25 May 2012

Best of ATL: LT&C Edition

I started my Internship for the summer at Cobb Travel and Tourism. My main job is to help the county bring film & television productions to our area. I talked about it in article I wrote for my Feature Writing class in March and now, I'm actually working for the people who make it happen! I love it so far.

Now that I have a set schedule and I'm up at 7 AM, I'm finding my days to be a lot more productive. With all that time I'm not working, I really want to take the time to get know the city I've lived in for 21 years. Not really a bucket list, but just some fun things to do.

Three-ish months in Atlanta this summer. 
That's a lot of time to discover a really awesome city...
... and even though I'm not in Europe anymore, I don't want to stop exploring. 

I've decided I want to visit Senoia (The Walking Dead is filming there now ahhh!), see a movie at the Fox Theatre, eat at the Atlanta Food Truck Lot, go on a Marietta Ghost Tour, visit the new World of Coke Museum and more.

A lot of you who read this blog live in Atlanta or have visited awesome places nearby. So I'm asking you for some suggestions about your favorite things. TELL ME!

22 May 2012

The 5 Stages of Grief: Study Abroad Edition

1. Denial – The days leading up to May 16, packing, saying goodbyes, throwing a coin the Trevi, heading to the airport, getting on the plane... Is this really happening? We're not actually leaving.. right?

2. Anger – I'm just mad I had to leave Rome, my friends, a wonderful school, the opportunity to explore and be on my own. This anger stage still comes out from time to time. Ask those closest to me. 

3. Bargaining –"Ok, Mom & Dad... Just let me stay for a few weeks after to travel. I reallyyyy wanted to go to Budapest and Munich..."

4. Depression – Not even Crazy, Stupid, Love, Casablanca and an ice cream sundae on the airplane could ease my heavy heart. I woke up from my nap wondering where my roommates were and if the kitchen was clean only to find myself on the airplane headed to Atlanta. Yeah, I cried. Then cried again when my sister gave me a collage of pictures of my trip. Then cried again when I was singing by myself in the car.

5. Acceptance – When the plane landed in Atlanta, we were one of the first group of passengers to go through the new terminal. It opened earlier that day. The employees were excited, the walkways were beautiful and I got to see my family for the first time... in a few weeks. It's been a little overwhelming since then, but I'm happy. Driving is more fun than I remembered. I love having Netflix on Demand. I can stretch out my arms in bed and not touch a wall. There's no sirens, no neighbors yelling at 8 AM, no dirty floors. My friends smiling faces and genuine happiness at my return gives me a little slap in the face. Life is good and all of the exciting things happening at home makes me feel ok about being back. It happened. It was wonderful. Now, get on with your life but don't forget a second. 

Before I left, there was a C.S. Lewis quote that I constantly repeated when I was sad or anxious about spending four months away. "There are far, far better things that lay ahead than any of those we leave behind." Lewis is a smart man and I believed his words. Now, I'm repeating it again and looking at things lying ahead. I may turn around a lot and think of Italy, but hey... who wouldn't?

Ciao Amici.
...and by 'Ciao', I mean 'a domani', because the blog is keeping on. 

10 May 2012

T - 6 Days

Piazza Navona
This is my 100th blog post. Can you believe it?

Time is fading away in Rome. I'm a bit devastated. I don't know how else to say it. Hence why I haven't been blogging too much lately.

Luckily, my friend Sarah was here this weekend remind me about how great life is back at home. She left on Monday to head to Florence for the rest of the month.

We had a great weekend, slept a lot, walked around Roma, had some amazing food. This week, I spent a lot of time working on a 2,500 word paper about the Italian perception of McDonald's. I turned it in yesterday. One class down, three to go.

It's really frustrating that my last week in Rome is getting filled up with studying. I'm in the courtyard studying for Italian for a bit, then spending the afternoon walking around this beautiful city. I'll be home this time next week and I couldn't be more grateful for my four months in Rome.

No doubt, I'm taking that home with me. I'll be spending my summer, and the rest of my life, happy about my time in Rome.

Not going to get to sappy, yet. Time to study for Italian. Andiamo.

04 May 2012


Looking back on my four months, it's really hard to not have some regrets about the way I've spent my time. I've talked about my Brussels fiasco but mostly, I hate that I don't have enough TIME. I thought four months would be long enough, but there will always be a cafe left undiscovered and a beautiful museum I didn't see.

Then, I kick myself and realize I'm only 21.

I took that mindset to Barcelona last weekend and decided (I think our whole group decided) that we wouldn't leave a rock unturned. By that, I mean we slept very little... about 13 hours over three nights. I don't think I've ever spent a weekend with such a carefree attitude and I kinda loved it.

Spain is the best. Barcelona is insane. I had been before with my family when I was in high school but it was during Thanksgiving and everything was cold and wet. Definitely not the way Barcelona should be experienced.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and even the airport blew me away. Prapti and I had to make ourselves leave, which was a little bit easier to do after the free wi-fi expired. We got to the hostel, about a ten minute walk from Plaza Catalunya and waited for our other group members to arrive. Prapti and I passed the time with a lovely pitcher of sparkling sangria and some traditional Spanish cuisine, which I'm still unsure about.

Later that night was Opium. Incredible music, awesome environment and on the beach. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Friday: We rolled out of bed and headed to Sagrada Familia. I had seen the outside on a bus tour when I came to Barcelona before but never went inside. Gaudi took a little warming up to, for me. I've grown accustomed to the classical Roman styles but after stepping inside the church, it clicked for me. What a genius.

The church won't be completed for a new more decades. There's still some towers to be built and facades to construct, but still. It takes your breath away with the intricacies and color. I'm not an art person. I don't know how to correctly describe or critique art so I won't try. All I'm saying is that it's awesome.

We ate an amazing dinner at 4 Gats that night and my friend Madeline came with us! It was so awesome to get to spend time with her and her friends. Almost everyone in her program had left for the States, but we had a great time with the people still in Barcelona.

Razmatazz that night.

Saturday: We headed to the Boqueria market off of Las Ramblas for lunch. I had a calzone, some candy and two fruit juices. I could write a whole blog about this incredible culinary locale. Maybe I will, this summer when I'm home and going through Euro withdrawals.

Gummies at the Market
We spent the afternoon walking around Park Guell, another testament to Gaudi's brilliance. We walked around for a long time in awe. It felt more like a theme park without the rides... so whimsical.

That night for dinner, my friends Sarah came & met us at 7 Portes. It was the most delicious paella I've ever had and I loved catching up her. The rain put a little damper (ha) on things, but we still went back to the hostel and rallied for our last night in Barcelona. We went to this bar where you pay three euros and they give you the bottle to pour as much in as much liquor as you want. Dangerous. We ended the evening at Catwalk, another club near the beach. The rooftop patio was really awesome to see the city. I loved Barcelona, can you tell?

Rodney, Katie & I slept through our alarms a littleeeeee bit and had to hustle to get to the airport. By the time we landed in Rome, the exhaustion hit all three of us and I spent most of the day napping.

Maybe my whole 'young, wild, free' mantra isn't the best, but I'm enjoying every minute of it.