Email from Italy, three years ago.
From: Andrew BL [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2007 10:51 AM
To: Bala, Ioana; Bala, Lidia; Bala, Michael
Subject: Shout out from Rome
I'm finally able to send you guys an e-mail. It's been such a hassle finding means of communication. I went and bought a phone card but it turns out that it doesn't work and it keeps saying "This card is invalid" when I try to use it. They finally set up a couple laptops in the lobby that us Blyth kids can use for their internet needs, so I can start using my e-mail fairly frequently now till next Friday. I'll try to find a working phone card sometime this weekend.
So far the trip has been awesome. We have barely had any dull moments. We got here at around 1 on Monday but it took almost 4 hours for everyone to get their luggage cause they mixed it up with another flight and some of us didn't get our bags till a few hours later. It was dreadfully hot and everyone had barely any sleep on the plane, as I'm sure all three of you know quite intimately by now, and on top of that we had to stand around for that long. It was brutal. I could have sworn I was going to pass out.
Anyways, on the bus ride to the hotel I slept like a rock. I don't even remember how exactly I managed to wake up after all that, but somehow I gained consciousness right when we got to the hotel. It's beautiful. I honestly didn't expect something this great. We went and got changed, had a quick (and ever so sweet) nap, ate dinner in the dining hall (which also looks amazing by the way) and then our teachers took us out to a local gelato place and showed us a little bit of the locality. It was probably one of the most memorable moments of my life, I had no idea where we were since I slept on the bus so all the scenery was new to me. I love it here.
So basically we have been going out on excursions and activities and what not for the last 4 days. We went out with the entire group, teachers included, on Tuesday and Thursday. We visited St. Paul's, St. Peters (and obviously Vatican city), St. Sebastian's catacombs, the Pantheon, the Spanish steps, and the Trevi fountain. Yes, I know, it's unbelievable how much I've seen in 4 days, and let me tell you, I don't think I've been more happy to be visiting anything. This place is beautiful.
We're also given free time, which I think is freaking awesome. Every night you're allowed to just go out anywhere in the town and do anything you want as long as you get back by 11, or 12:30 on weekends. We have a metro pass that lets us use both the subway and the bus for this entire time with no extra charges.
Anyways, this e-mail is getting a bit lengthy, but I'll keep you guys relatively updated for the next week. I've taken something like 200 pictures already, and I'll upload some tonight or tomorrow. Let me know how life is back in Toronto! I feel sorry for you guys all cooped up over there while I'm in Italy.