I dont have a library or Starbucks where I can study, so I have to try and be studious in my own home, where I can be distracted by any number of things. Like the fact that I know that no one has taken out the garbage since I left, or the fact that I know that no one cleaned up the salt that they spilled all over the counter. Just a few things like that. OCD+ADD= terrible at studying. Womp Womp.
I'll make it work. I just have to stay away from Tumblr, and Facebook, and anything that seems more entertaining than Art History....

lunedì 7 marzo 2011

Venice! Party party Carnivali!

Woo! What a weekend!
So this weekend consisted of Parma and Venice. And it started on Midnight on thursday night (technically friday morning). We took a night train and awaited for our train in probably the seedest train station I have ever been too. Im talking homeless people out the ass, dirty people who had homes all over the place, trash, graffiti, etc. It was just not ok. Add to it the fact that it's four girls (my whole house went) just sitting, at night, waiting for a train. It was not the most comfortable situation I've ever been in, to say the least.
So we get on the train and we are in little sectioned off rooms and Erika and I get the cart with the two old people in it. The old man was lovely, but his wifey, was a douche. There were six seats total, and homegirl was under the impression that she had the right to all of them! But I was like ummm no, and spread myself out as well. Her husband gave me this look like "Im sorry I married a dbag" and I gave him an apologetic head nod. Erika and I ended up twisting our bodies so that we looked like poorly constructed Jenga. And it wasnt the most comfortable sleep I've ever gotten, but it was sleep none the less. Five and a half hours later, we arrive in Parma. Well...Parma is ummmm small. First of all, we get off the train, and there is fog everywhere, it's raining, and there is nothing anywhere. And our ticket for Venice isnt for another 12 hours. So we all kind of look at each other like "ummm bump this, lets leave asap". So, in all italian, I managed to get us the earliest train to venice for free! Get at me.
But while we were in Parma, we made the best of our time. We had researched things ahead of time, so that we would know what to look for. Some how, with out a map, we managed to find the center of Parma, with all of its churches and sites to see, which were only like four.
We also went to Cioccolate Infinito. If you ever find yourself in Parma, go there! It was the most incredible chocolate I have ever tasted. Just so amazing, I recommend it to anyone. I also was chatting it up with the store owner (again, in italian) and just trying to make friends where ever we went. I basically just wanted to speak italian to anyone who would listen. Im trying so hard to get faster and more fluent so that when I get back I can start taking french or Portuguese. It would just also be helpful to get perfectly fluent before I leave the country ha
But we killed all the time we had to kill and two trains later, we were in mestre, a town in the main land close to venice. We stayed at one of the nicest Hiltons (thank you Mr. Johnson) and rested for a second, then grabbed the bus to Venice.
Parma was literally BLOWN out of the water by Venice. Venice is the prettiest place I've ever seen. You cant take a bad picture of Venice. It is exactly what you think it's going to be. There are 400 bridges in the teeny tiny city of Venice. No cars. And so many boats. It's beautiful. And we got there as the sun was setting, so it was at it's height of perfection. Also, the crappy weather in Parma didnt follow us to Venice, there wasnt a cloud in the sky.
So we went for Carnivale. Which is basically like a cooler version of Mardi Gras. We started out just by walking around and getting a feeling for the city, and just fell completely in love. We got dinner by the water, sat outside and watched all of the crazy ornate costumes walk by.
After dinner, we put on our masks, and blended in with the crowd.
Masks get rid of you inhibitions, let me tell you. People just do the strangest things. Including myself, there was a mini rave in the middle of the street and I just hopped right in and started dancing like a fool. Usually I dont dance like a white person and jump around, I just kind of keep to myself if I dont think I can properly dance. But the mask made me a fool! I just jumped around and got buck wild to whatever music came on. New, old, techno, disco, whatever, I just wanted to have as much fun as everyone around me (I had to work a little harder just because everyone around me was shitfaced) but I think towards the end we were all on the same level, because I was so exhausted I was getting delusional.
But around 11, we all started to fade, our eyes were getting a little too heavy, and even a street dance party couldnt keep us going. So we headed back to our lovely hotel and proceeded to crash, hardcore.

Flash forward to 10am when we head back to the island, and I am shocked. The day time is 100 times more bumpin than the night time. Literally you are touching someone at all times because there are so many people crammed into this little city. Everyone is decked out in something, whether it's a mask, or face paint, or both, or a full blown head-to-toe costume, everyone is doing something. Naturally, because I'm five, I got my face painted (we all did, I wasnt the only dork) and I loved it! I love getting my face painted though, because I'm really not that cool of a person, and I like any reason to be covered in glitter. Strangely enough though, this german tourist took about 100 pictures of me while I got my face painted. No lie. And every time I smiled he would lose his shit and take 100 more. And then some random broad just started filming me. And I was so confused...I had no idea why they were enjoying watching me so much ahaha whatever makes you happy I guess.
It took forever to get through the city because its made up of little allies everywhere, and hundreds on people squeezing through just doesnt work out as well as you would want it too. So dont go to Venice during carnivale if you're afraid of crowds or any kind of claustrophobic, it's not going to work out for you, sorry. But it is totally worth it. Maybe you should just get over that fear.
It's almost hard to write down everything we did because a lot of the excitement consisted of walking around eating my body weight in candy, throwing confetti on strangers, and looking at all the decked out people. Because that is literally all we did. And it was awesome in every way.
We also went on a gondola ride! My gondola guy wore a stripped shit and little hat and everything. Stefano was his name actually. He wasnt a very jolly fellow, until I asked him to take a picture with me, and then he cheered right up hahaha
The night time was kind of a pain in the ass though because all of our things were at the hotel on the main land, while the train we were taking home (again a night train) was on the island. So we had to go get our things and then come back and walk around with our huge lumpy backpacks, that were both heavy and not space-efficient, which made walking around a crowded city less appealing. So we spent our last two hours sitting at a cafe, people watching all of the absurdly drunk people getting off the trains.  It was actually extremely entertaining. Until I saw a man dressed in a KKK outfit, and I wanted to junk punch him. No one should find that kind of ignorance funny or amusing. I couldnt believe it, I couldnt believe anyone would ever have the balls to do that. In that moment I wished I had to ability to teleport people. I would've dropped that piece of shit in Springfield's Six Corners, see how funny everyone there found it. It was just a healthy reminder that people really are very ignorant still. Kind of a buzz kill.
But aside from that asshole, the whole trip was absolutely perfect. Seriously, drama free, fun-filled, and awesome. All of us got a lot closer as roommates, which was really nice. And it was cool to have a girls weekend and gush over shoes and jewelry together. I did most of the gushing, but that is irrelevant.
I'm becoming addicted to traveling. I have no idea what I'm going to do when I get home and cant go anywhere I want all the time. Im probably going to go a little stir crazy.... I mean, I did that before I left, so it's probably going to be heightened now.
This week will be pretty busy as well just because John's sister and her friend are here and we're both kind of playing tour guide, trying to show them everything we can before we leave for Palermo.
Time is now speeding up, which is weird. I'm trying to not let myself get too too attached to my life here, because I'm always consciously aware of how temporary it is. And I'm logical to the point of ridiculousness, so I dont want to be sad when I get home. Because that's my real life you know? I want to bring all of this happiness with me. I want to love my real life with as much enthusiasm as I love my fake life. Because I've never been so happy or stress free in my entire life. And I cant lose that. I feel so alive, so healthy, so full of passion for everything. And I want it forever. And I know that if I try hard enough, I can make my world at home this happy too. Sounds weird and naively optimistic, but I know Im right. Im becoming who I've always wanted to be, and coming into my own. And I think thats 90% of the happiness.