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Tag: John Felice Rome Center

Feeling at Home in Rome

Feeling at Home in Rome

I’d decided I was going to study abroad during my senior year of high school when the decision was, arguably, easy. I was leaving for college the following year, so I didn’t have any ties to life at Loyola’s Chicago campus yet. Even as I applied for the John Felice Rome Center my sophomore year, my nerves were at a low in anticipation of all the new experiences to come. When it came time to actually board my flight to Rome, however, my faith in the decision began to fumble. I was worried that I wouldn’t love Rome the same way I loved Chicago or that I wouldn’t make any new friends to travel with. My relief was palpable when, in just the first few weeks of my JFRC experience, both of my doubts were set aside.
Orientation was pleasantly exhausting. We spent most of the first week venturing around Rome, seeing everything from the Colosseum to a whole in the wall restaurant that served authentic pasta for four euro. The near constant immersion in the city made me fall in love with Rome and its contradictions; I’ve always loved Chicago, but even when I moved there for university, I never felt quite as at home as I did dodging puddles in the cobblestone streets near the Forum.

While I was discovering that Rome was the place I’d been looking for, I was surrounded by people who felt the same, the majority of whom had not come to the JFRC with a pre-established group of friends. I expected making friends to be the most difficult part of the journey, but everyone at the JFRC is there to meet people who share this same desire to see the world. During a scavenger hunt wherein we ran around the city taking pictures of all of the quintessential Roman sites, I made friends with a wonderfully positive group that shared my traveling desires and a few of my classes.
There have been nights where I miss my family and friends back home immensely, but the experiences that I’m having during the day make it much easier to cope with. As the days go on, I find myself reflecting on the cappuccino that blew my mind or the breathtaking view from the top of the Spanish Steps instead of how badly I miss Chicago. There are so many things to love about Rome; the hills are nothing like I’ve seen in the suburbs, pasta here is never overdone, and historic churches and ruins are always a few steps away, offering an insight into the city’s history, present, and future. When I do connect with my family and friends, they’re always anticipating stories about my life here and encouraging me to continue chasing personal growth in the eternal city. Connecting with a time change is easier than I’d thought, and the distance has made hearing about life back home is even more entertaining than before I left. I will never not miss my life in Chicago, but I’ll be back within four months. I’ll only have a life here in Rome once, and I can’t wait to live it to the fullest.

Most Of Us

Most Of Us

Since I was a child, the idea of traveling has always excited me, whether it was trying flaky pastries in a small village in Paris, or walking through the historical entrances of Pompeii, I have always been fascinated by the world and all of the distance that separates us as human beings, and yet, all of the everyday commonalities that unite us. However, I am a deep dreamer, and thinker, constantly wondering, and often doubting, about the next move, step, or leap. Although this may be useful for planning and organizing, I have found that this state of mind can get me into trouble. You see, overthinking can turn your wildest, happiest dreams into a prison of fear, anxiety, and doubt. It can lead to a place of certainty, safety, and comfort, but what I have found over the past couple of years is that there is no room for growth, nor learning when set in a box of sameness. See, I enjoy a well rounded routine with a schedule that is almost set to the tee, but I am constantly faced with the decision to break free bit by bit from my comfort zone and face everything that scares me. This includes leaving behind a magical fall school semester, a beautiful city that I call home, and family and friends who have carried me through a tumultuous couple of years.

My decision to study abroad in Rome, Italy was surrounded

with months of contemplation and discussion with family, friends, advisers, and even strangers at the grocery stores who would jump at the chance to relive, or do over, their study abroad experience in college. However, my decision came only clearly to me through writing, specifically when overlooking the waters of Lake Michigan, watching the sailboats pass back and forth, and the sun hitting the water just right. One day, when I was sitting by the water, I turned to the left of me and found a lonely grasshopper. Now, I am known to believe in signs, and I, of course, took this as one. After researching the meaning of grasshoppers, I found that they are representative of jumping forward into the unknown, without jumping backward into the past. Believer or not in signs, I took this grasshopper as a symbol to not be afraid, and to jump as a means of moving forward, of moving towards my greater self.

Now, as I sit here writing this at the library in Rome, I look back on that decision making process with sheer joy and gratitude of the journey that got me right here. It has only been two weeks, but over the course of them, I have experienced so much already. The staff of the John Felice Rome Center do an amazing job organizing a jam packed schedule of events for the two weeks of orientation that include four course meals, city walking tours, and even a weekend trip down to the south of Italy full of wine and cheese tastings, and historical site adventures. Of course it has been overwhelming with the amount of new people, new places, new sites, new sounds, new food, new everything, but I have enjoyed the moments of sameness that stretches throughout continents, and cultures.

Most of us get stuck in traffic. Most of get caught up at the grocery store deciding which cookies to buy. Most of us run late to work on a Monday. Most of us get irritated when the bus does not come on time. Most of us love the smell of homemade food. Most of us love the comforts of people who love us as much as we do them. As human beings, most of us just want the same things. We all want to be seen, heard, recognized, and loved. A traditional, and universal message I have already found in the short two weeks I have been here. We are all trying to figure it out. We are all trying to make our way. Rome you have already taught me so much and I cannot wait to see what is next. 

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

I arrived at the John Felice Rome Center a little less than a week ago and it has been a whirlwind of a journey to say the least. After traveling for almost 20 hours, I was thrown into more orientation activities than I could count. I was extremely overwhelmed by all of the information and the culture and the foreign language and so much more. I mean, I couldn’t even read the blurbs on the shampoo or conditioner bottles, yet alone adapt to a new life in such a short period of time.

When I mentioned to people that I was considering studying abroad, I got the same answer from almost everyone: that it would be the most amazing, life changing experience and that I would never want to leave. No one told me I was going to be homesick. People mentioned it a few times here and there, but no one told me I was going to be THAT homesick. I have so many wonderful, caring people in my life that it was extremely challenging to adapt to a life with them so far away.

The thought of wanting to jump on a plane back to the states has definitely crossed my mind more than a few times. However, I know that would be a mistake. I am so blessed to even have the option to study in a different country with so many new and exciting opportunities right in front of me. My friends and I have started to make lists of all the places we want to travel to in the next 13 weeks, which makes my stomach turn (in a good way, of course).

Expect the unexpected. Like I said, homesickness was barely discussed in any conversation before I left. So, expect to be homesick. Expect to not be able to understand the Italians and their culture. Expect to cry a few times while you are adjusting. Expect for the homesickness to be gone with time. I have full confidence that mine will be because I have one of the best support systems at home. Life takes a few minutes to kick in.

Please continue to keep up with my journey here in Europe. Next stop: Naples!

We’re not in Chicago Anymore

We’re not in Chicago Anymore

It all hit me when I saw a palm tree rocking back and forth in the wind on the other side of a window at Fiumicino Airport. I thought of previous family vacations and tried to understand where I was, “Am I in Florida?” But I quickly nixed that thought as I worked through it in my mind. “This could not be Florida, there was a TV on the flight, I watched two whole movies and was served oddly sweet chicken teriyaki from a tin container.” This was no ordinary family vacation, this was going to be a journey, a five month journey to be exact. This was not a tourist-ridden resort town, oh no, this was Roma.

Roma and its overwhelming beauty and grand scale hit me hard on the first night. Fighting feelings of intense jet lag and the urge to put on pajamas, I ventured out with a group to The Vatican for a taste of our new home, and also gelato. With a cup of hazelnut gelato in hand, I walked up the street, the light glowing off the damp cobblestone. There on the top of the hill was a curve of columns, illuminated fountains and the wonder that is St. Peter’s Basilica all lit up. In that moment I forgot about how much my eyes wanted sleep, and instead, opened them wide to absorb every inch of beauty that surrounded me.

Now looking back on this first night, I smile with nostalgia, as if it were a memory from long ago. I’ve been here for seven days now and it feels impossible to me that I once didn’t fully know beauty of Rome. I’ve now seen the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and Villa Farnese but I’ve also sipped on a cappuccino from a beautiful coffee bar in the Trastevere neighborhood and enjoyed aperitivo before dinner in Monti. Even in the simple things, Rome seems to take my breath away. I don’t think I’ll get it back for five months.

 

9 Days. 8 Friends. 5 Countries.

9 Days. 8 Friends. 5 Countries.

If you asked me before coming to the John Felice Rome Center that I would be able to pull off visiting 5 countries and navigate 4 different languages in 9 days, I would have never believed you. Over the past two months here (WOW time is flying by!) not only my confidence in myself has grown but also my ability to navigate foreign cultures has as well. Also, luckily for me, 7 of my fellow Alpha Delta Pi sisters were willing to embark on this adventure together.

We set off on Friday for Vienna, Austria and ended in Barcelona, Spain by the end of the following Sunday. In-between those two countries, we took a day trip to Budapest, Hungary, stayed in Nice, France, and packed in another day trip to Monte Carlo, Monaco. Every where we visited, a different aspect of the local culture and architecture intrigued me. In Budapest, I felt like I was transported into a fairytale; whether it was peaking through the arches of their castle lined hill tops or the aroma of fresh apple strudel floating from tiny alleyways, I loved it and hope to return some day. Taking in the aqua beachfront in Nice was breathtaking, and people watching from a cafe in Monte Carlo, ogling over the lavishly dressed locals, was a hoot. Undoubtedly, nothing tops the cuisine in Barcelona. We ate tapas after tapas as well as plenty of paella and Spanish omelettes, and even got to experience brunch again.

There wasn’t a place I regret visiting, or an experience I wish I could have rather had over of my fall break. This trip was unforgettable, and what made it even more memorable was the life-long friends who were by my side.

Where in the World is Brandon?!

Where in the World is Brandon?!

Ciao, Amici (Hi, Friends)!

My name is Brandon.

Perhaps you know me, perhaps you don’t. I’m basically a living version of “Where’s Waldo” since I’m usually on a plane, bus, or train to somewhere around the world. This semester, I’m studying abroad at Loyola University Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center (JFRC). This is actually my third study abroad experience. I spent my senior year of high school in Surat Thani, Thailand with the Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad program, and then my sophomore year of college in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the USAC program. Since then, I’ve explored about 40 countries and picked up a few languages along the way. I guess you could say the travel bug infected me a little too hard!

I am currently writing from Guelph, Ontario, Canada (say what?!). Since it’s fall break, I decided to spend the week here in Canada with my lovely partner. I am fully enjoying the beautiful & crisp air, vibrant leaves, sweater weather, and Halloween spirit that Rome sadly does not have. However, Rome has so many other things to fall in love with. It was pretty hard to leave for even just a week.

You may be wondering, “why did you choose Rome?”. Well, I can tell you it wasn’t for any cliché reason. I didn’t choose Rome for it’s impeccable food, unique coffee culture, rich history, immaculate cities, or warm climate. Those aspects are

all more than great, but I actually didn’t have much choice in where to study abroad. When I decided that I wanted to study abroad for a third semester, I jumped through several hoops in order to make it to where I am today. I knew I would need pretty specific courses to complete my degree plans since this experience would be during my last year of college. Thus, choosing a Loyola center (Rome, Vietnam, or Beijing) was my only option. I felt I had spent a lot of time in Asia respectably, so Rome it was. I will admit that I was not the most excited at first (I know! Hear me out). I am a person who thrives off adventure, the unknown, and very “out there” experiences. Rome felt “safe” compared to other possible study abroad destinations. In a way, I had a vendetta against European study abroad experiences… I always believed there was so much of this world to see that Americans too hastily overlooked. Once I was accepted to the JFRC, something sparked. It made my upcoming journey real. In the spirit of adventure, I looked at this semester as an opportunity to do what I love most: explore new countries, learn a new language, and make priceless memories. Any adventure is worth going on. And truth be told, I’ve been proven so wrong about Rome and Europe as a whole. This continent is fascinating, and is so rich with history that there’s no possible way to learn it all.

I started the semester off by leaving Chicago on August 10th. Between August 10th and the 29th, this was my travel path: Chicago –> Toronto –> Montréal –> Paris –> Copenhagen –> Malmö –> Bangkok –> Koh Samui –> Chiang Mai –> Kuala Lumpur –> Gold Coast –> Auckland –> Melbourne –> Los Angeles –> Chicago –> London –> Rome. My head hurts just typing that! Anyways, I found incredible flight deals that lead me to both familiar and unexplored cities. I connected with friends, ate awesome food, witnessed cool sights, and snapped the best pictures I could. Eventually I ended up in Rome and started this crazy semester.

This semester, I am taking 6 courses. I am taking: Italian 1o1 (ITAL 1o1), European Masterpieces (LITR 200), Emperors, Bishops, & Barbarians (HIST 300 TP), Italy in the 19th and 20th Centuries (HIST 324), The European Union (PLSC 347), and Ethics (PHIL 181). So far, I feel as though I’ve been able to truly dive deep into European studies and learn quite a bit that I normally wouldn’t. I highly recommend taking country/region specific courses during a study abroad experience!

I would be lying if I said my favourite part of this semester WASN’T all the travelling I get to do on the weekends. When a roundtrip flight to Morocco, Germany, Israel, or Turkey (or everywhere in between) only ranges from 20 to 100 dollars, why not take advantage of it?! So far, I’ve travelled to Romania, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. I guess Canada counts too ;). After Fall break, I have plans to travel to Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria, Morocco, Spain, Israel, Palestine, France, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, and Colombia (the last two are on my way home in December). It is so fascinating to bring to life all of the knowledge I’m learning in my classes. I would say that Istanbul, Turkey is my favourite city I’ve ever visited. I think my next post will be dedicated to these awesome places I’ve been to. This post just can’t do them justice!

I may have actually just lied. How could I forget the lovely friends I’ve made so far? Study abroad has a strange way of bonding you to new friends so closely, so quickly. It’s almost as if we subconsciously understand that out time abroad together is limited and that we have to soak up every minute of it. I want to give a special shout-out to Kaitlyn, Midori, Alyssa, and my uber cool roommate Bruno. You guys make everyday hilarious. We’ve coined ourselves “the wine moms at the end of the hall” since we all live at one end of the hall of our hotel/dorm and highly enjoy the fabulous wine that Italy has to offer. They are my travel buddies, confidants, and joy makers. I love you, and I can’t wait for more adventures!

That’s all for my first post. I’ll be sure to write soon. Thanks for following along!

#NeverStopExploring

~ Brandon

 

Ciao, Roma!

Ciao, Roma!

It has been a little over a week since I arrived at the John Felice Rome Center, and I still can’t stop pinching myself. From the aroma of oven-fired pizza on every cobblestone street to the blooming olive groves lining Via Massimi, I am starting to see why they say living in Italy is la dolce vita. 

This past week of Orientation has been planned minute by minute by our trusted Student Life Assistants to give us a crash course in Roman life. We’ve toured the Colosseum, splurged on a gelateria crawl, navigated public transportation, relaxed on the beach, and consumed bottles and bottles of wine (thanks Loyola) to toast the beginning of the semester. This weekend we had the opportunity to tour the Italian region of Umbria, and became aquatinted with the whimsical towns of Narni, Spoleto, Foglino, and Citta di Pieve. Sometime during lunch overlooking Castiglione del Lago, or wine tasting at a countryside vineyard, or even reenacting a Roman battle we grew from classmates to friends as we learned about the ancient history of these fairytale-esque Umbrian escapes.

With the commencement of Orientation on Wednesday upon the Mass of the Holy Spirit, I do have to admit that I’m excited to explore Rome on my own terms, and learn more about exactly what is la dolce vita (with the help of gelato, of course).

Trying to be less American

Trying to be less American

After one long flight from Chicago to Rome, a week of jetlag, a weekend in the Italian region of Umbria, and a brief period of lost luggage, I can finally (hopefully) say that I have settled into Roma at the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC).

It’s been a whirlwind of a week filled with gelato, glasses (or maybe bottles) of red wine, and practicing Italian, but I am so excited to be in Rome for this next semester during my year abroad. I can vividly remember the study abroad information session during Loyola Weekend in my senior year of high school when I first heard about the Ricci Scholars Program. The Ricci Program allows me to do cross-cultural research between Rome, Italy, and Beijing, China. From the first moment I heard about it, I knew I wanted to participate but it feels slightly surreal now that I am actually in Rome preparing to research changes in labor law and labor organization over the past half-century.

Not going to lie, the amount of work I’m staring down for this semester and the upcoming year has me feeling a little bit stressed. How am I supposed to balance my work while trying to soak up this whole experience? Last week, every night felt like a choice between being abroad and studying abroad. I was either back at the JFRC reading and working or I was out in Rome – a beautiful city – exploring all of its nooks and crannies. Every turn around the corner was a whole new adventure… but it also felt like I was shaking off my work.

This past weekend in Umbria, however, really helped me to realign myself and my goals for this semester. At first, I was upset that I would lose a whole weekend of either exploring or studying. Yet, as we traveled from city to city in Umbria, as we saw all these hidden gems of Italy, it forced me to slow down and realize that all of last week – in trying to immerse myself fully into my semester abroad – I was completely failing at immersing myself fully into my semester abroad. That fast-paced desire to experience everything, to do everything is so utterly American. This semester is about learning from Italian history and culture, and that means not just walking through a piazza but stopping in it, not just looking at a statue but reading up on it, and not just doing some research but actually learning from it. And why shouldn’t I stop and stare for a while? Every part of this country is beautiful.

And I know that no amount of speaking Italian, eating gelato, or learning about Italy this semester in Rome will be able to make me Italian, but maybe – if I let it – it can make me a little less American.

Romantic Solo Trip to Venice, Italy

Romantic Solo Trip to Venice, Italy

So, there I was, sitting in Rinaldo’s in my usual seat on the couch in the corner listening to my peers discuss travel plans for the upcoming weekend. I couldn’t join in because I had no plans so I decided I needed to go somewhere. I pulled out my computer and my credit card, searched “Rome to Venice” and booked a train ticket and a hostel for the weekend. Spontaneous and maybe even a little impulsive, I made the decision and didn’t need to discuss it with anyone. After I realized what I did, I thought, Oh my God I’m going to Venice, ALONE!! And there began the brewing of excitement tinted with unease in the pit of my stomach.

Here’s my “excited-to-travel-alone” selfie.

After a late night of cheering on the Men’s basketball team and celebrating their victory into the Sweet Sixteen, I woke up (a little hungover), packed, and made my way to the train station. I’m not an anxious person, but when it comes to traveling with a deadline, I’m always on the edge of panic but everything went smoothly and I made it on the fast train headed to Venice. With a grin on my face, I admired the hills and fields passing me by as I sped over 150 mph towards the City of Water. Four hours later, tired and hungry (the default state of being for a college student studying abroad), I arrived in Venice, immediately dropped my backpack off at my hostel, and went off to explore the narrow streets and winding canals.

Venice is a maze. Google Maps would tell me to walk down what appeared to be a dark, deserted alleyway but, when I would turn the corner, the street would be bustling with life. I thought I was walking in circles because I would pass Murano glass shops, mask shops, and pizzarias then I’d walk over a bridge and pass more glass, masks, and pizza. I happened upon Piazza San Marco, the only piazza in Venice, crowded with one half tourists and the other half pigeons. Children were chasing the pigeons, couples were dancing to live music emanating from the caffès lining the piazza, men were feeding the pigeons and trying to get tourists to pay to take pictures with the birds, and tourists were walking around with their selfie sticks, always looking up with their mouths agape. When you travel a lot, you start to notice the typical tourist giveaways.

At the East end of Piazza San Marco lies Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica. Unfortunately, I was unable to go inside but I did admire the facade, which was highlighted with gold mosaics and sparkled in the golden hour sunlight. The sun was approaching the horizon and I realized that now was my opportunity to see a Venetian sunset so I frantically walked around trying to find that perfect view that I’ve seen in photos but, unfortunately, I could not beat the sun. I started back towards my hostel, meanwhile glancing at all the menus posted along the way. A woman, whose job consisted of getting people into her ristorante, advised me about the perfect Venetian dishes to try for a seafood beginner (I’m not a fan of seafood but I wanted to be adventurous). I ate spaghetti alle vongole which was spaghetti with teeny, tiny clams in their shell and tomatoes with garlic sauce. Delizioso! Oh, can’t forget the glass of white house wine, one must drink wine in Italy.

I began my second day in Venice with a cappuccino and a trip to Murano, an island about a thirty-five-minute waterbus ride from my hostel. Murano is famous for its glass production which began in the 7th century. I went to the Glass Museum and saw some ancient glass and learned the history surrounding the main product of Venice. The glassblowing process is so fascinating, I wish I could’ve seen it in person! After leaving the museum, I walked along the canals and browsed through the shops lining the water. It took lots of deliberation but I found some beautiful souvenirs to bring back home for my friends and family.

Let’s talk about transportation in Venice. There are no roads, only canals, so you can either walk or travel by water. Waiting for the bus consisted of standing on a swaying platform next to a dock and hopping on a boat when it arrived. Venice did not feel like a real place because it is so different than any city I’ve ever seen. Florence has mopeds, Amsterdam has bikes, London has the Tube, Paris has the Metro, and Venice has waterbuses and gondolas.

Gondolas have set rates in Venice so one gondola for forty minutes is €80 and you can have a maximum of six people splitting that cost. As we know, I was traveling by myself and I could not afford an €80 private gondola ride on my romantic solo trip but I couldn’t go to Venice and not ride a gondola! I scoured the internet until I came across a deal on Viator.com for a walking tour plus thirty-five-minute gondola ride for $51. US DOLLARS! Lifelong dreams were coming true that day. It was time to meet up for the walking tour of Venice and my tour guide was a Venetian with a sarcastic, dark sense of humor and I enjoyed it. We toured an area with less tourists and saw a few of the one hundred and twenty-five churches of Venice. Venice sinks about 12 cm a century so now is a great time to invest in the housing market (credit for that joke goes to my tour guide, Marco). 

It was finally time for my gondola ride! I was put onto the boat with two couples and another solo rider and we embarked on our thirty-five-minute expedition around the winding Venetian canals. My gondolier did not sing or wear a fun hat like I saw other gondoliers wearing but he peacefully propelled us along. The best way to experience Venice is by water and I am so glad I was able to go on a gondola ride. It was peaceful and beautiful but over all too quickly.

After disembarking from the gondola, I wondered around a bit and happened upon Piazza San Marco, again. There are wooden walkways for when the city floods stacked all over the piazza so I went off towards the Doge’s Palace to sit on the walkways with the other tourists. I had a salami sandwich in my purse leftover from my sack lunch and I was starving so I thought it would be a good time to relax for a minute and eat. Plus, I was saving money because I did not need to buy another meal. I pulled out my sandwich, unwrapped the tinfoil around it, and took a bite but within thirty seconds of that first bite, a seagull swooped down and grabbed the sandwich from my hand. The seagull landed about fifteen feet in front of me and eight other seagulls were fighting that thief for my sandwich. I was completely shocked. Did a seagull really just take my sandwich? The other tourists around me also looked shocked and I started to laugh hysterically. I could not believe that just happened and I thought it was hilarious because it was such a stupid mistake to try and eat in a piazza FILLED with birds. If you go to Venice, please do not eat in the Piazza San Marco, learn from my mistake!

There I was in the piazza, hysterically laughing, alone, and without food so I wondered around until I found a take away pizza place. I had walked past it a couple of times during my earlier adventuring and there was a spinach and ricotta pizza that I had been eyeing. Of course, I got the pizza because it was only €3.50 and the slice was huge! I think my sandwich was meant to be taken from me so that I could enjoy that delicious pizza. It was waaaaay better than any pizza that I’ve eaten in Rome so far.

The sun was setting on my second day in Venice and I found myself at a dead-end with a perfect view of the sunset. It finally hit me that I was in Venice. Traveling is hectic and everything moves so fast that it’s possible to forget to take a breath and really appreciate the place you’re in. I felt the cool breeze on my face and I knew that if I touched the water, it would be cold. I’m not sure for how long I watched that scene but I did not walk away until the sun made its full decent beyond the horizon.

Venice is gorgeous, unique, and a little bit ridiculous and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit before it sinks. I’m kidding, that’s not going to happen for a while. Traveling to Venice felt unreal because it is so different than any city that I have ever seen. This small town will forever hold a place in my heart, even if it feels like just a dream.

 

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I live in Rinaldo’s. I’ve officially set up shop and am not leaving until spring break starting today. I realize that I’m spending too much time focusing on creating content for work and brainstorming that I haven’t been studying enough. I’ve done research on different and effective ways to use instagram to make sales, while posting 3 times a week, I’m supposed to also be posting 2-3 stories a week,

finding new stories to write about like new restaurants, and the March Events Blog post is due next Monday. I completely bombed my finance test which probably shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. I need to be more focused and balanced in how I’m allocating my time. The rest of my midterms are next week so I’m basically not leaving JFRC until my grades are where I need them to be (or sleeping probably, but that’s college right?). Today I took the 990 Bus to Vatican City to take some pictures for my internship and send out postcards to my friends and family. It was 2,80 euros per stamp. The man who was working at the post office seemed was super rude. I handed him my debit card and he threw my postcards on the

desk and said, “No Card.” Alright, noted. I handed him cash, took my postcards and stamps, and left. It was probably because I spoke English to be honest. On my way back to the bus I stopped at a McCafe. I wish McDonalds had them in the united states like they do here. They have cheesecake, muffins, cornetto, colorful doughnuts, and it’s awesome. I got some decent pictures for the Roman Foodie instagram. I ended up buying a creamolosa al caffee. Its pistachio fudge topped with espresso and vanilla soft serve. I had no idea what I was getting but I figure I should try a new thing every day if I can. My life has been changed. With such easy access

to sweets, I’ve come to the realization that I need to do something to keep me healthy. So, for the past month or so I’ve gone to the gym 5-6 times a week depending how my body feels. I’m finally starting to see the benefit of all the work I’ve put in and I’m really happy about. So, the goal for next week is to sort my life out, but its really hard to say the least.