Ciao!  Or should I say hello now that I’m back in the states!

Thursday after my last exam, I spent the day eating lunch with friends, grabbing last minute gelatos, and walking around the beautiful city we had been calling home.  That night CAPA had a farewell dinner at a restaurant and bar and after we headed out to celebrate late into the night.  I rode the carousel in Piazza Republica (the guy totally gave us a discount and we got to ride it TWICE) walked around the Duomo bargaining with the men who sell trinkets to drunk students, and made our way to the bars.  It was a late night filled with dancing and singing and resulted in a drunk girl spilling sangria on my cardigan but alls well that ends well!

The next day, Friday, was my last full day and it was spent cleaning the apartment before headed off to a last lunch of spaghetti and wine (how fitting).  After walking around the river and watching the sun set over Piazzale Michaelangelo with people I have come to realize will be life long friends, we went and got a last sit down dinner of what else but pizza.  The goodbyes were hard and we try to keep them light, no “goodbyes” just “see you soons”.  

The next morning I grabbed a cab with Katie, said my goodbyes to my other roommates and headed to the airport.  After her and I parted ways I flew from Florence to Paris, and had to hustle my way to a shuttle to take me to a different terminal to my gate.  From there it was a long, sleepless flight to Boston, but the woman sitting next to me was nice and the in flight movies weren’t too shabby.

Customs took FOREVER, but once though I immediately grabbed my luggage and walked through the doors to find Garrett waiting for me, flowers in hand, and a huge smile on his face.  It was the greatest thing I could have asked for.  We made our relationship work (and even made it stronger) thousands and thousands of miles apart  Countless skype sessions and weekends of not seeing each other due to traveling.  I could not have done this without his amazing support.

Landing in Boston was bitter sweet.  With all of the saddening events, I wanted to come be in the city I love, but at the same time didn’t know if I could feel safe.  Yet leave it to my city to catch the guy the night before I fly in… we really are Boston strong!

The two hour drive to Maine was interesting.  It was SO weird being in a car again, zooming past signs for fast food and 24/7 drive thrus.  Walking into my house and hugging my parents for the first time in 3 and a half months was so emotional.  It was so great to see the two people who have loved me and supported me not only through this journey but throughout my entire life.  It felt great sitting down and eating and laughing in my own home, not to mention seeing my cat and sleeping in my own bed were magical.

This past couple of days have been a surprisingly easy adjustment.  I’ve driven my car, gone to Target, taken a hot yoga session to detox my body of all that Italian food, and have enjoyed the simplicity of being home.  It has been quite relaxing.

Of course there have been some adjustments with more to follow I’m sure.  I keep checking my phone as if I am still in a different time zone, I feel the urge to say “grazie” instead of “thank you”, and tis 40 degree weather isn’t as delightful as the 70 degrees I was becoming acquainted with in the last week.  But overall the balance has gone smoothly!

So to wrap up my study abroad experience I am going to list the most important lessons I learned:

1.  Life is short- go do something that scares you and thrills you.  Live in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language and learn to be the minority for a change.

2.  Say yes to every adventure you can.  Not sure how to read a map?  Cool.  Learn.  It’s how you get saavy in life.  I navigated Paris with my roommate and a phone.

3.  Learn to love alone time.  Take time to walk the streets of a beautiful city by yourself.  Marvel in the surrounding atmosphere and listen to what your body and mind are saying.  All too often we drown out our own needs.

4.  Learn to laugh and know that things will always work out in the end.

5.  Indulge.  Don’t go crazy, but enjoy simple pleasure in life like food, wine, and story telling.

6.  Never doubt yourself.  I am so proud of everything I thought I could never go.  I am woman hear me roar!  I have tackled a good portion of Europe and I aint stoppin’ there!

7.  Love is possible thousands of miles away, romantic or otherwise.

8.  There is a huge world out there and you’re not getting an younger.  GO SEE IT!

 

To the beautiful people who made my study abroad experience amazing- thank you.  To my parents and friends back home who stayed in touch thank you.  To my amazing boyfriend and best friend in the entire world who stuck by me (even if not physically) thank you.  And to the beautiful world for letting me explore it- THANK YOU!

 

Grazie Mille for reading my blog and being apart of my study abroad adventure.  The ramblings won’t stop here.  I’ve decided to use this blog for everyday thoughts and for future endeavors!

 

Ciao, e cheers!

 

Shea, xoxo

 

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Two months to go

November 10, 2012

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I unintentionally created this blog exactly two months before I ship off to Europe, Italy more specifically.  Okay, I’m not technically “shipping” off, more like flying off, on a two-stop flight that will bring me to Rome and then to Florence.  Am I scared?  YUP.  Am I excited?  More than you could imagine.  But to insert a cliche inspirational quote, Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing everyday that scares you.”  She was right, if I don’t scare myself senseless by taking risks and going out of my comfort zone, then life isn’t the adventure I promised myself it would be.

Why Florence?  Well, I am a great deal Italian, so there’s that.  I love pasta.  I love cobblestone.  I REALLY love sweet old men who wear newsboy hats and sell fresh fruit at markets.  When it came down to it, Florence fit the checklist.  Do I speak a lick of Italian?  Nope.  Have I seen “Under The Tuscan Sun” starring Diane Lane?  A million times.  I should be good to go!

In all seriousness, since I have embarked on this study abroad endeavor I have gone back and forth, back and forth on where I would go.  First it was London, but going to school in Boston made me want a little less metropolitan action.  Besides, my boyfriend does a pretty excellent British accent so I’ll check him off as my “be swooned by a foreign boy with a posh accent”.  Then there was Dublin.  Aside from being Italian, I am also Irish, very very Irish.  My grandmother came to the U.S. in her early 20’s from the quaint country and her sassy Irish-ness makes me yearn for Galway and Trinity College and (maybe a sip of) Guinness.  But alas, I realized how damn expensive it is to study abroad in Ireland, and when I become a citizen of the EU, I can go there whenever I please.

I threw some other ideas back and forth (Greece, Scotland, France) but it ultimately came down to Florence, so that’s where you can find me from January until late April.

I’ve known for quite sometime that I would do ANYTHING to study abroad.  What no one told me (and what I’m telling all you future study abroad-ees) is that you have to fight for it.  There is a lot of paperwork involved, there will be times where you’ll want to cry because the lady at the Italian Consulate was rude to you over the phone, and you’ll get so damn tired of looking at you passport picture that your mom decided to have you take sophomore year of high school right after a sweaty soccer practice.  But it’s worth it.  At least that is what everyone is telling me and what I am going to continue to tell myself.  

In advance I’d like to thank the academy… er my parents/boyfriend/friends for being incredibly supportive of me throughout this entire process.  This blog is to document my travels, share pictures, and hopefully inspire others to take that leap into the unknown.

 

Cheers,

Shea xoxo

Dear World,

My 2012 summer season is officially over.  Tomorrow I move back to Boston and I am thrilled!  I had an amazing summer full of travel spent with friends, family, and my amazing boyfriend, and I could not have asked for a better 4 months!

Alas, the leaves are changing, the air is cooling, and it is time to migrate back to Bean town, and start my- JUINOR YEAR!!  This next year school year holds a lot of adventures in store for me.  I’ll be studying abroad in Florence, Italy spring semester, and moving permanently to Boston next summer.  There is so much to look forward to!

Tonight, as is tradition, my parents and I went out for a goodbye dinner. We went to a fantastic restaurant called “Green Elephant”, a vegetarian Thai cuisine establishment.  Even my dad was saying the tofu was delicious! Success!

Well world, it’s off on more adventures.  I leave you with a wrap up of pictures, including a trip to New York, the Boston Aquarium, camping etc.

 

Sincerely,

Shea

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Dear World,

So I’m 20 now.  Two decades.  I haven’t had that drastic feeling that overcame me when I turned 19, but I am still loving it regardless!

Garrett and I spent 5 days in Nova Scotia.  Canada is weird/friendly/hilarious all at the same time.  I actually grew comfortable with kilometers, and I didn’t get carded once (slightly disappointed on the latter as I was totally legal). We hiked, swam, camped, and got drunk at bars and it was the coolest vacation I have ever been on with my favorite guy!

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I also did some roommate bonding with my two amazing friends Gabby and Ashley.  We’ll be living in an apartment-style dorm together next year (until I study abroad) and we decided to celebrate the summer by staying in Gabby’s beach house on Martha’s Vineyard for 5 days.  We soaked up the sun, ate amazing seafood, and drank so much Mike’s Hard and Wine I’m embarrassed to even admit how much.  

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After that, I spent a night at Garrett’s before I was to head home… and he contracted the stomach bug from one of his roommates.  I spent the whole next day and night taking care of him and then departed for home as I was needed to do that thing you do where you make lousy pay… a..um.. oh job!  Yes a job!  So then I was on shift for the night and felt weird but tried to push it out of my mind but alas I could not.  I left early, came home, and to spare you (most) of the gruesome details, I vomited ALL night long.  It was NOT pleasant.  I have spent the last few days recovering and today I was even able to go to the gym and shopping.  I am back to my regular work schedule as of tomorrow.

I have the annual family camping trip to look forward to, as well as other small adventures here and there before I move back to Boston and assume my position as  JUNIOR IN COLLEGE.  Holy hell.  Breath. Breath.

Okay, time for nextflix!

 

Sincerely,

Shea

Dear World,

I am exhausted.  My right arm/wrist feels as if it could fall off from all of the ice cream scooping and cleaning it has been doing.

Speaking of detached limbs, I saw Soul Surfer last night.  It is a movie based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her left arm from a shark.  It was surprisingly good, like really, really good!

A couple of days ago I visited Garrett in Boston.  We saw Wes Andersons’ “Moonrise Kingdom” with a couple of people, went to a Red Sox Game, and Nahant Beach right outside of Boston with a couple of his roommates, grabbing some delicious sea food after.

I’ll be working the next few days, catching up with some friends from high school, and then early Friday Garrett and I head off on our road trip to Nova Scotia! I cannot wait!  I live for traveling and road trips, PLUS I’ve never been to Canada AND I can legally drink there! In addition I’ll be spending my 20th birthday there and we plan on doing some awesome hiking.  LIFE IS SO GOOD MY FRIENDS.

It is thundering like crazy here, so I am going to enjoy it and allow the sound of rain to lull me to sleep.

 

Sincerely,

Shea

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Dear World,

Since being home for summer vacation:

I have applied to many jobs, and have received one.

I’m an ice cream scooper/ dish washer/ cleaner/ really muscular right-armed girl now!

I have reunited with old friends and celebrated being young.

My boyfriend has visited multiple times.

I am going to pause right there.  I called him my boyfriend and I’m not freaked out about it.  We cook together, we play together, we laugh together, we tease each other.  I promise we’re not a gross annoying couple that participates in over the top PDA.  Don’t you worry, I’m still the same girl that I’ve always been! It is just that sometimes someone comes along and they change the way you look at everything, and they make you a better person. I am more independent if that is at all possible and I look at the world with even more optimism and love than I ever did before.

I guess I’ll introduce you to him now.

This is Garrett, and yes, he is wearing a vest that we found while adventuring in a Goodwill.

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this is him sleeping with his ray bans on

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Moving on, because I do like to keep my personal life a bit of a mystery even if this is a personal blog that I’m sure no one reads…

I’m planning a few adventures for the summer:

Garrett and I are going to Nova Scotia at the end of the month into my birthday (turning 20, holy hell)!

Hopefully a trip to NYC.  I’ve never been and I’d love to make a weekend of it with my mum!

And basically any and all other adventures that I can get my hands on.

I just ordered the Canon Rebel xs so I plan on documenting the hell out of each and every one of my trips!

Cheers, xoxo

Sincerely,

Shea

Dear World,

It’s official, I am on summer vacation. YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

So let’s see:

I’m half way through college (um excuse me, how did this happen?).

I received straight A’s for the semester.

I had the best year ever, seriously no exaggeration.

I learned a lot about myself.

I learned a lot about others.

I fell in love with some classes, and hate with others.

I became even more independent (if that is possible).

I found a boy that caught my eye,

Said boy had someone else and I tried with all of my feminism and gumption to get over him.

The previous statement was a failure as much as I tried to hide it.

Him and the past girl were done.

We found each other again.

We connected.

We watched the office.

He made me laugh.

The rest is history.

I have so much I could say on the such as the fact that I feel more free when I am with him, he is soooo tall, he is so handsome, he cares about music so much, he cares about food just as equally, etc, etc.

He also just texted me.

He’s living in Boston for the summer while I’m in Maine.

He’s visiting Monday and meeting my parents.

I have never had a real boyfriend let alone introduced my parents to a boy so I think they are just happy that I am not a cat lady (but who am I kidding I’ll always be a cat lady).

I am not going back to the bank job.

I need sunshine and happy people.

I’m applying to restaurants and ice cream places.

Laugh all you want I need to be running around and making people happy.

I am not going to Dublin anymore, I am going to Florence because I need a real cultural wake up call and I’ll be able to travel throughout Europe easier and I’ll still be going to Dublin for St. Patrick’s day!

I changed my room from the small one up stairs I have had all my life to my brother’s old room downstairs.

It is bigger and I love the way it has turned out!

I have so much more to say but I think I am going to read a book.

Sincerely,

Shea

Dear World,

Okay so that night after my last post I spent the night at the boy’s house.  Nothing happened, we just watched the Office and cuddled.  

Since then we’ve kind of sort of become a thing?  Oh my goodness how things change!  He takes me out to breakfast and calls me beautiful and makes me laugh until I cry.

How did this all happen?  And why am I not terrified?  I feel so natural around him, and happy too.  Life is so beautiful.

 

Sincerely,

Shea

 

Dear World,

My, my, my, where on Earth do I begin?!  Well firstly HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!  The Irish in me has been full blown this weekend!

I’m writing to you from my bed at 8:00 am as I was very drunk last night and can only sleep for a few hours at a time when I have alcohol in me.

Last night we went to a friends birthday party/general party and that was an adventure as per usual, and I know tonight will be nothing short of interesting as well.

School has been well, I still love most of my classes, and time and time again my gender studies class proves to be my favorite thing ever.

The boy broke up with his girlfriend… and I saw him at a party and he asked for my number and we text every so often.  I’m constantly reminding myself that my life is fun and beautiful with or without him.  I’ve been asked on a few “dates” from guys I’m not interested in so they didn’t occur…

I’m getting more and more excited for Dublin next year… seriously Europe get ready for me!

Spring break went well.  It was nice having a week off and I needed to be home, but by the end of it I was so ready to be back here.

I’ve been running more and more and feeling better than ever.

Spring is coming, the weather is changing, and life is so good even if there are bumps along the way!

 

Sincerely,

Shea

Dear World,

I really ought to be studying for a world history exam that I have tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. but for my own health and sanity I decided I need to blog.

Being back at school has been great.  I’ve been back one month tomorrow and let me tell you it has been nothing short of a crazy adventure- as always.

I enjoy my classes a lot- especially my Women Studies class.  For the most part my professors are great, save my crazy world history professor (hence why I feel no shame putting off studying).  I am officially declared as a Global Studies major and a Women and Gender Studies minor.

I’ve barely seen THAT boy and I think it has been for my own benefit.  He’s never at parties, I haven’t been to his apartment or really seen much of his friends around.  OH EXCEPT GET THIS- his girlfriend is in my nutrition class.  CLASSIC.  She seems nice… in a sassy diva way, but hey whatever floats your boat.

I’ve been enjoying going other places with my girls, getting closer to people in my own grade, and creating memories and unforgettable (drunken) weekends.  

There have been bumps along the way.  Sometimes it feels like you can never have along time in college so for my own sanity I’ve taken a few walks/ shopping trips alone.  A couple of friends and I went on a ski trip to Vermont which was amazing.  There has also been flirting and crushes, and I feel bad when I don’t reciprocate feelings and hate when I seem like the bad guy.  But I don’t hate myself for having weird standards or a type- it’s who I am and I probably won’t change.

I am planning to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland spring semester of 2013 and I am so excited.  I was born for travel, call it a bad case of wanderlust.

 

All in all Boston has been treating me well.  I miss home and my mum and dad but being there for a whole month made me need to come back here.  I go home in three weeks for spring break anyways.

I suppose I should go and cram historic events of the world into my brain.

 

Sincerely,

Shea