Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Summer Slipping Through My Fingers

Wow. I can't believe it. Only a week longer until I must return to school. School, with all of its text books, lockers, room numbers, teachers, homework, events, sports,friends, trips, lunches,etc. Deep down, I love it. There are wonderful people involved in every aspect of my school from admin, to teachers, to friends. But when I'm having such a good time on vacation, I don't wish to return! One thing that lifts my spirits every year is getting new school supplies. New pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, and a new planner. I do a collage over all of my binders, and put pictures on my planner.

The first week of school is going to be great. The first day, all the teachers just hand out the syllabus and tell us "how much fun we're going to have", and then we go home. The next three days for sure are going to be a blast. 9-12 grades go on a rhetoric retreat, so that we can build "new relationships". We go to Camp Kulaqua in Gainesville. There's a spring with a blob, where we spend our afternoons. SO MUCH FUN! Every morning after breakfast, and every evening after dinner, we have sessions where we play games. Also, the drama program puts on skits. Since I am in the drama program, I will be in these skits. I'm really excited because the skits are really funny and our drama class has been planning them for a while now. This is the second time that my school has done this, and I'm really glad that they're doing it again.

So for all you guys who are bummed, depressed, and saddened by the remaining summer time slipping through your fingers, don't let it ruin your day. Sleep in, and relax.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Italy/Greece 2007

This has been one of the most AMAZING summers of my entire life. One thing that made this summer such is that I went to Europe for the very first time. You see, every other year, my school goes on a gruop trip(9-12th grades only) to tour a European country. This year it was Italy and Greece. So let's start with Italy.
We flew out of Miami to Rome(8 LONG ENDLESS hours in the air) where we transferred to Florence on a bus. Due to jet lag, everybody slept for nearly the entire way so we missed som eof the fabulous Tuscan countryside. Once we arrived in the city, we arrived at our hotel and left for dinner. We were going to have REAL ITALIAN PIZZA! I experienced a little mix up with our waiter when placing my order. I said "cheese" instead of "margherita". So guess what they brought me? A pizza with just chees on top, with no tomato sauce. Surprisingly though, it was pretty tasty. :-)
The next day we toured the city. We went to the famous outdoor market. It was here that I discovered something: I can haggle. So I haggled. After lunch, it began to rain. Not just a little sprinkle. It was instantly drenching. So, against my better judgement, I had to buy an umbrella from one of the creepy tall people lurking around corners. This did happen to come in handy for the rest of the trip. We then went to the Duomo, a beautiful cathedral, with a dome built by the great Brunelleschi. If you go the Duomo, you can climb up to the top of the dome. So, for a sum of six euros, I did it. Being afraid of heights, I got a little nervous walking a round the fresco with nothing but a plastic barrier to stop my fall. But after climbing dark, steep, cramped steps, we reached the top. The breath was STUNNNING. You could see Florence in every direction. It made the perilous trek up worth it. For the rest of the day, we walked more around Florence, and saw more of its stunning sights(the Ponte Vecchio namely). But we had to be ready for the next day------ROME!
Rome is a bustling city, with people EVERYWHERE you go. One of the first sights we saw was the Trevi fountain. Of course, it was super crowded, so you had to wrestle your way to the front of the fountain( not an easy feat when you're trying to avoid pickpockets). Traditon states that if you throw a coin over your shoulder, you will return to Rome. Of course, I did it.
The next day, in the pouring rain, we saw the Colusseum, the Ancient Center, Paul's Prison, and the Vittorio Emmanuel Monument. Seing these places with my own eyes, rather than in travel magazines was surreal. I was so ecstatic to be there,in these ancient places where Caesar himself has walked(!). Our last day in Rome was busy. We walked A LOT. We went to the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican held so much amazing art. There were rooms devoted to Raphael, there was an amazing sculptures everywhere you turned your head. And the Sistine Chapel was a short distance away from me. However, to get to the Sistine Chapel is not as easy as it may sound. You see a sign that says 'Cappela Sistina' and you think it's just right around the corner. This is just the first of over fifty signs bearing that same message. You walk through corriders of other famous pieces of art, and after forty five minutes or so, you get frustrated. Will you EVER get there? After another fifteen to twenty minutes, and a few gilded corridors, you do. In this famous and stunnin g place, it is a sea of people. There are guards there for the sole purpose of shushing people and stopping them form taking flash photography. After spending sometime there, we moved on the St. Peter's Basilica. Every magnificent detail was poured into this cathedral. Gold was everywhere, as were marble statues and Swiss guards. One thing there on display ROCKED my world. There, so five feet away from me stood MIchelangelo's marvelous PIeta sculpture. I remember learning about this sculpture in 3rd grade. To see a work of art so famous, that I have loved, was AWESOME.
From Rome we transferred to Greece, on a 12 hour ferry ride. I have been trying to forget that awful night. PIcture this: cold, stiff seat, stench of people with no sense of cleanliness,no sleep. That was the ride. One fun thing was buying(with a friend of course) the biggest thing of Toblerone sold. This lasted until the end of the trip. Between two people of course.
Once in Greece, our first night there was in Delphi. WE climbed around the ancient ruins of Delphi and spent a better part of the day on a bus, tryong to get to our hotel. We next traveled to Athens, we went to the Parthenon, one of the most amazing places ever. It was amazig to see it in person. We spent the rest of our last day in the market, buying last-minute souveneirs. Since we had to wake up at 4 am the next day, everyone stayed up all night packing, or hanging out in the lobby playing cards, or talking. It was a good way to end our last night in Europe.
The plane ride home was a long trip. I was deliriously tired, as were the people sitting with me( who shall remain nameless, cough cough) so we laughed at everything under the sun until we arrived in Miami to take a 6hr bus ride to Orlando, with another hour's drive home for me.
This trip was so special. I loved Europe and I plan to return to Italy sometime again in my life. I hop e you enjoyed my post, sorry it was so long! I'll get pics up soon!