From Beaches to Midterms While on “Vacation”

These last few weeks have been more than amazing. They lay somewhere between surreal and unimaginable. Just within the last two weeks I have made it up an down the Italian coast; hitting Sorrento, Amalfi, Lovanto, Le Cinque Terre, Capri, and exploring Assisi, Siena, Vinci, Chianti and Napoli somewhere along the way.

A quick trip through Manarola, Italy
A quick trip through Manarola, Italy

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I was provided with more than my fair share of beach trips that resulted in running into the ocean with wet suits on so we didn’t freeze to death. The second I jumped into the pure teal, mirror-like water on the Italian coast in nothing more than a bathing suit – I was in love. It was a feeling that I wanted to relive over and over again until it was simply my reality. So that became my new priority, to spend what little time left of warm, delightful weather there was, being a beach bum. The only downside? Limiting our travel time to the weekends. I do not regret any of the short, sometimes only overnight, trips we took because we still were there to experience something we wouldn’t have otherwise. Our last beach adventure we took to Sorrento and Capri, involved an overnight bus, a 4am train ride, a ferry ride, and multiple boat transfers. The outcome? I was able to scratch off yet another bucket list item – rowing through the blue grotto in Capri. While this may seem like the stereotypical tourist moment we all try to stay away from, I can honestly say it was the most beautiful place I have yet to been blessed with seeing (also, it helped me conquer my fear of small spaces and sea sickness).

Inside of the blue grotto in Capri
Inside of the blue grotto in Capri

Although my beach days were well lived, and possibly my favorite memory thus far of my time in Italy, this last week has proven to be a serious wake up call into the ‘real world.’ Even though you are traveling way more than you probably would be at home, and you could be in a different country every week should you choose, we are all still here going to school. Funny concept right? Well, while the thought of classes may make you laugh as you transfer trains coming home from your latest adventure, they are very much real and come with the same regularities at home, including midterms. General PSA, midterms are not easier abroad! In fact, most classes here only grade your midterm and final for your final grade, they are very much worth studying for. What I am happy to report is, they are followed by fall break (so don’t worry, you will soon only have to put your brain power to use simply for booking flights and re-arranging your budget). I just finished my midterms today actually, and am now looking forward to trying to run into Ed Sheeran and Bono as I travel to London and Ireland for the next week or so! And don’t worry, my next post will be the woes of staying on some sort of budget while attempting seeing the world while being on the ‘right’ side to do so.

Check you soon!

-Justine