Goodbye Europe.. see you in an unknown number of months

 Our second day boating was equally as stupendous as the first. All I know is I was getting sad that my goodbyes were getting close. These people are just too good to me to leave this place.
 We got a little crazy with the photography today. Lorenzo even had a sealable pouch made to put your iphone in, so we could take underwater photos.
 This girl be pazza. But I love her.
 We played some cards… which seems to be mandatory while near water of any kind.
As the amazing tour guides they are.. they took me to see another Island near where they live. I feel so honored going to these places, because I feel like its a rare occurrence that a tourist (like myself) gets to see these wonderful places.
This is Tino Island.
 This statue is right next to Tino Island and was purposefully placed there so ships won’t hit a wall that naturally stands below the water.
 All along this island there are many little caves that have light blue (azzurra) water in them. Just beautiful.
My final day we spent to Corniglia and finally got to go swimming there. The first day I went there the water was too choppy and dangerous. Did a little cliff jumping while we were at it.
 Lorenzo jumping.. In his new Italia swim shorts he had to purchase there, because he forgot his.
I’m always scared as poo before I jump, but its always easier than I think, and then I like it.
 And after a little while of coaxing, Cathe took the first leap of the summer.
Our last photos together. Basically feels like family now.
 I’m afraid I will forever compare every other coast to this coast. Official last photo together.
And now for some bloopers and/or photos I never posted from the past couple weeks I was meaning to.
 I’m sure Matteo was saying some smart remark, (Cathe laughed at everything he said)… and my face was most likely a mixture of confusion because it was in Italian, and also me knowing it was something humorous.
 I’m not sure whats going on here.. but its funny
 The beautiful Martina and I walking the coast at night..
 …with Lorenzo and Matteo.
That night we went to a huge local pot lock type dinner. Everything Seafood.
I never know how to wrap up one of these trips on here. In a nut shell traveling is for everyone, and it changes everyone. You learn more about yourself, and your desires than in ANY other setting. You get more addicted to going places.. but most of all you will never be the same after these places.
 If I should be so bold to say, you become a better version of yourself.
And since I can’t seem to muster up the verbiage to end this in the perfect way, I guess I’ll just say goodbye til my next trip, which should be sooner than later.
 I’m holding my breath.
Goodbye Europe.. see you in an unknown number of months

Beginning of the end.

 The last couple days were spent on the water.. just how I pictured the end of my trip to be.
It was all a dream. If someone told me 6 months ago that I’d be in Italy on the coast boating with Italians…. i’d laugh at them. I’m extremely grateful with how my life turned out this year. Life changing.. all of this.
Matteo, Martina’s boyfriend, owns a boat that he took us out on. This wasn’t a typical lake mead experience.. We were on the LINGURIAN SEA. (near the Mediterranean). Most beautiful water, extremely salty, but we didn’t seem to complain much.
 I hang out with models.. ha
 Lorenzo and I
 Matteo, a local Portovenerian, also the most animated hilarious Italian I know. Even when I couldn’t understand what he was saying, I knew he was saying something funny, just with how the tone of his voice would get crazy.
 Riomaggiore .. first city of Cinque Terre, we drove the boat up to the coast and picked up Martina from work, and the rest of the day was spent on the boat.
 Cathe, Martina, and Matteo
 Matteo let Catherina drive us back to their neck of the woods, a little scared, but she did a perfect job.
 My favorite couple.
 Before we went home, we went and watched a practice rowing match, in preparation for the BIG race in August. Along the Linguria, there are many villages, all connected, and each of them have a rowing team that compete. Its like their football, they live for this sport, and its a huge honor to the village that wins the big race.
 Its not a surprise how many people own their own boats, try everyone. The locals come out to watch.
 Portovenere flag. The village Matteo is from.
 Marola, and neighboring village to Portovenere.
 I just… uh.. well.. my finger slipped and accidentally took this photo.
 such a unique sport, made for the coastal folk. I enjoyed it very much!
 They love eachother.
Lorenzo stealing photos.
I hope this video works. Later that night, we watched a futbol match, and Italia took the win, and this was the celebration of the win. Those who know me, know I love people and the love for their sports.
It was as near to a perfect day as they come.
A part of me hates looking at these photos because I knew there would come the day that It would only be a memory instead of a reality that I was living at the present time. I’m so thankful it happened though, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Beginning of the end.

Milano Roadtrip

Two of the Viani women and I took a two hour roadtrip to the city if Milan yesterday.  After getting a little lost looking for a ladies house that was selling Sonia some tables, we made it to the center of the city to the Duomo. The most famous cathedral in Milan. For obvious reasons I’m sure, because its a beauty.. and since this is the fashion city of the world, there was incredible shopping all around the center.
 I was expecting it to look a lot dirtier for some reason, from seeing past photos of the duomo.
 Inside the Duomo.
 These were sculpted into the door of the cathedral.
i’m a germaphobe when it comes to them. is that bad? I’m not like the bird lady on Home Alone.
 Europe, could you please do me a solid, and get rid of your overload of cigarettes? its a sick habit, and makes these beautiful landmarks difficult to walk around when I’m constantly walking through a casino….. outside. 
Its just not cute, no matter what age you are. quit it.
p.s. for you high schoolers that already smoke a pack a day, I fear for your lungs in the future.
 This definitely happened. This was for my homegirl Kaitlyn whom i was traveling with before…. just in case she didnt get the opportunity to add Italy on the list of places shes ate Mcdonalds. Its so much more delicious here then in the states.
 I WISH i was here for the finals.
 easily could be the best photo of us.
 Its pretty cool to be able to travel by car trough Italy. To go on the highway and stuff, instead of just using trains. Unfortunately on our way home we got a flat. what are the odds.
 This is wonder woman. She can do everything. The tire went flat so she pulled over and with a calm attitude she quickly got her orange vest out (which i learned you have to have when you’re out of the car on the highway). It was about 10:30 at night.. homegirl changed a tire basically by herself,
She’s such a champ.
She likes to do things herself, and her way, so we attempted to sort of help, but she scolded us to get back so we weren’t in danger of the cars passing. She’s extremely selfless, and would do anything for the people she cares about. I adore her. Within time, and with a little help from the highway patrol, we made it home after a long HOT day in Milan. Still an eventful and great day.
Apparently this week is he hottest week in Italy this year.
Rome was the hottest its been in 200 years today. woah. The news informed us of that.
 Sounds like I’ll be at the beach this week then.
Milano Roadtrip

Cathe’s arrival back to Italy

 The day has arrived. Catherina flew into Pisa from Vegas. After the longest flights of her life, she came out of the airport with a smile on her face and ready to be my personal translator. Hallelujah.
She survived..
 …The USA.
Its hard to do, i know.
 Love this girl.
 Her brother and I came in one car, and as you may know, Europeans are speed demons, so we got there a little earlier than the rest of the party, but they were only seconds behind.
 And got the sign out just in time for the rest of the airport to see it, and make it super embarrassing;D just kidding, it was awesome!
 Momma got the first hug.
 And her best friend Kerre (sp?)… whom I love now as well. She’s the sweetest, and let me ride on the back of her vespa when we went out that night
 The whole group!
 Then the whole group with me.
 You could tell she was excited to speak Italian again with everyone. What a lovely language.
bucket list of mine: learn Italian.
 adorable best friend.
 When we arrived at Catherina’s home, her friends threw her a surprise get together party.
 She had no idea, success.
 Her mother slaved over all this authentic food for almost 24 hours. That woman is a saint. Its the truth. They iron every piece of fabric in the house. Even the bed sheets and underwear. I kid you not. totally besides the point, but that popped in my mind.
 La Spezia is known for providing these oysters guys. They’re popular because of how close to the coast they live.
 Always working, I don’t think she ever sits down.
 The party was a success and it seemed like everyone had a good time. When the friends left, the fam got their gifts from Vegas. They loved em!
 Grandma wanted to make sure it looked like she was kissing the camera when I took this. They were so grateful for the gifts!
We didn’t waste time and went to the beach later that day, and then today again.
 we were happy to have her back in our lives. And I love knowing the conversations the fam has in Italian now. Thanks to my translator. She gets translator of the year, easily.
I can’t believe this trip has to end, I DON’T WANT IT TO.
Loving it all. This is a rad country, and i can’t wait to come back, even though I haven’t left yet.
The Viani’s can’t even know how much i’m loving everyday. Even just doing their everyday life things are so fascinating to me. I could live here. The first thing I’d have to get used to is how stinking narrow the streets are, I constantly have my own brake pedal on the passenger side, and cover my eyes at least 5 times a drive because I think we’re goners.
Things to do when i get back to America:
-get a Vespa (to save money on gas of course)
-get fresh mozzarella
-start watching more Soccer (futbol)
more to come…
Cathe’s arrival back to Italy

Isola Palmaria

 Go to an Island.. check.
We’ve been waiting for prime weather, and we were given it today. Martina and I took a boat to an Island named Palmaria.  
Isola Palmaria (Isola= Island). I’ve never been to an Island, at least not one that I could walk from one side to the next in a couple hours maybe. I consider it a first.
 my lifes rough.
 I instantly insisted that this is the bat boat. Instead of the batmobile, this is what Batman cruises on. It has to be.
 I just think homes built into a hill and or mountain are so lovely. Not to mention the coast is at the bottom of this hill, makes it lovelier.
 Martina is so beautiful, and so patient with me and the language difference.
 The edge of the Island.
 The view from the Island across the narrow part of water looking upon Portvenere.
 Then my view for about 5 hours, Not complaining.
 Here you see the castle church Lorenzo and I went to in my last post.
 Okay so heres the thing, Birkenstocks are going to come back into style in America starting right when i return. Best shoes ever. I don’t know why they ever went out. I mean, sure, you’re mom may have worn them in the 80s, but where the poop did they go after that. Well i’ll tell you they became a craze here in Europe. So Its going to happen. Just you watch America.
 They were a birthday gift from Martina and Matteo.
 The San Fransisco of Italy
 see through your lashes
 the sky almost looks gray huh
 mmm, within time locals have beef jerky skin. sexy.
 It was about time to get in the aqua. Homegirl was getting fried.
 The rocks at the bottom of the shallow part jacked up my feet, and when I returned found a couple blood part.  I had to sacrifice for the photo. worthit.
 Martina was my photographer for my Little Mermaid idea.
 Which backfired quickly because I totally slipped and almost busted my head on this perfectly slanted rock. It was screaming my name out there in the middle of the ‘canal’ i guess you could say.
 It was also that birds home, he was eating a fish on it when I arrived, right next to a huge puddle of white poo he had mustered up for my present. bless you birdy.
To finish off the day, we went to a local pub in the center of La Spezia and watched some of the
Italy vs. Croatia futball game with Lorenzo and his friends. I love when locals get into their sport with their team. Theres really nothing like it. Reminds me of game nights at Buffalo Wild Wings back home.
I have said many times that the coast is for me. And I really think that I was made for the beach, pools, water, and sun. etc.
Such a perfect day, hope I don’t feel the burn of my red skin tomorrow.
Isola Palmaria

Dayyyy… I don’t even know now.

 I could live in La Spezia. really though. Kaitlyn and Kaitlyn #2’s last full day we finally got to go to Cinque Terre. And it didn’t disappoint. The first town we went to was Monterosso. The farthest town from La Spezia and the most tourist of towns because it has the best public beach area. We needed to sit on that sand and people watch. Europeans are the most interesting to watch.
 I decided to face the fact.. that i made fun of these shoes for YEARS… and i swore i would never own a pair. But i caved in, and i have. not. regretted it. for one minute.
Perfect for any outdoor thing you do. So I am now a constant salewoman of Chacos.
(who am i? what happened to me?)
no regrets yo.
 American Tourists… we think they’re from Jersey. a compilation of us creeping on them
 These girls were dancing on the rocks, not sure how they didn’t break themselves.
 The Asian women on the beach all walk around offering massages. for a price of course. I’m not sure i’d let a stranger roaming the beach give me a massage.
 Corniglia (the middle town) in the distance. So beautiful.
 really great statue, missing an arm, but I like it that way.
 local #2
 In Monterosso on this day there was religious celebration where they cover the streets with flower pedals and colorful rocks. Really incredible.
 coolest tradition ever.
 We ran into Martina, the sister that i’m staying with, and she took our photo with Monterosso in the background. Martina is a police woman for this town… basically the hottest police woman you’ll ever see. no joke.
 Went to 2 more out of the 5 towns in Cinque Terre. But it started raining, so we didnt take many more pictures, we just needed to find shelter.
 Puddle jumping needed to happen.
 this world is piccola (“small” in italiano)
While we waited in the last town of the day, we overheard someone say something about aggies. We looked at eachother wondering if there may be an Italian word that sounds like aggies, but then an American walked over and said “excuse me, do you go to Utah State” we of course said we did.
We had ran into a professor from Utah State. Ended up being the coolest, most energetic teacher, ever. So hilarious, she is a Theater teacher, so you can imagine her spunk.
long story short, we ended up talking to her for like an hour, and she is getting Kaitlyn into one of her classes in the fall. It was fantastic. She was also traveling with an Australian girl that is my age, they had just met at a 2 week Italian class in Tuscany. She was one the most impressive and amazing girls I had met. Definitely an instant friend.
She just graduated from college too. Her and I both feel like we are about to face a pre-mid-life crisis. So instead of facing what to do with her life, she travels. Something I can strongly relate to.
I wish I got a picture with her.
 The next day, my friends left for Rome, and I stayed here in La Spezia.
I got a tour of almost all of La Spezia. With a personal tour guide:
Lorenzo, the brother of my exchange sister Catherina, drove me around to see some of the popular places La Spezia has to offer. He was very kind to take time out of his holiday week to do this. Lorenzo and I both have the same nickname. Lori.. so we often times both answer to people when they speak to us.
 He took me to an old castle church on Portevenere (a town next to La Spezia).. it was lovely. Check out that teal water.
Decoration on the door. Chicken, si?
 eating my hair
 Next we went to another neighboring town and found a nice group of big rocks to sit on and watch the beautiful water, and absorbed some sun.
 All was well, until a huge wave soaked us. You can’t really tell because his jeans are black, but they were completely wet. So funny! We had an old lady take a picture of both us soaked, but homegirl had to get in her purse to get her glasses then she ‘took the photo’ and handed it back, but she didn’t click the right thing.
This is where we were sitting. the wave popped out of nowhere.
 Can this scene just permanently be engraved in my mind?
 please and thank you to modern technology of photography.
 Later we went to a cafe type place for drinks.. in Italy it is normal to have a beverage before dinner. Lorenzo just ordered this for me, because I couldn’t read the menu. It was delicious.
I’m having the best time with this family.
Language barrier.
(which creates many laugh attacks, because i’ve said some stupid things in Italian on accident)
and lots of it.
Adoro Italy
Dayyyy… I don’t even know now.

Day 24 La Spezia (Cinque Terre – Corniglia)

After a long time of being a traveling gypsy, moving place to place every other day or so, we finally made it to La Spezia, my last destination technically. And the longest I’ll be in one spot. Mmm it feels just dandy. So today, our first full day here was also my birthday. How does that work out, two birthdays in a row in Europe? I’m so blessed. Next year I think i’ll want to have a good ol’ fashioned American birthday, but for now i’m soaking in my foreign birthday. I became 22 a few hours before I would have been in America. And it lasted longer, so technically its still my birthday in America.
 We went to Corniglia, where the grandparents live. They own a bed and breakfast in Corniglia. Corniglia is the middle town of the 5 that create Cingue Terre (5 towns).
 Its gotta be rough to have this view out of your kitchen terrace to look at everyday. I really think i could look at this every minute for the rest of forever.
 My camera battery ran out just before we got here, so thank you iphone for being my backup. You did a good job.
 We are fed really well. too well. holy. I kind of have a feeling they give us so much food because they assume since we’re American that we eat huge portions, to get fat. Its all so freshly made, that we aren’t complaining. And SO delicioso. For birthday lunch we were fed pesto spaghetti. Italians love their carbs. Its a good thing we walked about 500+ stairs today.
 Oh I forgot to tell you how difficult the language barrier is. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but there is alot of nodding and just saying “si si” or “bella” and lots of “grazie” … we gaze at eachother with blank stares and laugh at eachothers lack of what the other is saying. Its quite fun. So we weren’t aware that we were staying in Corniglia til night, or we would have gotten more ready for the day. We thought we were only going to go swimming and then come back. Thats kind of why we look like we’ve been camping for a week.
 To get down the the water there are 300 and something steps. By the time we got down there the water got semi scary and rough and the clouds rolled in. Just our luck. So we ended up just putting our feet in and laying out under the clouds. lol
We found our way back by ourselves (so proud) and we walked in and Sonia (the mom) gestured for us to walk around Corniglia more before dinner. I didn’t really understand why. I kinda assumed she was frustrated with me not knowing her language so we ended up sitting outside for some time talking, because we got kicked out.
Grandma is in the photo here, as we help her with dinner, and laugh at her cuteness. She INSISTED we put sweaters on.. so here Kaitlyn and I are wearing her sweaters.
She is just such a lovely woman with the coolest spirit.
 I later found out she was actually making me this masterpiece and she didn’t want me to see her make it. ahhhh! it is my favorite! Fruit pizza. I told her it was my favorite and she was so shocked, because she had no idea. It was perfect. She is so nice to me!!
 The wind wasn’t allowing the candles to stay lit, team effort to get those suckers a-flame so i could make a wish yo.
 Then, Martina & Matteo (sister and boyfriend) gifted me with a pair of Berkenstocks. YES! My exchange sister, Catherina, has a white pair that she lives in and I loved them, so I was pretty pumped. I just met this family in person for the first time yesterday and they’re already buying me Berkenstocks. Thats love.
 Lorenzo, the brother, gave me two Oasis cds. He has nice taste in music, and these are two of his favorite albums, it was a great gift.
Sonia and Augustine (the parents) gave me some money to go spend shopping.
I am the luckiest foreigner in the world.
Welp, another year has come and gone. Can I just please stay young. Or can time just stop.
Definitely was a birthday I will never forget. I felt so loved and taken care of.
I have a special place in my heart for this part of Europe. I feel like I have familia here.
If only I could get this language down;)
Day 24 La Spezia (Cinque Terre – Corniglia)