When in Rome... {Wedding Wednesday}

We spent the final days of our honeymoon soaking up the romance in Rome. After heading out from our villa in Tuscany, we drove south to Rome, returned our rental car, and then began our last days of Italian adventures...

In front of the Museo Borghese!
Our hotel at the edge of the Borghese Gardens - the Grand Hotel Parco dei Principi
Perusing the guide book at our truffled filled first lunch in Roma
Husbands don't get much cuter than this...
But then this happens <3
The Trevi Fountain was under construction. We didn't wait in this line, which wrapped around the block.
Delicious dinner at the hotel, enjoying a quiet Roman sunset
Our view from our balcony! That's St. Peter's in the distance!
Here we are at Vatican City! Skipping the lines with our tour guide!
Cute Vatican Seagull
Inside of the Vatican
Posing in St. Peter's Square
Dinnertime selfies! 
Day 3 in Rome! The Pantheon!
Taking a drink from one of the (clean and safe and delicious) public fountains
Italian Wedding Cake Selfies
Roman Forum
The Colosseum! 
Pictures of Pictures #artsy
Delicious lunch steps away from the Colosseum
Tiber River selfie!!!
In the Piazza Navona on our last night in Rome
Menu at Tre Scalini
Studying the menu at our final Roman dinner
My last Italian honeymoon cappuccino
Blurry, but reflective of how we feel - exhausted as we wait to board our flight from Rome!
We headed out of Cortona mid-morning on Thursday with Josh driving the last leg of our rental car adventure. The original plan was for me to drive, but after seeing my apprehension, Josh stepped in and said he'd drive the 2 hours to Rome. After almost running out of gas on the A1 (lesson learned: don't assume the rest area gas stations are open in the middle of the day), we made it to Rome! We dropped luggage off at the hotel, then dropped off the rental car, and then headed downtown for some exploring. We took the long way and got a little lost, and stuck in a rain shower, but were able to see a few key sites - notably the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain - before heading back to the hotel for a quiet dinner. 

On Friday morning we slept in and then got picked up by our tour guide for our private tour of the Vatican. While the tour guide was not my favorite person and I was not overly impressed with the tour, the tour did allow us to skip the line at the Vatican (major bonus!!!). She gave us an overall history of the Vatican and then took us through part of the museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's (but not the dome). I had seen it before, but Josh was impressed with the size and beauty of so much of the city. After our tour, we were left to wander on our own and found a restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner. We eventually found our way back to a taxi stand and made our way back to the hotel.

Saturday was spent exploring everything else we hadn't seen already! We took a cab to the Pantheon early in the morning and then wandered from there throughout most of the city. We walked through the Piazza Navona, saw the Curia of Pompey (where Caesar was murdered!), went up the steps and inside the Vittoriano, walked through the Forum and up the Palantine Hill, skipped the line at the Colosseum and toured the inside, stumbled upon the Circus Maximus, took a selfie with the Tiber River, and enjoyed the quiet streets of the Jewish quarter. And of course we had a delicious lunch - pizza for Josh and caprese salad for me - and our daily gelato! On Saturday night we headed to a quiet dinner - where we learned that beef carpaccio is not the same everywhere - and then walked back through the Borghese Gardens underneath the supermoon.

Our last day in Rome was spent shopping and enjoying one last meal - at Tre Scalini in the Piazza Navona. It wasn't the most romantic restaurant we ate at, but we enjoyed our final dinner, watched some of the World Cup in the Piazza and then enjoyed our last gelato at Grom. Then we took one last crazy Roman cab ride back to the hotel to pack and wake up early for our long day of flights (Rome to Dublin to Boston) to get back home.

Rome wasn't our absolute favorite part of the honeymoon, but it was beautiful and relaxing and an awesome way to end our incredible adventure through Paris and the Italian countryside. We cannot believe that just three months ago we were arriving in Paris, just barely ready for the adventure to begin. We are already planning our return trip one day and daydreaming about lazy honeymoon days.

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A Look Back at Year One

Last year, as I spoke to my very own students for the very first time, I was terrified. As I stood in front of my very first class, a million questions ran through my head, including: What if they hate me? What if they don't listen to me? What if I can't teach them anything? What if we can't connect? What if I fail
And now, just under a year later, I can answer these with assurance: Some of them will hate me. Some of them won't listen to me. Some of them don't want to learn anything (but they will). Some of them won't connect with me. Sometimes I will fail. But, through all of that, will be success. And this, more than anything else I think, is what my first year has been about for me - learning again and again that each day is a new chance to make connections and build relationships and teach my students. Each day is a new chance to make success

Some days more than others, which was a harder lesson to learn, as I certainly had my fair share of failures. My biggest weakness was classroom management and I had some tough kids this year - students that made me cry (never in front of them!), students who told me to go to hell (and worse) and a student or two that walked out of the classroom on me. At times, not having my own classroom proved to be a challenge even for my uber organized self and running from room to room for 6 different classes was not without its challenges. And of course, teaching a world history course as an American history major did not come without a learning curve and many nights and weekends were spent teaching myself so that I could teach my students.

With each of these failures, however, I found success, and when I couldn't find success, I made it. I learned not to take everything a student says personally, I learned not to rise to meet their anger level (yelling at a student down the hallway is never productive) and I learned that a quick stop in the guidance office can prove to be a lot more helpful for a student than a trip to the dean. I learned that teaching means thinking on your feet and that there's nothing like a solid back-up plan to save the day. And I learned that the learning curve gave me the advantage of being in my students' shoes - ready for their questions and misconceptions - and more prepared than I would have been otherwise.

Photo Taken by Julio Chuy in January 2014 for a Northeastern CPS Project
In my pre-first day blog post last September, I wrote: 'I feel so blessed to be working at my dream job ... and to be embarking on this incredible journey. For the first time in my life, I am waking up to do something I love - and to do it as my career. [...] I never stopped believing in myself, and I never stopped believing that teaching is what I am meant to do.'

This rang true last year and today, as I'm spending the majority of my free time this summer planning and preparing for my second year, it rings true ever more so right this moment. My first year of teaching taught me many things, but it also confirmed that teaching is not just a job for me - it is truly my passion and it has never been more clear to me that I am meant to be in the classroom. Second year, here I come!
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Under The Tuscan Sun {Wedding Wednesday}

Tuscany officially marked the halfway point of our honeymoon - and the most relaxing and adventure-filled part of our trip! We spent 3 nights and about 3 and a half days wandering the Tuscan hillsides and enjoying everything the countryside had to offer. We stayed in Cortona - the town made famous by Frances Mayer's Under the Tuscan Sun - and it did not disappoint! As with the other posts, get ready for a photo-filled recap!

Massimo the Fiat!
Our first view of Cortona!
Our private cottage at the Villa di Piazzano!
Garden at the Villa
Josh with Massimo!
Wandering around Cortona our first night!
Tuesday in Tuscany! Heading to Siena!
Walking around Siena
View from the top of the Duomo in Siena
Montepulciano!
La Bucaccia - Michelin rated restaurant in Cortona and beyond delicious!
Tasting to start dinner
Boar and Pappardelle Pasta
Heading to the beach in Rimini on Wednesday!
The Adriatic!
And we're in!
Newlyweds on the coast!
We can go back to the hotel, or... we can go to the Republic of San Marino!
City on a hill!
View from the top of San Marino
Gorgeous homes!
Driving home from the coast - thank God for Josh's ability to drive through the Apennines behind big scary trucks!
After picking up the car on Monday morning, we headed through Tuscany to Cortona. After checking in, and unpacking in our private cottage, we headed into Cortona to walk around and then back to the villa for a quick swim and then a delicious dinner. On Tuesday, after a beautiful and delicious breakfast on the patio, we drove over to Siena to walk around and explore - we saw the square where the Palio is held and walked to the top of the unfinished Duomo wall (and escaped getting a parking ticket!) - before heading to Montepulciano where we walked around, tasted wine and enjoyed some delicious gelato. We headed back to Cortona in the evening and enjoyed an incredible dinner at La Bucaccia. It is considered the best restaurant in Cortona and it was so amazing. We sat outside overlooking the hillside and enjoyed the romantic atmosphere. On Wednesday we enjoyed another breakfast and then headed out on a mini-road trip to the coast! Rimini, 2 and a half hours away, was our destination for the day! We put our feet in the Adriatic, had lunch and then decided to make a stop in San Marino.

The Republic of San Marino is a small republic within Italy and we drove up to its capitol, also called San Marino. The views from the top were breathtaking and I am so happy that we made the detour to have an extra adventure! We got back on Wednesday evening and were so exhausted that we had dinner at the hotel again - another incredible meal from the chef at the villa. Finally, on Thursday, we enjoyed one last breakfast under the Tuscan sun, and then checked out of the villa and headed to Rome!

Tuscany will always have a place in my heart as the adventure part of our honeymoon. Renting the car and roadtripping was perfectly us and such an amazing way to start the second half of our honeymoon. We're definitely looking forward to a trip back to Tuscany one day, and getting to spend even more time exploring the countryside! Make sure to check back next week for the final honeymoon recap - our adventure in Roma!
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P.S. Today I'm linking up with Belle in Boots and Little Bit of Class, Little Bit of Sass for Wedding Wednesday!
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