For anyone who is near Boston College today, there will be a panel discussion and reception (read: food + drinks!) today at the Heights Room in Corcoran Commons. Discussion topics include, but are not limited to: transitioning back to the U.S. after a semester abroad, marketing your study abroad experience, and networking networking networking (I’m told PwC is one of the employers represented). I’ll be speaking at the panel and would love to answer any questions or just wax poetic about Italy!
This is real-time in Venice, Italy. Like clockwork, acqua alta season has dawned upon Venice and crazy crazy pictures (like the above) of tourists (of course) are popping up everywhere. When I was studying there in the spring, we experienced acqua alta in a much milder form, but learned enough about it through our history courses with born-and-bred Venetians to face the periodic flooding with the attitude of a native. If I learned anything from my courses abroad, it’s that while it is funny for tourists and natives alike to witness any of these in person, acqua alta represents more serious problems for the sinking city. There are real people who call this little island home; people for whom flooding like this, though anticipated, can be as devastating as the recent hurricane along the eastern seaboard. There are million dollar, multi-year projects all about controlling this flooding to wring a few more restoration-free decades out of Venice’s beautiful, ancient basilicas, churches, and stone bridges. And then I think of two of my native Venetian professors. Despite the mass migration of citizens out of the island of Venice several hundred years ago, they stuck around, because there’s a certain pride that comes with being a native to the island city; you start to develop a sort of unconditional love for your home. You accept the faults because it comes with everything else that would be bitter to leave.
Four months, two continents, twenty-two cities, fifteen flights, and million bus rides later, I’m finally back in the U.S. and in an awkward stage of unpacking from what now feels like a dream and packing for what feels like (and actually is) reality. The past few days constituted a lot of sleeping off jet lag, flipping through pictures, souvenirs, and putting aside outfits for my first business trip tomorrow. It still has not hit me that I was in Italy for the past four months, especially with the prospect of starting my first real career-defining internship. But, whatever happens, I know I’ll have the memories of the—quite seriously—best life experience of college.
Photos: 1) Boston College represent in Venice at the VIU White Party reception following closing ceremonies, courtesy of Mimi R., 2) a souvenir I unpacked from Morocco: fragrance bars that now fill up my closet with a sweet vanilla and fruity smell, 3. postcards acquired from abroad that now hang on my Wall of Travels, 4) changing up the usual wear-to-work palette to include bright colors and prints for a trip to New York this weekend.
Having walked in the Mucha Museum in Nové Město knowing little about Art Nouveau (and much less about Alfons Mucha), I was pleasantly surprised by what turned out to be a fantastic decision on a last stop in Prague. The level of detail, design, color, and lines in every piece was captivating in the sense that you find yourself staring off into the distance in the illustration to inspect these little things before you can even consider it as a whole. That’s how I felt when I came across Mucha’s series of Fours—Four Times of Day, Four Seasons, Four Flowers (above), namely the “Rose” (last). The straight-on stare-down, the halo of flowers, muted pastels, and the elegant collar on the otherwise simple white gown that brings out not just the flower it is titled after, but the personality of it too. The most magical part of it all, however, is finding a postcard sized version of the “Rose” in duty-free at the Prague Airport (of all places!) after scouring the Mucha gift shop, souvenir shops, and street vendors the night before looking for the replica.
Travel suggestion: head to the Mucha a little before closing (17-18:00) when it’s relatively calm. Give yourself a hour or two—It isn’t a large museum, just one level. Afterwards, walk or take the metro to Café Louvre on Národní for a sip of Czech culture.
NYT Travel: The 45 Places to Go in 2012
When I think about the cities I was fortunate enough to have visited thus far and the experiences, sights, culture I bore witness to, this list actually really humbles me because, as always, there are still more hidden gems all around the world, waiting to be discovered. While some cities on this list are self-explanatory (London, Florence, Tokyo), there are some places that I either didn’t immediately recognize (Mogashan, China) or that I couldn’t ever guess would be a “Place to Go to” (Oakland, CA?). The NYT Travel section has an odd way of constantly reminding me that the most beautiful places can be hidden in the most unlikely places.
1. Padova, 2. Verona, 3. Venezia, 4. Roma.
Because there’s so much freestanding beauty all around us—mountains, oceans, ponds, sunsets, cloud formations…how the latter two combine to form the perfect blend of colors. And because this beauty is so readily available, occasionally forgotten, occasionally taken for granted. And because when you truly realize this beauty, it makes your heart stop a few beats. Happy Earth Day.
Collection of personal photos taken throughout time: 1. Thessaloniki, Greece, 2. Lido, Venice, Italy, 3. Lisbon, Portugal, 4. Newport, RI, USA, 5. Cascais, Portugal, 6. Swiss Alps, from the plane, 7. Grecian countryside, Thessaloniki, 8. Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain.
Some favorite moments of spring break: 1) a beautiful sunset at the Temple of Debod in Madrid, 2) watching a bullfight at the Plaza del Toros in Sevilla, 3) pastel de nata and other sweet treats at Pastéis de Belém, 4) looking out at the Atlantic Ocean from Cabo da Roca in Cascais.
sweet tooth detours
Lisbon tram operator:Did you two exit the train before coming back here?
Lisbon tram operator:Okay so you're not supposed to stop before your final destination but it's okay. Let me guess: you stopped to have some yummy pastries at Belem and some-uh cappuccinos, eh?