Athena Study Abroad students share their experiences with amazing blogs.
Today in my Current Trends in Italian Cuisine class we each made gnocchi al pesto con pomodorini e noci and tiramisù. Both dishes were "molto gustoso" meaning very tasty!
The beginning of a trip is always the most exhausting, I think. I'm still pretty jet lagged and I broke the most important (in my book) rule of traveling and I went to sleep as soon as I saw my bed. Terrible idea. I slept from noon to about 9 p.m. so needless to say, I could not sleep that night or the next night, or the night after that. Luckily, I'm starting to get a more normal sleep schedule now, but I am still tired all of the time and unable to ever actually fall asleep. My best advice, try to stay awake as long as possible. Go walk around, unpack your clothes, what ever it is you need to do to stay awake, because trying to get adjusted to a 5 hour time difference is the worst.
I met Olwyn yesterday and all of the other students studying abroad. She showed us around town and took us to a few shops to pick up the essentials we forgot. Everyone was pretty exhausted, because obviously traveling takes it out of you. I tried to call it an early night, but then my homesickness kicked in and kept me up much later than I intended and because of the time difference, my family was all still wide awake, so they were all there to comfort me and tell me everything is going to be just fine and I know that. It's just the combination of exhaustion and a whole new environment with no familiar faces or places that has me missing the comfort of my own home. I think that homesickness is inevitable when going on an adventure as big as this.
Traveling is certainly no stranger to me, but there is a big difference between being away for one or two weeks then being away for 3 months. Most other trips I am traveling with people I know or family, and this time I came all by myself not knowing a single person. Fortunately, my roommate, Kerstin, has also been homesick and she makes me feel a lot better with her positivity. We both have countdowns to when we can see our family again and we've been making plans to make dinner together and go shopping. I'm so happy that I got the roommates that I did, because in big changes like this I get really shy and I need someone to help me break out of my shell.
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In a blur, everything was packed. My fingers were sore from tearing endless strings of sticky packing tape, which I used to secure the world I was leaving behind. But my heart had never felt more free. They say to pack light. You wont need it all. Two suite cases later I felt I had narrowed down my clothing options to the essentials. But as I sit here in the warming light on my first morning on Paros, I feel a sense of calm and simplicity. This island is as welcoming as a gentle hug and I can sense that perhaps six pairs of dresses were simply unnecessary to bring me satisfaction with a view like the one spread out before me.
To reach a place this magical takes some work. I won't lie. The longest plane ride of my life (approximately 13 hours) was definitely an adventure to say the least. My friend Ana (who is traveling with me on this grand and wild adventure) and I arrived at LAX three hours ahead of time, which was a huge blessing that I highly recommend taking advantage of. Apparently Americans are obligated by law to purchase a return ticket to the States before leaving the country. Who knew? Spontaneity is dead. But maybe they knew how I would feel stepping off that ferryboat with the tender golden lights in every window reflecting off of the soft lapping water of the harbor. Also, apparently ordering your passport a year in advance is also a pretty serious thing, and waiting to the last minute is a very poor decision in deed. Spontaneity is dead. But perhaps they also knew how absolutely heart stopping it would be to envision yourself being left behind as you wait patiently by the mailbox days before you are due to leave and still there is no sign of your little black book. (Mine arrived the day before we left… which is a good story now, but trust me- it was terrifying to live through).
This was my first weekend in Florence and will be the last for at least a month. It was nice to stay in the area and explore different places around town where I had not been.
My roommate and I started off the weekend with a major sweet tooth. First we decided to try Rinaldini, the macaroon parlor on our route to class. I tried the white chocolate and tonka bean which was delicious! I could not stop thinking about it for the rest of the day. Luckily, I was able to focus my mind in a different direction…gelato.