Friday, January 04, 2013

Buon Natale!

At long last, I bring you the highlights of the trip! My sister Beckah gives a much more in depth look into her experience, so feel free to check that out here.

And okay, so I couldn't narrow the pictures down enough for this blog entry, so I just created a Flickr album of them. Check that out here. (And sorry, I didn't add captions. That's like, 180 photos, and I already captioned them on facebook, and I got stuff to do, okay?)

I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but our stop in Egypt was cancelled because of security reasons. =( And I cried. But our final itinerary (that took me like 8 tries to spell) was still pretty cool.

Wed, Dec 12 - Board the Norwegian Jade in Civitavecchia, Italy
Thurs, Dec 13 - At sea (Happy birthday, Melissa)
Fri, Dec 14 - Olympia, Greece
Sat, Dec 15 - Athens, Greece
Sun, Dec 16 - Ephesus, Turkey
Mon, Dec 17 - Tues, Dec 18 - Istanbul, Turkey
Wed, Dec 19 - Thurs, Dec 20 - At sea
Fri, Dec 21 - Naples, Italy (survived the end of the world!)
Sat, Dec 22 - Return to Civitavecchia, Italy and disembark
Sun, Dec 23 - Tues, Dec 25 - Rome, Italy
Wed, Dec 26 - Florence, Italy
Thurs, Dec 27 - Return to the US

And let me just make something clear...this is not a normal family vacation. We ain't got this kinda money all the time. My parents just decided to splurge like crazy, and this trip has gotta last us the next 20 years or so. Jacob and I are all kinds of poor, and we saved for a while to have spending money for this trip. But it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we are so so so grateful to my parents for providing it.

I also had a blast creating a special "to-do" list for the trip:
- Pretend you're an Olympian athlete at the original Olympic games site
(Check: ran a foot race with my siblings at the original track, although we kept our clothes on)
- Recite part of Oedipus at the Theatre Dionysius in Athens
(Check: with Jacob, and with no rehearsal)
- Have a philosophical discussion at the ancient Agora in Athens, where Sophocles walked and talked
(Check: Women wearing pants to church)
- Read from the Book of Acts at the Grand Theatre in Ephesus
(Check: Acts 19, verse 23 or so)
- Sing "Istanbul" while in Istanbul
(Check: While walking around downtown. Beckah and I struggled with the harmonies for a bit, but we got it eventually)
- Eat pizza in Naples
(Check: And I still dream about it...)
- Eat gelato in Rome
(Check: And I still dream about that too...)
- Rent a Vespa in Italy
(Didn't do it...I was way too cold and poor)
- See lots of art
(Check: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Pieta, and David; Leonardo da Vinci's & Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ; Botticelli's Primavera and Birth of name just a few...)

But I also did a few things that I hadn't put on my list, but that made the experience all the better:
- Pretended to be Caesar being stabbed by everyone at the Roman forum (which we actually did in the wrong place...we thought we were there, but later we went on a tour, and like 2 miles away, they were all "And here's where Caesar was stabbed.")
- Pretended to cheer on gladiators at the Colosseum (given the history of the place, maybe this is cold-hearted, but consider it a coping mechanism)
- Explored ancient Pompeii
- Wandered a Turkish grand bazaar
- Had that day of exploring Rome on my own
- Visited a Grecian olive oil press, where we ate fresh olive oil with bread and feta and herbs

Good trip, right? 

In conclusion, and in no particular order, here are some of my favorite memories of our trip:
- That first magical morning in own "Enchanted April" come to life, complete with sunshine and tidal pools
- Videos for karaoke on the ship (for example, naked headless Barbies singing "Bohemian Rhapsodies" and scantily clad women on beaches)
- How awesome our Grecian tour guide was (Niki, we love ya!)
- Beckah and I dancing with Maksym (a "tower of jello") on fifties night on the ship 
- Jacob sleeping all the time, and how Beckah forcefully rolled him out of bed one evening because nothing I did to wake him up worked
- Both Beckah and Jacob accidentally grinding/groping strangers on the dance floor in the ship's nightclub
- Mary "gobbling" like a turkey at dinner on the cruise, and being self-conscious about her technique, but doing it anyway
- Playing Egyptian Ratscrew in the card room on the ship (which Dad later called "Screwing the Egyptian Rat or Whatever")
- Beckah and I playing word games on her iPad
- That first morning in Civitavecchia
- How Beckah mispronounced the word "Caucasian" on a museum placard, reading it as "Kaw-Cah-Zee-En" and then just leaning her head on the glass in shame when I pointed it out
- How Isha accidentally got a Botox consultation instead of the Chinese medicine consultation she had signed up for at the ship's spa
- How Jacob won every single round of Blackjack when we played it
- Our "z" language, where the first sound of every word is replaced with a "z" (zere ze zirst zound zof zevery zord zis zeplaced zith za z)
- Jacob's panicked "nonononono!" when he was naked and thought someone was coming in
- Spiky bras in the Istanbul bazaar ("Come! We have your size! Big size! For be more sexy!")
- A miscommunication that resulted in the word "binoculars" being a synonym for miscommunications
- The quote, "Well, there's Italian, and then there's abusive." (referring to the owner of a restaurant near our guesthouse in Rome, who made really good food, but was always hitting his employees)
- Isha pointing commandingly at cars/the street in Rome as she crossed the street, as if daring them to hit her
- Trying to sneak through a barrier at the Vatican Museum gift shop, knocking it over by accident, then running away while the people behind us got blamed for it (as in, in trouble with the museum security guard and a warning from a cop)
- listening to the bells in churches all over Rome ring out at midnight on Christmas
- how all our attempts at Italian turned into Spanish
- Mary demonstrating her neck strengthening exercises after dinner on Christmas
- How Jacob and I kept breaking the window panels in our guesthouse in Rome
- Jacob's unadulterated joy at dinner on Christmas Eve ("This was made by angels!")
- How Italy made me miss the set of "Enchanted April" as much as the experience of that show
- Isha's frequent cries of "Buon Natale!"
- The way the Tuscan countryside between Rome and Florence looked exactly how you might imagine it
- How Isha got the hiccups in Naples and started using their violent nature to warn away peddlers
- How the Hop-On-Hop-Off tour bus in Rome was actually the knight bus from Harry Potter, defying the laws of physics at every turn
- Isha's excitement over nun sightings
- The way Italians are always whistling
- The enormous thunderstorm on our last night in Rome
- Flying over Greenland on our way home, with iceburgs beneath us, the moon on our right, and the sun on our left for hours and hours

Seriously. Really good trip, right? 


Deana chadwell said...

Oh, Liz -- I'm so happy for you! This just sounds wonderful. Love your to-do list.

I haven't forgotten to send you the sample essays -- message me your e-mail so I can get them to you efficiently. I have samples in all different genres -- what do you want?

D Chadwell

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ShenkahUkitake said...

Haha this is excellent wish i could have seen someone doing all that, hilarious.

A said...

I think yours is the only family I know who would spontaneously act out the stabbing of Caesar--lol--which is why you are all so cool.

How did you like Istanbul? That's a place I don't know much about that I've thought I'd like to go.

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