Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lessons to be Learned

This was it!!! This was the moment I had been waiting  for the past six months and I thought I would be ready. Wrong! No matter how many months, days, or even books read in preparation for living abroad it was never enough. Please remind yourself, and for those who do not know, this is my first experience leaving home for an extended time period. Let alone in a foreign county and additionally a country that speaks a different language. Italy will be my new “home” for the next couple of months.  I will be residing in Rome for the first two months and then Florence for the last two. In between living in the cities I will have ten days to travel, most likely to Greece. But then again, there might be other countries calling my name.   

 For those who do not really know me, I am probably the most stubborn, intense, and slightly impatient (alright, alright, impatient), person I know, when it comes to myself. Some of you may not have noticed, as I try to disguise these personal traits, though I doubt I’m fooling anyone. But at the same time I am driven to achieve my goals. There was a quote I once read and it has become one of my philosophies in life. Look, I've never had a dream in my life, because a dream is what you want to do but still haven't pursued. I knew what I wanted and did it 'till it was done, so I've been the dream that I wanted to be since day one." So when the opportunity of moving to Italy came along, without thinking twice I wrote the deposit check. I didn’t even know at the time if it was financially possible, but I knew when I get an idea I grab onto it and don’t let go. So instead of working 40 hours a week during the summer I worked 60 to 70 hours. Now with work behind me, I’m sitting on a plane writing this blog and thinking of what I will encounter while in Italy. Don’t worry I am prepared to eat all the gelato, pasta, and whatever else I can get my hands on, and at the end of the night put on my stretchy pants in order to blog about these experiences so you can live vicariously through me.

In Rome and Florence I’ll be studying at  Leonardo Da Vinci. I will continue studying Italian in addition to a History class and an Art History class.  Hopefully I will find some cooking classes as well. Many of my friends and family know when it comes to cooking, my best cooking tool is VISA. Yes, that is correct, I am not ashamed to admit it but I cannot cook, I burn water. A friend told me that’s not bad cooking skills, it’s not being able to pay attention. Which is true, I do not pay attention when cooking. I don’t pay attention because cooking is not an interest. However, I have an interest in eating. But I realize after eating the same foods day in and day out, and ordering at the same places it’s time to face this challenge. What better place to learn than in Italy!

 Before I left for Italy people shared their traveling stories with me and the “dos and a donts.” I promise I listened to all of them and even took some notes.  Sadly, not even 24 hours into my travels and I have learned a lot. Travel Lesson One. I know I’ve been told this a million times!  Always check the airplane for ALL of your belongs before you leave; you might just forget one thing. In my case unfortunately and embarrassing as it is to admit I forgot my Itouch. I remember my books just not the small electronic. (Maybe if Apple stopped making their electronics smaller than the last their invention I would have been able to SEE what I left behind… Actually I was just forgetful and stressed I was going to miss my connecting flight and I rushed myself) I wish I had a different story to tell, but this will probably one of the many (hard) lessons to be learned during my duration in Italy. (ACTUALLY I WAS AN IDIOT AND REALIZED AFTER SIX HOURS INTO THE SECOND FLIGHT I WAS SITTING ON MY ITOUCH THE ENTIRE TIME. I DID NOT LEAVE IT ON THE LAST FLIGHT. I THOUGHT I HAD TAKEN IT OUT MY DURING MY SECOND FLIGHT BUT I WAS TOO TIRED AND FORGETFUL THAT I FORGOT I DID HAVE IT, I JUST WAS SITTING ON IT. I COULDN’T EVEN FEEL IT. HAPPY ENDING)

Travel Lesson Two. I have realized it does not matter if you pay the extra 30 dollars to reserve an isle seat or a window seat, most likely you’ll be an instant target for the middle seat and there won’t be anything you can do at that moment other than to get comfortable. (Or maybe I just have bad luck. I’ll be calling American Airlines and ask for a refund. That money could have gone to massive consumptions of gelato!)

Lesson Three. “Kill them with Kindness.” I found being overly cheerful  to the lady who checked me into my flight at 6am was nice enough to pretended not to acknowledge that my bag was over six pounds the limit. Instead she winked at me and then put the ”heavy tag” on my bag and wished me well with a smile. To the two people (you know who you are) that helped me pack and repack my bags trying to get me to eliminate, “you were right.” Less is better. I had to touch the fire for myself, and boy was it hot! When I arrive to my apartment I have five flights of stairs to lug up all my bags and I doubt the taxi driver will help. Again, more lessons for me to learn and share with you in hopes you will not be as dense as me.  However, the intention of this blog is not solely about lessons but also experiences to share. It would be nice to have all my friends and family by my side in Italy, BUT that would defeat the purpose of this journey. This will be the first time I will be teaching myself new things, first on the list PATIENCE! The second is to deal with change gracefully, (if that is even possible). Additionally, I write this blog not only for myself, but for the readers. If there is anyone out there that has been debating on traveling or living abroad I say GO FOR IT!!!! I’m almost 24 and just starting. I have no idea what I am doing, but I do know I won’t forget this experience. I hope this blog will create an open channel of communication between the people I left at home, the people I will meet and any one else who is clumsy enough to stumble over this. I encourage readers to leave comments, suggestions, and recommendations.  Thank you everyone’s support. I love you all.

Alece the Roamin' Roman


  1. HI ALECE!! It's Bre, I absolutely <3 your blog! We have Cory O'Connor to thank for teaching us the importance of blogs in Internet Communications class.

    I am soo proud of you for pursuing your goals in such a stylish way. Watch out for those Italian boys ;)

    I will be sitting at my 9-5 job wishing I was fighting off the Italian boys with you!!

    Have a blast and be safe, love and miss you!

  2. By the time you get back, your apartment will be done, but sad to say James has moved your bed into the framed dwelling and Loral is getting the smoking jacket ready plus Polka will be moving in. Sooo you won't have a bed when you return.
    Just love the blog and where are the pics? Don't forget the leading lines and scale and that wonderful fisheye lens. Plus you can do movies too!!! I want to see movies. Have fun and remember "When in Rome......
    mill valley mom

  3. Dearest Alece,
    What a treat reading your blog. Feel like a little mouse on your shoulder living your experience. Love you, take care and have lots of fun. Another hug, your grand auntie, Alec spelled backwards.

  4. Attentione, Attentione:
    Wow, I love your blog I wish I'd written one when I was away! It's going to be so cool to look back on this with all the comments and stuff... smart thinking :) Anyway, I'm really excited for you! So excited that I think I want to study Italian again... screw Chinese lol.

  5. I am SOOO glad you will be learning PATIENCE!!! Finally at last! I think you should incorporate how you learned patience in each blog.
    Oh and I can't believe your bag was still over the weight limit. Hopefully you will make friends by giving them your oh so cool California wear to random people who will become your friend.

  6. Great Blog, keep them coming! Bon Appetit!

  7. Alece -

    I hope that you have a wonderful trip. Embrace all of the wild opportunities that you can as the memories will last you a lifetime. I hope that you find traveling and learning around the world as thrilling as I have!


  8. I am so proud of you for actually going through with it! Still trying to figure out how I can come and visit. Missing you and our hikes! Loving the photos. I have many simmilar ones myself. Don't forget to say "Hello!" to the Swiss Guards for me. I had so much fun with them!

  9. Cara Signora Aldersoni,
    I will not get your daughter sideswiped by wild Roman drivers again. We are both working on ambling across the road on green crosswalk lights rather than darting across on red. I look forward to meeting you.

  10. You are so right about the slowing down and enjoying a meal whether it is dinner or at the little gelato bar. I hope that is something that stays with you throughout your life.
    Your writing and observations are superb. No falling for "puppy eyes" People will do anything to get money from you.