The End

I’ve been putting off this post since forever. Or at least since I got back. I want to synthesize all the experiences and feel ready for it to be over and feel totally settled in my life back in the US. But you know what? Life doesn’t work quite like that. Though the semester has started, and with it, good things and bad, a new place to live, revisiting an old city of mine, old friends, old places, it feels new and like a return at the same time.

I did so much in Europe, and now that I’m back, I’m not going to say that I feel like a whole new person, but I do feel like I’ve entered a new part of my life. In which I’m more of an adult, a little more confident, a little more sure of what I want. An emphasis on “a little” but still, it makes a difference. I understand more about how I want to be treated, what kinds of people I want to meet, and what kinds of people I can laugh about and not take too seriously. I learned a hell of a lot about people on this trip.

And also about places. I’ll never watch a movie set in Paris or Rome or wherever and not look for the places I’ve been. How it feels to walk on the street alone in London and how it’s different from Copenhagen or Barcelona. How I love cities but I love countries too. The crisp air in Bath, the dampness of the Czech mountains and caves, and riding my bike in the driving rain or wind or sun or dark in Fredensborg. And I’ll try my best to cherish it all.

And before I do a photomontage, I just wanted to thank my loyal readers and my drop-by-once-in-a-while readers. This blog made me feel really good about my writing, made me want to put off this last post. Which is why soon enough I’ll be starting another blog. Because Wanderlust was only ever going to be my abroad journal, for me and for you. Here’s a little map of where my readers come from– this map makes me happy. Thanks to my abroad friends for helping this map be a little more colorful. And thanks also to the abroad strangers who did the same thing. And thanks to my non-abroad friends and family for making the US such a standout.

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START THE PHOTO MONTAGE: The best of Wanderlust! (stay tuned, there’s a little something at the end)

IMG_1989Grafton, MA, USA

IMG_2211Humlebaek, Denmark

IMG_2532Odense, Denmark

IMG_2742Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_2755Ugerloese, Denmark

IMG_3259Rome, Italy

IMG_3284Barcelona, Spain

IMG_3375Barcelona, Spain

IMG_3783Wiltshire, England

IMG_4252Cesky Raj, Czech Republic

IMG_4430Hilleroed, Denmark

IMG_4537Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_4628Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_4653Berlin, Germany

IMG_4796Berlin, Germany

IMG_4842Essen, Germany

IMG_4909Dortmund, Germany

IMG_4914Paris, France

IMG_5234Paris, France

Thank you to everyone I met, everyone I re-met, everyone who gave me a chance or taught me something or extended a hand or supported me. Thanks to people who smiled, who were concerned, who were patient, who played cards, who shared a beer or a laugh, who asked me for directions or who gave me directions or who showed me something wonderful. Thank you to people who ate the food I made, who made food for me, or who shared their company over a meal or who shared their company on a train or plane or platform or waiting room or airport terminal or theatre or their home. Thank you to the people who shared their children, their parents, their brothers and sisters and their grandchildren and grandparents or their friends. Thank you to the people who I visited, the people who I’ll revisit, the people who will come visit me, and to the people who I met who I’ll never meet again.

It was one hell of a ride. Thank you.

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All Roads Lead to Rome

I thought I’d start you off with a soundtrack to my trip to Rome. First, this song, An Evening in Roma, which was featured in the Lizzie McGuire Movie, my inspiration for wanting to visit Rome, which came out 10 years ago (I know because I saw it for my 10th birthday party)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi1Hq_41kUQ

Also, this song, Hungry Eyes, was featured in Dirty Dancing. The movie has nothing to do with my trip, but it was playing in a store in Rome, and it encompassed my and Bonnie’s insatiable sweet tooth appetite when in Rome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oKUTOLSeMM

I highly recommend watching both films in full. You will not regret it. But at the very least, listen to those awesomely cheesy songs as you read my blog.

Saturday, Sept 28: Bonnie and I left for the airport rather early, but then enjoyed the decadence that was the Copenhagen airport. It’s basically a mall– a very good mall. When we got into Rome, I was all smiles and full of anxiety about pickpocketing. This anxiety took several days to cease. 6 to be exact, the length of the trips. We took the train and metro into the city, admiring the Italian men and stopping for a meal of pasta in a cute piazza. Pasta in a piazza. When we arrived at where the hostel was supposed to be, and could not find it for the life of us. Bonnie suggested maybe we were the victims of a hostel Ponzee scheme, which seemed unlikely, but we were a little shaken until we went across the street and they told us that the door we were looking at was the correct door. Oops. We got inside, found that it was clean and wood-paneled, and the girls who worked there were hilarious. I highly recommend this hostel, Pensione Ottaviano, if you ever go to Rome, reader. It may not have been the most beautiful place, but is located right next to Vatican City, a truly fantastic area to live for a few nights. The hostel had character and characters. Also, look at the art in our room, and the view.

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Come on, you can’t pass that up.

Rome Day 1:

So, the Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of the month for only three hours, and the Pope was giving a mass, so there were nuns singing on the street starting around 5am (not a joke.) Bonnie and I got up and got pastries and got in line, not too far back, and we got into the museum by 9:30. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been to a museum so big, and because of the thousands of people, we couldn’t exactly pick and choose what rooms we saw. We just went with the crush of people towards the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, there were no pictures in the chapel, but you can google it 🙂 The art was very impressive and old  but I thought that the architectural elements were more interesting.

The entrance to the Vatican Museums

IMG_2921A beautiful Vatican courtyard

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I will never not be impressed by mosaic floors. Seriously. I WALKED on this.

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Ceilings can be coolIMG_2949

Even windows that have scaffoldings. Pinching myself alwaysIMG_2963

Another life-changing ceiling. No biggie.IMG_2973

I don’t even know what this was. Amazing though. One of my best shots from the Vatican. A lot are very blurry b/c no flash

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Don’t die, you’re about to be at the Sistine Chapel!IMG_2985

After the Vatican we realized we had the WHOLE CITY OF ROME at our fingertips. We wandered and wandered and wandered some more. People always say that everywhere you turn in Rome is a cute little alley or a tourist site. Accurate. We saw a lot of Americans and ate gelato. Also, I saw the Trevi Fountain, which is where my dream of going to Rome started. Or more accurately, Lizzie McGuire meeting Paolo at the Trevi Fountain in 2003.

This is the Pantheon. Just chillin’ somewhere in Rome. We were in no way looking for it.

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So there was this outdoor art display outside of the really big famous art museum in Rome. The artist’s statement is below in Italian, English, and French. It was sooo good. See next picture. IMG_3073

This is the artist and one of his pieces, The Boxer. He made me a sketch while he was standing there. it was GREAT. Made my day, an already awesome day.IMG_3078

A cool and somewhat creepy statue on a bridge.IMG_3000

The Trevi Fountain!IMG_3056

A statue in front of the Tomb of the Unknown SoldierIMG_3029

The Tomb of the Unknown SoldierIMG_3020

In the evening, after a solid 14 hours walking around, we went back to the hostel to play cards, and we met a very nice Dutch guy named Barnabus (he went by Bus) who taught us a new way to play Uno (yes, the card game from my childhood) and shared a beer with us. It was very hospitable and not hostile at all (get it? hostile? hostel? Oh well.)

Day 2:

We had plans to meet another girl from DIS, Breanna, at the Spanish Steps for lunch, so we had a leisurely morning which included really amazing pastries and espresso (when in Rome!) standing up (cheaper) at a quaint cafe on the river. We walked for about an hour before we realized we were headed north instead of south, and then turned around and walked south for way too long. We got really lost, ended up walking for about 2 hours in the most torrential rain of my life, and we didn’t even find Breanna. We did however, remain damp for the next 8 hours (cotton IS rotten.)

Because we were cold and wet, we took this picture for Breanna

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Because we were in Rome, we actually felt like thisIMG_3117

The rain finally cleared, and we headed over to the Colosseum because we figured the rain would have scared away a lot of people. It was amazing, and I couldn’t help think about all the movies I’d seen set at the Colosseum. Bonnie had taken a film class about movies set in Ancient Rome, so I can only imagine it may have been more awesome for her. In Latin II my senior year of high school, my Latin teacher told us if we ever go to the Colosseum to lick it, which is what she did when she went. I was totally prepared to do it, but then. EW. Wow, I saw it and COULD NOT IMAGINE DOING SOMETHING SO GROSS. Over a thousand years of history also means a whole lot of who knows what. We did see cats, who I obviously also did not lick (or touch). Colosseum cats seem really happy and cute.

Oh hey there, Colosseum…

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A lovely afternoon at the place of gladiators.IMG_3162

Oh hey, that cool basement part (no floor anymore) and a cat.IMG_3137

There are no stands as there were in ancient Rome, only the base of the building, the marble is thought to have been stolen in the Middle Ages
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Cats of the Colosseum. Part dos.IMG_3176

We had a really cheap dinner that night in a park overlooking the Colosseum and then walked around the streets for several more hours, and my search for boots continued and Bonnie stopped to read many menus at cafes, something I have never done, but she does kind of like window shopping for me. It’s not necessarily meaningful, just something interesting to look at. We also drank Italian hot chocolate, which is made by pouring hot cream over chocolate. So incredibly rich. It was calorically dinner and breakfast, I’m sure.

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We got back to the hostel and played cards again with Bus, and went for a walk with him around St. Peter’s Cathedral, approximately 2 blocks from the hostel. Really, could not ask for a better location.

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Day 3:

We checked out of the hostel and enjoyed breakfast gelato with Bus and both gave him a hug goodbye. He was going to work on a wine farm in France after this trip to Rome and Paris.

A sight from our walk in the morning

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We walked along the river and got latte machiatto, which in true Italian style was pretty much just steamed milk with a tiny bit o’ espresso and headed over to Circus Maximus(!) and thought about chariot races and Ben Hurr and then went to the Roman Forum. I went pretty zonked by then, just solid DAYS of walking and seeing things, so I definitely didn’t appreciate it enough.

I’m at the circus!IMG_3219

Palatine Hill/Roman ForumIMG_3226

The she-wolf and Romulus and Remus. Not the original, but something I was dying to see in Rome.IMG_3230

We didn’t spend a ton of time there, and went to meet Rachael (was going to say who this is, but if you don’t know… read the blog) who was also in Rome, on a school trip. We had a great lunch, walk, gelato, and a quick trip to the Trevi Fountain on our way to the train station, because Bonnie and I had to catch a flight to Barcelona! Rachael and I are the cheesiest and realized that the day our friend Caitlin introduced us (HI CAITLIN!) we watched two great Rome-themed movies together: The Lizzie McGuire Movie (see above) and Roman Holiday. Actually, I left while the others were watching Roman Holiday because sleep. But let’s just say, all roads lead to Rome.

Nice gelato places give you whipped cream and a tiny cone on top. This cone of canteloupe and cherries and cream only had the tiny cone.

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The gang in front of the Trevi Fountain. This is what dreams are made of.IMG_3259

Rome was absolutely all I imagined, hoped, and expected it to be. I would go back again, I’m a little in love. Not like, want to live there or anything, but there’s so much to see and do, and. Go. That’s my advice.

Barcelona in my next post. In the meantime, Arrivederci!

What Does Cactus Even Taste Like?

My week in review. It’s been another long week, with me posting once already, and I have another post about a certain dessert item that may or may not make it to the interwebs before this one. Stay tuned.

I have this journal, which is something I’ve never really done consistently before, but was inspired by the coincidence of seeing this post on Pinterest around the same time I got a journal for Christmas from my cousins Mike and Nicole (Hi Nicole!). So since December 23, 2012, I’ve written a sentence about every day. Just a sentence of the highlights. I’ve never missed a day, and I’m pretty proud of that. I also picked a good year to start because I got to write about seeing my Gram in a casual way right up to when she died. So that’s something that’s nice. ANYWHO, I sometimes use it to see what I did in a week, but the problem is that I sometimes have boring days and then I have nothing to write and have no idea what happened that day, when I look back.

For example:

Saturday Sept 14: “Made brownies and watched Dr. Who with Maria.” Here are some pictures. To all those who have told me to watch Dr. Who over the years, you were right. Love love love.

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From those slutty brownies I said I’d make

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How they ended up looking. Oops, the brownies crushed the cookies, making it more like a cookie crust. Also, yum!

Sunday Sept 15: “Lazed around, went into Copenhagen, and did some creative writing.” I’m actually pretty happy with the writing I did last Sunday. So that’s good, right? I won’t post it here, though. Not for a while.

Monday Sept 16: “A humdrum rainy day featuring good food and a walk with Gabby” (hi!) But seriously, what did I do all day? I bought a luggage/locker lock for my upcoming trip to Rome and Barcelona! That’s all I can recall.

Tuesday Sept 17: “Finished The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done [by Sandra Newman] and met with HopeNow.” I wouldn’t say it was the only good thing anyone has ever done, but it was good. I would definitely recommend it to a creative writing professor or student. There were some BEAUTIFUL sentences. Sentences I read and reread. Wow. HopeNow is an anti-trafficking organization based here in Copenhagen which I’m working with with my advertising class to give them a communication campaign, as basic as they may be. They do really good work.

Wednesday Sept 18: “Got a book out of the library, went to the Louisiana, and ate a butt-ton of food.”  First, yes, I wrote butt-ton in my journal. When I look back on this when I’m old (or next year) it will seem so embarrassing hilarious that I ever though that way. The book was Jodi Piccoult’s Handle with Care. As I write this on Saturday, I have read 400 pages. That’s approx. 100 pages per day. I mean, it is the standard formula Jodi Piccoult, tugging on heartstrings in a New England courtroom, but I can’t put it down. I went to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art again to see YOKO ONO: HALF-A-WIND SHOW and write about it for my art history class. It’s actually very interesting to read about her, and realize that she’s not just some artist who got famous because her husband was (John Lennon, for those of you who live in a pop culture-free hole somewhere) but is actually an artist in her own right. Who happens to take advantage of her husband’s influence, name, face, and money. 🙂

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We are all water.

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A slide to get into the show. Also, my classmate Sasha’s face.

Thursday Sept 19: “Read a lot and watched Rent– also there was a guest speaker about Sophie Calle.” Like I said, I read about 100 pages per day, so… yeah. I also watched Rent for the first time since high school and cried quite a bit at Angel’s funeral and burial and at the end. It’s like seeing old friends… die. SAD. In my art history class (Women, Art, and Identity), a program assistant at DIS came in and spoke about Sophie Calle, an AMAZING French “surveillance artist” look her up, she’s the coolest. Her show “Take Care of Yourself” and her book “The Address Book” are especially impressive and creepy. Take a google at them. I might be purchasing The Address Book later, when I get back to the states, if I can’t find it at a library first. SO COOL LOOK IT UP.

Friday Sept 20: “Saw some great bands at Hillerod Kultur Nat with Breanna.” Says it all. Me and Breanna (a third friend from Smith. Seriously, maybe I should have gone to Smith. kidding. kind of.) walked around Hillerod and saw

A gospel choir: They were fun and I’m thinking about joining them. It was hilariously obvious that English was their second language, unlike in the other groups we saw.

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A “Rock Choir” singing Coldplay, among other things. A women’s chorus called “Hot Notes” singing classical Danish music. And this nice view of the castle (plus me, wearing this new vest/leather jacket combo I just discovered doesn’t look stupid)

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The MOST AMAZING SWING BAND EVER. They’re called Overjive, and they were attractive and Danish but sang in English (because swing/big band is in English mostly). People danced. People here can dance, I say, dance! I took a video of people’s feet at one point, but wordpress won’t let me upload. Remind me to show you sometime.

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Cute, right???

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All cleaned up! (The other pic was from their sound check. We were a little early)

A pop band singing American and Danish pop music called The Donut Brothers. Cuteness in bowties.

I ate this perfect sandwich (and I know how to order in Danish “Jeg vil gerne have en vegetar sandwich” SO THERE!)

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And we bought these beautiful apple ciders with a hint of CACTUS, of all things. “But what does a cactus even taste like?” we asked ourselves and each other.

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Today: I have yet to write in my journal, as I always do it before bed. I wrote part of my Yoko Ono paper and baked. There will be a post about the latter.

A week in the life. Do not expect a post from me next weekend, because I’m going to 1) English: Rome 2) Italian: Roma 3) Danish: Rom ON SATURDAY and then 1) English/Spanish/Danish: Barcelona ON WEDNESDAY and then I’ll be coming back and be sleeping and doing incredible amounts of homework next weekend. Just saying,it might be a while.