Gallery

My Italian Trip

 

From my first day eating gelato, to the next day getting up early to explore the town that I would be staying in while adventuring out. I really have no words to say about my experience walking around. Walking in the tight alleys being careful of course, some areas I learned never to walk in again, I didn’t feel comfortable. So note to self stay in areas that are full of people walking in the same direction. The presence of the state police are noticeable. They are not really scary or shall I say that growing up around the military it was fine. Just glad they are doing their jobs.

Advertisements

Getting Lost in Firenze, Exploration of Florence Italy

Getting off the plane,

Looking out of the windows on the plane, August 21, 2018

What I saw was the most beautiful mountains of Italy, villages I never got the chance to travel to. All the way to Florence International Airport. Getting off the small plane, walking off and getting in a bus to take us to the main hub. The experience of a life time. I’m not scared, worried yes, not scared. Worried, I won’t see an ATM, worried there will be no taxi cabs up front. Worried, I won’t make it to my hotel in time to check in. Worried!

I get off the plane with my backpack, yes that is it a backpack with another pair of shoes, 4 pair of underwear, and a pair of jeans and a dress. Oh yeah and an extra duffel bag incase I go home with more than I came with. Yes, I did need that bag. Smart move.

I get on the bus, it takes me to a big bus station. I find an English speaking Italian inside, he helps me and I think I’m on my way. Wrong, I don’t understand the bus system or anything that is written on them. LOL, yes I did, I got on the wrong bus to Siena. Ok it was my fault for not doing research for sure. I got half way and realized I passed my drop off point by a long ways. I get off the bus cross the street and wait for another bus, I panic but talk to strangers who help me find my way back on the correct bus. Stop saying Florence, its Firenze. Note to self, yes I was saying Firenze. It was thunder and lightning on my journey back. So beautiful, because it doesn’t do that here in Washington State. Got back to Firenze and was dropped off on the wrong side of the bridge. Ok, I know where I was going I was tired and drained 24 plus hours up at this point with no sleep. I ask a stranger, she was lovely beautiful Italian lady. She even called me a taxi, I was so tired and drained, I jumped in and 5 minutes later I was at my temporary home on 169 Via De Ripoli, Hotel Rosary Garden.

I learned that day that business and homes have two different address, a dark red number and a black number. Important to tell the taxi where you are going or getting picked up at. I called my family told them I was in my new temporary home, showered and passed out after I got my passport back from the hotel owner and manager.

I woke up hungry later that night, good thing dinner starts at 7pm in Italy. They have certain times to eat throughout the day. Lunch starts at 11am, and breakfast starts at 8am. yeah, all important to know when your hungry. Good thing my hotel was next to the Co-Op, a huge grocery store for food and to get my toothbrush, and comb for my hair. I traveled extra light. I bought some apples that were great, and tons of bags of Haribo Italia. My favorite brand of candies stateside too. I got cookies for my children and grandchildren too. I was in heaven when I walked in here. It was so clean and above American standards.

I skipped eating out and got gelato from the Gelateria Il Sorriso.

It was actually located on the other side of my hotel, I had a view of it nightly from my hotel window. It was perfect and full of berry goodness. I’ll tell you something I learned not that first night but as I was visiting and eating at other gelatorias. The bigger or fluffier the gelato, the more it is NOT gelato. It is filled with preservatives to fool the travelers or tourists. The flatter it is in the pan the more real and natural it is. I leaned that in my cooking class.

Back to my room I went and grabbed at cup of cappuccino in the coffee room that was conveniently located across from my room as I opened the door.  I watched lots of tv, infomercials. I laughed at half the stuff people sell on tv, as the things reminded me of things we used to find useful here in the US.

The next day I got up early to eat breakfast and felt alone, I left to get away, why am I alone. Today I explore, so I ate hard boiled egg, lots of  prosciutto crudo, with blood orange juice.

I walked 45 minutes to downtown Firenze. Now I had my GPS and it was pretty much a straight shot walking to the bridge. That view I posted on top was the view I saw every time I know I was getting close to the center. I was in love, is all I can say. I was in love with Italy before actually eating any food, I was in love with the beauty of the simplicity and it was perfect in every way.

 

Traveling to Italy, being free of Everything

To wake up one day and make that decision

Have you ever woke up and wanted to run away from it all?

Well, I have for along time and I bought my ticket. Yes, I love to watch tv shows about Europe and my heart wanted to go to Spain, as I feel connected some how. Well, I did some research before heading out to be sure my decision was the best for myself and I left alone.

I am not an employee and do not get anything for advertising for any companies mentioned. I am just describing my experiences with using each website and/or organizations. 

Research:

In my research I found out that there is a daily fee for hotels staying there that are not included in the regular hotel rental. For the hotel I was in it was 4 Euros a night fee. I stayed 6 days in Italy and yes it was not a perfect trip as one would imagine at first anyway, but it was so worth the experience.

Hotel that I chose to stay in was the Rosary Garden Hotel, Monica the owner was the best hostess I have ever come across. I had no converter for my cellphone, and they lent me one while I was there free of charge. I picked this location online when doing a bundle and had not idea where it was located. Note to self do more research, but it was worth the experience. The room was exactly as it appeared online. I was in love.

https://www.rosarygarden.it/en/

Transportation: 

I had the idea of just taking a taxi every place, but my pocket book said different. I’ll tell you about my experiences there in Italy with the locals. Firenze, is the name of Florence, they do not like you to say it in English. I was corrected until I started to say things as they do. The bus is only a couple Euros a ride, and always near the hotels. The state buses run around 6.50 Euros so you’ll know when you’re on the wrong bus system.

Language Barriers:

I will say this, I speak no Italian and managed to get around for 6 days. I got lost the first day I arrived. The people are great in Italy, to help a person who needs help. I won’t say the same for the transportation guys who get paid to help English speaking people at the bus station. I was on the wrong bus transit, they have local bus transportation and City to City transit. I was on a bus to Siena. I couldn’t laugh harder after experienced it. I trusted to easily and was led the wrong direction.

Day Vacations:

When I started to plan my trip I thought of what would I do in Firenze all day everyday for 6 days. I actually had the pleasure of working with two different travel groups, both good but the ocean trip was by far my favorite.

Highlights of Tuscany: Siena, San Gimignano & Pisa with Lunch

I paid $85.79 by Caf Tour & Travel Took me on my first trip. I went August 25, 2018. This trip was a great one, minus Pisa, now I’m not an ungrateful person. I just wasn’t feeling that location.

Cinque Terre & Portovenere Full-Day Tour from Florence: 7:00 AM, Tour With Lunch in English, includes Food and Drinks

My second tour was with https://www.mytours.it/en/, and again all trips I purchased were on Expedia.com. I paid $103.34 for this trip and it came with a meal as well.  That day was August 24, 2018

Cooking class for Sunday evening

Pizza & Gelato Evening Cooking Class: 3:00 PM, Class in English, includes Food and Drinks

This experience was a great one as well. The staff was great and professional but fun experience.

I do want to say the way things are done in Italy are way different than how we would do business, for one when I went to my second trip, the meeting spot was at the bus station and it was a guy just standing there in a bright colored jacket. The first trip was to meet up at what I thought was a coffee shop and it was in the back of the coffee shop. It gave me an uneasy feeling, but I’m alive to tell my story and what scared me, made me stronger.

Florencetown News and Tours Stand

My budget before I left was $1400.00 I spent $1404.00 online purchasing round trip ticket, 2 day trips and a cooking class.

 

My Fight with Depression

Blogging Depression, Anxiety, and My journey Daily in Self Care

I wanted to track my self will, to fight through the things I go through daily. I know I’m not alone. I know there is no cure, but I want to track a plan for a person to get through things. Also, knowing that I am not alone in the things going on in my life. Complications, my set backs and why? My expectations are not to get skinny, but to get in shape. Mentally, Emotionally, and Physically.

Mental, emotionally and physically unstable:

A little history about myself before I start my journey tomorrow and what my expectations are.

I am a full time student here in Washington State, I have three beautiful children all in college as well. Three beautiful grandchildren that are my reason to live every day. Last I am married to a disabled vet, who has PTSD. We’ve been married 17 years and only the last five years have been the most complicated. One of my daughters who is about to be 21 has kidney disease and just got on the transplant list this past week.

On a daily basis, I get up at 5 am to spend time with my son. He has one high school class at 7:30am and with limited time I feel spending time with my boy is important. I drop him off and my next vision or goal is to come home after dropping him off and walking or running for 15 minutes, with the hope of making a mile. I know big expectations.

I then take my grandson to school and my two daughters to college. At this point I babysit for my other two grandchildren while their dad is at work and mom at school. Start my homework as I’m 100% online right now, to help juggle all of the chaos. Stop mid assignment and run to get whomever gets out of class and do this repeatedly all day. Till the las one comes home. I try to spend time with my husband and make all his doctor appointments through out the week as well.

Tomorrow I’m getting a physical. I haven’t had one in 16 years almost 17 years as my son is that old. I figure this is a perfect time to find out if I am healthy for this journey.

My expectations at the end of this journey as it will never end, will be to be healthy for myself, I will look up more information on SELF CARE, as this is what I’m told I need. Instead of being selfish. I want look for a career that I can fit in and not feel awkward. I want to live for my husband, children and grandchildren, and enjoy life as I am making the right steps to do things I want to do, but haven’t enjoyed them.

 

My Niche in the World

My niche in the world.

What makes me special compared to anyone else in the world? Absolutely nothing. My story is not the same as the next person. I feel we are all special in our own way. I wish I knew how to blog when I was younger. I hope I do not fail the person reading this. I feel that what I want to do in the world now is Empower women, young and old.

My story begins as a military brat, my father was an immigrant from Mexico. Came here to the United States as a teenager. 13 years old and living in San Antonio, Texas. He went to college and dropped out due to be drafted. Married my mother in EL Paso, Texas during his training for the US Army. My mother a American-Mexican born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Sometimes we have to know where we come from before we can move forward. I say that and your going to laugh, I am a contradiction. My 3 siblings all born in Texas.  Myself, I was born in Frankfurt, German. I lived there 10 years and Fort Sill, Oklahoma had became my second home. My heart it lived and died, two times in my life. Once in Heidelberg, Germany the day me moved to the United States. The second time was San Antonio, Texas, the day my grandfather died.

My father was an old fashioned man, the woman eats last after feeding men and children first. Now my dads sisters taught me this as I looked and saw them always eat last. I saw it with my mother as well. I grew up thinking the same. Women and female children clean house, do laundry, wash dishes. I always felt as if this is the norm.

I was married at 17 years old, to my two oldest daughters father. I was finishing up my Junior year in high school and it was summer time. I was in summer school for Geometry. I failed my class due to being pregnant and being in a pregnancy school. I will not make excuses for what happened, as I am responsible for my mistakes and my actions. Not just with school, but my baby girl. Alicia, my love of my life. The reason I pushed myself to graduate high school with my class in 1996, in little old Lawton, Oklahoma. I worked part time, and was a full-time mother. I was married to a guy who only thought of himself. He graduated college, and his head grew big. We lived in our own place after we got married, in a dump to be exact, but it was our apartment. We fought day one after being married. I told him in 5 years we would be divorced. Truth be told 5 years later I walked away, we hit each other, we yelled at each other, and we hated one another.

My single days, I worked double shift as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant to feed my daughters, buy them clothes, and pay for the gas that I had to use weekly to drop or pick up my girls from visiting their father. As we did not live in the same city. I went to the clubs, was out of control trying to find myself. Met lots of great people that never hurt me and always had my back. Waitressing, I met a young soldier, he was too young for me, but just got back from Korea. Two of his friends had just made it to Fort Sill, and well my husband now got stuck with me and all my mess. He helped me raise my 3 and 5 year old daughters. I got pregnant with my beautiful son, and the rest is history.

I catered to his every move, actually I still do. He did 15 years in the Army. I followed him. I cooked for him, cleaned for him, and raised our children. As my daughters dad slowly vanished from our site. He fought 4 years with me in court for custody not to visit or because he loved them. But for control of me even after the divorce. To this day, still no sign of him. Once in a while to visit my grandchildren. People try to take our power from us, we have to understand no one has that power. We are the only ones to give power to anyone to hurt us, and to make us angry.

Now that my husband is out of the military, I started to work at a warehouse, 10 hour days 5 days a week. I went to school full-time to support my family. We had no income, not a dime other than what I made. I felt tired and drained. I never knew what I was doing was being done by my drive and passion to keep my family together. I live with my husband, 3 children, and my 3 grandchildren.  Now I chose my life, I choose to stay here in Washington. I chose to go to college, I got my AA in two years. I dedicated my life to bettering myself. I was out for almost a year and decided that if all I can get is warehouse job after 2 years of college, I needed to get back to college. So here I am 2 more years to go.

While I have my life, my daughters are my inspiration. I do this at age 39 so they can see I am not weak. To show them how to empower themselves. They are smart girls, one working at a sandwich shop. The other, is a full-time wife, mother, and student. She just graduated at age 21 from college, but for her high school diploma. I took her to the college and did not really ask her but signed her up. She would talk about finishing school, but never acted. I was sick of hearing her talk about the “would of” “could of”. She took a year to finish but let me tell you the smile on her face when she did it. She had a rough life, had two children before giving up on her senior year. She worked hard, and spent her money wisely.

My other daughter she is my baby girl. She was the straight “A” student in high school, and played soccer since pre-k. She wrestled her Junior year of high school. She worked hard too. If you want things in life you have to work for them. I was never given a thing growing up. I tried to give my daughter the world, to a point. If children do not know the value of money and how far it goes, after working those hard long hours, they can not appreciate money. She got sick with kidney disease in November of 2016. She almost died on me. She told me she was spitting up blood. I took her to the ER. They said her kidney numbers were low, they retested her. I tell you their stories not to get empathy or sympathy. I tell you because she is alive today, because of me being a mother and getting up at 4am to drive her around. Because mothers die for their children, and I will be damned if she dies before me. She is my other inspiration. She still works hard even on days she is in pain. She is the reason I push my self daily to be a better woman.

Now to empower women, we need good men by our sides. I raised my son who is now 15 to be a loving boy. Teach them to clean after themselves, cook for themselves, and make their own coffee. Teach them to stand up for family. It is all you have in life. My husband my right hand man. He never discouraged me from going to college. He has an MBA, so what? He earned it, that is his ambition. I supported him, through college and the Army. The neglect he gave me during all this time. Now it is his supporting time. The difference is I even during college, do not neglect my family. I take my daughter to and from work, I babysit to give my daughter time to breath, I take my husband to the VA. I do what I must. My chaos is my norm.

Now tell a story that encourages people when they feel that there is no hope. When they say “they can’t” or they want to give up. Lift up and push people upward. But start with yourself. I ready a Covey book, and remembered one thing from it. What would someone say about you at your funeral. Empower!