There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

There’s truly no place like home. After almost five months of the most incredible journey of my life, I was anxious to return home. I have always been dreaming of the day that I would leave Ohio and travel the world and found myself surprisingly excited to make the journey back to Ohio. While I … Read more

There’s truly no place like home. After almost five months of the most incredible journey of my life, I was anxious to return home. I have always been dreaming of the day that I would leave Ohio and travel the world and found myself surprisingly excited to make the journey back to Ohio. While I was hoping for an unforgettable adventure this semester, I could have never predicted how many unbelievable places I would travel to, the wonderful friends I would make and how much I would learn about myself and the world. Although I didn’t realize it while I was in Europe, I am now slowly realizing with each passing day how my perspective on things has changed. Who knew that in five short months you could learn so much?

boardingpass

One of the things I realized while I was away is that where you are doesn’t matter quite as much as who you are with. While I got the opportunity to travel to some of the most amazing places in the world, I found myself wishing I could share every incredible moment with my family. I wished mom was with me to aimlessly walk through the breathtaking tulip fields in Holland, my sisters could see the Eiffel Tower sparkle, my brother could experience the insane crowds cheering during European “football” games, dad could hike to the top of the volcano in beautiful Santorini, and grandma could enjoy a cannoli with me while strolling the streets of Sicily, where her parents came from. Family means everything to me and the past five months made me realize even more how truly blessed I am to have them in my life.

ciaobella

What I looked forward to most upon arriving in the United States:

  1. Seeing my family (a hug from mom was my first priority after landing)
  2. DRIVING (finally getting to go exactly where I want, when I want, without worry of delays, strikes or cancellations)
  3. Getting back into the Sunday morning church & brunch routine
  4. Hot dog shop (two chili cheese dogs and a chocolate shake please!)
  5. Summer (warm weather, fun concerts, ice cream runs with Laur, and the list goes on…)

welcomehome

What will I miss most about Europe?

  1. The relaxed, slow-paced, “let life happen” atmosphere
  2. The ability to spontaneously hop on a plane to another country
  3. Nutella gelato waffles & spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and basil
  4. The un-replicable views of the Italian countryside
  5. The cute, flower potted, colored-door side streets in Italy

I know I will be craving another adventure, feeling the urge to travel the world, soon enough, but for now I am so happy to be back at home sweet home.

Shaffer Girls Take Italy

Check out my video of my unforgettable week, traveling with my sisters, here!


Check out my video of my unforgettable week, traveling with my sisters, here!

Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Rome

Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Rome

Wednesday: The last two days of our sister travels were spent in Rome. When we first got there, we checked into our hotel and headed to lunch. Laur and I shared pizza for lunch. The girls quickly realized that there were mainly two options in Italy: pizza or pasta. They were each on a rotating … Read more

Wednesday:
The last two days of our sister travels were spent in Rome. When we first got there, we checked into our hotel and headed to lunch. Laur and I shared pizza for lunch. The girls quickly realized that there were mainly two options in Italy: pizza or pasta. They were each on a rotating schedule, pizza one night, pasta the next, pizza the night after that… and so on. However, as mentioned before, we also broke up the pizza and pasta spree with nutella covered waffles and gelato for lunch on some days. One night I asked the girls if we could order bruschetta and Laur was iffy on whether or not she would like it since she doesn’t like tomatoes. However, after having it in Florence for the first time, she then ordered it two more times after that! I was so happy that she loved it!

The first afternoon in Rome was spent window shopping and walking around the city. We also made sure to visit the Trevi Fountain so that the girls could make their wishes and toss their coins in, ensuring them a return trip to Rome one day.

me

Our last day we went to the Colosseum! Although I have been there twice before, I never went inside since I wanted to experience it with my sisters. We all loved it! It was really interesting to walk around inside, especially knowing that there were actual fights to the death inside. After the Colosseum we headed to the Pantheon, doing some shopping along the way, and then made our way to the Sistine Chapel. Since I had already visited St.Peter’s Basilica, Linds suggested we see the Sistine Chapel instead. While we were all exhausted from walking around so much the past few days, it felt like it took years to finally reach the Sistine Chapel. However, it was worth seeing! The colors on the ceiling were so bright and it left me wondering how it could still be vibrant after all these years.

lindsnme

For our last meal together, it was a pasta night all around. After taking our time with dinner, we then headed to a gelateria that Linds and Val discovered by the Pantheon, called La Palma. It offers 150 flavors of gelato! As everyone knows how indecisive I am, it probably is no shock that it took me over 20 minutes to decide which flavor I wanted. I ended up with Kit Kat and Mars, a chocolate and caramel mixture. We cuddled up together on a bench inside the gelateria since it was cold out, enjoyed our last gelato together and each stated what our favorite part of our trip together was. Linds’ favorite was the duomo in Florence while Laur’s was the Colosseum, which is so funny considering Linds didn’t originally care to go to Florence and Laur didn’t have much interest in Rome. Val’s favorite was Cinque Terre and mine was the gondola ride in Venice. I love that each of our favorite memories happened in different places along our trip.

laurnme

I will never forget the week spent with my sisters and Val. While I am having the trip of a lifetime in Italy, every beautiful or amazing thing I see, I always wish that my family were there to experience it with me and that they had the opportunity to see it as well. I was so happy that my sisters were experiencing Italy right along with me. Laur and Linds are my best friends and this trip with them will forever be one of my favorite memories.

Goodbye, Greece

Goodbye, Greece

Spring break was amazing and I am so happy I got to travel to Greece. It is so beautiful and we had perfect weather while we were there. I am leaving Santorini with capri tan lines, tzatziki stains on my jeans and so many fun memories. Due to many, many clouds, we were unable to … Read more

oiaSpring break was amazing and I am so happy I got to travel to Greece. It is so beautiful and we had perfect weather while we were there. I am leaving Santorini with capri tan lines, tzatziki stains on my jeans and so many fun memories.

Due to many, many clouds, we were unable to see the famous Oia sunset, but that just gives me an excuse to come back to Greece again one day! The last two days were filled with lots of hiking, beautiful scenery, fitting in last minute souvenir shopping, waffles and gyros and taking in as much of Santorini as we could.

oiagreeceAlthough I am sad to leave, I am also eager to be on my way because MY SISTERS WILL BE IN ITALY IN TWO DAYS! I leave early Thursday morning to meet them, and our good friend Valerie, in Venice and we will then travel for a week to Florence, Cinque Terre and end in Rome! I cannot wait to spend time with my best friends and experience more of Italy right along with them.

Make sure to check out my video here of my time in Greece! I apologize in advance for the low volume of the video at the end.

Friday Five

Friday Five

  [The cutest gift wrapping ever, by mom] From the Christmas Sunday church service, to the family parties, to waking up Christmas morning and cuddling with my mom on the couch, waiting for the rest of the family to wake up to open gifts, this Christmas meant so much to me. While the presents are … Read more

 

gift wrapping[The cutest gift wrapping ever, by mom]

From the Christmas Sunday church service, to the family parties, to waking up Christmas morning and cuddling with my mom on the couch, waiting for the rest of the family to wake up to open gifts, this Christmas meant so much to me. While the presents are exciting and the dozens of Christmas cookies never disappoint, spending time with family is my absolute favorite part of the holidays. While everyone is always so busy with work, school and friends, Christmas always brings us together… if even just for a day!

This weekend I plan on spending time with my best friend, Olivia, who is visiting for the holidays from South Carolina. She leaves in a few short days and I am looking forward to spending some much needed time with her. Plans for ice skating, sledding and a game night are also in the works. I hope everyone is having a relaxing, fun winter break.

Happy Friday!

rainboots[Christmas rainboots]
gifts for italy
[Sporting a few gifts I LOVE for Italy!]
ava
[The biggest bow goes on the cutest present :*)]
liv
[Liv and I at a Christmas party]

Goodbye, Alliance!

And that’s a wrap! Another semester is complete. One of the best feelings is the feeling you get after completing your last research paper, turning in your final project and walking out of the classroom after you have just taken the final exam you studied hours upon hours for. While it was a great semester … Read more

And that’s a wrap! Another semester is complete. One of the best feelings is the feeling you get after completing your last research paper, turning in your final project and walking out of the classroom after you have just taken the final exam you studied hours upon hours for. While it was a great semester at Mount Union, I could not be more excited to forget about class work and celebrate the holidays with family and friends.

While it has now come to an end, I thought it would be fun to look back on some of my favorite memories from this semester at Mount Union.

  1. Move-in day: I felt so grown up moving into a “big girl apartment” this semester and I am so thankful for my roommates.
  2. Homecoming: A day complete with friends, tailgating, a photo booth and an exciting Purple Raiders’ football game.
  3. Horseback riding: White chocolate pumpkin spice lattes, long car rides, fall leaves and horseback riding made for the perfect fall day.
  4. Halloween party: Who doesn’t love Halloween-themed bingo and treats?
  5. Chicago: Traveling to Chicago with fellow media students was the highlight of my semester!

I had a great fall semester at Mount Union and I hope when I return, for my senior year, I make just as many wonderful memories. Goodbye, Alliance!

What were your favorite memories from this semester? Feel free to leave comments below!

Friday Five

Friday Five

[Beautiful, surprise bouquet of flowers from my friends, Emily and Maggie] Hello from the Windy City! This Friday I am in Chicago, Illinois for the 2012 National College Media Convention. I am so excited to be here and, so far, it’s been a lot of fun! World famous deep dish pizza, a full mile of … Read more

[Beautiful, surprise bouquet of flowers from my friends, Emily and Maggie]

Hello from the Windy City! This Friday I am in Chicago, Illinois for the 2012 National College Media Convention. I am so excited to be here and, so far, it’s been a lot of fun! World famous deep dish pizza, a full mile of amazing shopping, a Starbucks on every corner… what more could a girl ask for? Don’t worry; a full post will come soon enough about my experience here!

One of my favorite things to happen this past week was the spontaneous rainy day drive that my friends and I took. We hopped in the car and drove around the countryside for a few hours to get our last look of the colorful fall leaves before the trees become bare for the winter season. We of course decided that lattes were a must and stopped at the coziest, little Starbucks to warm up from the cold. We also made a special trip to Bath and Body Works and received free mini candles (which made my day, considering my obsession with candles)! Later on that evening we lugged our lap tops and backpacks to Panera for a homework night. We sat by the fire, pulled out the books and got some study time in. I have often found that the spur-of-the-moment things we do turn out to be the most memorable. Lesson learned: cold, rainy days are perfect for relaxing, long car rides with your best girlfriends, stops for lattes and lots of girl talk.

I hope everyone has a great weekend filled with spontaneous moments that turn into favorite memories.

Happy Friday!

[Rainy day Starbucks stop]

[The CUTEST Halloween treat bag from my sister. Too cute to spook!]

[View of Chicago from our hotel room]

[Inspirational, colorful pins from the convention]