Barack Obama on Democrats and Faith Thursday, Jun 29 2006 

Senator Barack Obama (whom I absolutely love) recently spoke about Democrats, criticizing the views held by the party in regards to religion and faith. What he says, as usual, hits the nail on the head.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Barack Obama chastised fellow Democrats Wednesday for failing to “acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people” and said the party must compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans.

“Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters,” the Illinois Democrat said in remarks to a conference of Call to Renewal, a faith-based movement to overcome poverty.

“It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase `under God,”‘ he said. “Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats.”

Obama, the only black in the Senate, drew national notice even before arriving in Congress last year, and has occasionally used his visibility to scold members of his own party. Widely sought as a fundraiser for other Democrats, Obama responded with a noncommittal laugh this spring when asked whether he wants a spot on the national ticket in 2008.

His speech included unusually personal references to religion, the type of remarks that usually come more readily from Republicans than Democrats.

“Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me,” he said of his walk down the aisle of the Trinity United Church of Christ. “I submitted myself to his will and dedicated myself to discovering his truth.”

Obama said millions of Christians, Muslims and Jews have traveled similar religious paths, and that is why “we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse. … In other words, if we don’t reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons will continue to hold sway.”

Obama coupled his advice with a warning. “Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith: the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps — off rhythm — to the gospel choir.”

At the same time, he said, “Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square.”

As a result, “I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people and join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.”

Obama mentioned leaders of the religious right briefly, saying they must “accept some ground rules for collaboration” and recognize the importance of the separation of church and state.

Source

I’m a huge Clinton fan, even since back when he was first elected in 1992 (although I didn’t know THAT much about him back then). And it’s obvious that I despise Bush. Clinton was a truly great president and was leading us so much better than we’re being led now. But since the Bush/Gore election of 2000, Democrats and Republicans have each polarized their own parties. Except for brief unity following 9/11, the Republicans have dug themselves deeper into basing their politics on religion (namely Christianity, of course) and Democrats have been trying to build off Bush’s unpopularity by trying to be everything that Bush isn’t, while the gay rights movement has gained so much momentum.

It just keeps getting worse and worse — like poison ivy. The more you scratch it, the more it itches. It’s becoming taboo for a candidate to endorse a principle generally favored by the other party.

That’s why Obama is so refreshing. Ever since he came on the scene during Election 2004, he’s been championing the cause of bringing the parties closer together again, working together for a better America. He was on the cover of Newsweek’s “Who’s Next” issue in the last week of 2004, with the headline “Seeing Purple.” He’s made so many good points, but what’s most significant is that he’s a Democrat critical of the current state of the Democratic Party, rather than attacking Republicans, as most Democrats are doing nowadays.

You know, things are getting so bad in America that sometimes I wonder if this is the beginning of the end of our empire. Save splitting the country in half, neither party is going to convince the rest of country to side with them. (Although fuckthesouth.com does make quite the case for splitting the country in half.) We have to be humble enough to admit our shortcomings and see the big picture, and Obama is doing that.

As for him possibly running for president in 2008, my opinion on that is that he’s just a junior senator and doesn’t have quite as much experience as would be ideal. A junior senator seems better-suited to be the running mate. However, Obama has such a well-defined presence and grasp of reality that I wouldn’t want to see him in the background, whether it’s for Hilary or someone else. John Edwards was a junior senator when he ran for president in 2004, and while his charisma (too much charisma and not enough original substance, in my opinion) and ideals shot him to the top, he didn’t have that X-factor that could catapult him into being a serious candidate for president that the entire country could get behind.

(While I liked him very much as a politician, my caveat with him was that he used to be a lawyer who represented people getting ridiculously huge settlements — like several million. I remember that he once represented a man who originally was awarded a few million after suing a doctor for malpractice, then Edwards fought for the money to be raised to several tens of millions. Is that necessary? Does somebody REALLY need THAT much money? I think that our legal system needs to be overhauled because lawsuits that large are crippling our cities, our schools, our doctors….Fairfield University recently had to award $100,000 to a kid who did nothing but cause trouble, thanks to the legal system. I could write a whole entry about lawsuits, but not today.)

But if there were ever a junior senator that HAS that X-factor that could make him an ideal candidate for president, it’s Barack Obama. He HAS IT, whatever IT is.

Although I yearned for Kerry to win the 2004 election, I had a little inkling in the back of my mind that he wasn’t the ideal Democratic candidate. And even if it cost us the election, it would be better to wait four more years and get a much better Democratic candidate. Is it Obama? I believe so. It’s certainly not Hilary — while I like her very much, she’s too disliked by too many people.

Keep watching this guy. He’s going to do a lot of good things.

All that being said, what struck me most about this article was the fact that Obama is the only black person in the Senate. I knew there weren’t a lot, but only one?! Jesus. (And whatever happened to Carole Moseley Braun?) I’m not sure if there are any Hispanic or Asian senators, but I do know that there’s a Native American (Republican) senator from Colorado. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

Just in Case Thursday, Jun 29 2006 

If I ever decide that I want to cut my hair,

STOP ME.

Thank you.

Final Euro Entry Wednesday, Jun 28 2006 

I wrote this entry in Heathrow before we left. Here it is:

I am currently writing this from an internet kiosk at Heathrow. This is, by far, the worst internet place I’ve ever been — any site with “pornography” or “profanity” is blocked, which means I can’t access ANYTHING from blogger.com, including my blog and all my celebrity blogs! Sheesh. So I’m emailing this to myself and I’ll post it when I get home.

Sarah and I spent our last night hanging out with Tom, this awesome guy from Sydney.  He had been traveling all over Europe, and he had the best stories.

My favorite story from Tom was that when he was in Munich, he was gallavanting with a bunch of guys, and they ended up (drunkenly) jumping into this fountain. After a while, the police started asking them to get out of the fountain. They became progressively more forceful, but Tom refused to listen. Instead, he climbed to the top tier of the fountain, and then started a slow clap. Everyone started clapping along with him. Then he jumped off and did a somersault into the fountain (which was only about three feet deep!). He said that he was shocked to still be alive. And everyone cheered, including the police, who were more impressed than indignant.

My internet time is about to run out. See you in America!

After I wrote that, Sarah and I were hanging out in the one cafe open in the entire terminal, when a guy asked us if we needed a place to sleep. We said yes, and he took us over to a dark part of a dining room — and the long booth was covered with sleeping backpackers!! It was funny. There we were, all of us too cheap to spend money on a hostel. Since Sars’ flight was at 6:40 and mine was at 11, she let me sleep, which I did for a few hours (and my earplugs and sleep mask were, by far, the BEST things I brought on the trip with me). The flight home was uneventful (though I have to say that the movie Failure to Launch SUCKED!), and now we’re home, cozy and falling asleep by 9 PM.

I’ll be posting pictures shortly. Until then, happy travels, and I cannot WAIT until my next trip to Europe! I’ve thought out a 2-month Mediterranean-centric trip, starting in Athens and ending in Spain. I still have to go to Amsterdam, and I’d love to see more of Central Europe, as well as the places where my family comes from (especially Sicily and Latvia). And I love every moment of it — the living, the eating, the adventures, even sitting at home with a travel book. Music is who I am and what guides me in everything I do. But travel is my true passion.

After all, I did go on a date with my Let’s Go: Europe in London.

Final real day in Europe Sunday, Jun 25 2006 

Well, it’s our last day in Bruges, and it’s RAINING!! Just a tad, but a storm is expected later today. And we were going to ride our bikes to the beach. The North Sea, in fact. So now it’s a bit up in the air — and we’ve done everything else there is to do in Bruges! Well, maybe we’ll rent bikes anyway and kamikaze bike all around the town, running down the occasional tourist or seven, as the hostel guide map suggests.

Greetings to Ben from Perth! I am meeting so many Bens in Europe….

Sars and I made a “how to speak Flemish” video. (It turns out that the Flemish language is Dutch. Huh.) I would love to put it on here, but I’m not sure how to get video onto the blog. Anyone know?

We did have an AWESOME meal the other night. At the Passage restuarant (next to the Passage hostel), I had a HUGE plate of Flemish Stew (basically beef stew in this awesome sauce) with tons of fries and a salad. SO GOOD — you should go there if you’re ever in Bruges.

TONS of good pictures taken….I can’t wait to put them on here!

Having an awesome time….can’t wait to backpack around Europe for a few months or so. And do it all.

Belgium’s Beguiling Bruges Friday, Jun 23 2006 

We made it to Bruges (though it was no easy task, thanks to a lady who told us to take the wrong train and we ended up stealing a ride back to Brussels). This keyboard is even weirder than the French one. Damn Flemish.

That’s right — Flemish, as in the Flanders region of Belgium. And knowing French is barely an asset here because they don’t speak it!

I’m looking over that sentence and it seems sarcastic, but I’m really having a wonderful, wonderful time here in Europe with my sister. There’s no one I’d rather travel with. Our extended silences aren’t uncomfortable, and she feels the same way I do about wanting to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Paris was AWESOME yesterday. We ate amazing crepes and walked from the Marais to Ile St-Louis to the Louvre (we just went in to use the bathroom because we remembered you don’t have to pay to get into the lobby there!) to the Musée d’Orsay, where we actually visited. So much to describe.

We briefly walked through Brussels today, getting waffles and seeing the Mannekin Pis (google image it; you’ll be glad you did), and now we’re in Bruges, which has a country-town feeling and is absolutely beautiful.

Nothing more to write because the keyboard is bugging me, but this very may be my last blog entry abroad for quite some time. Oh, and I’m reading The Devil Wears Prada because Sars brought it. I haven’t read anything nonliterary in forever, so it’s absolutely DELIGHTFUL!! Can’t wait to see the movie, too.

I’d say something in Flemish but I don’t know any words! With the other language of Belgium, à bientot!

Frataliano Wednesday, Jun 21 2006 

O mon Dieu….this keyboard is French, which is very different from the US keyboard and even the Italy and UK keyboards, so it’s difficult to type, and I only have 8 minutes left at the cafe.

I AM IN PARIS!!!!! We made it, strike and all! Milan was kinda scary, since we stayed in the ghetto, but at least it was only an overnight.

Sars and I just got dinner at Café de L’Industrie, an awesome place by the Bastille where I went with my Florence roommates, and the escargot and salads were great. The only thing?

I KEEP SPEAKING FRATALIANO!!!

I can’t help it — I interject “solo” instead of “seulement,” “per” instead of “pour,” and worst of all, I actually said SI. This has never happened to me before. I don’t know why! I was fine last time in Paris, coming from Florence!

I gotta snap out of it.

Okay, computer is warning me time’s up. Keep on tranglin’.

STRIKE! Tuesday, Jun 20 2006 

My 100th post in this blog!!

Well, we were supposed to head to Milan tomorrow morning to catch our flight to Paris, but GUESS WHAT?! Trenitalia is striking. And since we already bought our tickets, we’re out 27 Euro.

Train leaves in an hour. Night in Milano. Having an awesome time nonetheless! Just holding on to the memory of balsamic steak and pasta sampler from Acqua al’2 last night.

And James has been so awesome in being our host. He even snuck us in to the free program lunch at Panello’s today. THANK YOU JAMES!

Florence and Venice Monday, Jun 19 2006 

Okay, where we left off, James was being insane. Since then….

That night, we just couldn’t sleep. Well, James did, for an hour, but Sarah and I couldn’t, in spite of our earplugs. Once James woke up and we all kept tossing and turning, we just turned on the lights and decided to have a slumber party of sorts. We talked, told stories, etc….it was so nostalgic, playing sleepover games! (Don’t worry, there was NO truth or dare!)
We slept two hours. Then woke up at 6:15 to go to Venice.

Aside from being naturally grouchy, Sars and I grew out of that and had a great time in Venice with James. We started by walking through Santa Croce all the way to Piazza San Marco, stopping at this little restaurant called Osteria Vivaldi, which had good food (although wasn’t NEARLY as cheap as Let’s Go said) and was decorated in a Vivaldi theme, with instruments hanging from the ceiling. So cute — but you’d think that a place like that would play classical music and not early 90s hits!

We arrived in Piazza San Marco, and James dropped his camera while giving money to a gypsy (I told him “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?!?!”) and he was upset, but it started working again when we got to the top of the Campanile, the bell tower. We had GREAT views of the entire island and the lagoon, and if the day had been clearer, we DEFINITELY would have been able to see all the way to Slovenia and Croatia. We probably did; it was just a gray mass in the distance.

After the Campanile, we took plenty of pictures and took the water bus (WHY does that cost 5 Euro a trip?!) and went to Murano, the glass island, where we watched a demonstration and browsed the glass boutiques. Since we didn’t take a gondola ride (SO expensive), I instead got a pair of Murano glass earrings for 15 Euro — they are so me: pink and black glass spheres with gold shining throughout!

In the end, we walked around Cannaregio, including an area where absolutely NO tourists were (which was nice). Sarah saw a woman teaching her son how to ride a bike! We got some food, then took the train back. Sars and I were CRAZY TIRED, as was James.

So this morning we slept in and decided not to go to Viareggio. We might do that tomorrow instead. Today we got Oil Shoppe for lunch, and we’re about to go get gelato and climb the Duomo. We’d go see Santa Croce, but it’s closed by now.

Overall, Venice was great, and I was especially glad that Sarah loved it. But I am never going back there in the summer EVER again! Too many tourists. It was much lovelier in November — quiet and a bit gloomy with overcast skies. I think Venice is one of the cities that looks better when it’s not-so-nice out.

Paris on Wednesday!

Also, hello to a few people that I met in London and have been reading this! You guys are awesome. 😀

Bella Firenze Saturday, Jun 17 2006 

Okay, I’m going to start with the most vivid thing that’s happened.

James is a crazy, uninhibited drunk. Usually I enjoy it. That was until tonight —

When, walking back from the game, he saw one of the African guys with the sheet full of knock-off designer bags and goes, quite loudly, “OH, IT’S THE AFRICAN BOY AND HIS BLACK MARKET GOODS.”

“JAMES!” Sars and I squawked. We had to keep him quiet the rest of the way home. Since making a criminal angry is exactly what you want to do.

Other quote classics:

“Dammit, I got a mosquito bite RIGHT IN MY HAIR! Everyone’s going to think I don’t shower cause I keep scratching it!”

“I haven’t heard this song in ages. By ages, I mean yesterday.”

“It is obvious that I am not 100% sober right now.”

He also tripped in a crowd while holding the bottle of wine in his hand. And I have some video classics.

Right after I wrote the last entry, Sars showed up. Not a lot of time here (although James DOES have mysteriously free wireless internet!!! It’s probably illegal but AWESOME!!), so I’ll bullet the main events.

–Sars showed up around 3:30, a bit more than an hour after she landed. The thing was, I was exhausted from a mere two hours of sleep the night before and walking around London for six hours or so without much of a break. So I went to sleep with my earplugs in and the eye mask on. She comes upstairs without a key because the guy at reception told her that I had one. So she knocks and knocks, and I don’t answer. She goes ALL the way down (a few flights), gets a key, comes back, comes in, and tickles me awake.
–We slept for a LONG time, then had Thai food for dinner.
–We checked out the bar downstairs and met two really cool guys from Virginia, Doug and Rob. They were awesome, and we hung out all night. We’re going to meet up with them in Venice tomorrow!
–Woke up extremely early. There were two other guys in our room (the night before, it was just me and SEVEN guys, a few sleeping only in their underwear and money belts!). Got a cab to Stansted and flew to Bologna. RyanAir SUCKS, but hey, you get what you pay for and the biggest discount airline in Europe doesn’t have much to offer in terms of comfort. Sars and I slept on each other on the plane.
–Took a bus to the Bologna train station, took a train to Florence — and missed the time to meet James by a few minutes, but totally ran into him by chance on the street! It was awesome.
–Spent the afternoon walking all around the city. Got gelato at Neri, which finally made it to Let’s Go! I’m proud — my roommates and I LOVED their gelato more than any other place’s.
–Went to dinner at Le Collinine with James’s friends — really nice girls. Then walked around by the river and took tons of pictures.
–Sars and I slept in earplugs from 11 PM to 10 AM. James kicked us once by accident, and he says we were so OUT neither of us stirred. We’re sleeping on pool mats and they’re incredibly comfortable.
–Woke up and James brought us GIANT cappuccinos from News Cafe, and croissants! We went to the market and I bought a skirt and a dress, then we went to Oil Shoppe and found out it was closed on Saturdays, so we went to Piazza San Marco and got pizza slices.
–Went to the station and got Venice tickets, then grabbed a bus to Fiesole, a tiny Etruscan city older than Florence on a giant hill overlooking the city. We went, and stayed, merely for the views — they were breathtaking.
–Got some dinner (I had pasta with wild boar sauce and some spinach), then met up with the girls and BOOKED it to Piazzale Michelangelo — what a walk!! Very strenuous. We went to watch the World Cup, but it was tough to get a good seat, so we walked to right beneath the piazza to get a seat at the other large screen.
–WORLD CUP: ITALY VS. USA. I can’t believe I got to see this game IN ITALY. And it was awesome. We actually ended up sitting in this little American corner with tons of other students, and Sars and I sat on a Vespa. Lots of fun. It was a tied game, 1-1. Would have been 2-1, USA, if they had allowed a goal that kind of resulted in a penalty. CRAZY game and SO much fun. We just got back.

Tomorrow: Venice
Monday: Maybe the beach at Viareggio (just me and Sars)

We are having the BEST time.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

James is taking a shower and he just screamed, “OW!! FUCK!!” at the top of his lungs. Hopefully he’s okay.

London?….try FUNDON Thursday, Jun 15 2006 

Sars should be arriving shortly. I’ve been having an absolutely FANTASTIC time on my own!!

Last night, I just hung out at the hostel bar — it got crazy. Met people from all over — Brazilians (always Brazilians!), Australians, Puerto Ricans, two girls from Austin….I absolutely love hostels for this reason.

So I went to bed at 3, woke up at 6, tried to sleep and couldn’t, so I just got up, showered, and began my sightseeing today.

I began with walking through Kensington Gardens, then I walked through Kensington for a while. It’s such a beautiful area! I especially love the area around Thackaray St. Rich and cute and beautiful. Then I got on the Tube and went to Westminster, where I walked around and took pictures of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Park. I didn’t go in anywhere because everything’s so expensive and I’ve done a lot of it already. And I went to Bond Street after that and found this AWESOME giant bookstore. They have an ENTIRE WALL of travel literature — my favorite genre, and Borders and Barnes & Noble only devote a tiny shelf to it in their stores.

And it’s only 2:30 PM! Imagine what I could do in MORE time….

When I saw Closer, I couldn’t believe that Natalie Portman’s character (an American in London) got hit by a car because she forgot which way the cars went. After today, I CAN. Sheesh. It can be disconcerting.

The weather is absolutely GORGEOUS here. I absolutely love London. I have to come back and spend more time here — probably when I have more money on me. 🙂 It kind of rubbed me the wrong way the last time I was here, and I don’t know why. But I’ve become such a city person since then, especially during my semester abroad. That makes a big difference.

Sars will be arriving soon! I am very EXCITED — and then we’re off to Italy tomorrow!!! 😀

London, baby! Wednesday, Jun 14 2006 

I made it to London! I’m now sitting in the Hyde Park Hostel. So easy to get to — it’s been virtually problem-free so far. I’m quite lucky — I hope it stays!

It stays light SO LATE here. It’s almost 10 and it’s just starting to get dark.

It was cool flying over England and suddenly realizing that the highways had the cars on the left side of the road. And now I think I have to have good manners and be a lot quieter than I am.

I’m going to get some food and check out the bar downstairs — to bed after that, and Sarsie arrives in the afternoon!! I’m very excited!!!

Europe Itinerary Monday, Jun 12 2006 

A later post will discuss the debauchery of last night at Sissy K’s in Boston with Lisa and Kara. All I can say is that it involved sailors, a bachelor party, and scandal.

I’m very excited because I JUST BOOKED MY FINAL HOSTELS! The trip is 100% booked — except the trains — which should be fine!!

(I had the names of the hostels in, but I took them out. Just in case there’s a crazy stalker out there who reads my blog and would track me down in Europe. You never know.)

Here it is:

Wednesday, June 14
Kate: Arrive London 8:30 PM
Night at *hostel in Bayswater*

Thursday, June 15
Sarah: Arrive London 2:15 PM
K&S: Meet at Hyde Park Hostel, 6:00 PM
Night at *hostel in Bayswater*

Friday, June 16
Depart London 7:15 AM
Arrive Bologna 10:20 AM
Train to Florence
Night at James’ apartment

Saturday, June 17
Night at James’ apartment

Sunday, June 18
Day trip to Venice
Night at James’ apartment

Monday, June 19
Night at James’ apartment

Tuesday, June 20
Night at James’ apartment

Wednesday, June 21
Train to Milan
Depart Milan 3:15 PM
Arrive Paris 4:40 PM
Night at *hotel in 10eme arrondissement*

Thursday, June 22
Night at *hotel in 10eme arrondissement*

Friday, June 23
Train to Brussels
Train to Bruges
Night at *hostel*

Saturday, June 24
Night at *hostel*

Sunday, June 25
Night at *hostel*

Monday, June 26
Train to Brussels
Chunnel to London
Night on the town (too early a wakeup to go to bed)

Tuesday, June 27
Sarah: Depart London 6:40 AM
Kate: Depart London 10:55 AM

Yay!!!!! 😀 I am SO excited. Especially for Bruges — I’ve never been there, or to Belgium, period, AND Sarah and I swore up and down a few years ago that we’d always visit Belgium together for the first time! She even got upset when I was studying in Florence and I almost went to Belgium without her!

It could happen Friday, Jun 9 2006 

You know, it’s taken me a long time to realize this, but I LOVE being single. Especially since every one of my relationships has ended with thoughts of “Thank God! Freedom!”

Even so, I still have the fantasy that I had when I first went abroad for a semester — that when I go to Europe, I meet a European guy who sweeps me off my feet and we fall in love and I end up moving to Europe to be with him. Everyone disapproves, but it’s amazing, another adventure.

It would be nice.

Because I can’t stop listening to this album Friday, Jun 9 2006 

Lyrics are very appropriate to my current state of mind.

I’ll be writing more about this feeling later — possibly tomorrow morning while the painters paint my mom’s new living room.

Gnarls Barkley — Go-Go Gadget Gospel

I’m well on my way
I’m almost everything
And this is my day
Make me wanna sing

I’m free, look at me
And all and everything I’m allowed to see
Free, come and see
Na, na, na, na, na na na!

Shapeless, formless, heart is enormous
I’ve born this, I’ve worn this, no never what the norm is
Come here this is fearless, contrast in color
Wisdom’s a woman, listen and love her

I’m free, look at me
Freedom in High Fidelity
Free, come and see
Na, na, na, na, na na na!

What you waiting on?
I want action, passion, smiling
Laughing, yielding, feeling, helping, healing
Introduce your neighbour to your saviour

I’m free, look at me
Freedom in High Fidelity
Free, come and see
Na, na, na, na, na na na!

Europe bound! Wednesday, Jun 7 2006 

Music: Gnarls Barkley “St. Elsewhere” — this album is AWESOME.

I am addicted to Europe.

I will now be returning to Florence for the second time since I studied abroad there.

Sarah has been planning a trip to Europe with her friends Alex and Heather for a few months now. It has been absolutely crazy and ridden with problems — Heather’s parents booked (inconvenient) tickets for them without even checking with my parents, which is ridiculous in itself (almost as ridiculous as them getting a flight out of LONDON that leaves at 6 AM, which means they pretty much won’t be able to get cheap transportation to Heathrow).

My mom has wanted me to go with them, to be a hybrid chaperone of sorts, but once Alex heard that, she REFUSED to go, PERIOD. (Personally, I was hurt. Alex and I get along!) And after that, my sister decided that she didn’t want to go, PERIOD. She’d just pay the $800 ticket and not go. Well, there’s no way ANYONE in my family would allow that.

So we began looking into my taking her ticket. I would just bum around Europe on my own for two weeks (which would be SO romantic and pretty awesome, too). Then we found out that since they booked the ticket through Orbitz, the name couldn’t be changed.

During all this, I’ve been talking to James. He’s studying in Florence for a month, and he’s really not having that good a time — more because of the people than the place, because he adores Italy and Florence itself.

So, I’m going to visit him!!!!!

We booked a ticket for me last night. It’s actually a day flight to London, which I’ve never done before, but it’s cheap and nonstop. I have a cheap, nonstop flight back.

Sarah has decided that she will go — only she’s going to go with me!

Here’s our tentative plan:

–Weds 6/14: I fly out of Boston at 8:30 AM, arrive in London at 8:30 PM. Sars flies out of Boston at 9 PM. I spend the night at Hyde Park Hostel in London.
–Thurs 6/15: Sars connects in Shannon and arrives in London at 2:15. I’ll probably get tickets for a cheap comedy at tkts, and we’ll spend another night at the hostel.
–Fri 6/15: We will fly out of London Stansted to Milan Malpensa at 8:30 in the morning, arrive and take a 45-minute shuttle to Milan, then a 3-hour train ride to Florence. Then we’ll meet up with James!
–Sun 6/17: Venice for the day! Sars is so excited.
–Tues or Weds: We fly out (for cheap!) to Paris.
–Rest of the time: Either Paris or something else. Maybe meeting up with Julia (I have to email her!!). Or Brussells and Bruges in Belgium.
–Tuesday 6/27: Sars and her friends fly out of London at 6 AM, connecting in Shannon. I fly out at the much more civilized hour of 10 AM, nonstop to home.

More as the story develops!

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