I Found Myself in Rome

Waking from a dream,
People passing by unaware.
Traces reminding me I lived it.
Few friends kept, saying it was real.
Photographs recovered,
Revealing a time of amazement and wonder
in a world unknown to me.
I was there reveling in my own existence.
I found myself there;
A part of me I thought long lost.
I loved life in a way I never thought possible.
My heart aches,
Yearning for where I now call home.
I refuse to let go of who I found.
Each day I breathe again,
Reminding myself "this is me".
I smile brighter than before,
and I sing.
I sing the song of life
I thought I'd forgotten.
I'm loving myself
and all the beauty around me.
One day I will return to that dream,
I'll smile, standing where it began.
The start of my discovery,
The place I found my perspective.
I will live my life for me.

Chris' Sketches

First of all, thank you to Prof John and all the students for making the Rome 2014 program a huge success. I am so happy that it all went off without a hitch and everyone really enjoyed their trip to one and places beyond. Also big thanks to Francesco and the ACCENT crew for their great support. What a great team!

Below are many of my sketches from the trip. I hope you see in them some of your favorite places!

Left My Heart In Paris

I never thought that I would be able to shop in the streets of Paris until I was much older. I still cannot get over the fact that I was there! The atmosphere and actually everything that I imagined was even better than my expectations. The Eiffel Tower shimmering in the night sky left me speechless. If I could, I would fly over there right now just to sit in the grass and look up at the beautiful thing. I've had macarons from Laudree in New York, but those could not even come close to the ones in Paris. I can remember the way they would slowly dissolve in my mouth. The shops were impeccable. I felt like I died and went to heaven when I walked into the Chanel store. I still cannot believe that I purchased a Chanel bag in Paris. I wish I could go back and spend more time there because I don't think there was one thing that could have put me in a negative mood. Au revoir Paris, I will see you in the near future.

Home Away From Home

From the moment I stepped down from the bus and onto the streets of Rome, it hit me that I would be away from everything I was ever accustomed to and it made me ecstatic for the journey I was in for. My first weekend began everything with a bang. Oh Firenze, you will be remembered forever with your comfortable homey vibes. Walking down the street and seeing such an intimate city was very comforting. I was in complete awe of the architecture and felt breathless at every turn.

Duomo di Firenze was like love at first sight. I wish I could have captured what I saw, but unfortunately I didn't translate it too well through my iPhone camera. 

After this photo, Allyson and I got lost trying to find the Hop On Hop Off tour bus, which led to us walking almost all of the city. It was frustrating at first, but when the bus took us to Piazzale Michelangelo, we were jumping for joy because the view was so beautiful. 

Unfortunately, we only stayed in Florence for one day, but I couldn't have asked for a better trip in Tuscany. We visited Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa, which were all amazing.


I'm truly grateful for my parents for allowing me to have the experience of a lifetime.


Visiting the island of Capri was without a doubt the highlight of my Italy trip. Although living in Rome was an amazing experience, I could have definitely lived without the constant hustle and bustle of tourists and residents, the smelly public transportation, and the seemingly non-stop lifestyle that everyone there led. The weekend trips were a wonderful way to get a better taste of other equally exciting places in Italy. Immediately upon arriving in Sorrento, I felt more relaxed and at home in the beach town, & Capri simply took my breath away. With a little less than eight hours to explore the island, the girls and I were determined to see as much as we could. We browsed the fancy designer shops, bought bus tickets through windy and terrifying streets to find the top of the island, then rode chairlifts to the immediate top. The chairlifts were frightening, but the sights were too amazing for any of us to be worried. We found our way to the much awaited Blue Grotto, and had an indescribable time swimming through it. To get back to the main island, we had the sweetest taxi driver escort us back in his convertible Mercedes that actually fit all seven of us. With our time nearing an end in Capri, we had a yummy seafood dinner & boarded the ferry with plenty of memories and the feeling of accomplishment at seeing so much in such a short period of time! Although I wouldn't choose Rome as a must-see place if I ever brought friends and family to visit Europe with me, I definitely would have Capri at the top of my list.

Remembering my first few days in Rome

As soon as we got off the bus and were assigned to our rooms, I was instantly stoked. The apartments were so much nicer than what I had anticipated, & they had wifi.. one of my biggest necessities. I think the first night after we unpacked, we immediately set out to explore. Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing something brand new for the first time. The cobblestone streets, the mini Fiats lined up everywhere, the beautiful buildings and ancient ruins casually lining the streets all seemed so unreal. Our first meal was at an expensive Americanized Italian restaurant but I was too excited about the lack of a drinking age in Italy to care that I spent almost $30 on a pizza/beer. I believe there was a soccer game happening this night as well, & I remember finishing dinner around the same time the game had ended, & being able to freely walk in the middle of the streets prior to clean up. Not familiar with the traffic in Rome yet, I later found out how rare of an event this was. To finish off the night I remember unknowingly walking around and discovering that we were right near the Colosseum. It had finally hit me that this beautiful ancient city (that I had dreamed and fantasized about while watching the Lizzie McQuire Movie circa 7th grade) was where I would be spending the next 5 weeks of my summer!