The Floating City

After my social work class, I hopped on my 10 Euro bus to Venice and the adventure began! My bus was delayed for an hour at the Italian border as the polizia italiana did a very thorough check of our passports with a few complications with some of my fellow passengers. Finally making it to Venice, I took a people mover to the main island and set out to find my airbnb. As the sun had already set, it was a tad more difficult to find my place and I ended up near the right address but not quite.

Spontaneous photoshoot in my Airbnb

Thank goodness a young Italian guy sporting a man bun came out of nowhere, said my name in a fun accent, handed me my temporary keys, then led me to the right door. My room was actually really nice, and conveniently right in the middle of Venice. Excited about my first actual day in Venice, I woke up super early, opened my window and saw nothing but fog. Fog is my absolute favorite! Anytime it’s foggy at home I jump on the opportunity to take photos because it looks so amazing. Setting out for San Marco, I walked 20 minutes through beautiful, fog covered Venice. By the time I arrived at San Marco, thick fog still covered everything. Piazza San Marco was full of beautiful architecture but I couldn’t even see anything due to the fog, so I walked along the water for a while, waiting for the fog to dissipate. Of course I really wanted to take a gondola ride but they were all crazy expensive so I just stood on the bridges and watched as others floated along underneath me. After San Marco, I walked around the little streets of Venice and visited a couple little shops. There was a multitude of cafes, pizzerias, clothing stores, tourist shops, shops full of carnival masks, and my favorite which was an adorable lavender store.

Grand Canal
Rialto bridge


St. Mark’s Basillica


Doge’s Palace

On a whim, I decided to take a ferry to Murano, a little island north of Venice. Colorful and full of works of art made of glass, Murano was a nice little escape from the tourism of Venice.


Since this city is known for glass-making, the streets were overflowing with locally made pieces of glass works of art. Unfortunately I couldn’t necessarily buy a tiny glass flower to be put in a suitcase and accidentally crushed when it’s time for me to go back home. CC45C81D-887F-4ECF-99BC-9659238E4941Realizing I hadn’t eaten anything in quite a while, I searched around for a decent place to eat in Murano. I ended up finding a restaurant with a patio by the ocean and I freaking ate an entire pizza by myself. Turns out my capacity for eating is expanded when I have nowhere to take my leftovers. Exhausted, I took the ferry back to Venice and took a glorious nap. I made sure to wake up before sunset then took a stroll and facetimed my family so they could see a little bit of Venice. After it got dark, I walked around the main canal and tried to find a souvenir to buy. Undecided, I checked out some shirts and other knick knacks but nothing really seemed right. I came across a little shop full of Murano glass trinkets and an old man sitting down, sketching illustrations of Venice landscapes. He had a little box full of his beautiful art for sale and I found my perfect souvenir, plus he had a cute little dog sleeping in the corner of his shop which was even better.

Today, March 10th, is my bone marrow birthday. Eight years ago, I was laying in a hospital bed and received my bone marrow transplant. Honestly, I don’t really like celebrating my actual birthday but this birthday is meaningful to me. I didn’t do anything when I was born to earn a celebration, but I did endure chemo and radiation and come quite near death to have a reason for March 10th to mean something. Usually I celebrate by going to dinner with my family or they buy me a Papa Johns pizza, stick a candle in it and sing happy birthday terribly off-pitched and annoyingly loud just the way I like. Although, this year I’m celebrating by traveling the world and taking advantage of the life I’ve been blessed with! I’d say spending the weekend in Italy is a pretty great way to celebrate my life.



Ups and Downs in Ljubljana

Today I woke up super early to find an atm for the 300 euro cash deposit I needed to make for my dormitory. Then, the lady who owned the AirBnb I was staying in, drove me to the dorm office. Arriving at the dorm office was a bit intimidating as there was a huge line of foreign exchange students waiting outside the office to receive their dorm assignments. I started a conversation with the girl in front of me which is outside my comfort zone, but that’s why I’m here, right? She was a cute Japanese girl with short dark hair and short bangs. We shared common concerns regarding moving into the dorms, I wish we could be dorm mates. She was so sweet and was trying her best to understand my english, she did understand that I hadn’t eaten anything so she gave me a dutch chocolate bar with hazelnuts in it. I wish I knew how to find her again.

My silent taxi driver dropped me off near my new dorms, I got out and struggled to lug my giant suitcase down a bumpy side street to my new home for the next six months. As I opened the door to the floor level, I was hit with an overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke. To the third floor I went to find my assigned room. I opened the door and was greeted again with smoke mixed with old food and trash. I looked into the 4 person shared bathroom and noticed the toilet seat was up. Then I further inspected the kitchen decorations consisting of heavy metal and zombie posters. It finally hit me that my other two roommates were DUDES! WhAt? Defeated, I opened the fridge and found nothing but bottles of liquor, no food, just booze.

Trying to forget about his predicament, I messaged this girl I found through Instagram who studied at the Uni last semester. She met me at my bus station and helped my buy my own bus card before showing me which bus to take downtown. She showed me around town, gave me advice, and provided some much needed conversation. She is from Belgium, but speaks english very well because in Europe almost everyone learns to speak english at a young age. fullsizeoutput_5fe9.jpegShowing me her favorite places in Ljubljana, she took me to a pizzeria called FoculuS and it was amazing! Fun fact, they did not cut the pizza for me which is abnormal in America. The cheese was so fresh and delicious. Mmmmm. The whole pizza costs only 4.20 euros($4.74 for my American readers) plus access to a salad/soup bar. So cheap right??? And that is almost every restaurant in the city, they all let students eat a meal for the same price. We then met up with two of her friends and they were all so nice. They took me to the center of Ljubljana and to an ice cream shop called Cacao. SzDDtKF%Q7+w4wKGyngw3w.jpgI got raspberry ice cream which was blissfully delicious. America is doing ice cream wrong, that’s for sure haha. The more I talked to these girls, the more I felt comfortable. They were sarcastic, loved Disney movies, enjoyed art, loved all the puppies, and also wanted to shop at H&M. So they were basically friends I’d have in America only they were all from different countries with fun accents(I’m sure I have a fun accent to them as well) and a background of different culture.

I’m back in the dorms and struggling with fighting my asthma and terrible, never recovering from cancer lungs to breathe in this smoke-filled dorm. My eyes are burning from the smoke, do you know that feeling? Maybe not, but it happens to me anytime I’m around smoke for too long. I am going to try and change dorms if possible, for my own health concerns. Today was stressful and frustrating but also fun and hopeful. We shall see what this adventure has in store for me in the next coming days. Thanks for reading y’all(yes, I have faked a Southern accent for someone here).