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Italy Rules to Live by
1. Learn the Native Language
When traveling to a COMPLETELY new scene, attempt to learn the language. I can not stress how lost I felt at times, roaming the streets of Italy with so many unanswered questions but with no way to ask the locals because I only spoke English. If you just really don't mind unanswered questions and not talking to locals, at least learn how to say 'please' and 'thank you'. It may be a different country but they still admire manners.
2. Prepare to be Homesick
Getting homesick is inevitable, it's going to happen. When it happens just depends on the individual. I was in Europe for 8 days, the homesick feelings arose around day 6. I was craving to talk to someone the spoke English and I was missing the comforting feeling of my small, home town. The best way to cure the homesick blues is to talk to someone from home, collect some reassurance that nothing has changed at home and everyone is alive and well. I called my boyfriend and just cried, I cried because I missed my warm bed and I had a hankering for some McDonald's chicken nuggets (that I oh-so ignorantly didn't realize were nonexistent in Italy). To my excitement, once I was done with my dramatic crying, I felt refreshed and ready to keep exploring!
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3. You're NEVER Going to Wear the Heels
You have to remember while packing, "I'm going to be walking a lot." Trust me, you really don't want to lug around the 6-inch heels that you will never even pull out of your suitcase because your feet are already in enough pain as it is from the daily marathon-distance-walking. But wait, does that mean you have to give up style for comfort and avoid taking those 'Tumblr worthy' pictures? No! of course not, comfort CAN be stylish. Most days I opted for white Converse or Birkenstock's. Find shoes that fit your style but can also go with multiple outfits to avoid shoe clutter in your suitcase.
4. Calories don't exist in Italy
If I had a dime for every time I worried about my calorie intake while I was in Italy, I would have enough money to go back. Follow one simple mindset, 'calories don't exist in Italy'. If you follow that mindset, you're more likely to have a happier and more stress-free time. When you return home you can step on the scale and faint, but for now you should drink that second glass of wine and finish your spaghetti. If you're in search of a place that will make you forget the meaning of calories, you need to visit Al Chianti in Venice. Their lasagna can put anyone to shame!
Al Chianti, Venice
5. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Traveling to a new country is scary, for everyone. As someone with anxiety, at times it definitely was not an easy trip to be on, but along the way I learned to step out of my comfort zone more and more. Don't think that because you have anxiety, that means you can't do new things and meet new people. sometimes you need that little push. I'm grateful that I had my aunt there alongside me to push me out of the nest. Without her I never would have almost fell out of a Gondola and learned how to make from scratch Italian pasta.