Contents of My Blog

Starting bright and early (4am to be exact) on June 25, 2010, I will be embarking on my biggest adventure to date. I will be in Rome and Paris for one week before I arrive in my final destination: Spain. I will be living with a family in Oviedo, Spain from July 4 -July 31, 2010. They don’t speak English in this town, so needless to say, this will be quite an experience that will most definitely contain some pretty entertaining stories. So, stay tuned and look for updates of my summer in Europe!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 2 in Rome

Ciao again! Day 2 in Rome. It was a LONG day! We got up early to go to the Vatican because it was free today. So, after our breakfast that consisted of a croissant and yummy italian coffee, we were back on the subway again! We got to the Vatican and couldn't even see the beginning of the line. That's when I knew it was going to be a long day. After waiting in line for an hour and a half we enter the Vatican Museum. It was really cool! There were a ton of old paintings and statues. After taking in everything there, we went to the Sistine Chapel. Oh my goodness, I have never seen so many statues and paintings in one place. Just to get to the Sistine Chapel, signs guided us through hall after hall after hall after hall. I'm not kidding, it took over an hour to wind through these museums and halls. We must have walked at least a mile or more to get there. I was starting to wonder whether the Sistine Chapel even existed! But when we got there, it was amazing! It was such a huge painting in such a huge room! It was hard to believe that only one man did it all. We weren't supposed to take pictures, but I did anyways :)

After the Sistine Chapel, we headed out for lunch. We had a cute meal in a cute little restaurant right out side the Vatican. Then, after lunch we went into Vatican City to see St. Peter's Basilica. It was gorgeous!! I've never seen anything so magnificent in my life! It was huge! After that, we got some gelato (which was DELICIOUS!) and then headed back to our hotel for a rest. As you can imagine, we're exhausted!! Now I have to go because we're going to get dinner. Here's some pictures of St. Peter's:


I'M IN ROME!!!!! Wow, where to begin! It's only day two and I've already done so much! I guess I'll begin with the flight over. I woke up bright and early Friday morning (at 4:30am) and was at the airport by 6am only to find out that my 7:45 departure was delayed to 8:45. I could have slept an extra hour. Oh well, I was too excited anyways. We landed in Charlotte, NC by about 11am and then waited...and waited...and waited. We had a 7 hour layover, but luckily for 2 of those hours the Spain/Chile soccer game was on. We figured that since we'll be living in Spain for a month we should probably start cheering for them. Even with the game on, it still seemed like a lifetime. But boarding time eventually came and off we were to Rome, Italy! We sat in the middle section, so not only were the seats small and not that comfortable, but we were also crammed. At least Courtney, Chrissy, and I were all sitting together. That would have been really awkward if we weren't. Since the flight left at 6:15pm, we were quickly served dinner which consisted of chicken with rice and broccoli, a mini salad, a roll, and a brownie that was to die for!! I was pretty impressed! We also had our own personal TVs with movies to choose from. Naturally, I was cheesy and watched When In Rome. It was really cute and fit the occasion perfectly! Then, promptly after the movie was over I popped my dramamine to knock me out. It sort of worked. It made me super drowsy, as usual, and would have completely knocked me out, but did I mention how incredibly hard it is so sleep while sitting up and in cramped chair? Although, I think I slept more than I thought because morning seemed to come pretty quickly and before I knew it, I was in Rome! It was SO sureal! We rode the train from the airport to our hotel, but it still didn't seem real. I wasn't really in Rome, the actual Rome, Italy. We quickly showered and changed into cute, not slept in clothes and hit the town!

Our hotel is only a block from the train station and only a ten minute walk to the Colosseum! Convenient, right?! Yes, it's so awesome! The first thing we did was hop on the train, and two short stops later we were are the Colosseum! The ACTUAL Colosseum! (yes, we rode the train instead of walked because we were too lazy and tired.) Right when we walked out of the train station this is what we saw:
What a dramatic and amazing way to enter Rome! This is when it became real to me. I was really in Rome! Immediately, being the awesome tourists that we are, we began taking pictures left and right! We crossed the street to get a closer look and to see how we could go about entering the Colosseum. However, there was an extremely long line just to get tickets to get in. Luckily, a Canadian lady standing outside the Colosseum told us that a tour was about to leave to skip and line and go right in. It was only 20 euros to get a 45 minute tour of the Colosseum AND a 45 minute tour of Palatine Hill. Good deal, right?! Yep, we took it and in we went!! Our tour guide was Italian, actually he was Roman as he said and was very proud to be a Roman. So much so that the tour itself wasn't so great. He was very strange and sarcastic and didn't really tell us a lot of new information. However, we did have an hour to roam around the place before our next tour started, so that was nice.
Here are two pictures of the inside of the Colosseum. So cool!! The bottom one, left to right is: Courtney, Chrissy, and ME! After checking out the Colosseum, it was time for our next tour. However, right when we gathered together huge, dark clouds rolled in, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped, lightening started flashing, and thunder started rumbling. "Oh no, we're absolutely going to get poured on," we all thought. And that we did. But the tour went on! It was still a great tour despite the rain. The Palatine Hill was so interesting, and we had a great tour guide! He was Scottish and funny and was super interesting. So even though we got soaked it was well worth it. And, of course right when our tour ended it stopped raining.

After site seeing, we went back to our hotel and found a place to eat dinner. I had pizza and it was delicious!! Actually, I had the delicious pizza at lunch (sorry, i forgot about lunch), and had 4 cheese pasta for dinner. Oh - my - goodness! It was to die for! Then, we went back to our hotel and crashed! We were so tired!!

Ok, so all of that was yesterday. Now, I'm going to talk about today. But I'll do it in another post to break it up. Hope I'm not boring you!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Preparation Days Tres y Cuatro

Oh my! So much has happened and been done in the past 2 days! I can't believe it's only been 2 days! It seems like at least 4! Ahh, that's what happens when you're crazy busy and running around everywhere! Well, this is totally off topic and has nothing to do with my trip or getting ready for my trip, but it's a funny story that happened yesterday and I want to share it.

So, my life almost ended yesterday morning. I woke up bright and early because my mom, for some reason, decided that it would be just a grand idea to schedule me for a dentist appointment at 8 AM!!! Not only do I absolutely despise the dentist in every way, shape, and form, but I also really do not enjoy getting up early, so as you can imagine, it was not such a pretty sight. Anyways, that really has nothing to do with the story. So, I have my dentist appointment. They picked away at my teeth, made my gums bleed, and then power brushed them with the most awful flavor of crappy bubble gum minty stuff. It was just lovely. Then, finally when all of that was done, I was on my way home, driving with the windows all the way down because it was still cool out, and having a grand ol' time. Then, I look over and propped right on my window sill was this massive, disgusting bug.
I thought it was a big, hairy spider at first, but then I looked closer and it is definitely not. I have NO idea what it is! So, as you can probably guess, when I saw it I freaked out!! I thought was on the inside of the car and was swerving everywhere! Then, I tried rolling the window up and all was good. That little sucker hung on all the way home too! So ya...that's my story.

On to the next story. I called my host family in Spain...that was interesting. I was given three numbers that I could call. One was their house phone, and the other two were cell phones. I tried the house phone like 7 times and no one ever picked up and no answering machine came on, so I moved on to the cell phones. One didn't go through, and the other one rang and then went to voicemail. So, I was excited that all I had to do was leave a message. I could just read my script and be done with it. Well, half way through my message my host mom starts beeping in. So, I'm like crap. I have to do this. I finished the message and then called back. She answered and I told her who I was and when and where I was arriving. She said that the place I'm arriving was a good meeting place. Then, I asked her if I needed to bring anything like a towel or shampoo or anything like that. I think she said no I don't need to, but she just took off talking! Like, she would not stop! She didn't speak a word of English by the way. So, she's blabbing on and on and I literally have no idea what she said. Her cell phone was super fuzzy and muffled, so even if she had been speaking English, I don't think I would have understood her. So I just sat there saying "Si, si" over and over. At one point I told her that I couldn't understand her, but she kept talking. Finally, I think she may have said "Let's just talk when you get here" and then just hung up. AHH!! HELLPPPP!!! I really hope everything will work out and I REALLY hope that I'll be able to understand more when I get there! Oh well, if I don't that's what I'm going there for! To learn the language and that I will do!!!

Ok, third and final story. This one is by FAR the best one! So, I had been packing ALL day today getting everything together and running last minute errands. Brennen and I have been talking some this week but not a whole lot because I have been crazy getting everything ready and he has been in Columbia working and taking class. And because of his test schedule we had to say bye for the last time this past Sunday at a Wendy's on the way back from my cousin's wedding. Romantic right?! Ya, no. I was so sad too, of course, and made a wet, sloppy fool of myself in the parking lot. People were probably like, "Woah, what is her problem?! Why in the world is she crying in the middle of a Wendy's parking lot?!" Needless to say, a month is a long time without seeing the person you love the very most, and putting an extra week on it while still in the states just put me over the top. That makes it 6 weeks. Now, I know plenty of people go that long and even longer without seeing their significant other, but I don't and that is a very long time for me. So anyways, it was about 5 or 6pm today and I was sitting in my room checking my Facebook because I had just finished packing up everything. I was kind of just passing time because I got really sad thinking about being away from Brennen. I was also really mad too because I already miss him and my trip hasn't even started yet! Ughh! Anyways, I'm sitting there kinda just dilly dallying around when the doorbell rings. I pay no attention to it because, well,to be honest I was way too lazy to get up and see who it was. But also I wasn't expecting someone and I just figured it was one of my brother or sister's friends. No biggie. Well, my mom goes to the door and yells, "Anna! I think Hayley is here again!" and I'm like "What?! I'm not expecting her." and my mom was like "Well come down! She probably came to get her suitcase or something." (I was going to use one of her suitcases because I thought mine wasn't going to be big enough, but it was). So I slowly get up and trudge down the steps and when I get to the bottom my mom opens the door and standing there was BRENNEN!!!!! I was shocked and in complete disbelief! It took me a few minutes to really believe it was him because I just thought it was way too good to be true! He and my mom had planned this all week!! Oh my goodness, I was SOO happy!!! I even got a little teary eyed. It made my night and more!!! It was so wonderful! I have the most amazing fiancee ever! I'm so lucky :) We had a great night and I'm SOOOO glad I got to see him! Of course it made the second goodbye a lot harder, but it was worth it.
My mom picked some pretty flowers from our yard and there was a little left over stem, so she put them in Brennen's shirt. I thought it was cute. Haha!

Well, I'm officially all packed up and ready to go!! Man, I really should be going
to sleep right now. I have to get up in 4 hours. Ahh! Look how well I packed: I have my one checked bag, 2 carry ons, and all my documents. That green carry on bag doesn't really have anything in it either so I can bring extra stuff back. Mainly just food. I'm pretty proud of myself! Ok, anyways, next time I write I will be in ROME!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preparation Day Numero Dos

Well, I have definitely come a long way from yesterday!! I had a pretty productive day, actually, if I must say so myself. First, I woke up and checked Facebook for like an bed. I put pictures up from my last trips. I know, what a lazy butt. But it really made me feel a lot better. It needed to be done. It was bugging the crap out of me! Anyways, so after I finally got the energy up to actually get out of bed, I was pretty much going non-stop the rest of the day.

Errand #1: My mom and I went to Sports Authority to find some good travel clothes and walking shoes. BINGO!! We hit the jackpot for sure! Everything was on sale and everything was super cute. I think I have just about everything I need in that jumbo Sports Authority bag. I am all set to go! Not to mention, I got myself a nice heavy duty, well working raincoat. The forecast is unseasonable wet in Spain this year, so I must be prepared. I've already had one raincoat disaster, thank you very much. I most certainly will NOT have another!

Errand #2: Post office. I mailed my host family a letter with my picture in it, a little description about me, and where and when to meet me when I arrive. Unfortunately, I may get there before the letter does...

Errand #3: Ulta - yes, I desperately needed to go and it was a very necessary trip. I ran out of make up and I need to make sure I'm fully stocked and ready to be beautiful while I'm away :)

Errand #4: Best Buy - I had to purchase my awesome converter/adapter so I can plug things in while I'm there. Very important, especially for my computer.

Errand #5: Are you getting tired of hearing about all my errands yet?! Just think how I felt! I actually had to do them! This is the last one, I promise. My last stop of the day was Wal-Mart. Good ol' Wallie world. I had to make sure I was stocked up on my meds and get all that travel toiletry stuff. Boring, I know.

Then, as if I wasn't already tired enough, I came home and gathered all my plane tickets, healthcare info for over there, hotel info, contact info, and any other kind of info that I could possibly have for my trip. I printed out basically an entire book of stuff. My parents have been nagging me endlessly about plans and details and all that good stuff, so I finally got it all together. That was a doosey!

Then, after that, I had my Spanish speaking tutoring date. My friend, Marvin, from Honduras came over and helped me out with my speaking skills. It was kind of funny, I'm not going to lie. I'm just so timid and nervous when it comes to speaking, it's not even funny! But I'm definitely going to have to get over that FAST!! He also helped me write a script of what to say when I call my host family. Yes, I have to CALL them. LORD HELP ME! This is going to be a hilarious disaster!!! I sure hope they don't want to say much so I can just sit there and read off my lines. I'm going to call them tomorrow, so stay tuned for that story. I'm sure it will be highly entertaining.

Anyways, those are my boring updates on my hectic life. Don't worry, I haven't stopped freaking out OR listening to Spanish. Still going a little crazy. Welp, time for bed to rest up for yet another crazy day tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Preparation Day Numero Uno

So, I'm officially 4 days away from the big day of departure! Ahh!!! I haven't started packing, I haven't contacted my host family yet, I haven't gathered together my itinerary, I haven't called the bank, and I haven't really talked to the girls I'm traveling with about a meeting time at the airport. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking: "What in the world HAS she done?!" Well, to answer that question nice and clearly I can tell you that I have successfully started freaking out! So much to do in so little time! Oh, I also bought my handy dandy 501 Spanish Verbs book, pocket travel books with maps for Paris and Rome, and a purse for my travels. Yes, the purse was an absolutely necessary purchase for my trip. Let me rephrase that - it was a CRUCIAL purchase for my trip. I mean come on, I had to have something that would match everything as well as be as travel friendly as possible. Anyways, I'm getting off track.

Main point - I'm freaking out!

Yes, I'm extremely excited, but at this moment in time I'm pretty much just freaking out. I'm suddenly feeling like all of the hard work and training in my 4 semesters of Spanish is slowly draining out of my brain leaving me completely helpless for my upcoming endeavor. This is resulting in my constant immersion in every kind of Spanish thing I can get my hands on. I've downloaded the wanna-be version of Rosetta Stone (WAY cheaper) onto my iPod and have been playing that in my car anytime I go somewhere. I have the local radio station where I'll be living playing on my computer as we speak. (Or I guess as I speak). I bought my 501 Spanish verbs book, and have scheduled a Spanish speaking tutoring date with my friend from Honduras. Its like a finals week cram session all over again! Am I over doing it? Probably. Is all this really going to help me in these last few days? Probably not. Is it making me feel a lot better? YES! I know, I'm going crazy.

Anyways, I just wanted to jump start this blog. Actually, the real reason I'm posting this is because my page looked too bare to just leave it empty like that. I figured that since I published a blog, I should probably go ahead and write something on it. I mean, that is what these things are for and all. So here's my very first post on my very first blogging website. I hope you've enjoyed it so far. And if not, then at the very least I hope you were entertained. I've got a lot more coming!