MIDWEST RUNAWAY: FEBRUARY

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Falling + Flying

February Adventures and Secrets

February was the month of all odds against me. I didn't think, in the beginning, that Rome loved me back the way I loved her. It wasn't until the very last night that she proved me wrong.

Here lie my greatest adventure and favorite stories yet:

Rome, Italy

I always knew I'd get myself into trouble one way or another. By that I mean that your favorite leading lady had experience the closest thing to love at first sight. Yes, you read this right. On my very last night in Rome, I walked down the street to my favorite gelateria only to find him sitting in left hand corner of the shop eating an gelato cone by himself. Before we knew it, our adventure had begun—little did we know that the next 24 hours would change us both for good. It wasn't until the next night I looked at him, standing in front of my charter bus that waiting to leave, that I felt this panic. That panic told me I couldn't lose him yet. That this was all wrong. That this was not supposed to be the end to our story and for once, I wanted more time.

Looking at him, Dylan, I saw something real and incredibly rare, and little did I know, he saw me the same way. So, as I was driving away to another country he messaged me to stay and I messaged him to come... so he did. He caught the next bus and chased me and my awful jokes to the country of Slovenia, 13 hours away from Rome. After that, it was a whirlwind of silly inside jokes and sharing hopes and dreams between two people who were never really strangers from the start. 

To this day, we're still friends who care deeply and respect each other from two different sides of the world (Australia and USA). 

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Ljubjlana+ Piran+ Bohinj, Slovenia

A little less than 3 years ago, I woke up tired and ANNOYED at the sound of other guests being rowdy in the hallways of my Parisian hostel. After throwing some pants on and marching my way to the door, I swung it open ready to let out a colossal fit but instead I see this quirky girl with big glasses smiling at me saying hello. In that split second, all of my irritation melted away and moments later I learned that her name was Marusa (pronounced mah-ROO-sha). We instantly turned into friends and chased each other all over France's favorite gem. Things like celebrating Bastille day and exploring some of Europe's greatest works of art were shared between the two of us. After we had said our goodbyes we promised to stay friends by writing each other and three years later, here I am, visiting my favorite Parisian memory in her home country, Slovenia. 

Visiting Slovenia also came with an unexpected guest, Dylan, but it was also one of my favorite countries of all. I've learned through lots of experience that a place is only as good as the people in it and being there with Marusa was the main reason why I have so a deep love for Slovenia. Her family took me into their home and showed me this unconditional and welcoming love. This included family day trips to the mountains, hearing stories about their heritage, and sitting in on their dinner parties like I was one of their own. Never have I felt this much acceptance from people who had just met me or knew me for only 2.5 days in a city of lights. Slovenia and the Mali Family, I love you and I'll never stop missing you more and more each day. 

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Vienna, Austria

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt is the only piece of artwork I would travel to the other side of the world for. In this case, I did. 

How do I see The Kiss? I think its the greatest perspective of love and lust in a single painting. In all truth, I believe it's the greatest painting known to man scaled at 6ft x 6ft and covered in beautiful gold flakes. Even after seeing Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, I truly ting it has not comparison to Klimt's work which has inspired a "golden period" of beautiful works painted with a gold foiled finish.

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Nicole Mendoza