Day 1

**This post is the first of a series called "Tourist Attractions" in which I write about MY Study Abroad experience, and those of others.**

*This post was a journal entry written on May 7th, 2009, the day after my Study Abroad group arrived in Rome, Italy.*

Yesterday, Mom, the little girls and the boys (basically all my siblings) took me to the airport. I was a little nervous so I forgot to say goodbye as I rushed to catch my first flight (out of three) to Italy.

The first flight was good. I cried a little bit (because I realized that I forgot to say goodbye to my family and because I had a crappy seat and couldn't extend my legs), but the flight went by fast and I was able to get off and find the boarding area for my second flight just fine. My second flight was delayed about 40 minutes so I had plenty of down time, which I spent laying around and looking up words in my Italian/English Dictionary. Since we had such a late take-off with my second flight when we arrived in Philadelphia (to catch the next flight to Italy) we had to book it to the next terminal in order to board our flight to Rome. I say we because I met six of the other Study Abroad girls on the second flight, so I wasn't alone in running through the airport (thank goodness)!

The last flight kind of sucked. I was stuck between two older men. One spent the entire time sleeping and the other had his headphones on the entire time and refused to acknowledge my existence. I swallowed a sleeping pill the moment I boarded (as my mom had suggested), but tried to stay awake until after we ate dinner. After dinner however, I was out (although I could never truly get comfortable, so I drifted in and out of sleep a lot)!

We arrived in Rome at about 10 AM, and after picking up our luggage proceeded to wait for the rest of our Study Abroad group to arrive from their various flights. Megan (one of the girls from my flight) accidently left her laptop on the plane, so even after everyone was ready we had to wait a little while longer while she went to talk to some Airport Employees. They didn't see her laptop so she gave them her information just in case and then we left.

The airport is quite a ways away from Central Rome so we had to take a bus into the city. The bus ride itself was pretty uneventful, but it sure was interesting seeing to see the popular European cars which, as my friend Nancy put it, had no butts. Also, all the motorcyclists were crazy! They'd zoom over the dividing line into on-coming traffic, swerve all over the highway lanes and basically did whatever they wanted!

Before we left for Italy, Steve had told us that Italians had no respect for the female body so we should prepare ourselves for advertisements in which the woman's breasts would be in full view, however we were lucky enough not to see anything like that (for which I'm truly grateful).

When we arrived at the hotel we discovered that our Study Abroad group had basically rented out the entire top floor, causing everyone to have access to a balcony. I roomed with Nancy, Kate and Celeste and it was a BLAST just getting to know each other as we settled in.
Nancy, Kate, Me and Celeste
The hotel staff offered to serve us Lunch (On the House), which we gratefully accepted. After we all had our fill everyone split up into groups, some of us took a nap, others went to the near-by internet cafe and other unpacked (I reviewed the readings we would go over later).
Kate, Me and Celeste looking over our balcony
Around 4pm Steve took us all out for a little tour of the city, We took a stroll down to The Vatican City (which is closed off from the Rome by a huge, slanting wall) and then we got Gelato (best invention ever)! At 7pm we ate dinner in the hotel's restaurant. We were served soup (I believe it was minestrone), some type of beef, and string beans. For dessert they served us a small portion of tiramisu. It was all soooo good!

After dinner we all got together and played card games. It was so nice outside that we decided to sleep out on the balcony. We drug out all of our mattresses and slid them next to each other so that some girls from the other rooms could join us. Before going to sleep I took a shower, so when I was finally ready to pick a sleeping spot there wasn't much left. So I ended up at the edge of the mattress row with the corner of a blanket draped over me.

Needless to say, I was freezing all night long (sigh).

*Day 2 of the Study Abroad trip will be presented next Tuesday!*

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