Scalea Travel Diary

I have finally returned from my vacation in Scalea, Calabria. For those of you who do not know, just like I did not know some months ago, Scalea is a comune in the province of Cosenza in Southern Italy. My friend and I decided to spend our holidays there because she had already been to this place years ago and the sea is beautiful.

We stayed at Santa Caterina Village, quite a peculiar hotel for two young girls. Let’s say that the village scene is more for families and older people; but it was fine. It was not spectacular, the days were all like the one before, but I managed to relax and that was my goal.

On the 23rd of July I got out of bed at 4:45am, picked my friend up and made our way to Roma Termini, the main train station in Rome. There, we took a Frecciarossa to Naples, which took about an hour and was, needless to say, comfortable. From Naples we took a Regional train to Scalea and let me tell you, I have never been on a more packed train. There were old men singing, children playing, my stomach was killing me and my friend was with her legs on the suitcase between mine. It was a journey which lasted 3 and a half hours.

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Note the despair.
Finally, we made it to Scalea, got our rooms after another long wait and after dodging the invasive guys who were there to animate the environment. As you can see, in our room we had a big bed, made of two single ones and then we had a single one, which became the resting place for my suitcase for the entirety of our journey.

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Note the relief.
After staying still for a bit, we went to the beach. The water was pretty, clear and unfortunately for me, almost immediately deep.

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Of course, as soon as the sun started setting, I had to take some pictures, before dinner. You guys know that is what I love doing on trips.

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The next days have been a little more photoshoot-intense, especially in my bathing suits. Unfortunately, the next days have also been pretty turbulent regarding the sea, reason why people were not allowed to swim. Regardless, I posed.

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On the 27th, we finally decided to get out of the resort and visit the city. Let me tell you, besides people not being very mindful and cautious drivers, the city itself is beautiful. All along the beach there are some shops (I went to “Il Brigante” to buy typical food items, such as ‘nduja, spicy salami and liquor), while the historical centre is situated somewhere higher and I am pretty sure it could be reached by car, although we did not venture so far.

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A habit of mine is taking pictures of old or peculiar houses and there were a couple which did catch my eye, both inhabited and non.

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Word of mouth had that there were some stairs to be climbed somewhere on the rocks where the view was fantastic, so we of course had to go. Besides the steps being steep, the view was indeed glorious and heavenly.

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Our last adventure before returning home was taking a train trip to Diamante, another touristic city nearby, probably less busy with tourists. It gave me the feeling of a fortress, with its high walls facing the sea.

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The remaining days and nights I spent chilling and dancing bachata before going to sleep. Our journey back was tiring; our train was 30 minutes late, packed and it stopped at random times. We got back to Termini with the same delay and we saw we were not the only ones, as there was a train 190 minutes late. I would have gone mad.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and the pictures that came with it.

Thank you for reading.

xx

My high school experience is Done!

I cannot believe this is real. I finally finished high school, after 5 intense and gruelling years (yes, high school lasts 5 years in Italy). The feeling has just started settling in even though when I am writing this 2 weeks have passed since I took my last exam.

I am content with the way my finals went. Could have they gone better? Of course, it can always go better, but I was well aware of what I have done during these 5 years and what my limits were (aka the math part was not really my forte).

I must say that I was not stressed in the least during my exam weeks. Yes, it was overwhelming but what was done was done and no late night study sessions could mend the spaces left behind. I was calm and collected, despite experiencing a very harsh UTI when I took my first exam. I know, it might be too much information, but it is what it is.

Now that all is said and done, I think I should reflect on what these last 5 years have meant and what they have done for me.

When I started high school I was a completely different person, and I really mean it. I was extremely shy, awkward and would not socialise whatsoever. Thankfully, I then became friends with a classmate of mine who was and is my complete opposite. She helped me become more open to opportunities and talk more. From then on, despite some people not believing in me, be it because I am female, be it because I am Romanian, I thrived. I often came out on top, regardless of whether I studied or not and that made people angry. The fact that I was respectful to everyone made people angry. And now, despite everyone’s doubts and comments, I am a happy woman, who feels fulfilled and who is extremely, extremely excited to move forward in life, and that means going to university.

I cannot wait (I mean, I can a bit) to start this new chapter in my life and take you guys with me. Thank you so much for reading.

xx

Look of the Day – July 9, 2017

I am back in the swing of things with this amazing impromptu photoshoot that my friend partook in; you can find her on Instagram here. Later in the evening we went to the pool where there were some salsa and bachata classes, so I felt like this dress was necessary. I bought it on sale from a store called Nuna Lie, but I am unable to find this particular dress on their site.

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I have never been one for colour, but I want this summer to be full of flowy dresses, both floral and not. Being able to feel the air and wind is phenomenal. Also, the colour scheme on this dress is lovely, with pinks and dusty pastels.

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I also decided to do something different with my makeup. I do not normally use colours, but since I have a couple of palettes I wanted to give it a try. I used the “En Taupe” palette by Zoeva, mainly the purple and lilac shades.

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And to top everything off, here we have a moment where I do not have my resting bitch face on. Surprise. That might be because I am happy as of late.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Thank you so much for reading.

xx

Failure

This is probably one of the most annoying words in any language. Annoying, depressing, tear-worthy. I have encountered it few times in my life and I wish I had not.

Admitting I have failed at something makes my stomach turn and my brain get angry. Simply because failing is my fault and no one else’s. I cannot put the blame on my teachers for getting a bad or mediocre grade. I cannot put the blame on supermarkets for me gaining weight.

Saying “I have failed” is tiring and infuriating, so much that whenever it happens, I get cranky the whole day, until I have interiorised my failure and I am ready to move on. Admitting my failures is a process that has to happen in order for me to have mental clarity and sanity.

If I were to find the root of the problem, I would go as back as primary school. I was not used to failing. I always had top grades and was considered a nerd. That went on during middle school, getting admitted to high school with the highest grade possible. High school, on the other hand, was a low blow. Teachers expect more than average and they are not willing to give you more than you worked for; sometimes they do not even give you that. Of course, my behaviour changed too: I started working harder and smarter. I understood what they wanted and tackled the skills I lacked.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I worked, I sometimes failed. Usually, that happened in math (surprise…not). It has never been my strongest subject and it still is not. I have admitted that, despite my pride, and I moved forward, doing what I can.

Failing, or getting a mediocre grade, at math is not acceptable, but it is not catastrophic either. What hurts more is getting a mediocre grade in a subject I usually am one of the best at. Not getting the maximum in Italian or History or Philosophy stings for two reasons: firstly, because it hurts my pride, secondly because people have high expectations of me. This last part is something I am still struggling with.

Hearing my teacher say “I expected more from you” hurts more than them saying “You sucked at this”. In the last case, something must have definitely gone bad, where I could not have done anything to mend it. In the first case, it is all my fault, because I have set a certain standard that people, and also myself, are accustomed to and now expect.

Failure and expectations go hand in hand, especially because when I fail, there are always people who cheer. When you almost always are the best, people start rooting for you to fall. Had you been less stellar, your fall would not have made so much noise.

I guess failure itself is not so bad; everyone encounters it in their lives and it is normal and part of being human. What matters is how we deal with it and what we take from it. I believe in the “You win or you learn” motto. That is what life is all about: progressing and learning, which most often than not, are quite the same thing.

Thank you for reading.

xx

 

NYC Travel Diary

In March I went on a trip to New York City, which lasted about 9 days. This trip was the culminating event of a course I have been taking since November. This course is called National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN). It is a branch of the Model United Nations (MUN), aimed at high school students.

The whole course lasted from November until February and it focused on diplomacy, diplomatic language, modern history, geopolitics and such. We then did a simulation in Rome, in a parliamentary room, where students from Central Italy came together to work as one.

Finally, we had to go to NYC to take part in the big simulation, which brought together students from all around the world. I was part of the Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN) and I was representing Mauritania, alongside a girl from another part of Italy.

Let’s get started with the trip.

We left on the 13th of March from Fiumicino Airport, in Rome. All of our flights were operated by Iberia, so naturally we had layovers in Madrid.

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Waiting at the airport. Luckily, there was a student who could play the piano and he made time pass faster.

The flight from Rome to Madrid lasted 3 hours and was uneventful. There we had about an hour layover, but since the gate was pretty far, we had to run there to catch our flight. The next 9 hours, strangely enough, passed quickly. I saw the film “Arrival”, which was neat.

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Finally, we arrived in NYC at about 7pm. It was quite late, I had no internet on my phone, thinking that I could catch some wifi. That did not happen. It was very very cold as we waited for the car which would take us to the hotel.

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Tired.

We finally arrived at our hotel, Hilton Midtown. It is a very nice hotel and the room was cute, once you figured out how the heating worked. The elevators were also quite a challenge. IMG_7058

We were 4 girls in the room and let me tell you, it was such a mess that the cleaning lady refused to clean it. That was quite a hint.

That night we went out for McDonald’s in Times Square. It was so so cold that it started lightly snowing. We got back towards midnight and then we went straight to sleep, too tired to function.

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The next day, on the 14th, we were faced with Snow Storm Sally. At the beginning it was cute and new, but then we had to face the cold and the metres of snow. We had breakfast at Joe & the Juice, near our hotel, where I had a protein smoothie. IMG_4380

We then tried to go to the Museum of Natural History, which was closed. I was on the verge of a nervous crisis as we walked through Central Park, in the snow storm, with our guide who was not a good enough guide and did not know where she was going. Fortunately, I made a new friend who I am still on touch with and we took a taxi back to the hotel, instead of walking.

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I was so cold I felt like crying. We ended up just staying in the hotel for the rest of the day, since it was so cold.

On the next day, we actually started working. But before that, we finally visited the museum! As always, we had to hurry to make it in time for the Opening Ceremony, so we only had an hour. A friend of mine and I managed to visit almost everything.

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After this, we got dressed up and we attended the Opening Ceremony, after attending a couple of briefings on the rules of procedure and such.

The 16th was the most intense work day, since we had to attend 2 sessions in the afternoon, while in the morning we attended a conference. That evening most people went to the Empire State Building, but I was not feeling well and remained in my room.

The next day we attended our last two sessions and we were finally free to go. We visited the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), that was close to our hotel.

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That night we also attended the Delegate Dance, but I only stayed and danced for a bit, since my feet were killing me, having worn heels all day.

The next morning we left for the UN Headquarters and we attended the Closing Ceremonies. It was nice, being seated in the front row, and watching people make their speeches.

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In the afternoon we visited the Guggenheim Museum. I liked the way it was structured on more floors and how there were little to no stairs.

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On the next day we went to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and then the Brooklyn Bridge. We had to walk quite a lot to get to the subway station, since there was a marathon going on.

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Before going to the Brooklyn Bridge, we visited Wall Street, where I was excited to see the statue of the Fearless Girl.

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After that, we visited the 9/11 Memorial. It felt surreal. All the names written there really gave it a spectral atmosphere, and despite there being hundreds of people, it was silent.

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Finally, we arrived at the Brooklyn Bridge, and we walked all the way to Brooklyn. It was tiring, but it was most definitely worth it.

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On the 21st of March we left. Unfortunately, our layover in Madrid lasted 6 hours and I fell asleep on the table. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. We finally got home on the 22nd.

What I left out of all this diary entry, so to say, was a very deep emotional experience which saw its beginning and end in the same week, only to leave me heartbroken, then mend my heart and then break it again a couple of days ago. But this experience would not have been the same without my heart experiencing a whole array of emotions, from love to panic.

Thank you for reading.

xx

Australia Travel Diary – Part 2

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to make the second part of this post, but here I am and I have a lot to say. Here you can find part 1.

There are also photos taken at the beach that I posted on another post, right here, in a swimsuit review.

For the rest of our trip I took pictures of the scenery and of all the beaches we went to. For example, we went to a pretty private beach, called Golden Beach, with very little sand but great water. Unfortunately, again thanks to the jellyfish alarm, I was too scared to get in.

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Another place we visited was a hill near Maleny from where we could see the Glasshouse Mountains, which are very dear to the people native to Australia.

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We also went to Point Cartwright where I sunbathed a bit and then took some pictures of the ocean.

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Our flight back was less eventful and I could not wait getting back home. It was an amazing and fun trip with family and if I ever am to come back to Australia, I would have to stay for at least a month to really enjoy it as it should be enjoyed.

Thank you for reading.

xx

Australia Travel Diary – Part 1

I finally decided to make this blog post and I am terrified of how huge it is going to get. I have to divide it in at least two parts in order to not bore you guys, so bear with me.

As some of you may know, I left for Australia at the end of December for my winter holidays, along with my grandmother. This whole trip happened because my uncle and his family live there and grandma has not seen them in years. Therefore, it was high time we got a move on.

We left on the 21st of December from Fiumicino Airport in Rome at 8:45pm. Of all the airports I went to, Fiumicino is the best organised, in my opinion. We bought our tickets with Qantas, an Australian company, but all the flights were operated by Emirates.

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I tried to dress somewhat casual, since we had to go from very cold temperatures in Rome to very warm ones in Dubai and then Brisbane. I wore a simple pair of leggings with a camisole and a long shirt on top, while keeping my bomber jacket in my backpack, which was my hand luggage.

The flight to Dubai was 6 hours long and it was not too bad. We had dinner on the plane and I tried to sleep, but my main problem is that I cannot sleep unless I am extremely comfortable and this was not the case, since we were flying Economy.

We got to Dubai, where we went through customs again and we went to our gate for our 5-hour layover. Weirdly enough, this layover did not seem so bad. I went and got Burger King (which was not as good as I am used to) and just waited. The way currency works in this airport is that you pay with whatever currency you have (I am not sure they accept all currencies, but the main ones yes) and the change they give you is in their own currency, so the dirhams.

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Next, before boarding the plane we had to pass through additional customs to make sure that we had no liquids. Next, our 14-hour flight started. This was the roughest for me, since when we still had 6 hours left I got very bad heartburn from something I ate (pro tip: do not eat things that you so not know for sure you react well to). I had to go and ask the cabin crew for some medicine and finally, after two pills I felt better.

The flight seemed infinte, but we finally made it to Brisbane, on the 23rd of December in the morning. It was of course very hot, since it was the middle of summer. Our family lives an hour away from the city, in a town called Landsborough, not really in the middle of nowhere, but close. They live near the mountains people of Australia hold saint. We made a quick stop at a fruit store and I loved all the colours.

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My uncle’s house faces a forest where hundreds of birds are heard singing everyday, and I must say I am not used to any type of noise, besides cars passing through the city.

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On Christmas Day, our second full day there, after catching up on much needed sleep, we went to a beach, Mooloolaba, which ended up being amazing. We only went there in recognition the that day and we walked around its shore.

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Everybody is extremely kind and welcoming there, I noticed. The day after, the 26th, we went to the Australia Zoo, which is property of the Irwin family, Steve Irwin’s legacy. It was very interesting, huge and well kept. The ticket does cost quite a bit, but it is worth it, since you have access to every show and facility.

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On the 27th, we went to Brisbane to spend the night. We wanted to take the train from Landsborough, but the railway was not working so they offered us a free bus ride to a farther away train station and we took the train from there.

Once in Brisbane we visited a square and then a “shopping centre” which was in the open and that is where I stocked up on gifts and souvenirs.

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Then we checked in at our hotel, the Urban, which was very neat, with very nice beds and bathrooms, but if you want to go there for the pool and hot tub you will be disappointed. Anyways, it was very accommodating.

We ended up having lunch and cocktails near the river, at a very busy and young place, the Bavarian Beer Café.

I loved it.

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This is part 1 for now. I will add a second part to this for sure, since I bought a camera there and had fun with it.

Thank you for reading.

xx