A Travellerspoint blog

All roads lead to Rome

August 10 - 13

sunny 40 °C

I fell in love in Rome, it's one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I think it's my favorite so far because it's so big and there is so much to see and do. It beats Venice for me because Venice got boring really quickly and the only cool thing about Venice is the Canals and St. Marks square, Rome has so much more to offer.
My train got in at about 4 and I got a little lost on the way to the hostel but I made it there in one piece! As soon as I got there I met Trevan, an American and he invited me to go to the Colosseum with them when it got dark because it was all lit up and it was supposed to look really nice, obviously I said that I would go. A bit later a bunch of the boys sat down to play cards and I went and played cards with them. There was Cody from Idaho, who is traveling with Trevan, 2 English boys Charlie and Joe who are traveling together, and Wei from China. It was nice and chill we all just kind of hung out and drank and had fun! It's kind of common knowledge that I can be painfully shy around new people (I hate that about myself) and I think I surprised myself a little when I went and sat down with them to play cards because I didn't really receive an invite I think I kind of asked if I could play. But anyways, it was good and it was chill and after it got dark we all went for a walk to the Colosseum and took pictures and stuff and then we went back to the hostel and chilled some more.
Somewhere along the lines that night Charlie and Joe booked tickets to come to the Vatican the same time as me, I was happy about having some company but worried it was going to be awkward (more like I was going to be awkward) but the next day it wasn't like that at all. They're pretty nice boys and are pretty outgoing so it would have been hard to be shy, and it's kind of easy to make conversation with foreign people because there is a lot to talk about in terms of differences between the countries. I heard a lot of jokes about Canadians and being Canadian. It wasn't even like they were playing on stereotypes it was just everything I would do or say would somehow get turned into a Canadian joke. None of it was offending though, it was all playful. They had never met a Canadian before though so that was kind of interesting, and Charlie doesn't believe that in Canada we don't have toilets inside our house!! In the morning Wei booked a ticket to come with us as well and all of us from the hostel went down together but Trevan, Cody and Micheal (another English guy) didn't come into the Vatican because they'd already gone.
The Vatican wasn't what I expected it to be. I'm glad that I had good company because it was basically just an art museum. I don't really know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn't walking around in an incredible amount of very hot, very crowded hallways looking at art. I think I was expecting a lot more about the history of the Vatican. There was some mummies which were kind of cool because I've never seen a real one before but I don't think any of us really understood what they had to do with The Vatican. We lost Joe for about an hour inside, which was horrible but there is so many people in there, and so many long corridors it's impossible to find someone easily! Wei is really funny because he is so foreign and he just didn't understand that we weren't going to visit Sixteen Chapel's, we were visiting the "Sistine Chapel" every few minutes he would ask again what it was that we were going to. Finally there was a sign that said "Sistina" (Italian) so I think he understands what it's called in Italian, not English. Wei also sat in a security guards chair in one room and Charlie told him that it was a sacred chair and then the security guard came and got mad and Wei looked so confused. Wei was adorable, he obviously had a really good heart and was a good source of entertainment to say the least.
After the Vatican Wei had to leave and catch a train so Joe, Charlie and I went and got food, and then met up with the rest of the boys and went into the Basilica and the Pope's tombs. I had to put tights over top of my shorts to go into the Basillica because your knees have to be covered and it was so hot I was so uncomfortable. But the Basillica is beautiful, it's so big, way bigger then the Sistine Chapel and it's really nice, it's where the pope does mass so of course it's way over the top. We went down into the basement of the Basilica where all the old Pope's tombs are and it was really weird. Some of the Pope's still get fresh flowers put on their little thing but Pope John Paul II still gets letters written to him, and they have a little area blocked off kind of so that people can stand there and look and cry, it was pretty sad. I can't imagine being so catholic that I would get upset about that, but I completely understand why that must be such a profound experience for some people. I, being the little shit that I am, decided to take a picture of JP II's tomb and the picture is half of a security guard getting mad at me for taking the picture, and half of the tomb itself. I feel bad for finding this funny, and I do understand that it's somewhat disrespectful but I'm sure that god has bigger things to deal with then getting mad at me for taking a picture of a remembrance area for one of his friends. After we left the Basilica and the tombs we were walking outside down this area kind of behind it to get into the main area of the St. Peter's square and I stopped to take off my tights from over my shorts because it was just too hot. The boys continued walking so they were a fair bit ahead of me and this fifty something old man starts singing the song from striptease! It was so funny, his son was probably like 16 or 17 and had that embarrassed look that kids get when their parents do something embarrassing, I can't explain how funny it was, especially because we were at one of the holiest places on earth, it just was all rather inappropriate!
After we left The Vatican we went to Trevan and Cody's new hostel because it had a swimming pool! It was so nice to go in because it was nice and cool and it was ridiculously hot walking around in Rome all day. It's not really a secret that I wear fake hair, but it's not really something that I go around telling people either (I guess now I've written it on the internet..) It's really hard to get my extensions wet and to dry them so I put my hair up to get into the pool rather then take them out so I could try and avoid explaining to the boys I was taking half my hair out of my head. I really should have known though that being the only girl with 5 boys I was going to get splashed or something, and I think I made a huge mistake telling them I didn't want to get my hair wet. So of course I ended up telling them why I didn't want to get my hair wet and I ended up getting out of the pool and taking all my little rats out of my head. It would have been embarrassing enough in front of my guy friends from Calgary who already know and who I'm really comfortable around, but it was so embarrassing in front of 5 guys I just met, and everyone else that was in the pool. I got back into the pool and I still didn't want to get my hair wet but Joe splashed me so I just went underwater and got all my hair wet, just to get it over with. Then we played freeze tag in the pool and I think I was a bit of a baby about it because I play games with Irene all day everyday so I didn't really feel like playing games, but the boys weren't too bad with me.
When we were on the metro back from their hostel this huge man, who was about 6 feet tall and had a mohawk of ringletted hair sang for us. It was the funniest thing ever, I don't think I have laughed that hard in such a long time. I took a video and without a doubt that will be posted to facebook in the next couple days. I think the guy was lonely and was looking for people to talk to because he started talking to a woman on the train about how his mum and him got into a fight. We kind of all agreed that we think he loved that we were laughing so hard. When we got back to the hostel we met some more people, there was Moses from Colombia, and Natalie from Atlanta. That night we all went to a "bar" which gave us a free shot.. of juice, and we only got the free shot of Juice after we spent 5$ on a beer, good value I must say! I love spending that kind of money on beer when I'm broke on vacation! After a while there we decided to go to the gay bar. I think I must point out that we weren't going because any of us were gay, it's just kind of a fun thing to do, and once the boys were a bit drunk it was easy to convince them it might be fun. We didn't get there until about 2 am so it was shutting down but all the gay people were still outside, and the boys got really uncomfortable really fast, so we all went back to the hostel and played drinking games for a couple hours.
The next day Charlie, Joe and I went and did some free things around Rome. We went to the Pantheon, Trevi fountain, Spanish steps. At the top of the Spanish Steps we stopped for quite a while and talked about how in England they can only build buildings as high as the queen can jump! It was really funny, and obviously I'm not quite gullible enough to believe this. After we met up with Cody and Trevan again and they came back to the hostel with us and were supposed to stay for dinner but in the end they couldn't because they weren't staying there anymore and the hostel wasn't really big enough for everyone to be there. It was sad saying goodbye to them, they're such nice guys I will hopefully see them again someday. We made Sangria, and I cooked pasta with Moses' help. We had a fantastic conversation at dinner about who should take control in the kitchen. It was pretty funny. There was also a girl from Australia, Donna, who was a pretty good source of entertainment for everyone!
We all decided kind of late that we wanted to go to a night club, and the guy who worked at the hostel said that it was far but I don't really think any of us thought it was actually going to be that far. The club ended up being sooo far, at least a 30 minute walk but the walk was pretty eventful so it wasn't really all that bad. There was a car accident between someone on a moped and a car. I'm pretty sure that the guy laying on the ground was dead because he wasn't moving and the police weren't doing anything to help him, and the ambulance wasn't there yet. It was super sad. But anyways, we got to the club and for whatever reason we didn't even end up going in, so we had to turn around and walk all the way back. While we were walking everyone stopped to take the bus but Charlie and I didn't think that the bus was going to come for a while so we kept walking back to the hostel. Of course like two minutes after the bus goes driving past us. But it was okay walking was actually pretty fun, we stopped and sat on this wall type thing across the street from the Colosseum and talked for a while, it was cute. Then we got back to the hostel and didn't end up going to bed until like 5am and we both had to get up early to take the train, bad decision.
Next morning I was so tired, I meant to get up at 830 and I think I got up around 9. My train was at 1045 and I had to get to the train station and buy a ticket, and the lines to get a ticket usually take about 30 minutes. I usually take forever to get ready and pack so the amount of time I had was really not enough, It was such a rush around morning. Saying bye to Charlie and Joe was pretty sad, I hate saying goodbye to people! But again those are two people who I really hope to see in the future! I was so comfortable around them, it really surprised me! It would be super fun if they came to Canada, or Cancun, or if I went to England! We'll see what happens!
But I ended up making my train, like just in time. I'm sure the little Asian guy sitting across from me thought I was a mess. I like ran to the train, which was brutal carrying my 100 pound backpack and got on and hit this woman in the head with my backpack when I was looking for open seats. It was so embarrassing. Then I cried a tiny bit thinking about how much I was going to miss Rome. I'm sure those tears weren't all because I was that emotional, because usually I don't cry about silly things, but I'm sure they had a lot to do with being hungover and being so exhausted. Then I fell asleep and slept all the way to Florence and had to be woken up by a conductor. Such a classic Kendahl morning.
I think I liked Rome so much because I met some great people who made it so much fun, but I also think I learned a bit more about myself. I think I might not be quite as shy as I think I am, or maybe I'm growing out of being so shy. It's actually something that is really strange to me but I REALLY like the fact that I might be getting past that. Being shy, I think, might be the one of the worst characteristics someone can have, it sounds dumb but it actually makes life hard. It's easier to be outgoing and be able to always be comfortable around people no matter how well you know them. Being shy is horrible because sometimes it's just so awkward, or people get the wrong impression of you just because you are a shy person. They might assume that your stuck up, or that your a bitch, when really the only problem is you just can't think of much to say. I think this goes back to the whole pushing myself and growing from this experience. If I change and am no longer shy, or not as shy, from this point forward I'll be content with my decision of going to Europe alone. This type of change is more then welcome as far as I'm concerned.
Well that was Roma, this entry got so long, I hope people actually read the whole thing!
ciaaaooooo

Posted by kendahlc 03:24 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Finally home to Pisa!!

back to good weather and the beach

sunny 35 °C

I didn't write anything more about the last week I spent in Fulgaria because nothing eventful happened at all! The only thing worth writing about would be that I had a beer with a couple players from the Naples football team, but I didn't know who they were at the time! The bartender who let me use the pubs wifi for free told me after who they were! At first I didn't believe him but now I'm pretty sure that he wasn't lying to me about who they were. The only part about it that makes me not believe they were actually on the team was that they were in a pub drinking beer in a town that the team was only in because they were training at the sports facility there. I just don't think that men who play football for a real team would be drinking beer while they were training, but europeans are strange so it also wouldn't surprise me. But anyways when the bartender told me I was shocked, but the "players" weren't cool or nice or anything like I imagined "pro" footballers would be like. They weren't even goodlooking!

On Friday Fabrizio and Silvia came to the house in the Alps and on Saturday morning we left and went to another town in another area of the Alps. When we got there we went on a very short very easy hike up a small mountain. A couple years ago Silvia got really sick and she is still trying to regain a lot of her strength that she lost, so while we were doing this small hike she told me that even though it was easy for everyone else it was very strenuous for her. I felt really awkward when she told me that it was strenuous for her because it was it was so easy and I knew she wasn't saying this to me so I could feel bad for her so I just didn't really know what to say to that. She is really tough though, she is trying very hard to get back to the condition she was in before she got sick and she really pushes herself quite hard!! The next day we got up early and had breakfast and went to another mountain to go for another hike. We took a gondola about half way up the mountain and got to this place where there was a ton of things set up for kids to do. There were the bouncy castles and some trampolines and pretty much every other outdoor piece of equipment kids can play with, it was really nice and it was all free! We played there for a little bit and then we started our long hike! I thought that it would be easy ecause Silvia couldn't really do hard stuff but I was wrong! We did a 4 hour hike that was pretty hard, about 50% of it was pretty steep and the other half wasn't as bad but not like the small hike we did the day before. My legs were so sore yesterday, but it was worth it!! When we got to the top of the mountain it had a fantastic view of the dolomite alps and the valley where the town was so we sat there and had lunch, it was gorgeous! During the summer the farmers take the cows up to the mountains to graze so while we were walking there was cow poop everywhere. Irene has a habit of pointing to things and asking how to say them in English. So while we were walking Irene kept pointing to the cow poop and saying "cow poop". She must have said it about 200 times. After a while she started incorporating the sizes of the poop, so it turned into her saying "biiiiiiiiiiig cow poop", "little cow poop" etc etc, it was too cute. After we came back down the mountain we started our 6 hour car ride back to Pisa.

Yesterday I took Irene to the beach with a couple of her friends and their babysitter. Their babysitter is 26 and pretty fluent in english but after we were there for about an hour I was playing with all three girls in the water and we went back to the chairs and umbrella and she was asleep. It was about lunch time so I had to wake her up to find out where the girls lunches were, and after lunch we all laid our towels out and had naps. Most of us woke up around the same time and their babysitter kept sleeping. She slept pretty much the whole day and so I was in charge of all the girls and making sure everyone was okay and doing what they were supposed to be doing and then some people that I know from the community I live in were at the same beach so I was socializing with them and meeting some other people, it was so tough and I was so frustrated with the other nanny's laziness. I was a little offended too that she just expected me to do everything, she didn't even offer to help at all. The only time she got out of the chair was to go eat lunch, she went to the cafeteria for about an hour then came back and slept some more. Tomorrow we are going to the same beach again with the same girls and their nanny so if it happens again I think I'm going to have to say something, or ask her to pay me for doing her job!!!

Today me and Irene went to the beach where Fabrizio and Silvia have chairs and hung out then we came home a little earlier then normal and she went to a friends and I just hung out around here. We had some company over for dinner and we had the most amazing home made pasta I have ever tasted! I love that Italians make a lot of the food they eat from scratch in their own home! There isn't a lot of store bought or processed things here, so healthy! Tomorrow I will start writing again daily because I have a steady connection to the internet again finally! I can't remember if I mentioned this before or not but if you look on the right hand side of the screen there is a button you can click to subscribe to my blog and then you'll be notified through your email when I post a new entry! I also spent a lot of time tonight posting pictures to facebook so I am completely updated with everything now! YAY finally!

ciao love and miss everyone! <3

Posted by kendahlc 13:53 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

more alpsss

yuck

So after this week I will have officially spent more time in the Alps then I have in Pisa! Fabrizio and Silvia left me and Irene here with Fabrizio's siblings and their families and they're all so nice to me. Irene has been listening to me really well, probably mainly because I discovered if she isn't listening to me and I start counting ( 1.. 2... ..3) she straightens up pretty quickly and does what she is supposed to be doing. I haven't counted to three yet and I don't really know what I'm supposed to do if I ever get to three so lets just hope that never happens!
On Monday (July 26) we took the kids to this huge, amazing park, and there was so much for them to do that they were entertained the whole time. The park was huge, there was soccer fields, a pond, it was kind of like carburn park but no trees and in a valley. The park didn't have the usual play ground things it had a couple slides that were so long, probably about 100 feet, a weird swing thing that like 5 people could fit in, a couple shelters and a large path where you were supposed to jog around and about every 30m there would be a sign with a stretch you were supposed to do, or jumping jacks or something, it was almost like a circuit, such a good idea. There was also a big flying fox thing that you sat on and went down a wire, and you go pretty quickly and it's about 50 feet long and when the kids noticed that I went faster because I'm heavier then them they started doubling with me, I don't know how many times I ended up going down with all the kids but I have bruises all over the inside of my legs from sitting on the plastic thing!
I have a huge book of Italian language that I do when the kids are watching TV, or when they're playing and I don't really have anything to do, so on Monday night after dinner I was doing some of my Italian homework because the kids were watching Wallace and Gromet. On the book it says that it's for children in primary school but Gaetano was helping me and he said he was shocked by how complicated some of the phrases are. I already hate that I bought this book because there is no english in it at all which means that I first have to translate the instructions and then translate the assignment then complete the assignment, it's very good for my vocabulary but because I don't really understand the sentence structure and the verb tenses I have a lot of trouble figuring things out sometimes. But now that Gaetano said he thought it was semi-advanced I am intimidated by my Italian language book, so I decided I really needed a book to read because that would take up some of my time and put off my Italian homework a bit, (I'm very good at procrastinating and putting things that I don't want to do off for as long as possible, ask my mum) but the book store in Fulgaria is tiny, and there isn't an english section because I'm not in a tourist area, but even the english sections in the book stores I have been to in Pisa and Venice are so small that they're usually just books by Danielle Steele and Clive Cussler (not authors I enjoy at all) or the twilight series (not a series I want to read) so I have had some problems finding interesting books to read here, I usually spend about an hour reading the back of every book to see what sounds good. But randomly yesterday Fabrizio's brother asked me if I had read the book "freakonomics" and I have, and he told me that he had the second one here and that I could read it if I wanted to, and of course I wanted to read it. I was actually looking for that book so I was really surprised that he had it, and I am about half way through it already. It's called "superfreakonomics" I highly suggest reading both of them, some of the information in it is actually quite shocking, and it's not just about economics it's more about the relationship between economics and psychology, and the fact that people respond to incentives, it leaves you with a lot to think about. When I get back to pisa I want to order this book about the Quran that someone told me about. I don't remember if it's a translation of it or if it just explains it all to people who aren't Islamic but it sounds interesting and I want to understand why people blow themselves up over this religion.
Yesterday (July 27) was so uneventful we just hung out around the house and didn't really do a lot, but a couple cute things happened.
After lunch we were all sitting around the table talking and Irene went to the toilet and went "caca" (she pooped). When she was done she came out of the bathroom and Roberto said "who cleaned your bum?" Cleaning your bum in Italy (probably in all of Europe) isn't just wiping, it's soap and water over the bidet and dried with a towel. So because Irene is 4 it's usually an adult that does it for her because she can't do it on her own yet, I - thank god - have yet to do this for her. But yesterday it was a bit peculiar when she came out of the washroom because none of the adults had gone in to clean her, so when Roberto asked her who cleaned her bum she responded "Minia", her 5 year old boy cousin. Everyone had a pretty good laugh about this, and Carla checked to make sure she was clean, and she was. They are such good cousins, I'm sure that story will come up quite a bit when they are older.
Irene is really into anything that is girly, or anything that is remotely related to princesses (something a princess would wear, any types of crowns, even my gold headband because to her it almost resembles a crown) so after they went for Gelato she came home with chocolate ALL OVER her, it was everywhere. It was also all over her favorite dress that she has been wearing for over a week straight. So I put her in the shower and I quickly went laid out all of her dresses and skirts on her bed and hid her dirty dress. When I was finished showering her and brought her into the room I was terrified there was going to be a huge meltdown over not finding her favorite dress, but there wasn't at all. The look on her face was one similar to a kid on christmas morning. She had a hard time picking which pink shirt and pink skirt looked good on her, and I brought out some nylon type stockings and said "do you want to wear these too", I was really praying she would say yes because it's not very warm here right now and those would keep her a little warmer, and she said "ooooohh yeeessssss" and picked some pink ones, of course. She was smiling the whole time, and after she was dressed she twirled around and around, it was adorable. Minia came into the room after she was dressed and her hair was blow dried and after I had pretended to put make up on her and said "bella, Irene". It was too adorable.
For dinner Zia Natalia made rabbit again but they bought me some speck because they figured I wouldn't want to eat more bunny, but I was thinking yesterday that I don't want them to think I'm picky, and I should try to eat some more bunny because it actually wasn't that bad, I really needed to just not think about what I was eating which is what I do when I eat lamb. But then while we were eating Eliana found the small bunny heart in her pile of bunny meat. So after that happened my mind will forever be pro-bunny-life, I'm boycotting the killing of bunnies by not eating bunny meat ever again.

Posted by kendahlc 08:54 Comments (0)

July 19 - 25

alpssss

After Fabrizio picked me up from the train station we went and picked up his Zia (auntie) Natalia from her house and went back to the house in the Alps. Fabrizio's sister and niece had arrived on Sunday but because it was late they were already in bed so I didn't get to meet them until the next day. Zia Natalia doesn't speak any english but that is good for my Italian except she speaks in a dialect from this region sometimes and I don't understand her (even most Italians don't understand the dialect) so that makes talking to her pretty tough, or even understanding her sometimes but it's good because I'm making myself listen more closely. His sister is nice, her name is Lucia and she is very fluent in English, and she speaks english with such a strong Welsh accent if I talked to her on the street I would actually have no idea that Italian is her first language. The niece's name is Eliana (I love that name a lot) she is 12 and speaks quite a bit of english, but she is very different. Most of the kids here get pretty attached to me because I'm foreign and for some reason that is so interesting to them, but Eliana takes it to a whole other level. She constantly kisses me, and hugs me and asks me to sit beside her at meals and she sits on my lap all the time, It's so odd. It makes me a little bit uncomfortable but it's not like I can say anything to anyone about it. On Tuesday the 20th we went to the lake and in the car she sat in the middle in the back right beside me and leaned on me and put her head on my shoulder, I was like pressed against the car door. I - like most other people - enjoy having my own personal space, and in the car both going to and coming from the lake I had no space I thought I was going to scream, I was so uncomfortable. But while we were at the lake and I got super tanned, and finished my book. I didn't even go in the water, it was so nice to lay out and not have to do anything, I just read and relaxed so that slightly made up for all the discomfort in the car.
On Wednesday Irene's two cousins arrived and I had to switch out of the nice big room at the top of the house that I had to myself (that had a lock, double bed, closet, mirror, pretty much my own bathroom, etc) into sharing a room with Irene with two single beds and nothing else, it's so small, like the size of my bathroom in Calgary. There is no key in the lock on the door because the kids aren't allowed them and it seems like every time I am changing someone thinks it's a good time to open the door to our room. I don't have a lot of space to myself anywhere in Italy and it frustrating. I am now living out of a suitcase, sharing a bathroom with 10 other people, and when Irene wakes up 3 times in the night to pee she wakes me up to take her to the bathroom, when she gets up at 7 am she turns on the light, and leaves the door open so I get woken up (and it's pretty common knowledge I like to sleep and I get mad when people interrupt this) so my new sleeping arrangement completely sucks and now I have another week of dealing with it. The cousins that arrived are two brothers who were adopted from Cambodia, their names are Minia and Odom, they're the sweetest kids ever, always smiling. Odom is 10 years old and he is such a dare devil, and he is an amazing artist, Minia is also quite the dare devil and him and Irene get along so well, which makes my job easier because they're inseparable and completely entertain each other. We didn't really do much the rest of the week, we just hung out around the house mainly. Yesterday (Saturday July 24) we took Irene and the boys to the swimming pool, and they both can swim so well, they didn't wear floaties and had no problem jumping off the diving boards and stuff. I didn't really swim with everyone though, I mainly swam laps. I swam like 33 laps in 2 hours (which is the same as about running 4 miles) and I was so tired last night I fell asleep at about 10, but it was such a nice workout.
Yesterday afternoon we had an ultra traditional Italian meal. We had Polenta, it's some weird bread thing mostly made out of cornmeal that they made during the war (which was gross) but I helped Fabrizio make it which was cool, and there was a very specific recipe that we had to follow precisely. Zia Natalia also cooked Rabbit. Since I have been here I have been trying to taste all of the food that they cook and I took a piece of cooked bunny and I ate a bit but I was also fighting back tears. All I could think about was all the bunnies that run around riverbend, and Brittney's bunny that she has, I felt horrible. I gave the rest of my bunny leg to Silvia because i just couldn't do it, but they all understood. Of course everyone knew this was the first time I was eating bunny so it sparked a discussion about weird foods that we have tried, and when Fabrizio's brother Roberto went to Cambodia with his wife to adopt the boys he ate a deep fried spider. He said it didn't taste like anything but the batter, but he was happy to be able to say he had at least tried it. He also told me a sad story about when the boys lived in Cambodia. Odom is 10 years old so he still remembers some things that happened before his parents died. Their family had a dog as a pet and (I'm guessing they were pretty poor) one day their dad came home and said they were going to have to kill the dog and eat it, and they did. :( So sad. But I was also asked about what we do with Rabbit's in Canada, and I said we keep them as pets and someone said "We don't do that in Italy"and without thinking I so ignorantly said "yeah I kind of guessed that" and everyone burst out laughing. But Zia Natalia was raising a Rabbit one time and it had 3 babies, so Fabrizio, Roberto and Lucia all had one that was their's. One night they went to Zia Natalia's house for dinner and it was Rabbit for dinner and Lucia went downstairs to see if it was her rabbit that was for dinner and it was, she said she couldn't eat that night and she was so mad at everyone. Personally if my bunny was being served for dinner I wouldn't ever eat meat again, nor would I talk to the people who ate it. I don't think I will eat rabbit again in my life, unless for some reason it becomes an absolute necessity.
This morning I woke up and made everyone pancakes for breakfast and Fabrizio had some maple syrup that he bought when he lived in Canada, so this morning I had a pretty Canadian meal and I loved it. Everyone else was pretty happy with the breakfast (or so they said) but even though I put cinnamon in the batter so they would have a bit more taste I wish I made some chocolate chip pancakes or Banana pancakes or something that the kids would have liked just a little bit more. Today we were supposed to head back to Pisa and I was pretty excited to go home, but me and Irene are staying with all of Fabrizio's siblings and their kids so that Irene can spend some time with her cousins. Fabrizio and SIlvia went back to Pisa to work this week and will come and pick us up on the weekend. Fabrizio's siblings are a bit more of home bodies then him and Silvia are so I think that this week will be more relaxing, hopefully no waking up at 5 am to go on a 8 hour hike up mt. Everest!! That statement is obviously an exaggeration but I just really hope we don't have to go hiking all day most days like we did the other week. Everyone made me feel so comfortable without Fabrizio and Silvia here, this afternoon we all went and played mini golf and had Gelato and it was really fun. Roberto's wife, Carla, is very nice and speaks english fluently but yesterday while we were doing the dishes our of the blue she says "you need to learn Italian better so from now on I am not speaking to you in english." I told her that she has to speak slowly and clearly for me to understand and she said she will in the beginning of the week but that I better catch on quickly. This makes her sound like a huge hard ass but she's a sweetheart and she is just trying to help me learn, so it will be interesting to see how this week goes with her!
Things with Silvia went much more smoothly this week, mostly because I'm absolutely on top of everything and have completely, completely, completely stopped being even the slightest bit lazy. This morning we went on a hike and Silvia and I were talking and she said that she is really happy with how everything has gone this last week, which was so nice to hear. I also apologized for not doing my job properly in the last couple weeks (even though I still think I was doing a great job) and she said that I didn't have to apologize she understood that I needed a bit more time to understand what my job is, which was hard because it was constantly changing, 2 weeks in Pisa at the house, 1 week on the boat, 2 weeks in the alps, and because the setting kept changing and my job kept changing with it. I have been a lot happier this week too, I think I needed a couple days away to clear my head and think about everything. My job really isn't that hard, it's just participating in a family like I do at home. A lot of the time I'm just hanging out or doing things like going to the lake or swimming, kicking a soccer ball around, reading books, teaching Irene english, playing with the kids, how many people get paid and their expenses paid for and in exchange they get to travel and do chill things like this? Not a lot. I have seen and done more things in the last month of my life that I have never done before, I love it. I have gone through moments when I have hated this and wanted to go home, which I expected to happen, but I don't regret coming here at all. I have had moments where I have been frustrated with the family but I really don't think I could have done a better job at picking a family to live with. I am treated as a member of the family far before I am treated as an employee and I'm so happy about that because sometimes au pairs are treated the completely opposite way. Before I came to Italy I would refer to Fabrizio and Silvia as my Italian parents, because that was easier then having to explain everything, but they truly are that. Obviously no one will ever come close to replacing my real parents, I love them so much and have a great relationship with both of them, but Fabrizio and Silvia are doing a fantastic job of making sure I am doing okay away from everyone, and they do just as much for me as I do for them. Last weekend Silvia let me use her credit card to book a hostel, which I never, ever would have expected her to do, but she offered and had no problem with it. She keeps telling me to go out and do things and go to different places. It genuinely seems like she wants me to experience everything I possibly can, which is exactly how my parents are. I have written about my frustrating times with Silvia but Silvia is a mum, mum's nag and are bossy (sorry to any mums reading this, especially mine) and in our situation the reason that she nags or asks me to do things is because I'm not doing my job properly and taking initiative like I should be. It can be annoying setting the table, washing the dishes, or getting soaked with water when I'm showering Irene but they're all easy tasks and in exchange for the experience I'm getting it's pretty much nothing. I love it here.

Posted by kendahlc 08:53 Comments (0)

Verona

learned A LOT

VERONAAA!!

I was only in Verona for about 6 hours but a lot happened. I got there and went to an office in the train station and asked where Casa de Giulietta was and she gave me some directions and told me what bus to take, and that it was about a 20 minute ride. Thinking I didn't need to spend 3 euro on a map because I got some pretty solid directions from this lady I just went to the bus stop and got on the bus. I didn't really pay attention to what was around me while I was on the bus, I paid more attention to the time, and after I had been on the bus about 20 minutes I took a good look at what was outside the bus and I was definitely not in the tourist area of Verona. I was in a more industrial area, where there were some apartment buildings and wider roads. I got off the bus and went into an esso and asked for directions. One of the men who was in there had a map but the map didn't even show where I was in Verona, he told me to get back on the bus that went in the opposite direction and to get off when I got to the stadium. I waited for the bus for about 40 minutes and got on and took it back in the direction I came, and got off at a stadium. I went to the only shop that was around there (which happened to be an 18+ type of store, SOOO awkward), and he said that it was about a 20 minute walk. So I started walking in the direction he told me to go in, and eventually I got to the old part that was filled with people who were obviously tourists. So after that I went into about 30+ shops and asked for directions. I would ask in Italian because Verona isn't a huge tourist town so I didn't think as many people would speak english there as they do in Venice. Of course then the people would think that I was fluent in Italian and give me directions in Italian, and so I would only understand about half of their instructions which is probably why I had to ask so many people. I was walking down this one alley when I saw two guys handing out flyers for something and they were young so I asked them if they spoke english, and they did, they were actually from england just in Verona for the summer, so they gave me directions to where I was going, and I started walking and got distracted by my favorite Italian store because I wanted a shirt from there and that store said everything was 50% off. So about 15 minutes later when I left the store one of the young guys from England like came over to see if their directions helped me and I told him I hadn't gone there yet, and he walked me down to Juliet's house and he asked me to have dinner with him after I said I couldn't because I had to get a train later (even though my train didn't leave until 10), I just really didn't want to because thats awkward haha. but I ended up having Gelato with both of them after Casa De Giulietta because I ran into them again. They were like dumb and dumber though, I couldn't handle them so I ate my gelato quickly and got out of there. Alicia Keys was playing in the stadium that night so where we were sitting we could hear her because it was basically an outdoor concert so it was sweet!

Casa De Giulietta is pretty, you can pay to go inside her house but the museum was closing by the time I got there so I couldn't. There were a lot of couples who would like stand there and make out. I felt like such a loser being alone there!! You can see the balcony, and there is a statue of Juliet, and a little memorial for her with flowers and stuff. The walls are amazing, their not like how it was in the movie. It's absolutely filled witth notes from people. I read a few of them thinking they would mostly be from women, but there was some very sweet ones from men too! Some people wrote like full pages describing their perfect man and how they wanted to meet him, and some wrote really nice simple things. There was one that said she was happy to be with her Romeo for 20 years now, so cute! I wasn't planning on writing anything but I figured I kind of had too because I was there so I wrote Juliet a little note on the back of a receipt I had from paying a speeding ticket in Calgary and stuck it on the wall with gum, so romantic!!!

After Gelato I was booking out of there pretty quickly to the bus stop and a bus came right away and I got on and asked the driver if that bus went to the train station, and he said it did. So I got on and again didn't really pay much attention to where I was going and ended up in a town that is outside of Verona, it got to a stop and I was the only person left on it and the driver said that the bus was done for the night. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to do, I wanted to freak out on him saying that he said it went back to the station, but with language barriers I didn't bother, not to mention if by chance he called the police on me or something I didn't really want to explain to Fabrizio and Silvia why the police had me. So I got off the bus and there was a supermarket close so I stood outside and asked people if they knew english, and I'm sure people did but didn't want to deal with a backpacker with tears rolling down her face. Luckily this VERY nice english man came out and eventually he called me a taxi, which cost me 15 euro. I ended up getting to the train station with 2.5 euro left in my wallet, so I had to resort to eating McDonalds because I was so hungry and they had 1 euro cheese burgers.

At the train station I had a bit of a scary experience, i thought i was going to get abducted!! I was on the train platform waiting and this black guy said ciao and I said ciao back, I didn't think much of it because that happens all the time here. Then he sat on the bench beside me and talked to me, and asked me if I was travelling alone and I very foolishly said yes, my first big mistake, then I told him I was taking the train to bassinno and he said he was going to bassino too, to apparently meet friends. We talked a bit more and then i said i was stopping at Rovereto (the stop I had to get off at) and he said he was visiting friends in Rovereto too and its not a town its just what the station is called so things werent adding up. It seemed to me that he just didnt know what he was talking about and stuff so I said to him that I was going to the washroom and I went away and checkd the screen that tells which train stops at which platform and the town my train was going to was actually called Bolzanno. So he didn't even know what the train he was apparently taking was called. as I was looking at the screen he followed me down and I was scared so I booked it away and went back to the platform. I decided to look for some backpackers who probably knew english so I could tell them what was going on and stay with them, but the train wasnt going to a tourist area so there wasn't anyone I could tell was going to speak english fluently and understand my problem. So I went out to the main area where the ticket desks are and looked for some type of Police or security but there wasn't any, probably because the train I was taking was one of the last of the night. I started freaking out a bit more but the train was going to be there in like 5 minutes so I had to go to the platform and I tried to hide myself a bit but then he came up the stairs so I walked the other way and stood at the other side of the stairs so I could walk down the stairs and up the other side if he came, which he did, but the train came so I couldn't go down because I would risk missing the train, which wouldn't have been a good idea at all. There was a couple guys my age that were speaking Italian and a girl also around my age too who wasn't with the boys but was near them and she was obviously Italian so I figured my best bet was to stay near them because chances are they knew some English from school. As we were getting on the train went behind so they would get on first and I could sit near them. When the train came the guy walked pretty far to go in the same set of doors as me, it was obvious what he was doing because he just stared at me and he walked past a couple other open doors to go inside the train. But he didn't look like he was going to get on the train, he didn't have bags with him, he didn't walk near the doors, nothing signaling he was really interested in getting on the train, so I felt a little relieved because I thought maybe he would just leave and not get on the train. Also I should probably mention that there is no one checking the tickets on the trains so it is very easy for someone to walk on a train without a ticket risking the chance of a random ticket check. I knew this before I came to Europe because I was warned about people asking travelers who are alone where they are going and it's easy for that person to also say that is where they are going as well. But anyways I sat in my own group of seats, on the train there is 2 sets of 2 seats that face eachother so enough seats for 4 people to sit and so I put my bags so that 3 of the seats were taken, and a couple minutes went by and he hadn't got on the train so I was relieved thinking maybe he went and go on another car, or maybe he's not taking the train. But then he did get on and he sat down in the open seat in my little pod. He started talking about how he was going to visit some friends in Rovereto and then go back to Verona later, but once again Rovereto is an Italian town, but not in the area that I was going, Rovereto is simply the name of a train station in another town called Trentino, where I was being picked up. I sat there and debated getting up and walking away and I almost didn't because I thought that would be rude, but finally I did. I sat in the seat across from the Italian girl, and across the aisle were the two Italian boys, but the black guy was behind us and the boys laughed because I think they had some idea of what was going on. Then the girl asked me if I wanted her to move her suitcase because it was right beside me and I said si but then I asked her in Italian if she spoke english and she did so I told her that guy was scaring me. She and I talked a bit and we were both were getting off the same stop so she said she would walk with me. The guy went and sat in another car and eventually when our stop came we got off but we didn't see him so I dont know if he got off at Rovereto. But fabrizio met me on the platform so I had him to protect me anyways. I told him what happened and he said that girls traveling alone really have to be careful! I am used to random people talking to me, it happens quite often both in Calgary and now here in Italy. Italian guys are a little sleazy and always try to talk to any girl, so it's usually easy to just brush it off as the way they are, and not give it a second thought. But there was just something about this guy that just wasn't right, I had a really weird feeling about him right from the beginning, so when he wouldn't leave me alone I got progressively more and more terrified. I have thought about this constantly the last couple days because it was so scary, and thought about what his intentions might have been? I don't know if he wanted to rob me because I'm a small female tourist who is probably carrying lots of money and probably couldn't put up much of a fight, or if there was other things he wanted from me, or maybe he was just a social person who was looking for a friend and maybe had good intentions? I don't really care, I can happily live the rest of my life without knowing the answer to this question. I hope though that if he had good intentions I didn't hurt his feelings by being rude and walking away from him.

Then Im reading a book about the Amanda Knox murder in Italy thing, and the guy who followed me around the train station looks a lot like the black guy named Rudy Guede whos DNA they found in the room where Meredith Kercher was murdered. That man was convicted and is in jail now so it obviously wasn't him but I was a little shocked when I was looking at the pictures in the book yesterday!

So Verona was more of a learning experience then a sight seeing tour. I learned that I really need to be more organized, and go to places having a plan. I also learned that I have to keep my mouth shut to shady characters!

Posted by kendahlc 14:53 Comments (0)

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