Always Sunny in Ariccia

Ciao!! What a whirlwind of an experience it has been these last four weeks in Italy! We really have been going non-stop since the day we arrived in Ariccia. Which, for me, I’m used to because I tend to have to be doing something all the time at home. While this last month has been busy, it has also been the most amazing experience. I wouldn’t change a single thing, even if that means missing a weekend of an already-paid-for trip to Germany!

Yes, you heard right. I did, in fact, pay for my flight and hostel for this past weekend, but did not get the actual opportunity to visit Germany. Just as I was beginning to adapt to the Italian culture, my health took a turn for the worst. Unexpectantly, I woke up early Thursday morning sick to my stomach. A huge thank you to our second mom, Mrs. Linda, and our wise Italian older sister, Cinzia. If if weren’t for them I wouldn’t have been able to make it safely to the doctor and tell him my symptoms in Italian. Unfortunately, I missed all of the activities that we did in Orvieto that day, including visiting Orvieto’s Duomo and the store and woodworking studio of Bottega Michelangeli. However, I finally gathered myself enough to get out of the hotel to take the bus back to Ariccia and was able to visit Civita di Bagnoregio, “the dying city”. It was a little bit of a difficult hike since I had zero energy from earlier, but it was extraordinary and worth the extra effort!

Still not feeling to-the-nines, I decided to stay in Ariccia by myself for the weekend while everyone traveled to different countries. I was stoked to go to Germany with Leah and Gabrielle, but it wouldn’t be fair for them to possibly get sick and it wouldn’t be fun for me to start to feel worse and not be able to explore Germany with them. Everyone kept telling me how nice having the Palace to myself would be and that I would get so much done. I somewhat agreed. I wasn’t as excited as everyone else said they’d be because I was still upset and negative about missing out on Germany. The weather Friday and Saturday was just as bad as my attitude and health. Feeling a little better on Saturday, I was starting to actually enjoy my alone time in the Palace. I worked on my journal, took advantage of the crazy-fast wi-fi, and continued to rest. With all of my negativity about having to stay home alone this weekend, Sunday brought something that showed me how in every situation, there is always a silver lining.

I woke up on Sunday to a sun-filled, almost sixty-degree weather day, feeling like I was never sick at all. It’s amazing to think that God truly had His way of making sure I knew when to pace myself and take time off to enjoy the world around me. He knew I needed rest from all the traveling we’ve done, that I needed time to myself, and that I needed to take a real look around at where I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live for these three months. I woke up feeling blessed to have been able to go on such an amazing adventure and to have met and get to know each and every one of the twenty-one girls on this trip.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I now have zero regrets about staying in Ariccia this weekend. I was able to see Ariccia on my own on one of the warmest, most beautiful days we’ve had since we’ve been here. I walked to Albano and Genzano while spending the majority of my day outside, just because. Not everyone can say that they have lived in the Chigi Palace in Ariccia for three months. I took every opportunity to stay outside while I had God’s beautiful creation around me and I could see it all on my own. I wouldn’t take back my sickness for the world because it’s what led me to realize how fortunate we all are for getting this opportunity. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and there will always be struggles to get there, but God will make sure I reach it.

Taylor Galloway

Antique car show in the center square of Ariccia