Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 18: I Have a Lot to Write About!

I'll just start with my most recent escapades because those are the freshest, and I'll put the rest in their own posts.

We took our field trip to Venice this weekend, and might I say, I did something really stupid. I went out the night before, and was not only drunk on the bus at 7:00, but also was hungover in the same day. Lord help me.

I did meet a nice German guy at Blanco and attempted to make the best conversation possible over booming music and 4th of July clamor - yes, Italy celebrated 4th of July for us Americans. It was a nice gesture, really. The club had cute little fireworks and everything. I shook my head, however, at the girls from the U.S. saying they wanted hot dogs and hamburgers. Seriously, how can those wretched foods even cross your mind when you're eating some of the best cuisine in the world? Sheesh.

Let me tell you about the bartenders at Blanco. I was drunk off of a mojito and a sex on the beach. That's it. I'll admit I'm a lightweight, but I'd say that's excessively strong. I'm not complaining because that's less alcohol I have to buy, but dang! I was feeling really good. I would've stayed longer if it weren't for a friend's emotional breakdown. This was a blessing in disguise because I hadn't even packed for Venice yet. We didn't get home until about 3:30-4:00 and didn't head to bed until 4:00-5:00. A lot of it was a blur, hence the broad range of times.

Anyway, I awoke in what seemed like two minutes with an ten-minute warning from my roommate. This is when I shot out of bed and began throwing clothes and toiletries into my duffle bag very disoriented and attempting to fight the sluggishness off. I wouldn't really find out what I packed until I reached the hotel that night, but I did alright for being slightly intoxicated still. A long walk in the chilly morning helped a smidgen, but not much. I plopped down into a seat of my own on the luxury coach and struggled to find comfort. All I wanted was a bed and a glass of crisp water.

After managing to wane in and out of sleep for about an hour, I finally sat up with the sad realization that I was definitely awake with no hope of heading back to sleep. I sat miserably, feeling my organs drying up like Spongebob in Sandy's dome home. "Water...water..." was all that repeated in my head. The good Lord above was watching because, within ten minutes, we pulled into a gas station for a bathroom break and food run.

I imagined this glorious chugging was about to happen where I would empty the bottle and toss it aside like a champion. Yeah, it turns out I drank it like I normally would because my swallowing reflexes were barely awake. Either way, that water was the elixir of life.

I snoozed contentedly afterward, and the ride passed by in a heartbeat. Venice looked a lot different than I had envisioned. It was very industrial on the outskirts. The colorful buildings you see in the magazines are more where the tourists go. Did you know it's comprised of over 180 islands? I sure didn't. Did you also know it feels like it's 180ยบ (Celsius or Fahrenheit, whichever you prefer) in the summertime? My logic of it's northerly position on the map and high heat capacity of the water backfired. If it wasn't for the beautiful water, I may have thought I somehow ended up back in Florida. My white pants and light sweater did not help in the least.

We took a large ferry from the port to San Marco, a.k.a. tourist central. We were given an hour for lunch before our scheduled tour time, and I had one of the few meals I haven't been crazy about since traveling to Italy. I needed sustenance after the previous night, so I didn't care too much. I was just glad I didn't have to pay for the bagno, and it was cooler in the restaurant than outside.

We met back at the square, where our tour began. A few things would have made this trek through Venice much more enjoyable if:

1) I wasn't suffocating in my clothes,
2) the tour guide's voice wasn't so soothing (I was falling asleep while standing at some points; how is this even possible?!),
3) I bought the sunglasses I had wanted in London,
4) I didn't go out the night before, and
5) my camera wasn't dead, and I was forced to use my iPhone 4 (though reliable, not the best for quality pictures.

Don't get me wrong - it was very informational, and the city is beautiful. However, I was on the Strugglebus. For hours. Not fun. I was thankful when we got time to wander for an hour so I could travel under the shadows of the tall, winding edifices like a vampire. My goal was to avoid the blazing ball of fire that I was sure had targeted me at all costs.

We finally reconnected at the square as evening approached and prepared to board the ferry once again. I don't understand how some people get seasick. The rocking of the boat gave me the sense of infancy, being rocked back and forth, back and forth. I was lulled to sleep several times as the sparkling turquoise waves of the Adriatic brushed up against the boat. Marvelous.

Once we were back at the port, we hopped on our bus and headed to the hotel. It was a gorgeous little place furnished with red and gold. I was quite impressed. I stayed in a room with my current roommate at the apartment and another girl who lives in the apartment. My plan was to freshen up before dinner, but I overslept once again and rushed around an hour later to look less like a sewer rat and more like a proper dinner guest. I gave up very quickly and headed out the door grumpily. I was under the impression my roommates hadn't tried to wake me up, when actually my unconscious self had taken over decision-making. I swear my unconscious self has a complete mind of her own sometimes.

Dinner was delicious, and I drank more water during my four courses than I probably drank this whole week. I obviously need to work on that. I made conversation with some other girls from the program, and they seem to be sharing many of the same experiences as us. When dinner was finished, some of them went to explore what little nightlife existed while I relished a warm shower and snuggly blankets. I then proceeded to get the best night's sleep I'd had in weeks.

The morning brought rejuvenation and a free breakfast. I couldn't have been much more content. I stuffed my belly full of croissants, breads, coffee, juice, cheese, and sliced meats. I needed to stock up so that I wouldn't have to spend time or money on food later; we had a busy day ahead.

Our first destination was our ferry to Murano, where we observed and learned about glass blowing. It was an enchanting experience. The glass makers are so skilled, and it gave me a new appreciation for the work and passion put into glass making. I bought my first souvenir as well - a handmade glass ring. It took forever to find one that fit because my fingers are so slender, but I was finally successful after browsing a tiny shop within Murano. I couldn't stop staring at it because it was so unique. It was a good buy.

We headed back to San Marco, where we had several hours of free time. Everyone wanted to go on a gondola ride, but I only wanted to explore the city. That's when an important realization hit me: this is my trip. I paid for it, and I need to do what I want to do. Instead of following the crowd to spend an arm and a leg on a boat ride that I would rather spend with a boyfriend or husband in the future, I did what any adventurer would do. I flew solo. Yeah, I know that's how Taken happens, but I needed to do something for me. There's nothing more lonely than feeling alone in a crowd. Being alone doesn't necessarily have to mean being lonely, so I decided to hang out with myself.

I make quite good company. I stopped in several stores, gazed at the historical architecture, and appreciated the culture surrounding me. My roommates are interesting people, but I feel out of place. It's truly much more uncomfortable than being on my own because their values sync more with each other, and I find myself feeling like I'm in high school again. Girls just annoy me - at least the ones who just act like the stereotypical girl. I'd much rather have guys for company because they're simpler, make better conversation, and don't focus so intently on the superficial things. The ones I hang around are like that at least. I think that's what's so difficult about staying in Florence. In London, I met the greatest guys. They were intelligent gentlemen who weren't afraid to venture into something greater than the typical tourist. They were there for the experience like me, and that's what was beautiful about those people. I hope I can find a buddy like that here because I'm missing my people back home - not really home itself - but my sister and close friends who I can be genuine with. They're what make life so great, and I was hoping for more of that here in Italy. I guess I just need to start doing my own thing and stay true to myself. I know it's cheesy, but it's true. I'm not going to go out and sleep with some hot guy just because he's foreign, and I'm certainly not going to throw my money out on alcohol every night.

That's why I'm not out tonight. Plus, I need sleep, and I feel under the weather. My immune system has finally taken its turn to break down as almost everyone in the program has gotten sick already. I'm trying to battle it psychologically, but I'm just exhausted in every way at this point. Strugglebus.

Speaking of the Strugglebus, I'm currently on it. I left my €17 towel in Venice and had to dry myself with a dirty cardigan after I took a shower tonight. What a way to end the weekend. I need to go scour the city tomorrow to find another one. Just fabulous. Luckily, the July sales are going on so I can probably get one relatively inexpensively. Pray for me!

I'm going to remove my clothes out of the washing machine now and lay them out to dry. Ciao, Ciao, C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-iao!

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