Buon Compleanno, Andrea!

Buon Compleanno, Andrea!

On March 5th I celebrated my 23rd birthday. As one often does on their birthday, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my life. As well put together as I am, things have not always been sunshine and rainbows for me. I have been through many obstacles… There were many times when I had fallen and it almost seemed impossible that would get up, but by the grace of God, the  unconditional love my family, and and the support of my friends I had always found the strength to persevere and push forward stronger and harder than before, and because of this I am who I am and where I am today.

If you asked me 5 years ago when I celebrated my 18th birthday in New York, or even a year ago when I purchased my plane ticket for my first trip to Italy,  if I ever thought  I would wake up and celebrate my birthday with a new family in another country, I would have probably responded, “yeah, in my dreams!”. But thanks to the support of friends and family, along withGreenheart Travel and World Education Program, something that only seemed like a dream is now my current reality.

From the moment the clock striked midnight in Italy I was overwhelemed with tons of birthday wishes! From close friends singing me happy birthday to my students shouting happy birthday when I walked into each of their classes, I couldn’t help but to feel so special and so adored. The best part of my birthday came when I walked downstairs to my host family’s dining room to find the table set up with appetizers and all of our close friends waiting for me. We drank wine, ate cheeses from Tuscany and Piedmont, breads baked by local bakers, and fish fresh from the sea (my birthday was the start of Lent, so we couldn’t have meat).

With Letzia, Vittoria, and Emma

With Antonella, Antonio, Claudio, Sergio, and Letizia

After the antipasto, we enjoyed seafood pasta made by my host mom’s close friend, Barbara. IT WAS SOOOOOOO GOOOD! The seafood tasted so fresh that it seemed liked it was caught from the sea and immediately served to me.

Pasta with squid, shrimp, and clams

No birthday dinner would be complete without the 3 C’s: cake, candles, and champagne. My host family got me a meringue bombe with raspberry sauce.  This was my first time trying this sort of dessert and it was literally heaven in my mouth! And the champagne made seem like a died twice and went to heaven, which was completely fine by me :)

Seeing that my birthday was recognized in two countries, I got to enjoy an additional 6 hours (technically 9 if you count my friends from California) of  birthday love from from friends and family back at home.

On Satuday I celebrated part 2 of my birthday with a few of the teaching volunteers. We  met up in Turino and attended apertivo at La Salumeria, located right by Fiume Po (Little River). I have been to a couple of apertivos before in Milan, but this one was the largest one I have ever seen. There was food for days! The volunteers and I literally stuffed our faces until we were about to explode! Luckily we got to walk it all off on our way back to Porta Nuova, a train station in Turino.

With the Greenheart/WEP volunteers: Francisco, Merrily, Natalie, Lydia, Tenly, and Niya.

With Natalie

Laurent, Tenly, and Lydia

Francisco and Niya (Please note the huge jar of Nutella in the background– this place got major points for that haha)

I couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate turing 23. The fact that I can say I got to celebrate it in one of the most beautiful countries in the world with some of the  most amazing people who have become so dear to me is awesome within itself. My 23rd definitely has been one of my most memorable birthdays <3



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