Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Roman Holiday

This one is going to be short, but I just wanted to let everyone know I made it safely to Rome from Sweden. The night I got here, my friend Jillian and I went to another hostel to meet new people, and that was a lot of fun. I met 5 Australians, 1 South African, 1 Russian and some others that I don't remember where they said they were from. Haha. But it was really cool talking to people from such diverse locations, and I think the Australians were the most interesting. In my room in the hostel, I'm with two Americans and 2 Argentinians, and one more person is coming today, so we'll see how that goes. Yesterday, my first day in Rome, Jillian and I saw the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, la Bocca della Verita (the mouth of truth) which is in the church of Santa Maria, the Arch of Constantine and a bunch of other things that are not significantly known aspects of Rome, but still beautiful. Today, Jill and I have plans to go to the Vatican in style... I will fill you in on what exactly I mean by that after I make sure it actually happens. So far, Rome is amazing! Very beautiful.
Well, I'm off to eat a delicious, FREE breakfast of croissants and coffee, then we're off!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal, and a Happy New Year

The last couple of weeks have been quite eventful. Quite eventful indeed. On the 21st, I left for Sweden after being in Paris for a good 4 days where I took about a trillion pictures. Make sure and look at my Paris page to see all of them. Paris is a very beautiful city, so I could not resist. A really cool thing that I did before I left Paris was when I went to Notre Dame, I sat in on a service that was going on at the time. It was pretty cool, even though I did not understand one word they were saying. I even went up and had wine and bread, and I donated when the money basket came around. It was a very interesting experience, and I'm glad I did it!

Anyways, so when I arrived in Sweden, Marcus and his mother Rika picked me up from the airport which I really appreciated. It was so good to see them again. I hadn't seen Rika since the summer of 2011, and I hadn't seen Marcus since last August which felt like it was more than just 5 months. It was freezing when I first stepped off the plane all the way until now. Brrr! Of course there was snow for a little while until the rain came and washed it all away replacing it with one of my best friends in the world... ice. Ice and I have never gotten along very well because it always insists on hurting me, so it was inevitable that I busted it and bruised my right leg quite badly. It happens. It is a nice colored bruise, though. Some wonderful shades of blue, purple and green. 

I have really enjoyed spending so much time here, and I am very grateful towards Marcus, Rika and Peter for letting me stay here. It's been very relaxing! The day I got here, Marcus and I decorated the Christmas tree. A REAL Christmas tree. My family has always had a fake tree because my dad and sister are allergic to real ones. It was nice to have a real tree for once, but it is a whole lot more difficult to decorate! Those needles are very painful, and I did not particularly like them stabbing me when I was wrapping the lights around. Marcus' brother, Christian, came a couple of days after myself, and I hadn't seen him since the summer of 2009, so it was really good to see him again. We all made a really crappy snowman together, so that was nice. Then we went on a quest through the snowy woods in search of large, deadly icicles. A couple of days later, I walked on a frozen lake. Which was really cool. I almost died. Not really, but that would have been interesting. At least, I think so.
Christmas dinner was very good, of course, since Rika made it. We had moose meat, that Peter shot and Rika prepped. I had never eaten moose meat before, but it is delicious! Tasty beasts, those moose. Some of Marcus' relatives came over for Christmas Eve dinner, so it was nice to meet them. In Sweden, the 24th is Christmas day so the 23rd is obviously Christmas Eve and on Christmas day, we also had some more delicious Swedish food. Then the time came for presents, and even though I told them not to, my parents still sent me a few items, and I loved all of them. Marcus, Rika, Peter and Christian all got me presents as well which were all very lovely, as well, but now I have a little packing problem... I really do not think I can fit everything in my luggage :( But we shall see in a few more days when I try to pack.

On the 29th, Peter and Rika drove us into Gothenburg to have dinner at Rika's parents apartment. They have a gorgeous apartment, and the food was incredible that evening. It was 3 courses: appetizer, main course and desert, all accompanied by wine. Then we had coffee afterwards. I love Rika's parents. They are so, so sweet. I would spell out their names, but I do not know how to. Haha. I also got to chat more with one of Rika's brothers and his wife who are also wonderful people. I am so lucky to have been able to spend these holidays with such amazing people that I am happy to call my family. 

New Year's Eve was so much fun! Marcus and I went to a friend's house, where we ate dinner, played some games, shot some fireworks and, of course, drank copious amounts of non-alcoholic mixtures that maybe were not really virgins. I met some new people, but I also got to see some familiar faces. I was able to see Emma, Patrick, Anna, Affe (another Marcus) and Krille (another Christian). And all of the new people were very nice. I really appreciated it when they would speak in English for me, considering I was the only one there who couldn't speak Swedish. Spending Christmas and New Year's in Sweden was a very good idea. Tomorrow, Marcus leaves to go back to school, but I don't leave until the 6th, so Peter and Rika have to put of with me for a little bit longer, and I don't have to say bye to them yet. I'm not looking forward to, yet again, saying goodbye to Marcus, but hopefully he will be coming back to Texas for this next summer.

I hope all of you had an amazing Christmas and New Years!