A Self Titled Life- Followed With Goodbye (Day 7)

In the past 48 hours I have been on a nine-hour plane ride, an hour and a half bus ride from JFK to port authority and a five and a half hour bus ride from New York City back to Syracuse. That is a massive amount of time for me to have written and posted this blog, but here we are. I’m procrastinating. Not because I don’t want to write it, but because I don’t want this adventure to be over. Yesterday when the airplane landed I wanted it to take right off again and have the announcement say “Just kidding. You don’t want to be here anyways. Please keep your seatbelt fastened while the fasten seatbelt sign is lit. Arrivederci, America.”

That would have been great, but that’s not what happened. I got off the plane and boarded another. We arrived in Italy last night. SURPRISE.

Just kidding. I’m back in Oswego, laying in bed writing this blog because I have one more post to make before I have to say goodbye. I’m hardcore avoiding it. Okay. I’m done procrastinating (I’m definitely not). OKAY, YES IT AM.

One of the trippiest things yesterday was walking in New York City because earlier that day I was walking around in Rome, halfway across the world. Can you even imagine not having airplanes? I’d still be canoeing my way home.

053 longer GP kayak

Me. (Not really. I just googled “person canoeing across the ocean.)

Before I left for this trip this guy I TA with asked me what I was doing for break and I almost lied to him and said I was just going home. That obviously wasn’t true but I was kind of embarrassed to be like “oh, I’m going to Rome.” *Flips hair and looks at manicure* Which is so not true because A. I don’t comb my hair and B. I’ve never had a manicure. I didn’t want to sound like a brat who international travels all the time because it’s no big deal. Well, I think it is a big deal. Now that I am home I can’t want to tell everyone that I was in Rome. Not as a bragging right, but because I feel so lucky to have seen it for myself.

I’ve never seen anything that could compare to Rome or Florence. They were so beautiful in their own ways that everything else seems so dull now. Food here will never be that good again, the scenery is cold and bleak, and hello, there is no gelato. That should be illegal. Someone call Olivia Benson.


I called her.

I can’t find the words to describe what I took away from all this, but I’ll give it my best shot.

1. The people. I met some of the most incredible people on this trip. Some I knew a little before I got there and others I didn’t know so much as their name before we landed halfway around the world together. I became such fast friends with these people and I wouldn’t have wanted to travel to Italy and have made these memories with anyone else. They were always willing to take an adventure, or stick it out in the rain, or laugh at my corny jokes. Before we even left we already made plans for weekly dinners to catch up and relive our favorite memories. Had it not been for this trip I would have never made the friends I did, and that seems terribly lonely to me.


I had some pretty solid roommates. 🙂


Little. Blue. Boots.


This is my favorite picture of the trip, It just is.


Colosseum photo shoot…at night.


The top of St. Peter’s cathedral


We took like 40 thousand pictures that night.


One of my favorite humans, for sure.


Thanks for the pictures, Jess. 🙂


As a group the rain never stopped us.


This was the last day with the roommates, but a good day it was.


The whole week lead up to the Colosseum. Totally worth it.


This is the White House that’s not the White House.. oh and Jess.


You guys made this trip so much fun. Thanks so much for that.


Seriously, some of my favorite people who I didn’t know a week ago.





The first night. I had no idea how many pictures we d the after that.













2. The food. I thought I knew what good food was, then I went to Italy. I’m almost avoiding eating things I used to think were delicious. BUT on the upside I missed vegetables and fruit. There weren’t too many of those there so I’m excited to eat them again. Everything else on the other hand…… moving on.


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This makes me upset just looking at it. I want this all day, everyday.

You do not understand how big this was. I wish I could brake off a piece and share it with the world.

You do not understand how big this was. I wish I could break off a piece and share it with the world.











3. The architecture. I will never get over the fact that there are people in Rome who have never seen the Colosseum. It’s kind of like people from Buffalo never seeing Niagara Falls, but that’s not the Colosseum. The buildings, the monuments, the art, the streets, the everything, I could have gawked at it for years. I’ve never seen anything so magnificent or so beautiful. I loved every second of it. Everything just seemed to fit, like there was a thought behind how every detail of the city sat. Every stone had a place and that place was valid. It wasn’t build for functionality, but for beauty. There is an obvious reason why people all over the world want to travel to Italy and see the architecture and paintings. All I want to do is go back and see it all again.

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Santa Maria del Fiore

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Also Rome


Also, Also Rome










4. The Ally. (Really, it’s just me but all of the other numbers started with ‘the’ so I didn’t want to break the chain.) Traveling to somewhere new whether it’s down the road or around the world changes your perspective. Both your perspective of the world and of yourself. This was actually the first trip I have ever been on without my Mom there to share the experience. When I was sitting on the bus last night I felt so empowered that I did that all on my own. Sure, I was there with a class but I was the only one responsible and relying on me. The night 5 or 6 of us took the subway to see the Colosseum at night, I was so excited that we did that on our own, we just navigated a foreign city by ourselves. We are capable of anything. I think the same thing about myself now, too. My Mom had sent me a message on Facebook when I was trying to figure out how to come home after the plane landed and all she said was “You can figure it out. Use your head, you’re smart.” She’s right. Not to sound conceited but I am smart. I can do whatever I set my mind too, the only thing standing in my way is me. All I know is that I have so much to learn, but I also have already learned an incredible amount of things. I’m excited to see what’s out there next for me to do.


The doors at St. Maria Degli Amgeli E Del Martiri


The back set of doors.













and finally….

5. Professor Alessia. (This one doesn’t start with ‘the’, so sue me.) I have never been more grateful to spend time and get to know another human being as I am to have met Professor Alessia. He seriously opened my mind to a whole new world that’s out there. He was so sweet and patient and passionate about a place he loves with all his heart. He cares about his students so much that he ditched dinner with his wife one night because he said his students were more important. He stayed around with us in Florence to bargain prices down in the market so we wouldn’t get ripped off. He was always willing to show us something we wanted to see even after the rest of the group left. He was determined to help us have the most amazing trip that we could because he believes you learn by experiencing, not but reading and writing papers. This trip was amazing, but it was really amazing because he was there to make it that away. On the last night we had our huge group dinner and he made a speech that we were one of the best classes he has ever taught and he loved being our professor. The whole room applauded, even the people who were just dining in the restaurant. He deserved the applause and a thousand more after that. I didn’t want to leave Italy but before we went through security he went down the line and hugged us all individually and thanked us for coming. I thanked him too because I honestly will miss him so much and have an incredible amount to thank him for.



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I might not ever make it back to Italy with professor Alessia or with the my friends from the trip, but I will make it back to make different memories. I will always be able to look back and smile at all the I have done and learned while I was there. This trip was something special and something that has shaped my life in a new way. It’s shifted my perspective on the world, even if it’s just by knowing how pizza should taste. I’m so thankful to have made the most of everything that I could. I’m no going to be in college forever, but opportunities like that don’t knock on my door everyday, but I have nothing to regret. I only have this one life, and I’ll be damned if I don’t live it for everything it has to offer me.

I have no clue where my next adventure will take me. At the moment I don’t have anything on the back burner, but there will be one. I don’t doubt it. I want to get a map of the world and put a pin in every place that I have been and before I die, do my best to have a pin in every place in the world. No dream is too big. That’s what I believe.

Well, I guess this is it. Thanks to anyone who’s read my blog. One post or all of them, I appreciate you sticking with me through the magical world of the internet. That’s pretty awesome which in turn makes you awesome. I’m not in Italy anymore, but what I have done and seen will always be with me. There is more to learn out there. There is always something new to discover.

Until next time, make the most of your life in any way that makes you happy. Treat yourself, you deserve it.

Stare Strano. (Stay Weird).

Ally Costanza

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Keepin’ it peel since ’93. Until the next adventure, I gotta split.













Current Wish- You know what, I’m pretty content at the moment. You can have my extra wishes.



A Self Titled Life- I’m Not Ready To Say Goodnight (Day 6)

So there was this crushing weight on my shoulders all day today. One might think it was the crushing dread that today is my last day in Rome but actually I was carrying an elephant on my shoulders all day. Beautiful creatures, but damn are they heavy. Sadly, today was my last day in Rome, but not my last day ever. That is unacceptable. So it is simply my first last day.

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I went into a book store today and found the Diary of a Wimpy Kids books in Italian

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Just a page of the book.











My first last day started on a walk to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It reminded me of the White House but it is so much more immaculate than the White House that the White House is irrelevant in comparison. How many times can I say White House in one sentence? WHITE HOUSE WHITE HOUSE WHITE HOUSE. There like a bazillion statues that are obviously a total artistic letdown like everywhere else in the city. Obviously.

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This building is massive.

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It seriously reminds me of a cool, detailed, enormous White House.

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This statue sits on top of the building and it’s green but the sun was right in my camera but I like the shadow effect.

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These things were built with none of the technology we have today. It’s unbelievable.

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ANOTHER picture with this great human on the top of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.













Then we went to see the Roman Forum which is a collection of ancient Roman ruins. They were pretty interesting. Tip- If you go to the Forum and purchase a ticket to visit inside, you can buy a double ticket that is also a ticket to see the Colosseum which is just down the street. Most important part of the tip- this ticket gives you a skip the line pass at the Colosseum which is at least a two-hour wait. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that these structures were build and then considered ruins before the US was even an idea.

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A temple in the Roman Forum.

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An old sign/rock wall/ I’m not sure what it is but I thought it looked cool.

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Caesar’s ashes are in the Roman Forum.










We revisited the Colosseum but this time it was during the daylight. Standing inside the Colosseum is breathtaking. It’s so hard to imagine people used to come there for entertainment that was something other than television. Being there gave me the feeling that this place was more than just an enormous structure. People spent their real lives in there, it’s not just a chapter in a textbook or part of some documentary your teacher makes you watch and then tells you to take notes. It was amazing to stand in something so impactful. Rome is so much more than an average city in the world. It is alive. Through the people, the architecture, and the curious humans all over the world. Rome has this funny way of being old while still influencing lives everyday. It is a city built-in the past but is still present in the future.

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I really had no idea what to expect when I first walked inside.

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I could stare at this for hours. It looks so intricate.

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The upper seating is completely eroded.



Panoramic taken by Sarah

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From the bottom up.

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Katie was the first new person I met in this class and I know she reads these blogs so shout out to you for being great and having the guts to do this trip! I think that’s incredibly awesome.

After my life was changed forever, we had a free day to wonder/shop/pretend tomorrow wasn’t crushing my soul. At 7:45 pm we met Professor Alessia at Repubblica station on the subway. He took all 32 of us students and his wife to a really nice restaurant for dinner. It is a tradition. The first day of class he told us that on the last day everybody comes together to celebrate the last day and everybody gets drunk. Every time I ate something on this trip I was convinced it was the greatest thing I had ever eaten. Boy was I wrong. We had a fourteen course meal. Let me emphasize that for a dramatic flare. A. Fourteen. Course. Meal. It started with 7 appetizers which were salami, chickpeas, beans, peppers, baked zucchini, vegetables in sauce, and fresh mozzarella that was so good I will not eat mozzarella again unless it tastes like it did tonight.

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The meat basket.

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Things look a little scarce but I was eating as they were coming one at a time. 

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The BEST and most FRESH mozzarella I have ever eaten.











Then was the pasta courses and there were three. The first was a spicy pasta (it was delicious), the second was spaghetti with mushrooms (it was delicious), and the third was ravioli (which was, you guessed it, disgusting. Gotcha. It was delicious.) Then was the meat plate which was baked chicken. Then salad which seemed ironic after all the foot I was just offered. Then was dessert and finally drinks. The meal was four hours long but really it felt no more than twenty minutes. I was surrounded by so many wonderful people that I could have stayed for days before I even realized how long I was there for. As much as I don’t want to go home I feel like there wasn’t a better note to close this trip on then this dinner. Plus- I will never have to eat American food again because I’ll probably be full for the rest of my life. It’s a win-win for everyone.


The place that ruined all food that is not Italian for me.


It’s like the Michelangelo painting that I am obsessed with.


Picture with the Roomies, Prof. Alessia and his wife after dinner.













This is a really special place. I’ve learned so much here in such a short amount of time. For someone who hates history- to was fascinating. All of it. Utterly amazing.

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I’m not sure what this building is but it’s right on the subway exit and it’s one of my favorites.

Since tomorrow is technically my last day I will be posting my sentimental post tomorrow. My plane leaves here at 10 am which is 5 am US time. I don’t want to leave. It is going to be excruciating to go back to Oswego because 1. I don’t want to 2. My classes are irrelevant and 3. I don’t want to 4 I can’t get out of bed and 5. I aggressively don’t want to. We averaged 7 miles of walking each day. My feet are going to fall off on the flight. I’ve accepted it. I’ll have to crawl to class. People will look out the window’s and “say oh my god is she hurt? No.. that’s just Ally dragging herself to class on her knees. What’s that? Oh that’s the puddle of her tears.”

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Have a Vespa that matches your personality.

Well this has been a great first last day. I’ve done and seen so much. I’m trying to figure out a way to “accidentally” hide in the overhead compartments and fly back to Rome with the plane. Oh! ‘m moving to Florence! NEGATIVE ATTITUDES AREN’T INVITED, MOM.

I guess that’s all for now. We’re getting down to the wire. I’m not a fan.

Stay Weird.


Current Wish- the semester would be cancelled because no one wanted to teach anymore or aliens took over the school. Either one works for me. Your choice.

PS- I have to be awake in an hour and I should have been asleep an hour ago but right when I finished the blog and went to add the pictures the whole thing got deleted. I had to start over but I’m determined to finish it. DO IT FOR THE BLOG.

A Self Titled Life- Come Alive At Night (Day 5)

This morning we boarded two subways and a train and made our way to Florence (and the Machine). I’ll be honest, this is probably going to be one of the shortest written posts I will ever make. But don’t worry, there will be a millions and thirty-seven pictures to make up for it.

I didn’t really know too much about Florence except that it is, in fact, in Italy. I never really researched the area but I can say whatever expectations I possibly had were shattered into a million pieces. Florence was the most beautiful place I have ever set my eyes on. I feel like I was walking around inside of a postcard. There was a picture perfect bridge along the water, the streets were lined with apartments, the roads are made of cobble stones, and I loved every second of it. It was like Italy meets New York City. I swear, the Italy you see in the movies is where I walked around today. I can’t put a finger on it, but there is something about Florence (and the Machine) that made it feel like home. I was walking through the streets and I probably said twenty-five times “I want to come back here. I want to bring my parents here. I want to bring everyone I know here.”

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The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.

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The buildings, colors, and architecture remind me of walking around in Prague.

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The buildings look old and modern at the same time.








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Just looking down one of the streets.

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This scene looks straight out of a movie. It was so beautiful. I could have stayed here for years.

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This reminds me of the bridge Augustus and Hazel sailed under when they were in Amsterdam.

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Also, that beautiful blue sky made the city look 10 times more beautiful than it already was.

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This place doesn’t look real. I mean I took these pictures but I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it for myself. And I STILL barely believe it. 

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Florence is a place everyone in the world deserves to see in their lifetime.

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There was an art class sitting on the lawn by the water sketching!

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Everything has it’s one personality in Italy, even the buildings.

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There are a lot of naked wrestling statues here.

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Michelle Obama, purse so heaving gettin’ Oprah dollars.

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Santa Maria del Fiore looked like it was made out of newspaper paper maché. It was amazing. I’ve never seen a building like it before.

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There are a millions little details. It probably took forever to paint each individual part.

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This building looked like it could have been in Harry Potter.

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Santa Maria del Fiore also reminded me of a German christmas ornament.

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There are so many statues. These line the top-level of the front of the Santa Maria del Fiore.

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Aunt Dar you were so right. This was amazing. (I also found the jewelry street! Although I didn’t buy anything)


Stop, I am in love with this city.


The bomb.com

In Florence there was a market place comparable to Chinatown in New York City. We walked around there for a few hours and I’m actually a pretty good bargainer. I made a couple of pretty good deals today which was awesome because I had a ton of fun. I can’t get over how beautiful Florence is, I feel like it doesn’t exist and I made it all up.

Between Florence and Rome I can’t really say which one I liked better because I don’t like one better than the other. They’re so different in their own ways. Florence was so natural, calm, and beautiful while Rome is historic, amazing, and fast paced. I just want to come back and see both one day.

When we got back to Rome we took a subway at around 10 pm after dinner and went to see the Colosseum at night. We’re going to visit the inside tomorrow but seeing it for the first time while it was dark outside was unbelievable. It’s massive. It baffles me that people live amongst these amazing ruins and just walk by while strolling though their daily lives. I can’t wait to see it tomorrow but I’m so stoked we saw it at night too. We walked off the subway and BOOM there it was. It’s pretty mind-boggling to see it in person. I’ve spent so many boring classes learning about it that it makes it seem real for the first time. Pictures don’t do any justice, just a heads up.

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This place is unimaginable. I can’t believe it really exists. It’s incredible.

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The front part of the Colosseum facing the street still has it original outer shell while the back has been stripped down to the inside walls.

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The Arch of Constantine. I can’t wait to see this in the sunlight.





At the Colosseum..at night.


Hey. Hi. Hello.




















I accidentally thought I just deleted this entire post (I didn’t) but I almost had a heart attack and died. Really dodged a bullet there. I’m excited for tomorrow but also a little sad that’s it’s the last full day I have here in Rome. At the same time, I got to sit and talk with Professor Alessia on the train on the way back from Florence and I am so grateful to be here. That’s something I will never stop feeling.

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Just because you’re trash doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. It’s called garbage can, not garbage cannot.

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There was a flower truck parked on the corner of the hotel street this morning.













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My goal is to take thirty pictures with this man so I can frame them all for the rest of time.

That’s all for now. Happy awkward Thursday.

Stay Weird.


Current Mood- Psyched I get to sleep in tomorrow morning. It’s like I’ve entered adulthood when I call sleeping until 8am ‘sleeping in.’ I’ll say something adult now….Briefcase.

A Self Titled Life- Fear Of The Sunshine (Day 4)

First things first- I’m not Swedish. Okay, but for real the weather was BEAUTIFUL today. There was no rain, no wind, sunshine, no raincoats, no umbrellas, no whining people, blue skies, aND THE POPE. We saw the Pope speak this morning at St. Peter’s Cathedral which, fun fact is the largest church in the world. The second largest church is London. One of the girls in our groups has a cousin here who is studying to become a priest and got us 40 tickets to see the Pope speak this morning. There were like 1000 seats and we got these sweet gold tickets with the Our Father on the back in Latin. We got there at around 8:30 and the service started at 10. He only spoke for like 15 minutes but then there were seven translations so the whole process took like forty minutes. ALSO the Pope came in on a Segway and zoomed around the crowd kissing babies, and grownups, and teenagers, and middle-aged men, and toddlers, and pre-teens, and man-babies, and grandparents, and probably just the babies.

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My camera is not the best but he’s sitting in the white and the guy standing in the black robe is the translator.


The Pope just cruising along , being awesome on his Segway.













The Pope seems like such a cool guy. He’s so nice and down to earth. His voice was so soothing too. I would have listened to him for hours. Frankly, I would have listened to him read his grocery list.


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Speaking of which, Aunt Deb I found this light today at St. Peter’s Cathedral. I’ve been there three times and never noticed it until today.

After the Pope and I hung out for the afternoon we shopped around for a while and so many of the shops are so cheap and it’s fantastic. We’re going to Skype next Thursday because I’ll be home and he’ll be in Rome. Long distance connection is essential here people.


The front of the ticket to see my new best friend.


The back of the ticket/prayer when I saw my new best friend.








Then we went to see the Sistine Chapel which is like a 10 minute walk away from the cathedral. I was so stoked to see it and see the finger touching creation painting. What they don’t tell you is that there is a 38 million room museum you have to suffer through until you finally make it into the chapel. It’s cool at first, oh I don’t 9 sections because it starts with an Egyptian section which has a 200,000 year old mummy on display. But then there is so many paintings from different times and all I wanted to do was see the chapel. First I was walking, then I was walking slower, then I was walking on my knees, then I was crawling, then I was pulling myself by my elbows, then I was screaming “GO ON WITHOUT ME. SAVE YOURSELVES”. But mostly, I just walked. I’m also the worst human to go to a museum with because I want to see the least amount of things in the least amount of time possible.


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This statue looked like it was having its face blown in by a leaf blower.

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Tell me this doesn’t look like Scooby Doo. That’s right. YOU CAN’T.

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There was a room of all ancient maps that amongst my moping was actually pretty cool.

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One of the million ceilings in the museum of death,








We ran into this girl yesterday who posed like this in a picture and it was so funny I’m going to steal it as much as I can.


















FINALLY we made it into the chapel and it was equally impressive as it was different from what I thought it would be. It was immaculate. The people look like real humans and they’re so detailed it’s incredible. Also, the fact it was painted so long ago and it looks like it was finished only yesterday. What was different was that it was simply a long, ongoing room where everyone herded into the middle in a pack. It wasn’t sectioned off like some of the Basilicas, it was like a domed longhouse. The top was individual mural stories, the sides were smaller individual murals, the back wall was one massive painting, and the bottoms had curtains painted on them like you’d see in a theater. The lovely theater.


The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. My favorite painting (the creation// finger touching painting) is in the middle of the ceiling. Shout out to Sarah for being illegal!

The mural on the front wall shows heaven at the top, Jesus in the middle, and hell at the bottom. Michelangelo only ever signed one of his sculptures and the bishop was so upset sentenced Michelangelo to rot in hell. So he actually painted himself into the mural as a man being held up by his hair in hell. In the bottom of the picture he also painted the bishop in hell as well, naked and wrapped in a snake. Passive aggression at it’s finest.

Another fun fact- After 4 years of laying on his back and painting, when Michelangelo finished the Sistine Chapel he had gone blind because of the paint that dripped into his eyes. That’s why he used passive aggression. He turned a blind-eye towards physical violence. (Bad-um Chh)

Before we went in, Sarah asked how people sneak pictures (which honestly isn’t difficult) but you just have people surround whoever is taking the picture and then the person uses the front camera and snaps the pictures. Easy as pie! Then you move to the back of the room and out the gate and you’ve seen the Sistine Chapel! It was really an amazing place. I’d love to see it again.

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In the torture museum, there was a room dedicated to fixing/restoring the art. It reminds me of Santa’s workshop.


In the garden outside of the Sistine Chapel











Then we went to the Pantheon which is the most preserved ancient Roman architecture. It has a dome that could fit a perfect sphere in the bottom and top half. It was made in all cement and it was cast in a single day. Since it was going to be so heavy and the workers were afraid it was going to crash under the weight of all the cement they build windows and square panels to decorate but also to relieve some of the weight. Also, at the very peak is a gaping hole to add light and keep the building from crumbling. There’s no window in the hole so when it rains it just pours right in and drains away. It’s almost ironic that the building with the most natural exposure is the best preserved.

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The hole at the top of the Pantheon is called an oculus. Not like the movie Oculus where a demon lives in a mirror and takes over people’s minds.

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The outside of the Pantheon reminded me of the White House

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The columns on the outside of the Pantheon are so big but look at how beautiful that sky is.












Group picture in the Pantheon


The camera was on the floor under the oculus so that’s the circle of light at the top











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Right under the oculus is a circle with a drain in the middle to collect all the rain that falls into the Pantheon.


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The art and decor inside the Pantheon is all the original decor from the original construction. Also- the inside columns were designed to add additional support to the structure.









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The boards on the top were made to let natural light in and reduce the weight of the cement.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Florence (and the Machine) and I am super excited to go. We’re taking another bullet train which I think are so much fun. I can’t believe I saw the Pope today. It’s kind of mind-blowing actually. Maybe tomorrow I’ll run into Queen Latifah. Queen Latifah give me strength.

Okay, that’s all for now. This post is excruciatingly long. If you made it all the way to this point, I appreciate your time and if you didn’t, you smell. (You probably don’t) It’s 5:31 in the US. I hope everyone comes home, eats dinner and watches Parks and Recreation on Netflix. You can thank me later.

Stay Weird,


P.S- I have videos of both the Pope speaking and the translator reading what the Pope said in his speech. Unfortunately, both videos are too large to upload to this blog. I have them though if anyone is ever interested in seeing it! I also have a video of two men playing accordions while we were eating dinner.

Current hope- A real gelato stand will move to Buffalo and be waiting for me when I get back.

A Self Titled Life- Straight Through the Ceiling (Day 3)

I’m sitting down to write this blog and my body is so tired and sore I might live out my last days in Rome. We didn’t do a lot today but we did a lot in the places we went. We started back at St. Peter’s Basilica which we visited the courtyard yesterday, but this time we went inside the Basilica. I could have spent twenty-five years in there and never seen everything I wanted to. There are statues and paintings and more sculptures and so many people and man buns and bow ties and it was incredible. I thought the Basilica of St. John Lateran was amazing (and it was) but it kind of feels like these places blow one another out of the water. I the bottom of the Basilica are the tombs of a several of the past pope’s that you can walk through and look at. It’s insane to me that a marble statue can look like it’s covered in cloth but it’s just the marble itself. I can’t get over it. It always makes me think of Spongebob when he makes that extraordinary sculpture in Squidward’s art class with just one click of the tools.


A panoramic of the outside of the Basilica. Shout out to Sarah for taking the picture.


Some of the many millions statues inside









The inside of the Basilica.




I will proudly photobomb your selfies because no one can stop me.


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The back of all the statues lining the top of the Basilica 1. are enormous and 2. have no backs to them!

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It really looks like this is covered in cloth.

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Even the actual paintings are beautiful.

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The Bronze Canopy created by Bernini sits in the front of the Basilica.






















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That little teeny weenie point on the top of the dome is what we climbed. I WILL NOT HAVE ANOTHER PICTURE WITH THAT RAINCOAT!













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Just a perspective on how enormous and detailed these sculptures are.











We got to climb up to the top of the Basilica and look over all of Rome. The color scheme of the city is oranges, whites, and yellows. The buildings look brand new from way up high which is so odd because they’re anything but new. To get to the top of the dome first you climb about two hundred stairs and look over the inside of the Basilica from the top of the dome. It’s covered by a fence but it really shows you just how massive the whole place is. Also, that every inch is covered in something beautiful. Then you walk back outside on the roof and climb about 300+ more stairs to the top of the dome. The stairs are narrow and slippery and get worse as you climb higher and higher. At one point right before you reach the top, the stairs are coiled so tightly around this small cylinder that if you reach your arms out by your sides you would touch both walls. It was a little claustrophobic but everyone made it out and enjoyed the fresh air and the fresh layer of sweat.


Another panoramic taken by Sarah but this was from the top of the dome looking out over the city.


It’s casual. Just looking over Rome.


Still casual.


It’s really hard not to take a thousand pictures of everything you do.


Climbing the steps to the top of the dome. Most of the lines were single file.


Oh yes, these are my roommates on this fine adventure.













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Kind of a blurry picture, but this is one of the corridors of stairs we climbed up and down from the top of the dome.


This dude behind me in line was rocking a man bun. I think he was french and I named him Phillipe and we’re going to get married and live happily ever after. Just me, him, and his man bun.




So Phillipe is sitting on the stairs behind me and Sarah took a casual picture of me so I could have a picture of him. She’s a sniping animal.


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From the bottom of the Basilica looking into the base of the dome. We stood along that ledge and looked down when we climbed up.

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View of St. Peter’s courtyard from the top of the Basilica.

After that we went to one of the Roman catacombs. I watched this movie on Valentine’s Day about these people who break into the  forbidden sections of the Paris catacombs and end up being chased down by demons and they have to crawl through the depths of hell to get out. I was psyched for the catacombs and I was hoping to see the stacks of bones and the graves and candles but it wasn’t actually like that. There weren’t any bones but there were old pots and relics preserved throughout the years. Most of the tombs are open now because the remains have been removed. It was still eerie feeling to be in there but not nearly as scary as I was hoping it would be. I also wasn’t mauled to death by any demons which was nice. There are family burial rooms that we got to look inside which were also pretty cool.


We were first in line for the catacombs. No big deal.

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The entrance to the catacomb.













Most of the groups broke off at that point and we went in our little group out to dinner and to see the Trevi Fountain (like in the Lizzie McGuire movie. We also had gelato because it is a necessity. Unfortunately, it’s under construction so the fountain wasn’t running but I did still throw a coin over my shoulder which means one day I will come back to Rome.


Dinner picture, man.


The Trevi fountain is getting a face life.










This has been another really fantastic day in Italy! It only rained slightly until the early afternoon and then get this, the sun came out. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful and sunny and I cannot wait. I won’t have to wear a rain coat and  I can switch my shoes, it’s a glorious feeling! Also- Tomorrow something mind-blowing is going to happen but I’m not going to say what it is until tomorrow’s blog. But I promise- it’s drop dead phenomenal. A chance of a lifetime.


Rome has so many different trees it’s like the tree capital of the world. (Don’t quote me on that because I absolutely made it up.)

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Mom- these were the sewage covers in the Basilica.










For all those concerned (Uncle Kevin)- I didn’t have a lot of corny/dad jokes in this post. I’ll make up for it now!

Q. What do you call a deer with no eyes?

A. No eye deer.


Q. So what do you call a deer with no eyes AND no legs?

A. Still no eye deer.


Today I tried to take a picture of some fog. I mist.


What do you call it when a crazy cow gets loose? Udder destruction.


OKAY, I’M DONE. I hope that holds you over until tomorrow. Let me know when you cancel my ticket.



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This is Professor Alessia and he is the sweetest, more genuine and wonderful man I have ever met. I am so happy he is guiding us on this adventure because frankly, there is no one else in the world I would rather be here with.


Current complaint- I think my feet are going to fall off. But on the plus side I’d totally invest in pirate wooden legs to make up for it.

A Self Titled Life- Right All The Wrongs (Day 2)

Day two started off a little rocky but ended up being a pretty solid day all together. The weather is still rainy but I packed an umbrella for a reason. We started at St. Peter’s Basilica which was both enormous and amazing. There is like a million statues all around the top of the Basilica and ten million pillars surrounding it. Each statue is hand carved and uniquely different from all the rest. People with talent are the worst. The lay out of the Basilica looks like the scene from Hercules when he’s a teenager and goes with his father into town and destroys the whole market because he knocks all of the pillars down while trying to catch a frisbee. Then he crushes the man with the pottery (but sadly, there was no man with pottery)  ((there also was no goddess gospel choir)) I didn’t go into the Basilica because the wait was three plus hours but the outside was stunning enough that I think it is something I could never in a million years forget.



The entire Basilica is a work of art.


It stretches on for days and days.











Each of the statues are entirely different. Different poses, faces, clothing. It’s amazing.


The Basilica is like this wall that blocks off the rest of the city. It’s a divide between history and reality.



This looks like the scene from Hercules! Fun Fact- that is my favorite disney soundtrack of all time. 










After lunch (I did take a picture of my food but it didn’t make the cut. Only the big shot pictures make this highly anticipated blog) we went to the Spanish Steps. I don’t know how many steps there are in total, but there were not nearly as many as I thought there would be. I expected to have hit my 25th birthday by the time I made it to the top. It was really cool to be able to walk all the way up and look out over the city. Each of the buildings are so unique and intricate I feel like there are no two that are exactly alike. It’s like a city of snowflakes.


The bottom of the Spanish Steps looking up.


At the top of the steps looking down.









The umbrellas makes this a cool picture. It’s like splashes of color throughout Rome.



Outside the fountain at the bottom of the steps. 


Hey. Hi. Hello. I’m having a great time.














I’m really happy to be on this trip with some really cool people. They’re making this a great trip and i’m really grateful for that.

Then we went to the Basilica of St. John Lateran which was blatantly jaw dropping. I’m not one for churches and I think they all look the same but this was a whole new level of church. The marble statues that were in the Basilica I could have stared at for hours without ever catching every detail. They are enormous and everywhere. The ceiling is painted, the walls are painted, the floor is painted, even the bathrooms are painted. There are twelve enormous statues lining the walls that tell the story of how each of the twelve apostles died. The actual altar paintings were cool but the statues and sculptures is what got me. I’ve never seen anything like it. The feet and hands look more like feet and hands than my own feet and hands do. So do the heads, shoulders, knees and toes.


Outside of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The outside looks so plain compared to the inside.


The inside of the Basilica is amazing.












The entire place is a piece of art.


The pope has details etched into the stone. Like, stop. I can’t go on.


Each of the twelve apostles had a different statue. Each amazing and incredibly detailed.












This one was my favorite. This statue is about one of the apostles that was skinned alive and he’s holding a sack with his face dangling out of the side.


Okay- funny story. Actually kind of hilarious. So when we were done looking in the Basilica I went to the bathroom (which was painted) and I couldn’t get the toilet to flush. I pushed every knob, screw, and bolt in the stall and nothing worked. So I pushed this button thing and all of a sudden the lights went off. It was pitch dark, and I mean I-couldn’t-even-see-the-inside- of-my-own-eyelids dark. So I pulled the handle and the door was jammed shut. I was yanking on the door like my life depended on it. I watch way too much American Horror Story and have read far too many books about serial killers to be stuck in a bathroom in a Roman Basilica in the dark. That was the end. Honestly, the killer would have had to come up through the toilet but good for them because I couldn’t have figured out how to flush them back down. I’m happy to report that I did make it out alive and I did yank the door open and run full speed into an Italian lady who was not happy to be plowed over. Try again, Billy Dent. I’m still alive.

Last trip I was almost slaughtered to death by a rabid deer and this trip I was almost murdered by a Basilica bathroom killer. Wow. If I wasn’t this over dramatic my life would be so boring.


Mom- look at the sewage drain!


Aunt Deb- I saw these and had to get a picture!










After surviving another nearly fatal episode, we made our way to the Holy Steps which are a mimic of the steps Jesus crawled so the tradition is to crawl up the staircase of 28 steps on your knees. It sounds easy but it’s not all butterflies and marshmallows. You climb each step behind the person in front of you who prays as they go. You can’t pass anyone or push anyone down the stairs so you just go with the pace of the knee-climber in front of you. By like the 15th step my knees were screaming. What’s cool is that the steps are so worn down that your knees sink into the grooves of where other people’s’ knees have been. It’s something that you really kneed to do.



Phones and cameras were prohibited from the Holy Steps so here is the picture I took anyways.


Looking back, we did and saw a lot of sights today. Each different but really enjoyable. The same girls that are in the gelato picture from yesterday and I went out for dinner at a restaurant by the hotel. It was a pretty solid way to end a pretty solid day. (Incase you were wondering I had tortellini, which I swear by. It was delicious.)

Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of rain but honestly, whether it rains or not I’m not going to stay in the hotel room because of the weather. I do think there is some crazy awesome things planned for tomorrow so I’ll have some great things to add to the magical world of internet blogging.


There is actually a third traffic light on the back of these two facing the other way.



There is a water fountain in the road to fill water bottles, or dogs, or even humans.











I didn’t expect there to be palm trees. Rome for real has it all.


OH MY GOD I ALMOST FORGOT. We went to a supermarket today before we went home from the Holy Steps and although they did not have pocket cookies (I checked) they did play both Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith which was fantastic because they’re both wonderful humans. Also- Mom, I checked for the espresso candy’s that were in Europe. I’m so bummed to tell you I had no luck. I was pretty hopeful about the whole situation but, nada.



The grocery store sells sprinkles in little jars. I thought they were so cute


HELLO. MY FRIEND SARAH (Who also loves Parenthood) sniped this picture of this guy that looks like Mr. Cyr.











I do believe that is all for now. So until tomorrow, this has been day 2 and a great day 2 at that.

Stay Weird.




Only in Rome are the only acceptable holes 50 meters deep.



Breakfast was delivered to our room this morning. We didn’t even have to leave.












Current wish- that it will stop raining so I can wear different shoes because my feet are starting to smell and I am going to kill everyone around me. My apologies in advance.


A Self Titled Life- Something To Talk About (Day 1)

Crammed in a seat, high above the clouds,

I can’t hear myself think you are snoring so loud.

Actually no one is snoring I totally made that up.

It just sounded good since it rhymed, but guess what? I hate poetry.

I wasn’t going to start A Self Titled Life- Round Two until tomorrow night when I had something more interesting to talk about other than being inside this flying boat, but then things got kind of interesting. I am in the middle section of the plane, in the middle row of seats right by the bathroom. Prime seating, right? Right. Well, it was incredibly quiet until the entire plane (and I am certainly not exaggerating when I say the entire plane) is standing in line to use the bathrooms. No kidding the flight attendants actually had to ask people to sit down because the weight shift in the plane was causing the plane to falter backwards. (I might be lying) ((I’m definitely lying.)) But I am sitting next to the Mickey Mouse parade as they file in and out of the toothpick sized bathrooms. Plus the bathroom on the left side sounds like a fire breathing dragon when the toilet flushes and the right side sounds like a giant man gargling marbles. Very strange.

Update- We’re under the 5 hour mark with exactly… 4 hours and 52 minutes left until we touch down in Rome. Oh yeah, I’m going to Rome! I probably should have mentioned that earlier but well, there is no time like the present! It’s currently 9:04 pm in America and 2:05 am in Rome. OKAY HELLO. I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE. When I said there was 4 hours and 52 minutes left I was honestly just spit balling because I didn’t want to turn my monitor back on but I just turned it on to check the time in Rome, and there is actually 4 hours and 52 minutes left. Am I.. a wizard?

Fun fact! If I were to jump out of the plane right now (Mom, take it easy) it would be -47.3 degrees out there. Basically, I would be back in Oswego. I think that is all the sarcasm I can muster up for the time being. I will say that I am excited for three reasons- 1. I am excited to go to Rome because I have never been and I’ve only heard wonderful things. 2. I’m pretty stoked about writing this blog again. and 3. …Wow, I don’t remember what the third thing was. (I do remember what it is but I’ll have to add it in to this blog post at a later time and I’ll explain then.)

By the magic of the internet the next time we talk, I’ll be in Rome but you’ll have not a clue so, no worries, I’ve got you! For real, I’m done now. I’m babbling now which is not fun for anyone. Not for you, your mom, my siblings, my aunts, Obama, Sampson the baby giraffe from the Buffalo zoo, Ellen Degeneres, Bert Macklin FBI Agent, me, or even the guy reading this over my shoulder. (hey hey) Literally, no one.

ON THAT NOTE. Catch you in Rome!


This entire place looks like a movie set.

The streets are made out of uneven black stones and they looked really cool when the rain water was shining off of them.

The streets are made out of uneven black stones and they looked really cool when the rain water was shining off of them.

Hello Family. I win the punch bug game. (I'm still looking for a yellow one)

Hello Family. I win the punch bug game. (I’m still looking for a yellow one)











I HAVE CAUGHT YOU IN ROME. It’s 2:16 pm here and 9:16 am there. The weather is kind of rainy but it’s not snowing so I have nothing to complain about. We walked around some of the neighborhoods by the hotel and this place is straight out of a movie. A movie besides The Lizzie McGuire Movie where she goes to Rome. It’s like ancient but not. We went to this really cool basilica and it was immaculate inside. That’s coming from someone who 1. Doesn’t like churches and 2. Finds art rather boring. This however, was stunning. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. At the top of the dome cement ceiling is this window that looks like the universe and it was pretty amazing. The Universe and I are pretty close after all. Depending on the rain we might go get pizza and go to a gelato place that has over 150 flavors. ALSO I had pasta for lunch and the sauce tasted just like my grandmother’s. I asked to speak to MaryAnn but the waiter didn’t speak english.

This is the bottom of a fountain that probably has an important name that I do not know. The artwork is so full of detail its amazing.

This is the bottom of a fountain that probably has an important name that I do not know. The artwork is so full of detail its amazing.

Apparently, the water is so clean here that you can drink out of the fountains.

Apparently, the water is so clean here that you can drink out of the fountains. I just found out that this fountain was called Piazza Navona.


The inside of the Basilica was actually breath taking. There was so much to look at for these two eyes and these filthy glasses lenses.

The inside of the Basilica was actually breath taking. There was so much to look at for these two eyes and these filthy glasses lenses.

The ceiling of the Basilica.

The ceiling of the Basilica.


This is unlike anything I have ever seen before.


The Universe window at the top of the Basilica.













YO, I didn’t forget to tell you what I couldn’t write earlier. The guy sitting next to me, well more accurately on top of me for the entire flight was reading over my shoulder as I typed. He stopped when I called him out a little later in the blog. Anyways, on the other side of him was his girlfriend and the two of them were canoodling the entire plane ride. For anyone who doesn’t know what canoodling is, it’s when people are so infatuated with each other that they forget other humans can see their every move. They were gross and he kept jabbing me in the side and hitting me with his blanket. The moral of the story here is don’t canoodle on a plane. Be in love somewhere else thats not next to me. Because maybe you could not.


I don’t even know what to caption this. People just casually walk past this everyday.


Outside of the Piazza Navona













We got to Rome around 7:30 this morning and after walking around until 2 pm went to the hotel to sleep. After a four hour nap I woke up feeling like a new human. It kind of stopped raining (just a slight drizzle) so we went to the pizzeria and gelato shop. There’s a scene from The Fault In Our Stars where Augustus tells Hazel that if the risotto he was eating was a person he would take it to Vegas and marry it. I have never felt so connected with Augustus Waters. The Pizza was unlike anything I have ever eaten. It was so fresh and so good and so delicious that any pizza from here on out that I ever eat will be nothing but a disappointment. And the gelato? I will be getting a divorce from the pizza to marry the gelato. Wow. Just, WOW.  GAME CHANGER.

You do not understand how big this was. I wish I could brake off a piece and share it with the world.

You do not understand how big this was. I wish I could brake off a piece and share it with the world.


In the Gelato Shop. (From left to right- Jess, Sarah, Me…Prof Alessia, Sarah, and Katie. My bridal party when i married the gelato.












This was kind of an odd day because it’s really been Saturday and Sunday. But my first novel is finished now. There’s some exciting adventures tomorrow based on the weather. But before I go, for any concerned family members I will give you a brief update:

1. I am not in prison.

2. I am not married.

3. I am still not in prison.


Stay Weird,


It looks like Pizza.

It looks like Pizza.













Current Jam- ‘Reflection’ by Fifth Harmony. I definitely jammed on the plane and the entire album is stellar.

A Self Titled Life- Everyone’s Story (Day 10) ((It’s the final countdown))

Welcome to my last blog post. I will get home today by way of trains, planes and automobiles. I’m on the airplane right now that left from the Narita airport in Japan and is headed for JFK in New York. The arrival countdown reads 3 hours and 4 minutes until we touch back down to Earth. Believe it or not, we shaved some time off this trip compared to the last one. A whole 5 minutes. When we took off the countdown was 11 hours and 57 minutes so look at all that progress! I’ve watched a few movies, wrote a final paper, and about two hours ago I tried to write this blog post. Then I gave up and watched another movie. I finally got around to watching the Amazing SpiderMan Movies- highly recommend. Anyways, I have just enough time to write a blog post before I watch the last movie I’ve been saving. That’s the great thing about these posts- all you get to see is the final product so it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to muster up the words to write these posts or how many personal early morning dance breaks I take in between paragraphs. So for this post I’m throwing in all the honorable mentioned photos that didn’t make the cut the first time around.  I laughed while picking most of them out.

the devil

HI. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS LITTLE MONSTER. One day I bought these individually wrapped cookies and I kept them in my pocket to eat throughout the day, so I called them pocket cookies. This little boy’s mom took our picture and he threw such a temper tantrum (throwing rocks) so I tried to present him with an extraordinary pocket cookie and he hung his head so low that it almost snapped off his neck. Then he finally took the cookie AND VIOLENTLY HAULED IT FULL FORCED INTO THE GROUND. I actually gasped out loud. I just, I had to walk away. I had to leave the scene. I couldn’t control myself around that kind of inexcusable behavior. wow. Just WOW. (breathe, Ally, breathe.)


This was the shrine of a thousand and one buddhas. I got the picture the day after that blog was posted and well here you go.


According to my Mom, one needs a college education to work this toilet. It looks like you could use the bathroom while participating in a medieval torture chamber.


This was a vending machine full of crepes. What more do you need to know.

I’m having a hard time trying to figure out exactly what it is that I want to say or how I want to sum up all of these blogs along with all the things I’ve done in the past ten days. I’ve put a pretty substantial amount of time and effort into these blogs. I’ve dedicated a few hours a night to writing them all and I’m really happy that I did. On the bright side I know my mom reads them all so at least I have an audience other than myself. I have this tendency to buy a journal before a trip so I can write about all that happens and then I get on the trip and never open the book. At least I’m consistent. Well, the same thing happened on this trip. (In all fairness I had the journal long before I knew I was going to be blogging the trip. I’ll save the journal for spring break so I can neglect to use it then too.) I’ll admit though, I always did these posts late at night and sometimes the thought of having to stay up and write a blog as well as find pictures was enough to make me reconsider all of my life choices. However, I would remember nothing about this trip if I didn’t have this blog. Squat. We just did so much it was hard to keep up with it all so it’s really cool to have it all in one place with pictures. How nifty. Maybe even swifty.


I have absolutely no idea what is going on.


Somebody call Vogue.


The Kabuki Theater. The theater, the lovely theater. The picture was better but there is actually a bus that barged into my picture.

Today was a pretty nonchalant day. Although we did participate in a traditional tea ceremony and we got to wear kimono, drink green tea- the whole shabang. We wore these socks that look like goat feet. There one little part for your big toe and then another little part for your other toes with a divider in the middle. It’s like wearing mittens on your feet. (side note- thank the heavens for spellcheck because I spelled kimono ‘camono’. I had to google it to figure it out. Hello, I go to college.) It was interesting to see/ participate in all of these traditional customs that are part of the Japanese culture. Not just the tea ceremony, but also to visit places like Old Tokyo or any of the temples. America is such a young country and we don’t have a lot of these kinds of long-standing traditions. At the same time, that’s what I love about America. We don’t have a lot of traditions. It’s kind of a make-it-up-as-you-go society. In my family we have this birthday hat that looks like a cake with candles on the top. It’s not an American tradition , but in my family you are obligated to wear this hat on your birthday when you blow out the candles. These are the kinds of traditions that I love. You get to create your own traditional origins and pass them down to whomever you please. I really took the time on this trip to appreciate the world that I live in just a little bit more. I really think that going somewhere new and learning about someone different teaches you more about yourself than anything else. I like that America is loud and that we have rules but generally ignore all of them. I like that no one is the same and people aren’t afraid of being bold just because they want to be. I feel like America is made of a lot of brave people. We tend to look at differences as a positive attribute rather than a negative divide between people. Okay, hi. The plane is rocking back and forth and it’s getting hard to type so I’m going to finish this in the JFK airport. (See what I mean? You would have no idea I even stopped writing. The internet is a magical place.)

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Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus.


I’m wearing the goat socks in this picture.


To the windooow, To the wall! (to the wall). Stop singing I’m with my Mother.













IMG_1098 -PLEASE right-click this video and open it in a new tab. You’ll understand. I promise. It’s legendary.


Guess who’s back, back again? I’m in the airport and determined to finish this blog. I don’t really have a favorite part or thing that happened. Although my least favorite was the deer that tried to mull me to death. Besides that I think the people I met were my favorite part. It was just so exciting. So get this- I was able to visit Japan, present at an international symposium, make international friends, escape an almost tragic wildlife death, wear a kimono, and create my own blog all because I took a class by accident. It wasn’t so much an accident as it was ‘i couldn’t get into any of the classes I needed and this class happened to be open at the time so I took it’. That’s pretty bananas.


The animals from hell.


STOP. My American is showing.











There were purple trees on the streets. Like, hypothermia trees.

These past ten days have been some of the most incredible times in my life. I don’t really know how to say thank you for all that has happened. I’m so grateful to have gone to Japan. I’m also so grateful to all the students at Kansai University who were so sweet I still don’t believe they’re real. I’m so incredibly grateful that my Mom was able to come on this adventure because frankly, she’s a wizard. I’m so so so grateful I was on this trip with people who were not only willing to try new things, but excited to do everything possible. I’m also grateful she had a camera that took beautiful pictures and then emailed them to me every night. I’m so thankful that the Japanese people were so kind and willing to help in any way that they could. I’m grateful all the plane rides (thus far) have been solid trips and safe trips. And finally I’m thankful for all the sock stores that Japan had. I’m telling you, my future sick ass sock Saturdays are going to be killer.

IMG_1126 _This video is of the doorbell in out hotel room in Tokyo. First, I don’t think I have ever stayed in a hotel room with a doorbell. Second, this doorbell sounds nicer than the doorbell to my house at school, which sounds like a taser. Right click the link and open the link in a new tab!



My one true talent in this world is snipping terrible pictures of my Mother. She fought back on this trip.


But so did I.


Then she kicked my ass. (If I’m being honest, I actually prevailed in this battle, but the picture I took is so great I refuse to put it on the internet. I’m keeping it forever. Mom, you can have this one. Congratulations. You’ve come far, young grasshopper.















I don’t really know what else to say here. I’m excited to have had the experience because had I not taken this class, none of this would have ever happened. This experience has made me a more conscious communicator and a more educated international traveler. The most important thing I have gained from this experience is that there is no rule book to life. You can plan and plan and plan some more but, there is no way to know what is going to happen. The world is a crazy place and there’s no way it’s ever going to make sense. Maybe it shouldn’t. I like not knowing what is going to happen in an hour, or tomorrow, or in fifty years. All I know is that I’ll always be Ally, I’ll always have sick ass socks, and I went to Japan.

It’s been real. It’s been fun. It’s also been ten days.

Thanks Japan for all the adventures. I’ll miss you dearly, but hello America, I’ve missed you more!!

Stay weird forever more.


Ally Costanza

Current wish- that Tyler Oakley would be my best friend.


International traveler

Feral wildlife survivor

Sock enthusiast

Future cat lady.

A Self Titled Life- Black and White Re-runs (Day 9)

I woke up this morning with the goal of ditching the city life in Tokyo. It’s a cool city, don’t get me wrong, but it’s too much like any other city. It’s has lots of people, buildings, cars, but not the dirt. I realized the other day that the streets don’t even have as much as a cigarette butt on them. There also is an extreme lack of garbage cans. And by extreme lack I mean none. Another side note- there are hardly any benches here. There’s nowhere to just sit and rest for a minute. Sometimes I’m so tired I genuinely consider laying on the sidewalk 1. because there’s nowhere else for me to go 2. it’s clean and 3. no one can stop me.

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This entire country looks like ‘Divergent’. I won’t let it go. I refuse, I refuse, I refuse.


Out of ten days, today was the only day it rained. We got pretty lucky.













IMG_1004 This is a video of what the train station music is. The little jingle I talked about. It sounds like it’s straight out of Mario Cart. It works best if you right-click the link and open the link in a new window.

So we went to Old Tokyo (at the request of the bassist we met last night in Starbucks.) It really was the raddest place. It was local shops and bakeries that lined the streets. Walking around was like going back to what Tokyo would have been like 40-50 years ago. The first shop we went into was dedicated to cats. Excuse me, it was fantastic. I went into a bakery and ate this asparagus and bacon pizza that probably changed my life for the greater good. Old Tokyo was filled with all the things I hoped I would find while in Japan. I found vases, tea cups, and even wooden painted earrings (which I didn’t exactly imagine prior to coming to Japan, but what are you going to do.) It was filled with things that are a little out-of-place and unique. Walking around the streets was like escaping what is to become apart of what was.


We were in this little tea shop and found Twisty the clown.

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There is one vending machine for every four people in Japan. I just happened to stumble upon one with Dr. Pepper.


This was someone’s walkway up to their front door.

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Stopped in this delicious bakery (with the pizza) and it had all of these superhero figurines. Lights would love it here.


Passed by this shop with hundreds of lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Geez, it was beautiful.

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The cemeteries are just really impressive here.

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This sweet woman worked in the bakery we stopped in. When we asked for her picture she just giggled and couldn’t believe we wanted her picture.























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Street view of Old Tokyo.

After leaving the 1950s, we took a train to Takeshita Dori which was this giant outdoor shopping mall/street/hoopla of people. I think a lot of the things you could buy there you could probably find in a lot of places. It was more for commercial shopping. BUT they did have a sweet sock store where I did, in fact, buy some pretty nifty sick ass socks. I’m pretty stoked about them.


Just a casual street sign.


We stepped foot in the most MASSIVE Starbucks I have ever seen. It was enormous. This was just a small section of the outdoor patio. Claire, we’re moving.


The view for the customers was of the downtown city. We saw the store because of the logo imprinted on the windows six stories up.











What I liked about Takeshita Dori wasn’t the shopping, but the place itself. It seemed like the only place I’ve seen in Japan where people seem to let their hair down. People seemed to walk a little more to their own beat instead of the same beat as everyone else. Also, their was a lot of street art all around. Street art is my favorite kind of art, especially to take pictures of. It was almost like visiting a little piece of America while still being in Japan.


It’s hard to tell but this sign looked like it was made out of thousands of balloons.


This is amazing to me.

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This actually might have been in Old Tokyo but I’m not positive.


This was actually the first piece of art I saw.


IMG_0981 Walked by a store and I was SO excited to hear Fifth Harmony all the way in Japan. That’s all this video is. If you open it I would again,be best to open the link in a new window.

It’s pretty hard to believe this was my last full day here. Sometimes I go on trips and they fly by so fast I feel like I never even left home at all. This trip wasn’t that way at all. We’ve been gone for ten days but it feels more like 10 months. It seems like 30 years ago that I spoke at the symposium which is crazy because I’m only 20. On the other hand, it seems like just yesterday I was on that airplane pretending I wasn’t crying over every movie I watched. I feel like I was able to see so many incredible things, meet so many people, and learn so much about a new place that I didn’t have time to think about all the time passing by. This trip and this place was worth every second of time spent feeling like coming to Japan was just a simple thought or a shot in the dark.


My people in Japan.

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Google Japan. It’ll be so strange not to see this for a long time.


Took a shower and the window of mirror in front of the sink was designed to resist fog. Japan is on point 300% of the time.


Stay Weird.


Current temperature- I’m sweating to death in this sweatshirt.


A Self Titled Life- All the Possibilities (Day 8)

We looked like a bunch of loony tunes traipsing through the train station, dragging all of our luggage with us. It probably looked like the scene from Home Alone when they’re barreling through the airport at a full sprint, except we were not running. Nobody has time for that. We took the bullet train to Tokyo and it was about a three-hour ride at 200 mph. Pretty slow. To be quite honest, I enjoyed the trip. I was jamming to The Fray’s album and watching the people around me. The train has a way of lulling people to sleep especially the longer you are aboard. It takes people out like bowling pins. One at a time. You watch and watch and then sooner or later heads start to fall forward until everyone is asleep. I sometimes get worried people are going to fall out of their seats or miss their stops, but they always wake up in time. They pick up their stuff, wipe their drool, and head out into the world like they weren’t conked out thirty seconds ago. I think it’s impressive.


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The manhole covers just keep getting better and better.

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Met some ninjas today. Just soak in this picture. This happened.


Okay this was the sink in the bathroom today. The right nozzle was for water. The left was for soap. The bar in the sink by where you would stand is the drying fan. It was an all included piece of technology. The world is a crazy place.

It was a gift to have a slower paced day today. I feel like my feet are going to disintegrate into the ground when I walk, they’re so tired. We did check out the Tokyo Tower and the Zojoji Temple. The temple was another outdoor temple but what was cool and probably morbid in the minds of most humans, was the hundreds of stone children statues. Each statue had a name engraved on the back, a shawl, a knitted bonnet, and a windmill placed in front of it. We found out later it was a memorial for children who had passed away. I wish I knew because of what or why the statues were their. The statues were so colorful in the middle of all the bleak surroundings. Each statue looked a little different from the ones next to it. I’ll have to google it and find more information out about this memorial.

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These were the little statues. I just really loved them.

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Each of the names of the children were engraved in the back. Some looked older and some newer.


They all seemed to embody their own personality.













This one was so sad. It looks so loved.

The Tokyo Tower was described in one of the guide books somewhere along the lines of an ugly metal thing in the middle of the capital building. From far away and up close during the daytime, that is exactly what it is. It’s this big red and white Eiffel tower mimic in the day time. It’s also not all that appealing to the eye because it almost looks like a cell phone tower. When you go up into the tower, it’s not so unimpressive anymore. The view is incredible. Tokyo is an enormous city. It could easy swallow New York City three times and probably have room for dessert. The top of the tower is all enclosed and you can walk around to view the city below from a 360 degree angle. The best part was the sunset. We were able to see the city in the afternoon, during the sun set, and when it was all lit up. We got the whole progression of time in about twenty minutes. When we came down the tower  it was bright orange and the glass elevator allowed you to look out at the tower and the sleepy city as you approached the ground again. It really was a cool place.

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Tokyo before the sunset.


Tokyo during the sunset.


..The sunset. That’s Mount Fuji in the background, the little nub. I guess I could say I saw Mount Fuji twice. Once on the train and once in the tower.

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Tokyo at night. This is my favorite view of the city.

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I wanted a picture with the city and pieces of the tower showing. I liked the perspective.













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The tower took on a whole new life at night. All it took was for the lights to go out.

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This guy was in the tower so obviously we’re best friends.


There was a Christmas village outside of the tower. I’m still surprised at all the Christmas excitement here. 













After that we acted like bananas and split. The rest of the group went on their way into a different part of the city for dinner and I walked around the city with my mother. It has the same vibe as New York City but not as vicious. People still wait for the cross walk signs to turn green before making any sudden movements. We met this man outside of a Starbucks who lived in New York, Canada, and San Fransisco as a traveling musician. He played the bass guitar and had quite the love and knack for jamming. That’s the biggest thing I miss about the US. I enjoy talking to new people and approaching people I don’t know. It seems like a lot of the people, at least in the cities, are much more serious and seldom talk to the people around them. While they’re more than willing to help you if you ask for it, a lot of the people keep to themselves. I like the loud, mixed cultures of America. I like the encouragement of embracing differences and backgrounds. When you shove people through a cookie cutter you’re cutting off all the little things that make them so special in this world.


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This feels ripe. 


Tell me. Would you believe this was a McDonald’s if I told you? It’s fancier than my house.


There was a single seating option. McLonely.












We’re hoping to visit Old Tokyo tomorrow (at the recommendation of my jamming bassist friend.) The pictures look incredible so hopefully the real deal will be extraordinary.

Stay Weird.


Current jam- ‘Helios’ by The Fray