July 6, 2011

Bongiorno a Roma!

Right now I am sitting in my hotel room sipping a cappuccino and eating a croissant and it is delectable. The hotel I'm in has continental breakfast...delivered to your room. I could get used to this!

I arrived last night after spending a nice, quiet day roaming the streets of Belgrade. The Leonardo Express was having serious delays so it took me almost 2 1/2 hours to get from Rome to my hotel and I was pretty exhausted by the time I got in, but I had a plan for the night and no matter how tired I was, I was going to follow it.

First, I found a little outdoor cafe outside Piazza Barberini and had an enormous glass of wine with a Pasta Pomodoro that made me vow to never eat Barilla pasta with Classico or Rinaldi sauce ever again. I left the restaurant in a bit of a hurry because I was getting anxious to go see what I really came to Rome for.

Hello, Trevi Fountain! It's so nice to see you again!

The Trevi Fountain is my favorite place in the world. I was first in Rome 4 years ago after being dragged here by some friends. I had never had any interest in coming to Rome but fell in love immediately...and the Trevi Fountain? It's the only place I've been where I can sit and marvel in its beauty without the scores of tourists bothering me. So, I made my way to the Trevi Fountain and sat on the steps eating nutella gelato which is the most amazing thing on the planet.

I don't know what it is about this place, but the last time I was in Rome, I saw it 3 times. I purposely booked my hotel to be near it and I plan on stopping at it on my way out today and on my way back before I fly out again tonight.

Piazza Barberini
Yup, that's right, I'm leaving tonight. I needed a layover somewhere and I wanted it to be somewhere I had been before so I could just enjoy the city rather than trying to spend the day rushing to see everything, so Rome it is. I have about 8 hours to enjoy the city and I plan on doing a whole lot of what Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love.

Speaking of Eat, Pray, Love, remember how her next destination was India? Well, guess where my next destination is? No, I'm not trying to recreate the author's personal memoir but yes, I am on my way to India tonight. Not Sri Lanka. If you recall, I wrote my last post before leaving about my uneasiness about going to Sri Lanka having not heard at all from my counterparts in the country. Before I boarded my flight to Amsterdam, I was terrified. I cried the entire way to the airport and I couldn't explain the way I was feeling. I have been around the world and back again with people, without people, etc. but I had never felt this way before. While waiting to go through security, I almost backed out a million times and bagged the entire trip...Europe, India, everything. But I didn't. I called my dad (Hi Daddy!!!) from the airport and he asked me to be honest with him about how I was feeling about my trip and said that by reading my blog, he got the sense that I really wasn't feeling too hot about it. So, after talking with him, and then my mom (Hi Mami!!), I decided to cancel my trip to Sri Lanka.

Aside from the fact that I had never heard from my Sri Lankan counterparts, the US State Department had issues a recent security warning against volunteers traveling to the region. The fact that I was expected to lie about why I was in the country and that I had no contacts at all once I got there made me extremely uncomfortable. I'm not one to heed State Department warnings too seriously but without any contacts in the country and a midnight arrival, I was getting freaked out. So you know, I finally did hear from the office there a few days later and it seemed that the Country Director hadn't responded because he was unsure of several things surrounding my trip. He also clarified that we would not be doing the project we set out to do and that office space wouldn't be available until 3 weeks into our trip, all the more solidifying my reasoning that while, in a few months time, this could be a great trip, they just aren't ready for an American student to come help out.

So, I cut my trip one month short and instead of going to Sri Lanka, I'm going straight to India and coming home a month earlier and while, a month ago, I thought that if I didn't go to Sri Lanka, I would regret it for the rest of my life, I'm perfectly happy with this decision and know that it was the right one to make. I had been praying for weeks to give me some kind of sign as to what to do and the pit in my stomach and the sheer dread I felt about this trip were the signs I needed to go ahead and cancel!

And while I'm not going to spend 3 months in an ashram praying and trying to find my spiritual niche, I am going to eat a lot of naan and paneer, visit some ancient temples, do some yoga and experience India the way I've been dreaming of for over 10 years.

I've got a long, long, long (did I say long?) flight ahead of me so I'm off to wear myself out through the streets of Rome. Next time you hear from me, I'll be in INDIA! (This, by the way, hasn't hit me at all yet. Don't worry, it will!)

Have a wonderful day everyone!


  1. I'm so glad everything worked out.I think it was a very good decision to change your travel plans. And who knows, you might get another chance to go to Sri Lanka :)

  2. You are so lucky!! I wishhhh I could travel!

  3. Wow!!! What a crazy situation, but I'm glad you have rearranged your schedule and will be in India soon :) Enjoy it and I can't wait to see pictures and hear all about it!!!

  4. Thank you so much for finding the time to share with us your travels! That is so crazy about the whole Sri Lanka thing, I am glad you went with your gut though! Have an amazing time in India girl and keep posting when you can! Love you!

  5. enjoy India! Can't wait to hear about it!! Always wanted to go there!!!

  6. wow, sweet friend! well, i'm glad to hear your whole trip wasn't ruined!

  7. Hey, you have a LONG LONG life ahead of you, and plenty of time to visit the countries you don't get to now. Can't wait to see you!

  8. hey! it sounds cliche but i've really come to believe, especially over the past year, that everything happens for a reason. glad you decided to go with your gut - it's usually the right decision :)

    india awaits you!!! how exciting!

  9. Amazing spot for a layover! Can't wait for the next update on your travels :)


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