Monday, October 29, 2012
Over this past week 15 of my closest study abroad friends and I embarked on a seven day eastern Mediterranean cruise. I didn’t have much time to think about what this experience was going to throw my way because the week leading to our vacation was midterms week; my thoughts were completely consumed with art history, Italian, and creative photographic thoughts.
I am amazed by the fact that it was possible for us to have traveled from Rome, to Sicily, to Athens, to Turkey, to Crete, and back to Florence all in the matter of a week. Each day we woke up to a whole new world, completely different from the one we had fallen asleep in. When we walked off the boat each day I was overwhelmed with new and unfamiliar things. Each place had new people, new languages, new food, new scenery and most importantly new experiences. For a while we thought it would be best to go on Royal Caribbean planned excursions after some contemplation we decided it would be more adventurous for us to explore on our own and let these new countries consume us. I would not change this decision for anything. Each day we set out with no idea of what the day would bring and each day we got back on the boat with memories to last a lifetime.
The things that were the least planned and the most spontaneous proved to be the experiences that made the best memories. In Sicily it took us a while to get on our feet, we didn’t know were the train station was, we didn’t know were the trains were going, we didn’t know if the cab drivers were as sincere as they seemed or if they were ripping us off the like young naive tourists we were.
We eventually found a strange man who we soon knew to be Carmelo, he took us all over, and we were able to see Sicily through the eyes of a true Sicilian. In turkey we got a Turkish bath, one of my favorite study abroad experiences thus far, even with the large bellied Turkish men scrubbing us down. I loved the little fish nibbling away at the dead skin on my feet in Crete, even though they made my blisters bleed. I loved the shows we attended each night before dinner, even though the juggling act got old quickly. I loved our bedroom even though it was tight, crammed, and tiny. I loved hiking to the Acropolis in Athens even though it was jammed packed with Asian tourists. I loved the rocky rocky seas that brought many, including myself, a mild case of sea sickness. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything.
I never thought there were so many places that were so different in every possible way, it only excites me to know that there are hundreds and thousands of different places that are waiting to be explored. I am beyond grateful that I have the opportunity to experience and immerse myself in so many different cultures. My only hope is that I can forever see new things, live an exciting life, and never forget this crazy wild study abroad experience
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
Ciao! Everyone, it has been two months since I got here. Everyday has been an adventure for me so far. I feel like I switched from Storrs campus to a big live museum campus. Every stone on the road keeps reminding me of people who stepped on them hundreds of years ago, the smell of coffee in the morning; long lines waiting outside of an old Panini dinner not far away from school; completely different flavors of ice cream everywhere on the street; tourists from all around the world speaking different languages that I cannot recognize……
Those small elements have became part of Florence, not to mention great art works by great men in the history, Michelangelo’s work and Da Vinci’s; people had great influences on Florence have been buried in this beautiful church called Santa Croce church. Professor of the art of Florence took us there and along with all the other museums and churches. Standing in front of Michelangelo’s tomb was definitely the most unique experience I’ve had since I got here. The fact that Michelangelo was literally in that marble coffin didn’t hit me until I asked Ms. Francesca: is Michelangelo in there? She answered. Yes, he is. She also mentioned that Leonardo Da Vinci’s tomb was in France.
Drawing became more important to me after I got here. I start to record everyday life on a travel journal and fill my sketchbook with landscapes.