Paris Pt. 3 🇫🇷

My last full day in Paris I wanted to do all the lame tourist things. So the Louvre, Cathedral of Norte Dame, the Grande Palace, the Pantheon, the Sacre-Coeur, Tuileries Garden, Laduree, and the Catacombs of Paris. If you’re reading that list and you’re rolling your eyes, I walked to all of these, so I’m sure I saw a lot more. I think Christmas in Paris is just … let’s go with, Magical. During the day there are all the decorations and festive vibe that overcomes the city and during the night everything gets lite up and the city sparkles.

My last day I woke up super early so I could get to the Louvre. Naturally, I wanted to see the Mona Lisa. I’ll save you some time, go to google and google, “Mona Lisa Louvre” Go ahead, do that now. Looks chaotic right? Well, I got lucky because I have a European student card which means I get in for free. Almost every person there that morning was there to see the Mona Lisa, all the other cool things inside kind of get cast aside. Now I did get to see it because I was a least a foot taller than anyone else in there. The Mona Lisa is small; it’s protected by bulletproof glass and there is a perimeter set up so people can’t get to close. To me, definitely not worth. I didn’t spend a lot of time in the Louvre, but it is a cool place. It’s beautiful inside and out. There’s a little high-end shopping centre attached to the Louvre where you can get overpriced coffee from Starbucks (I went and bought a mug) When I got outside you can see everything that Paris has to offer. I apologise for the photos because the weather was less than cooperative.

Again I had one of those moments where I couldn’t believe where I was. The Tuileries Garden is right in front of the Louvre, it isn’t in bloom, but nevertheless, it’s beautiful. My next stop after the Louvre and Garden was to head to the second most iconic place in Paris, The Cathedral of Notre Dame. Yes, as a kid I watched Disney movies almost religiously. Anything new that came out on VHS I had to get. Mom and I had a bet, if I did well in school (which I did when I wasn’t busy being a badass) I’d either get McDonald’s or if I did really well, I’d get one of those Disney VHS and pretty much spend the weekend making sure I knew the movie inside and out. One of the first ones I got was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. If you’ve been following the blog from the beginning it is evident that I’m a nerd so this shouldn’t surprise you, I’ve read the book by Victor Hugo.

Pretty cool eh? I stood outside for a long time taking in the sights. Perhaps I stood out there too long as I kept getting approached people to take pictures of them in front of the Cathedral and tree. Going inside was surreal, again with it being Christmas time there were decorations and people everywhere. Inside you’ll find the history of the Cathedral and a line that if you follow it takes you right up and through to the catwalk overlooking Paris. I’m a little afraid of heights, and it is a tight squeeze, so I decided against it. From here I decided to go to one of a few Canadian bars in Paris, again at this point, I was just missing home. I don’t remember the name of the bar, but it’s super close to the cathedral. When I went in, I was surprised to find that the bartenders where expats and we chatted a little about Canada and how great Canada is, and how beautiful Canada is and how Canada is the best and Canada has the… We both missed home. The other bartender however was not as friendly. The one I was talking to said: “She’s been here so long she thinks she’s a Parisian.” I chuckled and then paid my tab and left. Let’s just say there is a difference between being French and being a Parisian.

I decided that I’d pass on going to the catacombs, just in case I had another panic attack (Haven’t had one since Rome.) So I went to indulge my massive sweet tooth and headed for Laduree. Now I’ve written about some real personal things on here, and I’m about to share something once again. Firstly, on my way there I swear to god I’ve never needed to pee so badly in my entire life. I couldn’t find a bathroom to save my life so I ended up taking a leak on someone’s boat. Not like going inside and using the bathroom, but like against their docked boat. I’m a terrible person I know. I was also heading to Laduree because, this is hard to admit but a lot of what I did in Paris sort of kind of reminded me of my ex and I knew that Laduree would be one of the things, had she been there, that she’d want to see. I have her gift wrapped in the bag I got from there. I don’t think she reads this anymore so like I won’t be ruining the “surprise.” I got there in record time and didn’t wet myself, so I deserved something, that something turned out to be four overpriced macaroons and an eclair. No, they did not make it back to the hostel.

I want to say this, the building looks pink, that’s because I spent some time editing the photo. It was raining, and the building looked like a shittier version of Ollivander’s wand shop from Harry Potter. Yes, I made that reference. When I got back to my room I took the best nap I’ve had in a long time, and I managed to get another blanket and just burrito myself in the corner. When I got up, I went for Chinese food again and hoped on the metro for one last glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and check out the Sacre-Coeur, which was bhind my Hostle. Here’s what I want to say about Paris before I post the next photos, its a great city with a lot of culture. I had a lot of “Wow” Moments, moments where I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. That being said, I don’t know if I’d recommend it if you’re travelling alone. It’s not exactly the most welcoming place. If you are keen on going alone, I’d suggest downloading “Couchsurfing” It’s an app that allows you to connect with people in your area and if you’re desperate for a place to stay some of the people can help you out and offer up their spare room or couch. I enjoyed my time there because I got to explore, I just got to be alone and be free, and I had a blast.

Just breathtaking and then theres this outstanding building. Sorry the photos not better, my phone died. Next post is on the way and just writing about it brings back this horrendous smell. Oh well stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Finland Pt. 3 🇫🇮

If I could compose a playlist for what Finland is like in November, the first song would be,  “The Sound of Silence” By Simon and Garfunkle. It’s that song that has that line, “Hello darkness my old friend” That’s Finland. I have 32 days left here, and I cannot wait to go. It’s nice here, there are definitely things I love about it, but I’m continually looking at my calendar. I want to come home because there are things I miss about home. The one I can think about right now, a proper routine. The other, the sun. The sun goes down at 3:15pm, last week it was 3:30, the amount of daylight we get is less and less. The sun also never gets to the highest point, its like as soon as it comes up it starts to go down.

I’m living my “best life” as my friend Priscilla says, but I don’t know if I’m all that happy right now. All the stress is something I can deal with, the darkness isn’t. I wake up, and it already feels like the suns going down, there have been days where I’ve missed the sun completely. I feel like I’m back in first year dealing with post concussing syndrome. Now I can explain this as best as I can and hope that it’s understood. A concussion is basically terrible head trauma, it can come from a car accident, a hit to the head, and if you’ve had multiple concussions, I’ve heard even a violent sneeze can do it. I don’t know how true that is. Below you’ll find the best way to get a concussion. The guy in white is Paul Kariya, one of the most exciting hockey players and a hall of Famer. The guy red is Scott Stevens, he hit people like that for a living, and he’s also a hall of Famer. So I’ve had 6 concussions, maybe 7, I fell pretty hard out here, and since then it’s been a little tricky when it comes to concentrating and sleeping. I know the symptoms, and I don’t think what happened to me here lead to a concussion.

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I had PCS in my first year, it’s basically having all the symptoms of a concussion, but it lasts a lot longer. Symptoms such as noise sensitivity, problems with concentration and memory, irritability, depression and anxiety may be called ‘late symptoms’ because they generally do not occur immediately after the injury, but rather in the days or weeks after the injury. Nausea and drowsiness commonly occur acutely following a concussion. A headache and dizziness normally occur immediately after the injury, but also can be long-lasting.

The depression is what I want to touch on, when you suffer a concussion or at least the one I had, I was extremely sensitive to light. So sensitive, I didn’t go outside, I kept the lights off in my room, I was in constant darkness. I slept during the day and stayed up at night, I also cut off any interactions I had with people. Think about it this way, you have a routine (Gym, class, work, class, nap, volunteer, gym, homework, sleep) Now that’s gone and you can’t go outside, your body starts to change, you go days without talking to people, all the things you built your life around are gone. Everything you knew is gone, it’s sad, it makes you sad, sad to the point where you begin to doubt yourself, so you go to sleep. Your new routine becomes (Sleep, meandering around the flat, turning on the computer, trying to read but not being able to because you can’t concentrate, so you sleep again.) PCS is not something that I’d say I have anymore, I do have a slight problem with bright lights but nothing compared to what it used to be.

This past year I wanted to play Rugby, and when I went to get my check up, I was told that I probably shouldn’t due to the amount of concussions I’ve had. Long-term effects of sustaining multiple concussions can result in memory loss, depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to light and noise. Memory loss is not really something I feel I have, I don’t remember any of my concussions just the descriptions of the hits. I do have sleep disturbances, but it usually stems from me being in a new place… or the fact that I’ve had 8 cups of coffee. The depression and anxiety is something I … the depression is not something I think I suffer from anymore. I do have my days where I feel down, maybe more than down but it always goes away. Anxiety IS something I have trouble with even now.

But this post was supposed to be about Finland right? Right, it’s dark, it’s cold, and I’d like to come home because I don’t feel very happy out here anymore, but I’ve read that that’s expected. Finland is a hard place, it’s supposed to be one of the happiest countries in the world, but there is an increasing number of alcohol-related health problems. Suicide rates have fallen in recent years, but mental health is still an issue, one the government here takes extremely important. I hear it takes about an entire year to get acclimatised to Finland. I’m sure if a Fin came and lived with me in Canada they’d find it hard too. I’m a little, or a lot homesick and that’s perfectly fine.

The ambiguity of this post is brought to you by me not wanting to study.

George and the Dragon 🐉

September of last year I used to tease a friend that I’d run away to Sweden. She’d joke that she’d come with me, well I went to Sweden, she didn’t go with me, but I’m sure whenever I see her I’ll tell her to visit. The obsession with Sweden came out of a desire to experience something new and different. Well, nothing’s changed, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of months.

A few months ago my classmates and I were presented with an opportunity to go on a cruise to Sweden. We’d leave on Sunday and come home on Tuesday. We’d get a room, one night with free dinner and unlimited beer/wine and eight hours in Stockholm. Why not? Getting to Helsinki like I’ve mentioned before from Jyväskylä is a nightmare. The morning started with the group riding our bikes to the bus terminal. If you’re going to ride your bike in the winter, bring gloves. Three and a half hours later we were in Helsinki, I’ve been there before, but I’ve never really wandered around the city. Helsinki is a fantastic city, its full of life and oddly enough its full of things to see and do. Helsinki Cathedral is a great stop. It was built in the 1800’s as a tribute to Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Finland was once a part of  Russia and Sweden once upon a time. Swedish is actually the second language here. Today it’s a Lutheran church. There are four million Lutherans in Finland. IMG_2992

Anyway, after we walked around and saw some more things we headed to the ferry terminal. I waited in line for about two and a half hours. I hate the “getting there” part of travelling, it’s ass. Okay let me dial it back a notch, when I’m home in Mississauga, I’m a five-minute ride from the airport in Finland I’m three and a half hours away. So maybe it’s just Finland that makes me hate Finland. To my surprise, we were not on a ferry but on a cruise ship. I’ve never been on a cruise, I’ve heard only good things. Since I’m a student, I’ve been eating like one, not a lot of ramen but a lot of bread and eggs. On the cruise, however, well your boy ate his fat heart out. They had three different kinds of salmon, roast beef…. and all you can eat ice cream. Thinking about it makes me hungry. Dinner, however, was spoiled by an idiot who tried to wet willy me. I don’t like to be touched, I don’t fancy hugs, I don’t like having people put their hands on me, poking me, grabbing me, yes there are specific scenarios where it’s okay, but most of the time, please don’t. So this guy tried to wet willy me, and well I almost hit him until I realised that, like most times I see him he was piss drunk. Still didn’t stop me from being mad about it. After that fiasco, a friend and I went down to the duty-free shop. Twenty-four beers for ten euros, sold. I won’t lie to you I don’t remember a lot from that night, not because I drank a lot but because it wasn’t all that memorable. We drank, played cards and got hampurilainen, which is Finnish for a burger.

I woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning so I could eat, do work and take this Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThat is the sun rising over Sweden, those little islands actually have people living on them. It was a tad chilly, so I came back inside, and that’s when I heard the captain on the PA. He said that we’d been delayed due to a search and rescue that took place the night before. It wasn’t until later that day that we found out that after a night of drinking a student went out onto the deck, started running and jumped. A thirty meter fall into the November Baltic. People laughed, thought it was funny,  some made jokes in an attempt to take away from the seriousness of what had happened. Look, you never know what is going through someone’s mind, and I’ll tell you, drinking doesn’t help if anything it gives you courage. When you die in cold water your body sinks, so the person who jumped may never be found.

I stopped writing for a couple of days to think about the cruise, and while I had a good time, there were a lot of small things that happened, that I observed, or heard that made upset me. Made me think about how people could do certain things, be so selfish, be so cruel, and be so monstrous. I’m not perfect but if I ever resorted to spiking a girls drink, trying to rape someone, grabbing someone against their will, or not taking “no” for an answer I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to live with myself again. I know this post is about me going to Sweden but in light of recent events, I feel like I need to comment on this. The victims are real people that try to carry on as best as they can, and sometimes they suffer in silence or worse, alone. That’s all I want to say about this, and I think it’s the lesson I learned or experienced or saw first hand going to Sweden. I mean I already knew this, but it’s closer to home than you think.

The Storkyrkan, a gothic church in the heart of Stockholm was the only thing on my list to see. It features a sculpture of St. George vs the Dragon. It’s to commemorate the victory by Sten Sture, the Elder who was the Swedish Regent in the late 1400s over Christian I of Denmark. The dragon represents an invading army, which the Danes were. Sten Sture commissioned the sculpture, Sture prayed to St. George the night before the battle. So that’s the little history lesson and here’s the picture.
IMG_3053Due to the delay we only had four hours in Stockholm, and from the port, it took about half an hour to reach the city centre. Here is what I’ll say about Stockholm, it’s expensive, it’s small, there is an amazing mix of old and new architecture, the history is outstanding, the people are friendly, and the people are very well put together, from the way they look to the way they dress. I’d really like to go back there and stay a little longer. Each adventure has taken me to a new place, taught me a new lesson, provided me with a shot glass, fridge magnet and a new country to scratch off my list. So let’s see, Canada, United States, Trinidad, Jamacia, Barbados, Germany, Finland, Sweden, England, Ireland, Estonia, Italy, and Ukraine. Frankly, it’s a short list, and that’s a letdown.

When in Rome 🇮🇹 Pt. Ⅲ

After my little adventure around Rome, I was ready to take it easy. I had a trip to Naples booked, I was excited to see Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. I didn’t end up going because it’s a bit of a rough place to be alone. I’m sure I would’ve been fine, but after what happened on my first night I wasn’t really up for anything like that again. The girl in my room was from Maritime Canada, so the craziest place in Canada. She told me about the mafia influence in Naples and shared some stories of what happened while she was there. Apparently, there was a stabbing and a mugging. I was a bit disappointed, but you know what? This just means I’ll get to come back to Italy and visit Florence, Naples, Venice, Milan, Turin and even Sicily. I’m reading that sentence again to myself, and it’s apparent that I have the travel bug.

I started the day with breakfast at this lovely little cafe. Anna (Canadian girl) and I walked down to the Colosseum and talked about Canada, travelling, all kinds of things. We split up, and she did all the tours, and I decided it was a great time to get lost. I had a lot of things on my mind, things that were just bumming me out, so I was more than happy to just be by myself. I didn’t take my headphones, and I wore pants. One of those was a mistake, it was 30 degrees or 86 Fahrenheit for my American readers. I walked around for about six hours and got five cones of gelato.

Eventually, I ended up here, Piazza Navona (picture below) Its the super cool open space in the heart of Rome. The obelisk is the obelisk of the Roman emperor Domitian.

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There is also a fountain there, but there wasn’t any water in it. Right now in Rome, there is a bit of a water shortage, so many of the fountains have been turned off to conserve water. I sat around eating my gelato and people watched. There were a lot of tourists, I struck up a conversation with Tanveer, a Londoner on his honeymoon. They asked me how to get to the Trevi Fountain, I didn’t know how to direct them, so I ended up walking with them to the fountain. I felt a little off because I for the first time in a long time I wished I had someone with me. I wished I was there with my significant other, I felt sad like absolutely fucking pathetic. Its normal, I’m still working things out, but after I left the newlyweds, I walked around some more and eventually found a place for lunch. That’s not exactly hard because there are food options everywhere. When I sat down, I was the only person sitting alone. Look I’m not going to lie to you the last few months have felt like hell. I wasn’t afraid, I just didn’t want to be there alone. Guess what? I was, I was there alone, and nothing in the world was going to change that. I had seafood linguine, the most filling lunch I’ve had in a long time.

I wasn’t grateful for the alone time, I know that will happen from time to time. Yes, it’s been hard, and things come up all the time that really get to me, but I was walking around and here’s where things got better. I was in Rome, a few weeks earlier I was in Ireland, Estonia and England. What I’m going through isn’t permanent, I’m out doing the best I can, and I’m taking risks on things that scared the hell out of me. I’m doing it alone and guess what, I’m proving a lot to myself right now.

On my way back I saw crossed a bridge and took this photo. That’s the Tiber River, the 3rd longest in Italy and one of the reasons Rome was such a power in the ancient world. It eventually drains into the Tyrrhenian sea, the sea that is near the tip of the boot of Italy.

IMG_2728That night when I got back to the hostel, I went out for dinner, alone. This time I enjoyed it and had the most fantastic lasagna ever. After dinner, Anna and I went to the bar, and I met a bunch of people. Some Aussies, a Finn! Some Americans, Germans, French, Korean, Canadians and some Danes. I met a girl from Minnesota, Danni and we agreed that we’d get breakfast and head to the Vatican the next day. It’s on my list to go, some of my friends make jokes about me not being able to go because I’m the devil. Can’t make to many arguments there.

I’ve harped on this but staying at a hostel is amazing, the people you meet will surprise you. ALRIGHT, I didn’t do a whole lot this day but I promise you there are some cool things to come and some good stories!

When In Rome 🇮🇹 Pt. Ⅱ

My second day in Rome started a little early, 7 am to be precise. Why so early? Because I would be going to the Colosseum, Forum, and Pantheon for a tour. If you go to Rome, buy a book and just go without a tour, you’ll save a lot of money. I didn’t need the tour because I mean I spent so much of my life studying these buildings and the city but like a tourist, I caved and took a tour. I did this because I was afraid I’d get lost. I spent 90% of my time in Rome lost and without Wi-Fi or cell service and I’m fine. If I can do it, you can do it 100%. So back to the point, I took a tour of the Colosseum, Forum and Pantheon. From Termini its two stops to the Colosseum, the Forum is across the path, and the Pantheon is about a twenty-minute walk, follow the tourists.

I just want to comment on the metro in Rome. It’s hot, it’s cramped, and if you’re standing near the doors hold onto your god damn bag. It’ll cost you €1.50 to ride and that gives you 100 minutes, not too shabby. Anyway, I got on the metro during morning rush hour; I don’t recommend doing this if you have trouble in small spaces or if you don’t like people touching you. I had a bit of a freak out due to the number of people, but it was only two stops, and as soon as the doors opened I bolted up the stairs. That’s where everything seemed just to stop and come full circle. When you get outside the first thing you see is the most iconic building of the Roman Empire, the Flavian Amphitheater, otherwise known as the Colosseum. IMG_2584In 64 AD there was a significant fire in Rome, leaving the sight of the Colosseum inhabitable. Nero took advantage of this and built himself a massive house, the Domus Aurea or Golden House on the site. Many Romans thought that Nero started the fire, he blamed the Christians, naturally and burned them alive. I’ve always thought this was cool, but Nero constructed a lake on the property. Fun fact, no one liked Nero, well the higher classes didn’t. This was due to his luxurious lifestyle, which he paid for by raising taxes. In 68 AD Nero killed himself after a trial where he was declared an enemy of the state. Another fun fact, he was the first emperor to kill himself, and this idiot was the last of the Julio-Cludians. Civil war ensued after his death with multiple parties vying for the position of Emperor. They all sucked, I think there was 4 of them in a one year span, with Vespasian ultimately winning. In 70 AD undertook a mission to put down the Jewish Revolt. Upon his return, he brought 100,000 Jewish slaves and a massive war chest. Both were used to build the Colosseum, a gift for the people. See, now you don’t even need to buy a book if you go and I got to use my major for something.

The building itself is super impressive, and I want to talk about it more but I won’t…. The Romans used to flood it with water and have naval battles inside. Okay moving on, the steps in the building are all pretty steep, but the climb is worth it. Inside you can see the tunnels where animals were kept and where Gladiators came out. The floor is no longer intact because it was made of wood as were many of the seats and the giant awning.IMG_2604

There is a giant cross situated near one of the entrances, its to symbolize the significant loss of life that the Colosseum has seen over the years. Its to “Bless” the people who’d lost their lives due to the beliefs in and of Pagan gods. On one side of the building, there is a large chunk of wall missing, the Colosseum was used to build other things, and its old and well earthquakes.

Next was the Forum, for whatever reason I didn’t enjoy this much. Well, I didn’t enjoy it while on tour. I came back later and did it with a friend. If you’re going to go to Rome walking is going to be a big part of what you do, don’t wear uncomfortable shoes, and watch your step. I twisted my ankle multiple times. You’ll notice that most of the women are wearing heels, they’re Roman and have evolved into these magical creatures that can walk with heels on cobblestone and thousand-year-old roads. You’re not Roman, don’t try it. Oh and bring a water bottle.

The Pantheon was our last stop, and there is a bit of a funny story. So we walked from the Palatine Hill (Colosseum Area) to the Pantheon. One of the best things about Rome is the history, everywhere you go there is something to see. For example, on our way to the Pantheon, we stood in the middle of the Piazza Venezia, which is kinda chaotic so please watch where you’re going. As we stood in the square, well let me show you

 

 

At first glance, the photo on the top left is just a balcony. It’s actually where Mussolini declared war on the Allied Forces. The building with all the scaffolding is where Napoleon lived while he was in Rome. Lastly, the big building is the Altare della Patria also known as Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. Itlay was a collection of city-states and was not unified until 1871 into the Kingdom of Itlay. Victor Emmanuel was the first king of unified Italy. I cannot stress this enough, if you stand at the gates and look up, you will feel like the smallest person alive. The building is also home to the unknown soldier. So lots of history from various points in Italy all within ten minutes.

Onwards to the Pantheon! The word Pantheon means “Temple of every god.” I believe that is Latin. I took a few Latin classes at Mac and learned Carpe Diem… Okay okay, I learned that watching Dead Poet’s Society. Its one of the cooler buildings because its still in use today. It was completed 125-126 AD and was finished by Hadrian. The route we took was cool, there are restaurants, souvenirs, and gelato shops. If you’re in Rome and you get lost, get gelato it’ll make you forget about being lost.

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I said there was a funny story, right now the Pantheon is a church, Santa Maria ad Martyres or St. Mary and the Martyrs. People walked in with shorts but this one woman got stopped, and it was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. She had a low cut top, and I guess her husband told her that she’d need to cover up. At the entrance, one of the guards looked at her and said, “This is a Church. Cover please.” Her husband grabbed the shirt from around his waist and forcefully handed it to her while saying, “I told you, Jenine! Gosh” I had quite the chuckle.

 

After the tour was over, I went back to the hostel and well I’ve always heard “It’s a small world” from my mom but never paid it any mind. On my way back I ran into an old friend from a job I had as a teenager. Then on the metro, I ran into a priest I knew from my days going to Catholic school. It was the perfect way to end my day but well it was far from over. Back at the hostel, I met a flight attendant who was in Rome for just the night. So did she ever drop the bomb with the insides on being a flight attendant. Yes, I’m aware I just used the word “bomb” and “flight” in the same sentence. So I’d never do this because I’m not weird, but if you take your shoes off on a plane and go to the washroom, it’s NEVER water on the floor. Also if your kid is playing in the aisle while foods being served, you’re the problem with society. Anyway, after that wonderful conversation, we decided to do all the shit I’d already done but during the evening. It started with Pizza and beer, then off to the Cirus Maximus. Now its one of the older structures in Rome, if you can still call it a structure. The venue was home to Ludi which are games for the people. Chariot races and gladiatorial battles are great examples of Ludi. The building in the background is the back of the Palatine Hill. IMG_2658

So I promise we’re getting to the end of this post. I did almost everything on day one. I did it alone and with a friend. My friends think I’m stupid for this, but I’m really self-conscious when it comes to meeting new people. I just over think everything and the words don’t go from my brain to my mouth in one fluid motion. At least that’s the way I’ve always seen it. At the end of the night, my new friend told me she was happy that I just said hello to her. When I think about my life, I’ve been able to make friends where ever I go for whatever reason. I’m grateful for that, alone time is great and its something I’ve reclaimed for myself lately, but it’s nice to be social and out with people. So That concludes my post for today, I’ll leave you with one more photo, and it’s a good one.

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Yes, that’s me in front of the Trevi Fountain!!! Post number 3 is on the way! Thank you for reading!!!!!!!!!!!

When In Rome 🇮🇹 Pt. Ⅰ

On October 17th I woke up at 4:45am, showered, double checked my bags and got on the bus and headed for the airport in Helsinki. That’s the biggest downside of living in Jyväskylä, okay ONE of them, that it takes 4 hours to get to the airport. Helsinki’s airport is ridiculously huge, the employees are often seen using scooters to get around. I love that airport, but I can say that the travelling sucks. The process sucks, packing, getting to the airport, booking things, and the waiting is all a very draining process. The end result, however, usually is very well worth it.

So where did I go this time? Well, I’ve given that away, Rome. I don’t think I need to provide a reason as to why I went to Rome. Its fucking Rome, and well I usually like to keep this fact “under wraps” but I’m a huge history nerd. The entire trip was a giant nerdgasm for me but most importantly a massive learning experience. I’ve never travelled alone before, I’ve always wanted to do this but just didn’t believe that I could do it. Bullshit, if you’re afraid to travel alone, don’t. Never be scared of something like that because you won’t be alone for long. Stay in a hostel, staying in a hotel will ensure that your only company is a television. A hostel people are coming and going all the time, there are bars,

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there are activities, all kinds of things that will get you in a group and make sure that you meet people. Now I was afraid that I wouldn’t meet people because I’ve got this perception of myself that I’m awkward. I get nervous, and I stutter, I get nervous and get panic attacks but what I learned on this trip is that it’s perfectly fine. Anyway back to the adventure, this was a pretty cool photo I took once we were on our way to Berlin.

I spent a few hours in Berlin which is a hell of a beautiful city. It will, however, give you every german stereotype ever. I didn’t get to take any photos because my phone died and to be quite frank I was in a bar for most of it. German beer is plentiful and cheap. I was at the Cafe Hanger Tegel (which is actually in the airport!) But it’s an excellent place with a super and a real chill atmosphere. I did go into real Berlin but only for an hour and a half. That was a real bummer.  I’d love to go back to Berlin and maybe take in all the historical building and monuments.

Eventually, I found myself back at the airport, and I was on my way to Rome. I had one of those moments when we landed, a feeling of disbelief, and a little bit of fear. I kept thinking about getting lost, but its impossible to get lost. The airport, Fiumicino is about 30minutes outside of the city centre (Downtown) by train. It’ll cost you €14 for a non-stop to Termini (The central train station) Now I cannot stress this enough, especially if you’re travelling alone, keep an eye on your belongings. If you’ve got a shoulder bag hold onto it, a backpack make sure to wear it on your chest (unless you have one of those massive travel packs) The chances of getting pickpocketed or flat out robbed are pretty good, especially for tourists.

I stayed at the Alessandro Palace Hostel, its located on Via Vicenza 42 which is super close to Termini. Getting there was a bit difficult because the street signs are located on the sides of the buildings. So they’re built into buildings and they’re not always lit up well during the night. This is where I learned my lesson about pickpockets. On my way, when I eventually found my way I was heading down the street and someone grabbed my bag a few times. At first, I didn’t think much of it, I asked them to stop, and on the third time I turned around and hit him with my bag and punched him in the nose. I’m generally not a violent person, and I usually take out aggression on lockers (Don’t do that) I have a fidget cube for that, but I hit this dude pretty damn hard, I’m pretty sure I broke his nose. Good. Sounds harsh eh? No, in Rome if someone hassles you (It’ll happen especially if you’re a girl. Cat Calling is on another level) Be assertive, be rude, do not take shit from anyone. After I hit this guy, I just walked away and headed for the hostel. I would recommend Alessandro Palace for the staff and atmosphere, but I wouldn’t stay there again. The rooms either have mosquitos (I don’t think so) or bed bugs (I think so.) I woke up one morning, and I was covered in bites. Including these really sexy ones on my neck that made it look like I had sex with a hungry vampire.

I plan on documenting the Rome trip in a few different posts like I’ve been doing. So Honestly I did nothing on my first night in Rome, except punch a guy, get pizza and take a little stroll. Yeah in hindsight I think about how dumb it was to hit that guy because he could’ve had a knife, but you know what, he didn’t get up so fuck him. Going for a stroll late at night was also really stupid but hey, “When in Rome.” And if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have gotten this photo of Pope John Paul II outside Termini.

IMG_2580So look out for the next post because on day 2 I did EVERYTHING! Thank you, Grazie, Kiitos, for reading.

Finland Pt. 2 🇫🇮

I have this calendar next to my desk, it’s a Finnish nightmares calendar. Fin’s are kinda awkward, but they seem to be able to make fun of themselves pretty well. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts. On the calendar right now is my next adventure, Rome. On Tuesday I’ll be heading to Rome for seven days. Next is a planned trip to Paris and then a confirmed trip to Sweden on a cruise for a few days. So lots of travel, lots of adventures and plenty of stories to tell.

So Rome? I’ve always wanted to go, I studied classical history in University and to get a chance to see things I’ve only read about will be the chance of a lifetime. Another cool thing about the trip is, I’ll be going alone. I know, it’s unsafe, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take, and I will get to do things on my own schedule. I’m going to Rome, I’ll be going to the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. Yes, all very touristy and yes all the perfect place for me to get pickpocketed. Then I’m off to Naples, to see Mt. Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii… oh, and there are beaches there so that’ll be fun. Oh, and what would a trip to Rome be without a trip to the Vatican? Religion is a passion of mine, a low key passion of mine and I think seeing St. Peter’s Square will be something incredible to witness.

On the calendar is also my return date home. I’ve been in Finland for 62 Days. When I got here, before I got here, I had a list of places I wanted to go and see. Slowly I’ve been knocking those down. The other thing was to escape my comfort zone. Now that I have the power of hindsight I can see how incredibly fucking stupid that was of me. Coming here with a list of places to see is one thing, but coming here with an agenda to escape my comfort zone was stupid. It was stupid because having a plan or schedule or a course of action for something like this is like planning for life. Silly. I kept a list when I got here about all the differences between home and Finland. It’s kinda cool, and eventually, I’ll post it, but its made me miss home. I made me focus on all the wrong things instead of just going with the flow. It got to the point where I just started looking for differences.

This is hard for me to admit but being away from home, all the things I love, the comforts, the freedoms not only make me miss home but makes me think about how scared I’ve been since I got here. I’m away from all the things I’ve ever known, all the people and routines. I miss them, I miss them a lot. I know I won’t be the same when I get home, but I’m also sad because I miss those things that make home, home so much.

I’m looking forward to the next 64 days abroad, but I’m just going to let them happen. 64 Days and I’ll be home; home is something I’ve been missing lately. I’ve made it this far.