Life Goes On

... does it?

It's a strange feeling, when you know that time where you feel so perfect and so happy with everything, is all about to change.  My last week in London was filled with a mix of trying to absorb every little thing about this place I've called home for so long and fight those uncomfortable thoughts that soon I would be back to reality.

And you can be sure that it did happen.  Reality struck and before I knew it I was in the West Palm Beach Airport, two suitcases full of too many clothes, shoes, and keepsakes, looking out for my parents.  It's hard to believe how quick five months can really go by, but when they say time flies in a blink of the eye, they aren't lying to you.

My ten hours of flying went by surprisingly fast, but I give credit to the hours and hours of plane, cab, bus, subway, and train rides Heather and I experienced throughout Europe.  Before I knew it, I had three hours to home.  I feel like a professional traveler now.

Once I finished a lovely week basking in the sweet Florida sun at my parents, I had to make the hike back to Cincinnati.  The next week was filled with unpacking - unpacking my storage unit, unpacking my suitcases, unpacking my room, unpacking my life.  Fortunately, I didn't mind, as it was just time to uncover those things I forgot I left behind, and the new things, and memories I've brought back from London.  My room is now filled with hundreds of pictures, a few paintings, a few posters, and all the things I kept and collected along the way.  It's not hard to feel happy in here when if I need to remember those things I love, I just need to look around.

Memories..
and more

Beyond that, I'm trying to make life here in Cincinnati as great as it was for me there.  Now, that consists of getting a job and preparing to start school again, but for right now it's summer and for right now I'll enjoy this little extra free time I have.

Once I got back into town and after I made a little pit stop to Louisville to see old friends, I started back up at the theatre (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati) I interned at the past summer.  I was the house manager for the run of Next to Normal, which was such a great experience for me.  It was the first show that I have been somewhat involved with and I absolutely loved it.  Beyond the show, everything about that theatre is amazing.  They people, the building, everything.  It has helped me so much and I could never fully explain how grateful I am that they took me in.  But back to the show, it was incredible.  The set, the actors, the music - unreal.  Possibly the best show I have seen.  And to have been apart of it in some way is amazing.

The show ended almost two weeks ago, and I already miss it!  But since then, I've been on the hunt for a new job, and relaxing a bit.  It's been nice, but I'm ready to get some business in my life again.

So I took a little hiatus from Cinque Terre to now from blogging.  There's quite a bit that went on after that, but I'll give you the cliff note version with just a couple of pictures.

After Cinque Terre, Heather and I took the train down to Rome, to which we walked the entire city and ate some delicious food (pizza and spaghetti for me please!).  We headed to Florence after that for a night, where I met up with Robert again.  He was studying there, so it was nice to see him where I lived and where he lived.  Florence was incredible.  I am so upset that we only spend one night there, but it was a spontaneous decision to even go, and I am so glad that we did.  It is this absolutely gorgeous, little town, that feels huge at the same time.  I love it.  From there, we ventured down to our ending town, Naples.  There isn't much to say about Naples - I was surprisingly real disappointed.  It had a feel of Miami, but everyone is Italian.  Heather and I walked around where we could, ate plenty of gelato, and then got in a good nights rest before our plane home the next morning.
Rome

The Sistene Chapel. SO cool.
Where the Pope lives. I'm really not kidding.

And Florence. . .

The Duomo

From the top. Beautiful.

We got back to London safe and sound, and extremely exhausted.  We had one day/night to rest until we had to get right back up for our trip to Scotland with our study abroad program.  Neither of us were very excited to go, at all - we were just way too tired.  But the great thing about that was we were so wrong, because Scotland was one of my favorite trips that we had taken.  

We started in Edinburgh, saw the castle and city, and then were taken out to Lochness, where we took a cruise on the lake (or I should say 'the loch') where we were told many many stories about the Lochness Monster, Nessie, who our tour guide has seen over ten times.  It all seems very crazy, but with the facts and tools that they have there, I have to say that I do believe that it's true.  He explained to us the technology that they had to trace bodies in the water and how large these things are.  He also told us that there are at least four in that loch alone!  CRAZY.  Sadly, we didn't see Nessie, or any of her friends.  Maybe next time. 

 After this, we spent the rest of the night in the hostel bar, trying their organic beer that they claim 'will not give you a hangover.'  It was pretty good, and there were plenty of types, so whether the hangover myth was true or not, we drank them anyways!  

After lochness, we were taken all throughout the Isles of Sky. Now I thought Ireland was going to be green and gorgeous, but Scotland kicked it out of the water.  I have never seen such amazing views as I did in Scotland.  That country is one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.  

We ended the day at The Lake of Eternal Youth.  In order to keep your beauty for time to come, you have to stick your face in the water ... It's 40 degrees outside, and you want me to do what?  That old saying 'beauty is pain' made it's way into our brains, and you can bet we all stuck our faces deep down in that lake. 
 Okay, it actually wasn't that bad at all - refreshing, actually.  
And when I'm 60 still looking like this, I'll have that time in Scotland to thank!  

We made our stop in cute little area where our hostel was.  We found dinner, hit the hostel bar, and hung out with everyone from our program and the locals for the rest of the night.  The next day was back to London, where we made the decision not to get out of bed for the next day.

Edinburgh Castle
Loch Ness
Truth
How perfect is this picture? Yes, I took it.
The oldest mountains in the world to the left, and the newest to the right. Amazing.
I could sit up there forever
This was supposed to be a back tuck on top of the mountains. This is what I got.
DID IT WORK??

Friends and fun

Back to London meant four more weeks until we had to return to America.  This was filled with walking, exploring, and relaxing, for two weeks, then our last trip to Liverpool.  If you've read my blog, you've seen Liverpool pop up more times than it maybe should have, but I can't regret any trip.  

This was the fourth time I had been back, and I would have gone back a million more times if I could.  It's safe to say that Liverpool is my absolute, all time favorite place I have visited or traveled to, ever.  The people, the atmosphere, the music, everything about that place is just unexplainable.  I have never been there where I did not have the most amazing time of my life.

We got there on Friday, hoping to live that weekend like our first, and in more weird ways than one we did.  We wanted to recreate our first trip, so we started off our night in The Grapes, laughing with the old crowd and listening to awful, yet great karaoke.  

We went next door to Lennon Bar, where we met a Stag Party (bachelor party) all dressed in 80's attire, packed with wigs.  Oh, and the two bachelors were dressed as cheerleaders.  I don't understand the ways or why they do things here, but I don't complain at all.  We danced around and took hundreds of pictures with them and then left for the Cavern. The Rockits were playing, so naturally we danced and sang the rest of the night away with them.  

The next day we woke up, grabbed some lunch, and headed back to the Cavern for The Shakers, our favorite group.  We watched them and Jay Murray play until the evening, then grabbed some dinner, then went for a drink at The White Star, and back to The Cavern.  We danced around with the crowd to The Amazing Kappa, with his crazy guitar movies, and on our walk back to our hostel, maybe to keep the tradition of our first trip, but probably because we couldn't bare to leave, we decided to stay an extra night.  

The next night was filled with more of The Shakers.  We didn't leave that night (or Saturday night, actually) until we were the last ones in The Cavern.  and I know you can say 'it's just a bar' or 'it's just Liverpool,' but it really is something so much more to me.  I can't even explain it, but from the first night I spent there, I fell so in love with it.  I am not kidding you when I say it is in consideration, if it ever becomes possible, that I may move there someday.

Stag Party!

The Rockits
The Shakers!
The AMAZING Kappa
Kappa, who is going on tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd next summer.... no big deal
Yup. We're on the stage.

After we got home, there were two weeks left in London.  In that time, we visited the studios for Harry Potter, which was very cool.  I hadn't seen any of the movies, and even so, I was still pretty amazed with the sets, designs, props, and makings of the movies.  

The next three days Heather and I watched all 8 movies, and now I see what all the fuss is about.  They are AMAZING.  Anyways, on to the two weeks -  I spent way too much money seeing West End shows (none of which I regret), shopped around a little too much, and spent every minute we could around the town.  It was a very relaxing two weeks, but it went by way too fast, and now we are at where I started this blog.

A little bit of HP ..

The absolute coolest part

So I went into a little more detail about some of those trips than I planned, but I can't help it.  I could talk about those times for hours.  In the five months I spent living in London, traveling Europe, and experiencing the world, I can honestly 100% confidently say I would not have changed a single thing.  There were no issues, no homesickness, nothing.  It was the best decision I have ever made. I had nothing short of the greatest time of my life.

And with that is a big thanks to my parents, not only for funding me in this whole trip, but for continuing to encourage (almost force) me to study abroad.  I have seen and experienced more than I ever thought I would, and I truly feel that I am changed for the better.  And to my home girl Heather.  I would not have had this crazy and thrilling ride without you.  I miss you way too much for only being home for a little over a month, but I plan on getting down to you soon ... with a case of Strongbow at my side.

Thanks to a small compliment from a friendly stranger, I think I'm going to try and continue this blog while I can.  I don't mind writing, and even if no body reads it, it's really great to be able to look back on these posts, along with everything else.  But if you are reading it, then thanks to you for keeping up with me.

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