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Celebrating Easter

So, another two weeks have passed me by, and since my last blog, my emotions have been on a roller coaster, bringing me down and then all the way back up again. I was told coming into this that there will be good days and bad days, but be sure to take the best from every day and keep going. My last blog left me on such a high note, and the week following that post had me feeling sadness of missing home all over again. It’s funny how you can go from feeling so lively, to feeling so cheerless in a matter of a couple days. For anyone wanting to study abroad, I feel like you should know that this happens, there will be times where your emotions are all over the place, especially if home is truly where your heart is. This low point stemmed from feeling sick one day, feeling exhausted, and being stuck in the dorms on days where the weather was bad. But aside this all, it is important to always remind yourself of the amazing life you are living, and be thankful for the journey and the loved ones that are supporting it. Also, never take Facetime for granted, it is a perk in the technology world.

I would also like to dedicate a paragraph of my blog to the beloved Gayle Katzenback. Her passing made me feel the need to be around family, but this also gave me strength. This amazing, beautiful, inspiring soul was welcomed into the arms of the Lord and she will never be forgotten as she holds a piece of so many hearts. She has been in my thoughts every single day, and many others as well. Every time I am missing home, and think that five months of being away is too long, I think of how Gayle might have looked at the situation as she sees the positive in everything. She gives me strength to make it on my own, and she reassures me that I can do things that I didn’t think I could without my mom or dad here with me. Gayle is truly a legend and I thank her for touching the lives of so many and looking upon us all each day.

As another week began, I decided to see this as a fresh start, and my emotions were crawling back up again and I could feel the excitement. We made it to the last week of school before Easter Break and all the things that there were to look forward to were within reach. Karaoke night, and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day helped me get there.

Last Wednesday, I took a day trip to Vienna to visit the Easter Market located at the Schönbrunn Palace. It was so adorable with all the stands set up with the locals selling fresh foods and handmade goods. I even bought some gifts to bring for people back home, but I won’t spoil the surprise. I even had the opportunity to Facetime with my dad’s grade 7 class at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School. I am a tutor at that school so getting to see the kids’ faces again was such a treat! I enjoyed telling them a bit about my travels and showing them exactly where I was standing at the Palace. Their amazement made me feel so fulfilled and joyful and the passion for travel was running through me all over again. Sometimes all it takes is a boost from some excited children.

Next on the list of events for the week was the early Easter dinner shared with my friends. I had the opportunity to play the role of Nona once again, which is seriously one of my biggest passions. My roommate Sofi and I welcomed our friends Jonna, Helen, Brayden, and Garin to our room for dinner. We moved Sofi’s bed into my room (which we also do for movie nights) and set up the desk as a dinner table in her room. It made for the perfect setting, especially with the added festive Easter chocolates that I placed at each plate. We made a grocery list, bought the groceries, and prepared dinner, with all our guests who brought a little something to contribute. So, we all dined together, ate, and drank wine, and it felt like a little piece of home. Especially the part where we ate so much Antipasto that we were full before dinner started. In my Italian households, if you aren’t full before the main course, you’re doing it wrong. For desert, I finally got to use up the Cadbury Mini Eggs that I brought with me. They were a gift since I wouldn’t be celebrating Easter at home, and let me tell you, it took everything I had within me not to open that package of mini eggs before Easter. I made the famous mini egg cheesecake dip, served with Easter bread. I am obsessed with Easter bread, and although it wasn’t my Nanas homemade Easter bread it did the trick for now (don’t worry, there’s a loaf waiting for me in the freezer at home in case any Italians reading this were concerned). However, this dinner built up the excitement to depart for our first Easter break destination the next morning. We were off to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana! (If you try to pronounce the city name; the J’s are supposed to sound like Y’s, so give that a try).

Saturday came, and off to Slovenia we went to add another country to our lists! The train ride had an amazing view, and the city itself was even more breathtaking. My friends and I were so amazed by Ljubljana, and we decided that it is seriously underrated. It was adorable, people were so friendly, English was spoken everywhere, the food was to die for, and our place of residence was right in the middle of it all. On our first full day, we spent our time touring and we made our way to the Ljubljana Castle, with its medieval times feel. We walked outside it, around it, and through it, which led us to the top of the tower. The top presented us with a view of the whole city. It was stunning, from the river through the city, to the amazing architecture on the buildings, to the cute little markets. We spent the day walking through the city, not missing a beat. It was nice to be in a city that wasn’t overwhelming and we knew we could cover it all since Ljubljana is much smaller than most capitals. The next day, we enjoyed the main square, the little shops, and the activity going on all along the river. The river complimented the whole city, along with the singers and entertainment we encountered on our walks. We even went on a city boat tour where we got to ride through the Ljubljana river, taking in the fresh breeze and the sun. Overall, this city was a ten out of ten. You know when you go to a city and just think, “Wow I could live here”?  Well that’s the feeling I had in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was a quality few days spent, and I hope to return some day. For now, back to Wiener Neustadt to regroup, and the next stop awaits!

P.S. If you love dogs, Ljubljana is the place for you. They’re EVERYWHERE!

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