I couldn’t sleep. It sucked.
On the international flight, I ended up floating in and out of consciousness, with the final winner being my internal clock telling me it wasn’t my 3:00pm nap time yet. I ended up watching Star Wars: Rogue One, Born in China, Assassin’s Creed, and the first hour of Hidden Figures to pass the time.
Some vague movie reviews: Rogue One was… okay, it provided a decent back story into how the rebels was able to get plans to the Death Star, but it wasn’t anything too special. Compared to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was lackluster. Then again, it might be because I was watching it trying to fall asleep. Born in China, a nature documentary by Disney, was pretty lit actually. Loved the commentary and the amount of insight it gave to the animals. Assassin’s Creed… didn’t make much sense logically, but its special effects were cool! Hidden Figures was pretty amazing, probably the best out of the bunch. Remind me to finish it when I get back home.
This also was, surprisingly, the first *technical* all-nighter that I ever did. Never again. Imagine being knocked into the head by a club followed by being on medication that just made the pain worsen and the haziness begin.
As we touched down, I felt utterly disgusting from spending over a day in public transportation. But we needed to go through security and passport checks before we arrived in Rome, not to mention SIM cards for data and calling, as well as finding a way to get to our hotel. Oh, and noticing that we should have exchanged money in Rome, not New York.
ITALIA TIP #1: EXCHANGE MONEY AT PLACE WITH BETTER ECONOMIC SECURITY. OR AT LEAST CURRENTLY EXCHANGE DOLLARS OR EUROS AT EUROPE. (haha get it?!?!?!)
The exchange rate at New York was 1 American dollar for 0.7 Euros. At Rome, it was 1 American dollar for 0.95 Euros. Let’s just say my mom felt extremely scammed after looking at the exchange rates in Europe.
We finally got to our hotel at 9:00 AM. The hotels in Italy are apparently “guesthouses”, with it being just a large condominium that acts as a hotel. The one we went to was called Comics Guesthouse, and it was basically a guesthouse that was designed and decorated by a comic book lover. It was obviously targeted towards American “nerds” (no comment from you, Brad Ma), with a Spiderman on the ceiling, every room being themed a certain iconic cartoon character, and two video game sets in the room. In terms of cleanliness, however, it failed. Dust was everywhere. Not to mention, there was only 1 bathroom for the entire condominium. Yay, communal bathroom!
Dazed and exhausted, we unpacked before walking around the area that we were to stay for 5 days. Hungry beings that we were, my family was grateful that there was a restaurant right next to the hotel. That’s when it hit me that I forgot to one very important thing before coming to Italy.
ITALIA *insert country here* TIP #2: LEARN SOME BASIC ITALIAN *insert language here* BEFORE COMING TO ITALY. *insert country here*
I didn’t know how to speak any Italian other than “Ciao!”, and I was the best English speaker in my family. With my mom and dad’s primary language being Chinese and my little sister being little, we stood no chance. Thankfully, Rome was pretty accustomed to English tourists, and had English signs and menus pretty much everywhere. Like, there was a solid 60% chance that someone would know basic English. It helped that I knew Spanish decently well, and could decipher the meaning of some Italian words just by looking at them.
After looking for breakfast, we went off to the Villa Borghese, a grand garden. It was hot, sweltering, and I wanted to sleep. If any of you know my mom and her love of picture-taking, you can understand I was not a happy camper by 12pm. However, after going into a French Museum in Italy, entering the wonder that is and noting the scary-looking (but stylish) police officers literally around every corner, we went down the Spanish Steps to eat my first Italian gelato- yoghurt flavored gelato in a cone /w a waffle cookie.
Did God bring light to the world for us to experience gelato? That’s what I was wondering as I quickly scooped up any potential drops that were tempted to fall to the floor up with my waffle cookie. I finished that treat in a snap.
By 3pm, however, the exhaustion caught up to me and I just passed out the moment I was able to put my head on a pillow. Lights out!
Woke up in time to head out for dinner. We just had Italian pasta for the first time, and the main difference was that it tasted richer and… just more. After that, went to sleep pt. 2!