Pisa, Italy




yay! just another tourist posing the same thing as everyone else! woohoo! ‘look at me lift that tower!’



 
It was pretty cool to see the leaning tower of Pisa in real life. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – i expected a leaning tower for sure, but well… it was tall and pretty grand and actually leaning for real, that was pretty cool and i smiled, amused
 

just the 1038931736198th tourist to do this 

‘damn, i feel so uncool and unoriginal, i thought i was unique as a snowflake BUT I CANT THINK OF A BETTER POSE TO DO HERE’


 
golden hour
 
This is the last post for my family trip. Thank you World Wide Web and Blogger for your infinite memory space and thank you for letting me leech on it. 
Incredibly blessed to be able to visit Europe with my family again. I know, I know! I am seriously privileged. This also marks the 10th year Papa brings us abroad on a plane on a family trip. It means a lot to me (other than the perks and joys of travelling) to be able to witness these sights with them. 
I AM REALLY LUCKY
 
 Some things I took away from the family trip:
 
We saw many Bangladeshi workers in Italy, along the souvenir shops, the ones selling leather bags, some food, jewellery… I didn’t think much of this 2 years ago. Sister was buying shawls, however, when the shopkeeper asked where we’re from, and she asked him in return if he’s from Italy. Also, one shopkeeper said ‘terimah kasih’ after learning that we’re from Singapore, and another said it was a nice country and he had worked there for 14 years. 14 years! That’s a long time, we exclaimed. Yes, he said. And after 14 years all he got was a work permit.. But here in Italy he worked for 2 years and he got a citizenship. His family is here now, and the kids attend the school here. 
This anecdote is echoed by another salesperson of leather bags – now he’s opened his own shop. It makes me wonder if Singapore is a stepping stone to his goal here, or if this is the case for many others.
Citizenship makes such a big difference, I’ve come to realise. Now his family and himself gets free healthcare and free education, as an Italian. 

 

Venezia, Italy

Always, always, always wanted to go Venice

one of my dream dream dream dream destinations so i’m incredibly thrilled to have been here (!!) all that i’ve read about, heard about, I was SO close to Venice the last time

only an hour away, catching the flight from Venice Mestre airport back to East Midlands

i chose verona over venice because i had hoped that someday i’d be back, with my family, or people i care about

and i did, i did, seriously lucky

though admittedly i wondered what it’d be like to couchsurf here – having a host bring you around to her school, her favourite hangout place, to peek behind the beautiful windows in a city like Venice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

boarded the water bus that reminded me of kampong luong except there were no kids rowing their boats in the waters

 

 

 

 

Verona – Anna, 4 cats & the family

This is one of the CS experiences that will stay with me, the Italian family with 4 cats.
Sincerely grateful for all the kindness and help I’ve received.
Immensely thankful that no pickpocketing, no mugging, no nothing terrible happened, I caught all my flights and trains… just a whole lot of kindness and happiness. 🙂
Thou shalt ne’er forget thee, fair Verona!
And so here I leave Italy, with the notion that I will be back again someday, a little older, a little less reckless, and a little wiser than before.

Sigh. This little sweetheart  ♥

You must know, I turn into squealy fan-girl mode when I meet with adorable fat furry cats. They are sooooo cute I want to grab them and stroke their fur for hours while they give you that look of bliss. AAAAAHHHH

I never knew I was such a cat person. Always thought I loved dogs, found cats stuck-up, but there’s something so attractive and charming about their almost-arrogance as they strut about the house. And then when they feel like it they roll over and act cute just for you. It makes you want to pamper them.
-one definite way FS impacted me, those cats in BRT..:(-

I guess dogs love you, always. Cats do it more sparingly, their acts of affection, rubbing their body against you, a gurgling purr at the back of their throats. Dogs, they love you, and cats, you love them. Would you rather be the lover or the loved?
Not exactly related, but… Just wondering.


hello, beautiful!!! 🙂

random little kitty at lake garda
look at its fur!!! its so soft, it’s like a soft toy……
wheeee little kitty acting cute for me
The cats here reminds me of Baan Rak Thai. They’re tame, and they purr and they rub their body against your legs to show they could like you. 
The cats in Singapore, someone told me in Thailand, were more aggressive, defensive, because in Singapore people are not kind to cats.
I wonder if that’s true.

My host. Really, these people teach me so much. I hope to be as knowledgeable, as open-minded, as extroverted as she is. Also, she has brilliant film taste and I’m happy we swapped a list 🙂
:)))
My host family, whom I shall never forget. Thank you for opening your home to me, a stranger, and letting me in. Thank you for letting me sleep in your room, for driving me to the train station, for making me feel at home as much as you can. Thank you for the conversations and the meals. 
X

Lake Garda

It was cold and quiet, but I love how the colours turned out.

Cloudy day. If everything happens for a reason, today happened for the reason that I met Julio and Michele. We talked about many things and I learnt more about Italian north-south cultural differences, which I will not elaborate because I am not entirely capable of separating facts from opinions. They said I was crazy for coming alone. Still, it was a lovely afternoon.

Lake Garda is dead during this season. In the summer it’s entirely different, the skies and the lakes are bluer and everything is sunny and colorful. It’s alright, because there’s always a possibility of me returning to this place. Italy is now one of my favourite countries, and someday I’ll be back.


… And right here, in front of me, was a canvas of nothingness. I had never seen this before; this was the clearest. There was hardly 1mm of the horizon- it was just one gradient of blankness. 

How can you not feel at peace with yourself when you sit right in front of a blank space.

Actually, I sat there for a long while, trying to grasp for something in the nothing.

Fair Verona!

Aaaah, Verona. A quiet little town with its own quaint charm. 
Weather was perfect, and it was so beautiful 🙂
One of my favourite cities. I didn’t spend much time here, but what memories I have are very memorable ones. 🙂

Just another thing for lovers to do

Spent a lovely evening with these girls. 
They keep an oil canvas in their house and paint when they feel upset. -sighs-

if you touch Juliet, you get good luck 😉
Her balcony – inserts melodramatic music –
We went to this lovely place where you order a glass of Italian Spritz for about 2.50euros or more drinks, and you get free flow food! What a brilliant idea. If we had this in Singapore the store will probably close down in afew months. Hehehehehhe
Gelato seller gave me a hug and an air kiss, Rome hostel receptionist offered me a free night the next time round. Kate told me her stories, looking at her finger and exclaiming ‘you’re not married!’

But you know, I think I should shed these emotions of “shock” because… What’s the harm in that? Why should I respond this way? Acts of affection, they can be tender and heartwarming if I just embrace them. Why shun away (negatively)? Aren’t we all human

‘But they’re strangers!’ Why so skeptical, can’t we just share the love
I only hope this teaches me to be more affectionate to my future family.

I hate to think that I’m locked in by culture, by these imaginary constructed rules. I guess this is what they mean when they say you become more ‘open’ abroad.

To remember:
Poland’s dominantly Catholic population and illegal abortion (with rape cases of exception), Italy’s non-capital-punishment and president..?
Italians… So cultured. Painting at home, musical instruments, the books they read, the films they watch… Gosh. I’m generalizing perhaps, but I can’t help but think it’s true.

Naples – Napoli

from the notebook:

On my 2 hour journey to Naples!

It’s a beautiful, beautiful day :’)
Found the dodgy looking hostel, bought my ticket and had 10 minutes to find my way to the train – the timing was perfect, I said my goodbyes and all was good.

How many times have I experienced this – this sheer state of happiness. I am happy, happy, happy
My heart is bursting, it is. It is bursting with immense happiness and I just want to melt into a pool of sticky gooey happy mush.

I love this. Please, please let me travel like this forever…
:’)

Now I have a good 2 hours for myself to reflect upon everything.

Rome is beautiful, of course. Everyone knows about the beauty of Rome – Rome and its rich history, its grand monuments, the Colosseum, the Vatican, the ever-charming flirty Italians…… HAHAH.

The first day I met Kate and Magda, 2 Polish girls who were working in Italy. Sundays were their off-days, so on Sundays Kate likes to visit Rome (*envious*). It’s so nice to meet people of my age, who laugh and talk about common things in general. Of course, age should not be a barrier (as im trying to learn), but it was comfortable from the first second we met, and i thought that was amazing. They showed me around the city, the typical touristy sites and we went for lunch. Had my first legit Italian food for only 5€- carbonara! And yes, it was soooo gooooood. Accompanied by wine. 😉 Here I was, on a bright sunny day, eating pasta and drinking wine with 2 Polish girls in Rome, laughing about Italian boys. What in the world…
-continues melting in happiness-

On the second day I stuck myself in between a Russian family – a married couple of doctors and another young girl. Communication barrier, but some pointing and gesturing helps. I just feel like… Something is changing. I cannot pinpoint what it is, but I just feel it. I KNOW something in me is stirring, and I am happy.

It’s so surreal, sometimes, to think that I’m actually here. How a week ago I was still confused over what the termini is. And right now its here in front of me.

Pizza originated from Naples (Napoli)
Naples was terribly disappointing. Maybe it was the crappy weather, or maybe I was in the wrong part of the city, but the vibe was entirely different from that of Florence or Rome. It felt.. chaotic, graffiti even on the beautiful fountain. Dingy, a little. The Frankfurt vibe. Of course, this is just my take and perhaps I was there on a wrong day. I should probably give it another chance though, someday, someday!
I later found out that there’s a Northern vs Southern Italy thing, and Napoli belonged to the Southern…

 Tried very hard to think of a reason as to why I came here (everything happens for a reason, so i was squeezing that reason out) – and here’s my reason. Caught sight of flocking birds. They give me the chills, actually.
It’s my second time, the first was in Rome and according to Magdalena it’s a common sight there. 
The one here was very distinct though, I have another one on my phone but this will suffice for memory. They still give me the goosebumps everytime :s

Florence – city exploration

Florence in lovely, no doubt. There is an ancient charm about it that attracts me to walk on around the main square(s). 
A part of me still finds it hard to believe that I’m here, in Florence, Italy, and lying on the couch of a photography student in her studio.  

Sorry, David. I only visited your replica at Palazzo della Signoria

I didn’t do a thorough post of FS. Every now and then though, during my journeys, my mind still flits back to its days. I guess that’s how I know it was a pretty powerful trip for me. On the train to Verona now. I thought about my buddy, Kâéw, and the immense gratitude I felt for her presence, for having fate draw us together. When we were about to part on our 7th(?) day, I was at my bed packing everything and I felt like crying. I remember trying very hard to hold it in – look elsewhere, write, laugh about fake stuff, distract myself, etc etc. But when we said our final goodbye with a hug, the tears fell clumsily and I wanted to laugh at myself for being so foolish. I mean, it wasn’t foolish of course, but in a way it was. But it was nice, to know that she found a special place in my heart, enough to trigger my tear ducts, despite our language barrier. Thank you for everything. I wish she knew how much everything meant to me, and how much I have learnt from her to be a better person.