Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New cousins, new Pope, and other news!

What a crazy week it's been!

First of all, congratulations to my Uncle Steve and Aunt Cathy on the birth of twins Jonathan and Isabelle! They were born on Friday, February 8, in the midst of a blizzard! I can't wait to meet them once I get home.

I was in Paris this weekend! I flew out on Friday night and spent Saturday at Disneyland Paris, and a day in Paris on Sunday, before flying back to Rome early Monday morning. It was a whirlwind weekend with a lot of travel and new experiences, and also some pretty awful weather.

Disneyland Paris is somewhat of a far cry from Disney World and is a little lacking in the Disney magic we all love, but it was still fun! Saturday was cold and rainy, so some rides were closed, but they had the Buzz Lightyear ride and Space Mountain, so it still had some of the magic.

On Sunday, we commuted into Paris and went right to Notre Dame. I was so excited because I actually got to go to Mass there! It was such a wonderful experience and something I'm really blessed to have been able to do. Of course, it was mostly in French, but it was an international mass, so a few parts were in English.

After that, I walked from Notre Dame to meet my friends at the Eiffel Tower. It's a long walk, but I really love Paris, so it wasn't bad, plus I got to see the lock bridge on my way! I've visited Paris once before, and the locks were by far my favorite part, so I was excited to have the chance to see them again. They're called "Locks of Love" and it's a custom for couples to write their names or initials on a padlock, attach it to the bridge, and then throw the key into the Seine. It's definitely something that's on my bucket list to do, just like I saw the couple below doing!

Sunday night I stayed in a hostel all by myself! I don't think I've ever felt more independent. I mean, I wouldn't recommend doing it, it's just how it worked out for me with my travel plans for me to stay right in Paris so I wouldn't have as long of a commute on Monday morning. As it was, I left the hostel at 5:40am to get the the train station. I was at the ticket counter when it opened at 6, expecting to buy a ticket for a 6:30am train, only to be told that my student discount applied to a 6:05am train. Thus, a mere 4 minutes later, I was on my way out of Paris! It worked out really well, and I ended up meeting a Canadian girl who was on the same train, shuttle, and flight to Rome as I was, so we stuck together, which was really nice.

Once I got back to school, I had to head right back out again to get fingerprinted at the immigration office for my student visa, but not before I heard the news that Pope Benedict XVI is retiring, which means I GET TO BE IN ROME FOR CONCLAVE!!!! I still can't believe it. Slight possible complication- the pope resigns on Feb 28. Spring break is March 3-11. So let's all pray for the new pope- just that he gets elected after I get back from Barcelona, Geneva, London, and Edinburgh!

Also, hope everyone had a blessed Ash Wednesday!

"Remember, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."
"Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel." 

Here's to a blessed Lenten season! Crazy to think we're entering Lent with one pope and will be ending it with a new one!

Love, Chris

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