Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mt. Vesuvius + Pompeii.

Inside the bath house which was the public spa.
The 2,000 year old stone streets are still intact!
A cast made from the bones of an actual person left in the position they died in.

That's Vesuvius in the background! 
The view from uptop of Volcano when we climbed it.
It was really hard to get good pictures of the volcano because it's just massive, but here you can see the gases coming up from the inside!
At the top of Vesuvius!
A ring I bought that has lava ash as the stone!

I've always been really interested and intrigued by the tragedy that happened in 79 AD in Pompeii. I watched a documentary on it then this summer which only made me more excited to see everything in person and study it! I absolutely loved climbing the volcano and touring the town, like I thought I would. It was an awesome experience to walk these 2,000 year old streets but also very sobering to see the casts of the bodies of residents who once lived here. Very grateful I had the chance to see this great city in person-- one of my favorite parts of this whole trip so far and something I always hope to cherish the memory of! x

Off to Paris for five days-- I won't be taking my laptop with me, so if you'd like to keep up with my adventures there you can follow me on instagram with @passingwhimsies :)

With much love, Lauren,

Monday, September 15, 2014

Almafi Coast: Positano.

Pink Crop Top: Aeropostale.
Circle Skirt: c/o OASAP.
Bathing suit: JcPenney's.

Hi there! 

The second day of the trip we explored and relaxed in a local town to Sorrento called Positano. I actually thought it was much more beautiful than Capri; something about all the buildings going up the mountain and the fog on top was just breathtaking. It was a relaxing day with no activities planned-- just do as you please! I looked around at shops where they have beautiful linen clothes perfect for beach wear, but so expensive I could never afford anything. I did buy a little souvenir of a hand painted picture of Positano I got from a local artist for 20 euros. That's kind of a lot, but I felt like it perfectly captured the scene and feeling I felt in Positano that I hope to remember! For lunch I had the best pizza I've had in Italy yet, and sipped a strawberry smoothie on the beach. One of my favorite things was probably sitting at the shore line and collecting sea glass as the waves came in.

I actually didn't plan my outfit to be this top and skirt (not a huge fan of red and pink together!) but I had accidentally worn the top I planned with this skirt the previous day! It ended up going quite well and matching perfectly with my swimsuit though which you can clearly see beneath my clothing, ha. Just a beautiful day all around, really!

I still have photos to post from climbing Mt. Vesuvius and touring Pompeii. Want to get it up hopefully still today because I leave for Paris tomorrow for a school trip for five days! Sorry that all these posts are crunched together so soon-- I just have so much to share with you guys and it seems like not enough time to do it! x

With much love, Lauren.

Almafi Coast: Capri.

Hello everyone!

Last night I got home from a three day trip to the Almafi coast: Sorrento, Capri, Positano, and Pompeii! We had a hostel in Sorrento and the first day went to the island of Capri; here's the photos from it!

It was actually my least favorite day of the three. Don't get me wrong, Capri is BEAUTIFUL, but I just found Positano to be even more so and the day was kind of ridden with a lot of anxieties for me. Capri is an island so we had to go by boat to get there and the last time I was on a boat was about 12 years ago and I remember feeling wicked sea sick. I didn't throw up, but ever since then I've been really scared about having that awful feeling again, and with my OCD about throwing up it doesn't make it that much better. So when I found out we were going on a boat I kind of freaked out and had a panic attack, but obviously had to do it because I needed to get there. I knocked myself out with Dramamine and actually slept and was relieved to think the worst was over...then as soon as we got off the boat we got right back on another smaller speed boat to do a tour around the island. I freaked out and was so scared because it was the type of boat I had been on last time and felt sick, and I was so worried someone else might get sick, too. So I kind of spent the whole ride around the island just praying, my eyes closed, and ready to get off, ha. Thankfully no one got sick (although multiple people almost did) and I didn't get sick either. I don't even get motion sickness, but my OCD tricks me into thinking I am/will and it's just a nightmare of panic. It kind of set the mood for the whole day of me being weary, but I did end up enjoying myself for the most part on the beautiful beach and having lunch at a cafe just above it. Ah, my favorite part was laying on a rock just out where the tide comes in and suntanning, and falling asleep to the sound of the waves. It was lovely

With much love, Lauren.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Comfort of Rain.

There is nothing I love more than a completely rainy day. However melancholy and dark that sounds, it's true. I crave them and look forward to them. Some mornings I wake up thinking before I look out the window, "please, please, please be raining today." I've always loved rain as its followed me though the different stages of my life. Playing as a little girl in my best friend's back yard on her swing set in our bathing suits as it poured. The rainy spring days when I was in high school and couldn't wait to get out so I go take blog pictures amongst the puddles. The time I came back from college my freshman year and was kind of heart broken about a guy and sat out in the driveway of my house at midnight as the pouring rain comforted me. Sitting in my dorm last year on days with my roommate as she made french press coffee and I took long, satisfying naps in my damp clothes. 

This is my first 'big' rain here in Italy, the kind I love. It's sprinkled one or twice here, but not an absolute pouring out of the sky rain like today. It was wonderful, just what I needed. Even though the thunder storms kept me up last night (I've NEVER been woken by a storm, but these Italian storms are something else), I was still satisfied to wake up this morning to puddles. I didn't bring an umbrella on purpose to walk to class, but just walked looking up and all around at how the city changes when it rains and how the people change, too. To me, the city of Florence becomes ten times more romantic, more beautiful then ever when it rains. I wish it would rain every day.

It was just so comforting to me. I never, ever thought I'd say this, but I miss Ohio's weather. You all hear me complain about the snow and rain and wind and cold temperatures...but it's all I've ever known. And when I came to Italy, I've been kind of shocked how it's always sunny, all the time. Always hot, all the time. Not that I don't love a good sunny day, but I found myself wishing and wondering if my faithful cloudy, rainy "Ohio Day" was ever going to come along over here. Thankfully, it did. 

I got to walk in the rain and come back to my apartment soaked but happy. I fixed myself a cup of coffee and took it to my bedroom and sipped it from my bed as I watched and listened to the rushing rain outside my open window. I got to take a peaceful nap with the sounds of nature steadily pattering, and woke up to a freshness of fog and coolness that the rain brings afterward.

Already looking forward to the next one.

With much love, Lauren.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Did You Sail Across the Sun?

Black Halter: Aeropostale.
Checked Skirt (actually a dress): Thrifted.
Loafers: TJ Maxx.
Lipstick in MAC's Rebel.

Hi there.

I've been struggling to remain confident in my personality here in Italy the last few weeks. It's strange. Most have insecurities about their bodies, their face, their outward appearance. And although I used to have these insecurities, not so much anymore. One thing I've never been able to quite get over though is the insufficiency I feel in my personality.

I love to be alone. I find solace and rejuvenation in being by myself. I like to think, take things in and just be. I have to push myself to be with other people and to interact with them. It's not that I'm unfriendly or rude...I just prefer to be alone, it is my natural tendency to gravitate towards being by myself. It's hard because its always made me feel like an outcast, like a loser. I want to be like everyone else. I want to be able to make friends, have good conversation, and feel a sense of satisfaction when I connect with others. But I don't. I just feel this crippling anxiety of thinking about every next word I'm going to say, worrying if I've offended them, turned them off to me, bored them, or just plain annoyed them. I usually can't have a conversation without walking away and feeling insecure that I wasn't good enough for this person, and that I'm not even worth talking to.

I wish sometimes I were just different. That I didn't have this issue of socializing, connecting with people, and just being myself. It's always been a problem for me, haunting me in high school, when I came to Kent, and still now in Italy. It's a problem that never really goes away for me, but now it just feels amplified being here where I don't feel like I fit in sometimes with the classmates I'm here with. Not only that, but my preference to 'be alone' doesn't really work in a foreign country when you need others to get around, experience new things, and have a rewarding study abroad experience. I'm so terrified of wasting my time here. That my personality will just hold me back from so much... I already feel like it has in some ways, so every day I just get more and more frustrated. Maybe people like me aren't meant to study abroad? I don't know, that's what it feels like somehow. I love my experience I'm having here, but it's when society tells me that being alone isn't okay...then I feel so much less satisfied with who I am and what I'm here for. 

I'm usually very dependent on my family to fill in the voids of my aloneness, but with them not here it's also been difficult.I feel as though they're the true people who understand me and accept this flawed, unaccepted personality I have...without them I feel kind of lost.

Just had to write some of these feelings out tonight. Don't mean to be such a downer. Don't mean to throw a pity party. And certainly don't mean to sound ungrateful. I've just been feeling all this burden on my shoulders building for the past few weeks since I've arrived and I feel like it's part of my experience here that I want to document. Not all days are perfect visits of Venice and scoops upon scoops of gelato...some days, it's hard to be here in ways I didn't expect. I'm getting through though, and I know it will all be okay. x

With much love, Lauren.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Venice for a Day.

Hello everyone!

Here are some actual photos of all of my adventures in Venice from spending the day there on Saturday. It's always been a dream/wish of mine to go to Venice (next to Paris), so I was incredibly excited to book this trip so early on! We went with a travel agency again (Florence for Fun) and took a three hour bus, 20 minute train, and 15 minute water taxi trip to finally get to the main part of Venice. 

It was a beautiful, sunny day and Venice was honestly more spectacular that I could have imagined. The intricacy of this city is just phenomenal and astonishing. To have this city on water last for hundreds of years and still be able to visit today blows my mind. I was surprised to find out though that the city is actually sinking into the water, and in some of the shops we went to there was water on the floor from the high tides. They also have these ramps throughout the city where if the high tide comes in, you're to get on them to stay above the water! 

We went to a glass blowing demonstration which Venice is famous for, and then had free time to walk around and explore the city. Most of Italy was put on the grid system by the Roman empire for easy navigation, but Venice is one of the Italian cities that is not. The streets just kind of wind and turn every which was which was confusing but kind of romantic to get lost in the city. The streets were incredibly narrow though--and I thought Florence's were bad! My roommate and I Haley got some food at a little place where I tried gnocchi with ragu sauce for the first time, and also ordered a Bellini! I had never had one before, but our tour guide told us that they were created in Venice so I thought it couldn't hurt to try. I actually, surprisingly really enjoyed it and would definitely order again. I've found with the drinks I've tried sips of that I really don't like the taste of alcohol or the way it burns, but this was light and not bad at all.

There's such an abundance of glass, lace, and leather shops around and Haley and I just did some window shopping  + gelato eating before it was time for the gondola ride. Man, that has to have been my absolute FAVORITE part. It was magical. So peaceful, calm, and serene to float through the city by boat and absorb it by its main means of transportation. I got to sit in the front of the gondola which was actually more unsteady that I thought it would be and so I didn't realize I couldn't really move! No worries though, thankfully didn't tip the boat over--wouldn't have minded for the handsome gondola rower to rescue me though, ha! 

Couldn't have asked for a better day in Venice. Was everything I had hoped for! Looking forward now to a weekend trip to the Almafi Coast, and then next week....PARIS!! 

With much love, Lauren.