Home Sweet Home

Today, I cooked my own breakfast. I made scrambled eggs and was absolutely delighted when they didn’t stick to the pan like they did in Italy. I also had grape jelly for the first time in over three months & it was even better than I remembered. Some things are just better at home. That being said, I do miss Italy. I know I’ll have to go back someday — hopefully sooner rather than later. Here’s a little briefing of what’s gone on in my life since the last post & my plan for future posts. This post is picture heavy — Thank you, American wifi. Enjoy!

Venice

I spent a couple of days in Venice before returning home. What an interesting city… Venice is beautiful, as expected. We were in Venice at the perfect time of year. It was warm, but not too hot, and I can only imagine how many more tourists will show up in the coming weeks. I thought it was busy, but I’ve heard it gets much worse. It didn’t smell too bad (except during one part of our gondola ride… and then I got pooped on by a bird, so that was a memorable experience for several reasons). I was honestly disappointed by our gondolier… he was texting while boating. Yes, seriously. I did ask him about how he became a gondolier and he said that he learned from his father and that the family tradition went back five generations. Who knows if he was serious or if he’s just told to say that, but I really love Italy’s family business mentality. From little stores in Cortona to internationally renowned brands like Fendi, Italy thrives off of family businesses. Anyway, I’m still really happy we went on the gondola ride. It’s an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. Also, just being in a boat made me so happy. I adore going to the lake and to the beach, so being in Venice felt like a nice little vacation at the end of our short semester. I spent the majority of my time there with a good friend from the trip, Becca, and we saw the major sights like Piazza San Marco but also just walked around and got lost (which is unbelievably easy in Venice). We also saw the Peggy Guggenheim collection. Words can’t explain how amazing it was. There was a Jackson Pollock exhibition that had just opened & it was really incredible to see his work in person. All the textures… just amazing.

Pollock’s painting tools
Mondrian
This is a 3D printed version of one of Pollock’s paintings!
Willem De Kooning
Becca is a pro at saving gelato from falling on the ground.

We also had the “saddest happy hour,” in which everyone from the program got together and said our goodbyes until the reunion in January or possibly longer since some of the students were from schools in places as far as New York or California. It was kind of heartbreaking to leave my professors. After spending so much time with them in and out of class, it was hard to leave them. I’m thankful that most of them teach at UGA so that I can take their classes in the future, but I just felt that I needed to thank them for inspiring me so much in such a short amount of time. I was only with these people for three months, but I learned more than I could’ve imagined. I miss everyone already.

This is where they repair the gondolas. Supposedly, they don’t make any new ones anymore.
Not all of Venice’s streets are canals.
I’ll probably never be satisfied by gelato again until I go back to Italy.

Travel

Traveling from Venice isn’t too complicated, but there are a lot of different ways out of the city. I took a boat and actually ended up sitting next to an old couple from Georgia. The wife told me all about how they had lived in Italy and Spain and that it was impossible to pick a favorite city because they’re all so different and I have to agree with her. I loved Cortona the most, probably because I really made it my home by the end of the trip, but I also loved Florence and Assisi and so many other great places. It’s really difficult to pick a favorite. Anyway, after our hour and a half boat ride (sadly a gloomy day, so it wasn’t as enjoyable as it could’ve been), we arrived at the airport. I got a muffin, checked my bag, went through security and then walked around for a while in the airport because I was there so early. I was in Italy for three months and they didn’t even stamp my passport. Seriously. It wasn’t stamped on the way in the country nor on the way out… so strange.

Ciao, Venezia!

I flew from Venice to Amsterdam and can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was to have a window seat. We flew over the Alps when leaving Venice and when we were landing, we could see all of the tulips growing in Amsterdam. It was absolutely amazing.

Just couldn’t help but laugh at these awesome Pringles.

In the Amsterdam airport, they had a little station where people were charging their phones by pedaling on a stationary bike. I wish I would’ve done that just to say I did. I grabbed a cheeseburger from a neat little restaurant and a snack from Starbucks and went through customs. This time, they stamped my passport. So after three months in Italy, I have a stamp from Amsterdam, which I was in for three hours. Makes perfect sense. The plane ride to Atlanta wasn’t too bad, but I was almost in tears when we landed. The trip of a lifetime was finally over, and I was going to see my family and friends for the first time in way too long. Plus, I was in America. Who doesn’t love America?

I found a new appreciation for America while I was gone. Though I’m annoyed with how expensive fruits, vegatables, and mozzarella are here, I love being home. I have my family, friends, dog, car, and way more choices when I get dressed every day. Not to mention, heat. It’s so warm here and I love it. Also, I have Athens Church again, and nothing beats going there on Sundays.

Athens Church and the Future of this Blog

Last weekend, I went to Athens Church and got to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that makes the experience I’ve had there possible. I was so inspired to see so many people there giving their time to the church and doing something they love to do. It was so refreshing to see people who prayed together before starting their work. I felt so welcomed and so happy to have the opportunity to work with such incredibly talented people. I’m going to start volunteering with the production team in a few weeks and couldn’t be more excited about it. I don’t think there are many things more fulfilling than serving God through your work and your time.

While in Italy, I continued to grow in my relationship with God, and I realized that I should really start writing blog posts about that. I’ll start writing posts about things I’ve learned, things I’m still questioning, and things I’m working on in my relationship with God. Athens Church has given me a new perspective on Jesus that has absolutely changed my life and I just feel that I need to share some of the things I’ve learned. I’m really thankful that God’s working in my life in the way that He is right now.

Tried to listen to Andy Stanley in the airport… Nothing compares to actually being at Athens Church.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 118:29

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