At This Point, My Blood Has Turned To Espresso

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Ciao Ragazzi!

So it’s March I’ve been told. So let’s be honest here, February was kind of boring in terms of doing awesome things and having new experiences. March though, March has exceeded expectations. I really delayed this post because things kept happening and I knew I wanted to write about it all. So, my bad I guess.

I didn’t particularly want to post about our trip to Venice, but I needed to get this off my chest, because I agreed to share my experiences through this blog, and I guess that includes my strong dislike for Venice. I will however sum it up with this (to the tune of the Christmas favourite, the Ten Days of Christmas):
10 Hours in a monsoon
9 Umbrella funerals
8 Times almost buying boot sacks (see page called “no giving any cares” for a visual)
7 Billion people trying to catch the same taxi
6 “Zero out of 5” Trip Advisor restaurant reviews from angry GE students
5 Failed attempts to dodge the falling hail
4 Flooded Piazzas
3 Hours of driving on a bus with soaking wet feet
2 Hours waiting Titanic style for our lifeboats
1 Mess of a trip to Venice
The end!

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On to more positive thoughts. Finally! Finally, ladies and gentleman, I got to visit the love of my life: Cinque Terre. You would think every picture you see of this majestic sight on the internet is edited with crazy “filters” that kids use these days, but I swear they are accurate. I can now say that with confidence. After almost dying twice, being rebels and getting lost on a “closed” trail, and crying (actually though) over the natural beauty of this place, I am able to say that I’m starting a piggy bank to buy a house there. Who’s in for visiting?/paying my mortgage? I’m now accepting donations. I am already looking forward to going again in two weeks. That is actually all I can say about this place because nothing else can sum up my feelings other than, “Wow”. You done good Italy, you done good.

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Crossing things off my “to do before I die” list, is exactly what I’ve been doing. Last Friday I was given such a great opportunity to enjoy the wonderful weather on a bicycle in the Tuscan countryside. Having connections here has paid off. I had a blast and took some ridiculous pictures (as usual with this group). Saturday was Compleanno di le Donne, and I ran in the Rosamamosa women’s race through the hills in Firenze with a wonderful friend from work. After convincing the officials that yes, yes indeed I did have my heart examined by a doctor prior to registering but I forgot my papers in Canada, I was able to race and ended up finishing in the first quarter of the runners. Proud proud. But above all, we got t-shirts… So that happened. Enjoyed supper out with my work family and then wine with lady roommates. Wonderful celebrations. Sunday I finally went on my tour of the Tuscan countryside which Lauren and I won in January. We had a BLAST! So much wine, not enough food, meeting the equivalent of Irene in Italian male form, and baby sheep. BABY SHEEP! needless to say, it was a stellar weekend. Oh, yeah, and I now have an addiction to fresh ricotta.

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This week after having 2 lovely dinners with the Linguaviva family I had to say my first real goodbye. Our family of 4 surprised Boas at the train station before he left. It was film worthy. Climbing on board the train 5 minutes before it left for a bitter sweet group hug and tearful goodbye. It’s really hard to say goodbye to someone you love so much when you know you’ll most likely never see them again in your life. No. No! We will see each other again. We will. This I promise to myself.

After 3 hours of sleep we were up Sunday morning and at the bus station for our final GE group trip to Chianti country for hiking and wine tasting. What a great day full of funny pictures (duh), great wine, quality time with my lovelies, and of course grappa.

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I hate goodbyes and lay awake at night thinking about how I don’t know if I can say goodbye to these people. The thought alone breaks my heart. At the same time, guess what, Jo-Anne and Wendy are coming in 10 days!!! I simply cannot wait. I can’t wait to show them just how much I have learned and share with them as much as I possibly can.

I have been in pure bliss lately as I try and take in as much as I possibly can with two weeks left with my wonderful Lauren and everyone else I’ve met through this experience, but that aside, I am still my ridiculous self and so I shall share a few stories with you as per usual:
1) An elderly lady started talking to me on the bus. Instead of listening and figuring out what she was saying, my brain went into panic mode. As she babbled away, she winked at me and started laughing. I joined in and said “hahaha ohhh, si, si!”, which must have been the appropriate answer because she continued. The only word I caught was “Domenica”…Sunday. What? She cackled in the liveliest, friendliest way and yelled a bubbly “Ciao, Ciao!” as she got off the bus. To this moment I have NO idea what she said, or what was suppose to happen on Sunday. I can only imagine my facial expression after she exited. Brain dead.

2) So our kitchen flooded (aka a nameless roommate opened the washing machine while it was still going and then left for 5 days…. #responsibility). As Lauren tried to clean up the mess, she used every towel we have (which unfortunately makes a grand, sad total of 3). She rung them out our window and two minutes later an angry, old woman appeared at our door yelling in Italian, explaining that Lauren had poured water out the window onto her head below. Hilarious now…. Not funny then. Needless to say, we have made zero friends in our apartment building.

As our time here comes to an end, we are trying to come up with something crazy to do…. Were officially taking suggestions. But seriously… I have Italian blood running through my veins (espresso), as I prepare myself for the next two weeks of sleepless nights and long days filled with everything I have put off until now.

~ If you can’t life longer, live deeper ~
– Italian Proverb

Until next time,
Your Italian Armstrong

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