Albano Laziale – Roma Termini – Milano Centrale – Milano Malpensa Airport – Singapore Changi Airport – Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport – HOME

Italia. I miss it already. Even though there are so many things I’m looking forward to back at home, like seeing family and friends, SUMMER+not having to layer up…these short, yet two unforgettable months in Italy have probably been one of the best, if not the best time of my life.

As I write this on the plane from Milan to Singapore, our current ground speed is 1082km/h, cruising at an altitude of 10667m with an outside temperature of -42˚C.

By far the longest leg of the journey, my attempts (in vain) to re-adjust back to life in Sydney as quickly as possible by following [GMT+10] ended up in watching Suits, so now I thought I might as well take this sleepless flight hitherto in updating the shenanigans of the past few days.

The last day of school itself was paradoxically a joyous yet sad occasion. In the first sense, it’s so satisfying to think that I was able to fully integrate myself into a class of people who’d already been together and known each other really well for several years; at a local Italian ‘liceo’; entirely in Italian.

On the other hand, the fact that I was able to assimilate made it all the more harder to do everything for the last time, and say goodbye to the lovely people I’d come to know so well. We went out together as a class for my farewell party at a ‘fraschetta’… which was undoubtedly one of the best nights ever! It was SO much fun, and definitely the best way to end off my last night in Ariccia with the nicest people – LOVE.

Every day over the past two months, I think I’ve learnt something new or done something really exciting, and so for yesterday…I went for a spin in a Ferrari. Sure, might I mention here that I only just recently found out that my host family owns 6 cars, one of them being a Ferrari. It was SO cool, it was an old, almost collectible Ferrari…and we definitely got a few glances around town!

After wasting a lot of time with unnecessary bureaucracy at the post office to send off my parcel (including filling out the same form three times!) we finally left for Albano and caught the train to Termini. I think the reality of nearly being at the end of this amazing experience somewhat registered as the train slowly pulled out…oh the nostalgia!

Meeting up with the other exchanges from Australia in Milan was really cool, and over dinner at the hotel we chatted about our Italian experiences and adventures. I shared a room with Eliza for the night, and it was really nice that we could get to know each other, and just share random thoughts and memories together in Italian.  Surprisingly enough though, it was mutually agreed that at this very moment it’s easier to think and speak in Italian rather than English! Sure, we had our sporadic spurts of English words and phrases, but it was actually really fun – such an enjoyable night!

Morning of departure: From the beginning of the trip, I must say one of the moments I’d seriously been dreading was seeing the weight of my luggage on the check-in scales on return. So thanks to two months of being (very) wary and somewhat paranoid about it, in the end I only clocked in at 21kg. It was so good though, because I was somehow able to get a lot of shopping done here as well – oh yeah!

Transit in Singapore wasn’t actually too bad, party because Changi Airport is seriously one of the best airports ever. So during the few hours of waiting for our final flight back to Sydney, we ate heaps of food, went shopping, updated our social lives…and even visited the beautiful ‘butterfly garden’ inside! Running down the travelators with our trolleys (just for the sake of it, not because we were late or anything) towards our gate was SO much fun haha – and of course, done with the lovely Tessa and Christine among others.

The flight from Singapore to Sydney was SO packed but fortunately I was sitting next to good people so it was alright. I guess I didn’t previously realise how much I enjoy long aeroplane conversations with the random strangers next to you – fun times! There came a stage where there weren’t any movies left that I still wanted to watch, moderate turbulence, and a cacophony of screaming babies in the row behind…but for times like these, noise-cancelling headphones are definitely the best thing ever.

So in the end after about 30 hours of continuously being awake – I finally made it HOME. Welcome to Sydney, casa dolce casa!



[Liceo Classico Statale James Joyce – 3˚LA]

[A bit of time zone confusion – where am I?]


Departure in 48 hours

So it’s come around again. Departure in 48 hours…only this time in reverse. I guess I don’t actually get home until Friday night, but without travelling, trains, planes, hotels and transit, in exactly 48 hours I would have just boarded my train from Rome to Milan.

I’m feeling so ambivalent right now, and packing is seriously the last thing I want to do. I can’t believe how quickly the past two months have flown by, and just when everything is perfect…it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve absolutely LOVED every moment spent here, and it’s so sad to think that it’s all coming to an end in just a little while.

There are so many things I’m going to miss, like FRIENDS, the experience as a whole, the food, Italian (the language itself), just casually going to Rome, school… and even trivial things like catching different phases on Facebook based on what time it is, putting my jacket on the fourth hook from the right each morning at school, hearing the sound of an iPhone charging at the same time each night and saying ‘pronto!’ instead of ‘hello?’ when answering the phone…among so many others.

It’s all getting a bit real, tomorrow is my last day of school. The friends I’ve made are all so lovely, and it’s sad to think that I’m not going to see the people I’ve gotten to know so well for a while. But thank goodness for the Internet though, we’ll still be able to ‘chiacchieriamo insieme’ and now this gives me more leverage to start planning (and save up for) a return trip back to Italy!

Buonanotte Italia (Good morning Australia…literally!)



Roma – La Città Eterna

Yesterday was definitely one of the best days ever, spent in the beautiful city of Rome! ♥

In the morning we caught the train+metropolitana, had caffè al bar, wandered around the piazzas and then finally met up with Claudia (meno male) just in time for…our private tour of the Italian Parliament House!

It was SO amazing, il Palazzo Montecitorio. Unfortunately we couldn’t take any photos inside due to the stringent security measures, but I’ll try describing it as best I can anyways. Divided into two sections between ‘historical’ and ‘modern’, the place was enormous and the furnishings were just so beautiful. With red-carpet lined floors covering all the corridors, we walked through ‘Il Transatlantico’, saw the different rooms like ‘La Sala Verde’ [The Green Room] and ‘La Sala del Casellario’ [The Mailbox Room], and sat in for a segment of question time in ‘L’Aula’ [The Plenary Hall of the Chamber of Deputies].

But my favourite part was by far entering ‘La Sala Aldo Moro’ [previously La Stanza Gialla], ‘La Sala della Regina’ [The Queen’s Hall] and ‘La Sala della Lupa’ [The Hall of the She-wolf]. Inside ‘La Stanza Gialla’, there was a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and everything was shiny gold – insomma, it was utterly incredible! It was such an overwhelming feeling to be in the exact places you’d normally see on TV during press conferences and diplomatic agreements. And to think that I’ve now been to the place where all the politics of Italy happens, oh so official!

The decorations, fittings and artworks inside…seeing the original tapestries of the Medici family, among so many other priceless pieces of art. It was SUCH a good tour, and I absolutely loved every part of it, ah amazing! Made even better due to the fact our ‘group tour’ consisted of two people, for the most part the guide spoke to us in Italiano – and I understood a large majority of it! After they checked our passports at the first entrance though, we somehow managed to bypass mandatory security screenings completely?

After Parliament we walked the entire Via del Corso and went shopping! I must say, I am loving ‘i saldi’, and the shops on that street were SO good. (ZARA), H&M, Gap, Sephora…and all the other stores you can’t find in Australia! And for those of you who know how much I LOVE (and am an absolute sucker for) touristy souvenir shopping, I was able to finalise all of my token memorabilia for the trip! Fun times!

Time passed so quickly, to the point that we only had lunch at 3pm at a pizzeria. In the afternoon we revisited the lovely Trevi Fountain followed by Piazza di Spagna, which was honestly so much fun! In search of the perfect gelato, one of the highlights of the day was definitely eating WAY too much of it, more than once by the way – assolutamente buonissimo! But seriously, why does gelato (+flavours) taste SO much better in Italy?

Such an enjoyable and unforgettable day, I can’t believe everything is starting to wrap up though – in exactly a week I would have just landed back in Sydney…just in time for school – non voglio partire!

A dopo!



[Palazzo Montecitorio]


7:00am – first alarm goes off.

7:15am – second alarm goes off.

7:30am – third alarm goes off.

7:45am – fourth alarm goes off.

8:00am – fifth and final alarm goes off.

If I haven’t already mentioned, school starts at 8:20am – so somehow within 20 minutes I manage to get up, get dressed and do all that, have an hugely delicious breakfast and walk to school. It’s incredible, I don’t know how I manage to pull it off but it works every time, every single day.

I guess this week, the fact that I’m now so immersed into the daily routines of life here became blantantly apparent to me – but also the fact that in just over two weeks I’ll be back at home in Sydney again. Although somewhat masked, I’m already feeling as though I don’t want to leave this place. Everything is just going so, so well, and disrupting that would just be inopportune. The past month+ has been absolutely amazing, and I’ve honestly thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of it.

Alright, so two weeks isn’t exactly a legitimate time to get all sentimental…but it’s not entirely unsolicited given my train ticket from Rome to Milan arrived today by courier. Which brings me to the next thing: my care-package sent from the fam. I still have no idea where it is, or what happened to it, but it should have arrived a good four weeks ago…?

I know the Italian mail system is notoriously reputed especially towards the south, but Mel’s Christmas card arrived yesterday (thanks Mel!) so it can’t all be terrible?

Anyways, in other news today was a great day at school – the feeling you get when you’re able to surpass the goal of continuously hitting 30 shots in volano (with one of the nicest people)…yes!



[Speaking of postage, I love how ‘post’ is spelt ‘poste’ in Italiano, just sayin’]


It’s so good to be back. Although I didn’t really plan on updating this regularly, it’s actually been pretty fun – and over the past week I’ve definitely missed doing so…even if no one’s reading it. I guess it’s good for me to get everything out and let the world know what’s been happening in my life!

So from where I last left you…

After roadtripping across Italy for pretty much the majority of the day, we checked into a little hotel at the base of the mountain in Canazei. It was so conveniently located, within twenty metres of the chairlifts more or less…but that’s only if you’re going skiiing. Ugh, so frustrating – but I’m definitely coming back one day, mark my words!

Besides that though, everything else was practically perfect. It snowed every single day of the week, and to be honest it was absolutely incredible! Even though I’ve been to the snow and seen it all before, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced it in such an intense and amazing way – LOVE.

The second morning, the scenery had completely changed from my initial impressions of the night, SO beautiful! Wandering around town, it was just generally such a cute place. There were heaps of different pasticcerie, bakeries and local market-type shops everywhere! This is Italy.

Up the mountain though, the scenery was utterly spectacular to the point that neither words nor pictures can’t adequately describe its grandeur. Sure, the weather was freezing but it was definitely worth it! Such a good week away, I can’t believe it went so quickly!

Coming home last night also marked the end of the Christmas-New Year’s holidays, so it’s been a little hectic on my end with school re-starting itself today. Although I’ve been thoroughly enjoying school here in Italy, I must say how much I’ve loved having the past two-and-a-half or so weeks off!



[Canazei – Dolomiti]

Capodanno a Roma

2012 eventually arrived…happy new year!

Allora, una festa with friends from school among others was supposed to be held at home for NYE yesterday, and pretty much everything was set up and ready – however in the afternoon a few people bailed for whatever reason and subsequently the whole thing was called off. Vexing, yet as recompense I spent new year’s eve at the Colosseum in Rome.

As you’d expect, la metropolitana was packed with masses of people, but once we arrived it actually wasn’t as crowded as I’d expected. I guess the main difference was the fact that there wasn’t one centralised place where everyone gathered; rather it was just a huge celebration all around the city!

Vibe is definitely something I can’t describe adequately enough – all I can say is that the Romans know how to party! I fuochi d’artificio was spectacular, but to be honest I don’t think any city can ever rival Sydney. Given amateur fireworks are readily available from the shops everywhere, they were set off all throughout the night which was generally pretty exciting!

At midnight, we toasted spumante along with the rest of the city and once we got home, apparently it’s some sort of tradition to eat ‘cornetti’ (croissants), so in the end I went to bed after 3am. It was really fun though and a great start to the year, I’m really looking forward to 2012 and all that it brings!



Ps – as I mentioned briefly in my last post, we’re going to the mountains for a week so I won’t be able to update anything until I get back. Even though it looks so amazing, unfortunately I can’t go skiing due to restrictions with contracts, insurance and whatnot but hopefully it’ll be a relaxing time away!

[NYE ’11 at the Colosseum]


I don’t think I’ve ever felt this behind the times…literally. While celebrations for the new year of 2012 have already begun around the world (it’s midnight in Sydney right now!), there’s still another ten hours to go before midnight arrives here in Rome (GMT+1). Sitting, waiting, wishing…

But besides time zones though, the timing of everything has been so perfect recently, it’s great! I should also point out the fact that today, ‘l’ultimo dell’anno’ marks my halfway point (give or take) here in Italy on exchange – 26 down, 26 to go!

Reflecting on what’s already past, the whole experience has honestly been so amazing, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything thus far. But I’m also really looking forward to and excited for part II – hurrah!

As a whole though, the year that’s [almost] over has been such a great year – for which I am so thankful to God for. I have the most incredible family and friends, what more could I possibly ask for?! And to anyone who’s reading this along with everyone else who has made 2011 the incredible year it’s been, thank you so much – it means so much to me!

So I’ve tied all the loose ends together; have my list of new year’s resolutions ready-to-go; calendar flipped; bags packed for a week away in the mountains and I’m all set. Now for 12am to actually arrive…tick, tick tick.

From what I can already anticipate though, 2012 is going to be another huge and memorable year with things like becoming legal and finishing high school underway! Until then though…buon anno, happy new year, bring on 2012!



[Nemi – cute little town overlooking the sea]