Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to the US - eventually!

The past few months have been crazy - good, bad, sad, happy - but I feel like I need to write a little update if even to keep a little record just for myself.  I said good-bye to Italy for an unspecified amount of time.  Before I left, everybody kept asking me if I was going home - Yes - Forever? - Well, for a while.  I'm taking all my stuff so... ma la vita e` lunga (but life is long).  This was pretty much my standard response.  My roommate Grazia is convinced that I will come back to Italy and who knows (see above).  I like to think that I will come back some day.  I left a big part of my heart there, mostly with all of the amazing people that I left.  It makes me sad to think about how wonderfully I was treated and what good friends I'm made - so I know for sure that I will see them again.  And I really miss speaking Italian, as much as I struggled with it for so long, I Want to speak it now.  My first instinct when someone speaks to me in a foreign language is to respond in Italian...yet sadly they still don't understand.  I don't really know how to sum up my Italian years - they were a wonderful experience that I will never forget.
However, I am super excited to be going back home and to be near my family and enjoy some American comforts, so that helped with all the sadness of leaving and trying not to say good-bye.  Plus it really seemed like I was just going on a 3 month vacation (which I am) - just without at return trip to Italy this time. 

The Long Way Home...SF via Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Kenya & Tanzania..

Since I am jobless now, I figured that I would spend some time travelling on my way home. So I hopped on a plane to Athens on July 4th to join my sister Amanda and travel buddy Tamarin.  I'll give you a brief rundown of our trip so far.  Athens (old ruins, mostly lone columns; dirty city; awesome gyros; Pantheon).  Santorini (beautiful sunset over white houses, lots of pool and beach time; relaxation). Naxos (beach). Samos (waterfall hike, greenery).  Ephesus (awesome ruins of the old city, sad temple with only one column remaning, lots of mosques, St. John church). Pamukkale (the coolest, strangest calcite formations ever in the middle of nowhere - you really ought to check this link Pics).  Capadoccia (rock formations, musty somewhat suffocating cave room, beautiful valleys, hot air balloon ride, finally some hiking, HOT WEATHER!, again, one of the strangest, most unique geologic places set in the middle of nowhere). Anakara (layover). Istanbul (lots of mosques, breaking the Ramadam fast with everyone else, Bosphorous river cruise between the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea - Asia and Europe, bazaars, persistant waiters, churches and palaces). And now BULGARIA (so far the beautiful Rila Monastery, Germanic Plovdiv architecture, and KFC).  I'll post a few pics for you to see but really you should check out Amanda's on Facebook, or I might post some later.

So far I've been travelling for 5+ weeks - the longest ever so far.  At times it has seemed long, I have to admit, but mostly I was just ready for the 100 degree weather to end.  Thankfully, the past two days here it has rained and cooled down some and there is hope that this will continue for another week or so.  Amanda went home on Wednesday and part of me wanted to go back with her - but most of me is so excited for Africa on Sept 1st that I am happy to keep travelling.  Not that I want to go home - just a few days of being able to cook my own food, sleep in a comfy bed, and have a shower that is not directly over the toilet, reliable internet, no more lugging huge suitcases around (Africa equipment).  But Bulgaria has been a nice change - I feel like I am back in Europe and back home.  Tomorrow we are off to Bucharest Romania and from there we will rent a car to explore the countryside for a while.  It should be great, beautiful and hopefully very, very green and nature-y!
So - a short update - but I am still alive, super priveleged to be travelling and experiencing so many different things and to have gotten to spend 5 weeks with my little sister - and ready for more adventure..

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