Family in Florence!

Thinking back to the weeks leading up to my departure for Italy, I remember worrying, “How am I going to survive a whole month in a foreign country before my family comes to see me?”. Little did I know that I would be so acclimated to and comfortable with my life in Florence, that when my mom texted me about the logistics of meeting up with her, my dad, and 3 brothers in Rome, I would be shocked that a month had already flown by. 

The five of them decided to travel to Rome before Florence, so after they had landed, I met up with the group while they began to explore the city. I’ve done a lot of sight-seeing for the past two months, but nothing will top the view of seeing my family for the first time after being apart so long. It was so special knowing that my favorite people in the world were going to be able to experience one of my favorite places in the world. 

I could pretend that it was a perfectly normal family-trip, but things are never perfect nor normal when we are together. Some of our chaotic moments on our first day, to name a few, include:

  • Giving my last euro to my brother Peter to use to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain, only for him to use it on a gelato instead
  • The same brother sneaking off from the group approximately six times to go to McDonald’s
  • My brother Albert telling Peter that his lungs will “get stronger” if he doesn’t use his inhaler, resulting in Peter feeling out of breath on minute 1 of our 3 hour tour
  • My dad saying “Gracias” instead of “Grazie” every time he went to thank someone, even though all of his kids reminded him not to do it the next time
  • My family taking me out to dinner to celebrate a belated-21st birthday, and then the waiter bringing complementary Prosecco to the table to everyone except my brother in high school and myself, because he assumed we were underage. Keep in mind the drinking age in Italy is 18!

Since all of these events occurred within our first hours of being together, I’m sure you can imagine just how dysfunctional the rest of their visit was. With that being said, I’m so lucky to have been able to make these funny memories with my family in such an amazing part of the world. I wouldn’t have wanted our trip, or our family for that matter, to be any other way 🙂

Galway Getaway

One of the reasons that I chose to study abroad in Italy is because of my heritage, as my mom is 100% Italian. However, my dad is almost completely Irish, so I felt it was only fair to visit Ireland too. Seeing my best friends who are studying abroad in Galway having a blast via social media may have been a bigger factor in my decision though…

The fun that I saw from afar certainly translated to my trip. The second I got off of my bus, my friends welcomed me by taking me to a pub (it was 3:00 in the afternoon might I add). Little did I know it but this was a glimpse of what my trip would consist of- we spent 75% of our time in pubs. I’m definitely not complaining though, I’m now a huge fan of hard cider and “Baby Guiness” shots.

I learned that people are not just spending time in pubs for the alcohol, but because of the amazing live music that so many have to offer. From traditional Irish folk music to covers of modern songs, the performers brought a special ambience to each bar.

“Special” is certainly a word I’d use to describe Ireland. Everyone is so friendly, even my cashier at the drug store gave me such a sincere “have a great day!” I hope I inherited more Irish genes than Italian ones in terms of kindness, as the people I encounter daily in Florence aren’t necessarily the friendliness. I can’t wait until I can return to beautiful Ireland, but for now I’ll keep the other homeland company 🙂