MIDWEST RUNAWAY: JANUARY

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You're probably wondering who I kissed, what mischief I did, and what possible unfortunate event has found itself to me.

Well first off: I don't kiss and tell. But they can consider themselves lucky.

Second off, I'm always getting myself into trouble like missing my flight to Copenhagen, accidentally getting on the WRONG train and getting fined, or even taking a 90 pound taxi to the airport because I lack the navigational skills every backpacker should have.

As for unfortunate event? I fell in love. Deeply in love with a whole city.

It would almost be cruel if I let you read this blog post without any stories so here we go:

London, Day OneDue to a snowstorm, Iceland had managed to make me miss my flight to Norway and Poland so that unfortunately was canceled. Instead of spending my first night at the Oslo Opera, I dragged my hometown best friend Carl's college best friend, Cat, to the bars for a little fun. (I hope that last sentence made sense.) As Cat and I were making our way out, I stumbled upon a bar called Flight Club. Flight Club was fun, but the guys sitting next to us were even better. Next thing you know, we're running around London with the bassists of the famous band The Strokes, infamous actor Ed Westwick's best friend (which may or may not be one of my kissing victims), and their friends. It was a grand night until some of the attendees didn't understand the fundamental rule of, "keeping your hands to yourself," and basic bar etiquette. Here's my rule: you can't disrespect girls and get away with it. Cat, on the other hand would use the practical and matured way of handling this situation with educating and informing but I have never been known to be practical or sometimes matured. Since I had had enough, I assumed a 100 pound tab (about $140) plus champagne bottle service (on their cards) was enough to compensate for their bad behavior. Oops! Ladies: don't let men walk all over you. Men: don't walk all over women. It's not cute.

When in Rome: I've been living here for a month but I have only one story to tell because it was my favorite. Is there a slight fear that he may someday read this? Oh god yes. But if he does, it means that he finally gave in and embraced social media once again. This story still feels incredibly unreal like it was stolen from a movie script but I promise you it's not. Like any doctored story, I won't reveal his real name but I do call him, "my Aussie," so here we go...

Originally, I was supposed to go on a date with another guy but you shouldn't waste 1.5 hours of hair and make up on someone mediocre. As I'm exploring the local market, Campo Dei Fiori, I see him. He's tall with messy sunny-blonde hair, murky blue eyes with an asymmetrical jawline, and the perfect pair of rayban glasses a recently graduated law student could have. Yes, he's a lawyer, too, but I don't find that out until later when we're running across town from monument to monument, flipping coins into the Trevi fountain or sneaking to the roof top of a museum. Unfortunately, that one was closed so we took residence inside a modern art museum where we had spent hours talking. Now, when I say talking I really mean it. Nothing like celebrity gossip or things that are skin deep, we talked about things that mattered like politics, art, goals, our careers, and so much more. As we were leaving the museum, I thought that was it. I'd say goodbye and never see this man again because he has a train ride to Florence he needs to catch at 5AM but the story doesn't end right there.

Taking a break from my story, I hope if I have a daughter, she finds someone who actually listens when she talks. Who remembers the things that she's said even though she's just rambling on because she's nervous. That's exactly what happened after the museum. He grabbed my hand and we started running. After a hop and a skip, I got off the bus and turned around to see the Colosseum beautifully lit against the black sky. I had mentioned earlier to him that I've always wanted to see it at night because that's when it's prettiest. But that wasn't even the best part. The best part is when my Aussie and I were sitting on a bench in the midst of it all and he kisses me right then and there.

After that, everything was somewhat of a blur but after that perfect moment, with that perfect guy, in the perfect city, we grabbed pizza and food in the Vatican City. But you'd think, it being cold and and dark out, we'd eat dinner there but my Aussie had other plans. He, once again, grabbed my hand and we were off finding ourselves eating pizza sandwiched between the Pope's Castle and the river. After that we walked home alongside the river under stars and next to street lamps discussing topics I wish I could recall but how could you stay focused after a whirlwind of a day?

So at 4 in the morning, holding his hands and sitting in bed with nothing but the street and moonlight peering through the window, I wished I could freeze that moment. I wished I could make him stay. I looked at him while his voice still sounded groggy and jokingly said,

"why can't you stay in Rome just a little longer?" 

"because there's a whole world to see."

And in that moment, I knew I was screwed. I would never forget him or the way that I felt saying goodbye to him when he kissed me goodbye on my metro home. 

Florence and Me: Fantastic food. 

Copenhagen, the land of bikes and ChristianiaIt was cool.

 

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moving to 

R O M E

Now, when I was originally planning my trip, I would tell people I was moving to Rome. Almost 95% of the time, people would take a second to register what I said and tell me, "wait, what?" Well, my dear friends and equals, yes I did it. Originally the plan was to move here for T H R E E full months but I've become incredibly bored begging for more.

Since you all are very aware how ambitious I am, I've decided to do 25 countries before I turn 25. As for my current trip and a couple within in the past year or so, I've made it to 13 countries and counting. Next week will be Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia. The weekend after that will be Czechia, Poland, Germany, and Belgium. After that should be Amsterdam and back to England. Then lastly, I'll make the home stretch to my old homeland Ireland, to Iceland, to Harvard in Cambridge, AND THEN home!!

 

 

Nicole Mendoza