Oh! The Places You’ll Go

I’d like to take a moment to come full circle. When you first met us, we were three clueless camp friends on a mission–trying to conquer the world. But lets take it back to six years ago, when we had last lived together. We were a group of 35 girls (plus 8 counselors)

who all lived together under one roof.

We were called “ROMREC”, the highest division that a camper could be, a status only attained by paying camp tuition for an average of 6 to 9 consecutive years. We were the leaders of the entire camp…meaning we had to cheer the loudest,

laugh the hardest

dress the craziest

and cry the MOST. 

Everything was perfect

and BOY did we love each other. 

And at the end of that summer we parted ways, leaving the rest of our adventure unknown…until of course the three of us chose Rome.

Sarah

Becca

and I

Boarded a plane to Rome, Italy.

We had no idea what to expect on the other side. But needless to say, we were not disappointed when we arrived to our home for the next few months, Vicolo del Cinque.

We saw over 10 countries, like

(Interlaken) Switzerland

(Krakow) Poland

(Amsterdam) Holland

(Dublin) Ireland

(London) England

(Nice) France

(Madrid) Spain

(Prague) Czech Republic

(Munich) Germany

and all around Italy, including sights in

Tuscany

Florence

Milan

Venice

The Amalfi Coast

and finally, our favorite…ROME.

We came across people from our past, like

Allison Gage

when we celebrated her 21st birthday in Florence

and Natalie Schwartz, who grew out of her “artsy” habit of taking pictures of putting on her shoe

and has moved onto the “finer” arts, like taking pictures of admiring the ceiling (or one might say…the sky) in the Vatican when she came to visit us for the weekend in Rome. 

Chelsea Deitch and Andrew Taub

When Chelsea crashed with us in Rome

and Becca saw Taub in Barcelona (and Georgeana too!)

and don’t worry Ben Greene and Jon Gottlieb, we didn’t forget about you either.

Because Becca saw you guys in Barcelona too. After all, the girl lives for the scene.

We also met up with counselors from the past. Scarlett and I had a drink in London after work one day for happy hour. Camp Romaca all around!

And I can’t forget about my best friends…who came all the way from America to visit me.

They help me to stay connected with my friends from high school, because they are a part of this story too

…Alongside my friends from college

It was quite the adventure, and we met some crazy people along the way

So thank you mom and dad (and Jason too) for making it all possible. Because without your guidance (and financial support)

I wouldn’t have been able to see the world from the inside

…Out.

And although the rest of this story remains unwritten, I look forward to the summer where I will be working and living in New York City with this girl

and picking up where we left off almost six years ago

with our crazy ways

except this time, we are all just a little bit older.

 

-Erica

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Camp Friends are the Best Friends

Wow! It feels like just yesterday we were trudging down the halls of JFK embarking on our trip to Rome. As I return back down those same halls, without my two muskateers I realize I couldn’t have possibly had a better semester. Rome was amazing. It had the best of all worlds, the food, the culture, the friends and night life (well the night life isn’t everything). What I will miss most is the comfort of turning the corner to our street, to Vicolo del Cinque and being greeted by the Tony’s Crew, our favorite crepe boys and of course the supermarket man. We became immersed in the life style and every day lives of the people we interacted with. I traveled to Milan, Florence, Lisbon, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Istanbul, Brussels, the French Riviera, Madrid, Barcelona again…, Prague, the Amalfi Coast( for a hot second) and lastly Munich. Each was a unique experience where I learned more about my friends and most importantly about myself. I’ve come out of this semester with a very different mindset then I had coming into it and there are two people to thank for that.
To the best roommates,
Sarah and Erica I cannot express to you how grateful I am to have had you as roommates this past semester. Spending my abroad experience with you was an absolute dream come true. I could never have imagined a better situation. I always thought camp friends were the best friends. You continued to reassure me that this is true and most importantly that we will be friends forever. You showed me that sometimes life isnt about planning but about how much fun you have along the way. There is no one else I would have rather laughed with, cried with, screamed with and sang with than the two of you. I will never be able to thank you enough for putting up with my nonsense, my drama and the hysterics of my everyday life. While nothing as dramatic as dying my hair the wrong color has ever happened to me, you truly were the most kind, caring, loyal roommates. Italy is something we will always remember and we have Romaca to thank for bringing us together.

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The Final Post….maybe.

Reflecting on these past months is going to be a difficult task. To quickly recap our introduction in the first blog post, the three of us met as young girls at sleep away camp in the Berkshires (our 2nd home). The last day of our “Romrec” summer (last summer as a camper), we were saddened at the reality of not knowing when we would spend a continuous amount of time together again, or if we ever would. Six years later I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to not only live in Rome and travel all around Europe, but to do it alongside two of my fellow “Romrecers”. We lived it up for sure and kept everyone posted with our successful blog of over 30,000 views. We traveled around to various countries and found another “2nd home” in Rome, where we left our hearts (and hopefully our eating habits).

We traveled a LOT and ate a LOT, but to make it shorter and easier for our readers, I summarized our travels into a list below.

In the last four months we:

…ate Japanese food in Milan…awkward.

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Nobu in Milano

…celebrated a good friends 21st birthday in Florence

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“Space” in Florence

…night sledded through the Swiss alps

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Switzerland

…stood on historical grounds

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Entrance to Auschwitz I

…toured the vineyards of Tuscany

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Vineyard in Tuscany

 …visited the Heineken Factory, Van Gough Museum, Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and that’s it…we did nothing else there.

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Bulldog Cafe, Amsterdam

…boated through the venetian channels

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Gondola ride, Venice

…saw LMFAO live in Barcelona

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Sutton, Barcelona

…gambled in Casino Monte Carlo

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Monaco

…ate unbelievable tapas and paella in Madrid

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Paella from the San Miguel Market in Madrid

…watched the sunset over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower

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8:15 pm on the Eiffel Tower

…cooked some delicious and memorable dinners

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Penis pasta and meatballs…literally

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…had a few mental breakdowns…well maybe Erica more so than the rest of us

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Bed situation in the Almafi Coast

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Broke the shower in Milan

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Father Abraham

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25 minute Gelato session

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gelato stains

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Carrying hello-kitty purse

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Call me maybe

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…got over 34,000 views on our blog (so far…)

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…had some great backdrops

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View from the “wedding cake”

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Interlaken, Switzerland

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Bolsena, Tuscany

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Piazza Novona

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Tiber River, Roma <3

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Notre Dame, Paris

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Firenze

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Notre Dame, Paris

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Duomo, Florence

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…made some new friends

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Our crepe guys <333

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…and hung out with some old ones

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…saw some amazing sunsets

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Florence

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Paris…obviously.

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Paris

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Paris

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Roma <333

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Roma <333

…ate a LOT of amazing food

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Nutella, Banana crepe in Paris

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Mystery amazingness in Tuscany

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Taverna Trilussa

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Pear ravioli from La Giostra, Florence

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Balsamic steak from La Giostra, Florence

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Rigatoni with Pine nuts from La Giostra, Florence

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The famous penne all’vodka from TONY’S, Roma!

and had the most amazing time.

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Without sounding like I’m accepting an award of some sort, I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me on this journey around Europe. I’d also like to thank my two unbelievable, awesome, fun, loving, and very skinny roommates, Erica and Becca.

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You guys are so much apart of the reason this experience was so amazing. Thank you for dealing with all my idiosyncrasies like my constant nausea, faint spells, knee problems, high anxiety and fear of flying, constant hunger, my need for nightly crepes etc. I love ya two more than I can put into words in this blog post.

The three of us are all home now. In a few short weeks Erica will be starting her internship with a PR firm in New York City. Becca will be interning with Turner, also in the city. As for me, I’ll be studying abroad again (because once wasn’t enough). In July I leave for Scotland where I’ll be dancing and performing with some students from the dance department at my school. Perhaps I’ll make an appearance in the “RomeingwithRomrec” blog then and update everyone on my travels. Ciao for now!

-Sarah

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I <3 Europe

A collection of very typical, stupid, cheezy, annoying, awkward, embarrassing, and memorable tourist pictures.

Tonight is Sarah’s last night in Rome. This morning her and Erica said goodbye to Becca and watched her pull away in the cab. The two girls then studied all day in preparation for their last final. Tonight they went to Tony’s (of course) for their last meal and said a sad goodbye to him. Then they met up with friends Melissa and Lindsey to get their last crepe’s from their crepe guys across the street. Right now, Erica and Sarah are sitting in their messy room, finishing up packing and cleaning up their apartment. Sarah departs for the airport at 7:00 am. As for Erica, she’ll be in Rome for the next few days embarking on Mother-Daughter Weekend Part II (Rome version). A post with our reflections on our UNBELIEVABLE semester here soon to come! For now…CIAO ROMA, we <3 you!

-Sarah

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“Melissa Saul says it all ” (Shit Saul says)

“Melissa Saul says it all ” (Shit Saul says)

The post you have all been anxiously awaiting is finally here. Melissa Saul is a very unique friend. Her humor, laugh and state of mind have made for some of romrecs most funny roaming experiences. You know those people who are so happy all the time, the ones you think there must be something wrong with? Melissa Saul is that girl. But she has no problems she is just genuinely happy all of the time. Melissa Saul is to abroad as Maddy Levine is to Romrec 06. Below are some of her note worthy quotes:
“I have a fear of skipping meals” – don’t we all #abroadgirlproblems

“I threw up all day and the next day, I wore a crop top”- on her minor stomach virus this semester

“I’m going to learn secret show by the end of the night”- during our disastrous trip to amalfi coast

“I would rather die then walk up anything with an incline”- casual side conversation

“Live en la vida loca”- the boat ride during the perfect storm

“And then there will be no singing”- her fear for what will happen when the world will be so advanced that people can read minds and will not need to speak anymore

“She’s a believer she’s an achiever Romrec girls for life”- praised attempt at secret show

“She’s green she’s white”- more secret show lessons

“I’m in a cab mother fucker” – the ride to borghese gardens

“Do you miss the U-S-A?
Do you Miss m- e” – a typical father daughter conversation”

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Syo High Meets Munich (Munchen) Germany

Just when you think high school is over, and you never have to see your high school friends ever again until the 25th anniversary…think again. (Erica really enjoys her high school friends), but she wasn’t prepared to run into all of them on the same weekend, in the same place: Munich Germany for Springfest.

She arrived on Friday morning at 830 am and went straight to Art Hotel to stay with Fitts, Dana, Alex, and Zoe. The hotel was nice, but Erica needed a nap because she hadn’t slept the night before. She napped until noon and then headed right for Hofbraeuhaus, which Erica and Fitts thought was an Opera House. But no. In fact, it was a large dining hall where liters of beer are consumed. Yes, you would think 1 drink would be just satisfactory, but since we are American we have to drink about 4 or 5.

All worlds collided under one roof in Hofbraeuhaus, where Erica saw school friends, camp friends, teen tour friends, and Roman friends. Then…we were off to Springfest! But before doing so, Alex and Zoe decided it would be a brilliant idea to souvenir their empty glasses of beer and they smuggled them into their bags and out the door. Dana, Alex, Erica and Fitts headed towards the English Garden to get a sight out of the way. They took pictures under the gazebo and headed towards the hotel. They hung out with new friend Sam, while he told stories about his acting career.

The festival was a few blocks away, and coming closer to it was a very eye-opening experience. So many lights! And colors! And ferris wheels, roller coasters and water slides! Ooooohhhh, Aaaahhhh. Giant tents are set up at the festival and people switch between socializing in the Hippo Tent, to socializing in the Augusto Tent. Erica was happy to see her squared counterpart: Erica Matlin! And all of Erica’s friends, Ariana, Ari, Mariel, Meesh and Allie. If Erica went to Wisconsin (which, she doesn’t need to because all of Wisconsin goes to Rome), she’d fit right in. Erica (Raskin) also enjoyed rekindling the bond with Carly Goldstein who is studying abroad in London. Erica, Erica and Carly ate doughnuts….lots of doughnuts…too many doughnuts. It was Matlin’s idea. The crew headed to bed because they had a long day to prepare for.

When they woke up on Saturday, Fitts, Erica, Dana, Alex and Zoe went to a great lunch and headed right for the festival. Drinking activities began at noon, and Erica was overjoyed to see Alex “Seidy” Seidenberg by the bathroom. It was Seidy’s brilliant idea to meet some “locals”, who turned out to be 16-year-old blonde girls from an hour outside of Munich. They were nice (young, but nice) and they really liked Rubik’s Cube. Seidy enjoyed getting to know them, but Erica was quickly over it. The two did a few laps around the tents and then decided to explore the outside world.

This was probably the best part of the whole day. Erica and Seidy went on many rides including squiggly slides, water boats, bumper cars and so much more. They were “clowning around” as Seidy liked to call it. When Erica didn’t know how to drive the bumper cars, Seidy took control and the two may or may not be suffering from whiplash.

When they lost each other, Erica came across the one and only Scott “Prom Date” Resnick!!! He was dancing on a table with all of his Florence roommates so Erica joined in. They were really nice-when a liter of beer was spilled everywhere, roommate Eric helped the cleanup process (yes, your efforts were recognized and appreciated).

Erica mingled her way through the day, rekindling with many people from the past. It was really nice to see camp friends Ali Zimmerman and Rachel Rosenthal, and who knew Ali was such good friends with high school friend Amy Dreisiger? Oh and Kim Ridini-don’t know if you remember seeing me but I loved hanging out with you! All worlds collide somehow (when you’re a Jew from the East Coast of course).

Erica left to eat dinner with Matlin and school friends Meesh and Allie Schaecter. They dined over gnocchi and salads, and recapped their day. After dinner Erica and Matlin returned back to the festival where they went on a ferris wheel and every time it hit the ground Matlin stuck her head out of the car and begged to get off. Then we ran around looking for Ariana’s wallet while Ari Crane and Ariana ate the biggest hotdog of all time-it must’ve been at least 10 inches long.

Unfortunately the night ended, and everyone returned back to their hotels. It was sad to part ways, but summertime is only 3 weeks away and it will be nice to get back to Syosset to reunite once again. Being with high school friends in Munich was much more fun than being with high school friends in high school. After all, we are comparing a giant German carnival as a source of entertainment to a grungy parking lot near Stillwell Field.

-Erica

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When It Rains, It Pours

3 girls on a mission: get to the Amalfi Coast and spend the weekend in one of Italy’s finest resort areas, lay on the black sand beaches in bathing suits, and never let the cocktails out of our sight.

Reality: It was Thursday evening when we went to Termini train station to embark on the package we had signed up for with Bus2Alps back in January before it sold out. This was an award winning package, and previous study abroad students rave about this weekend. When we arrived at the station, we had flashbacks to our teen tour days. Everyone was dressed similarly, dragging their small suitcases in their right hand and their McDonald’s cheeseburgers that they had just picked up in their left. Everyone was given a bracelet which gave them access to their hostel or resort, whichever option they had chose to sign up for.

We waited around until the last of the stragglers arrived and then walked 12 blocks away from our original starting point to the coach bus. But you see, this was no coach bus. This was a double decker mega bus, with bathrooms and TVs and megaphones. We knew we were in luxury. We enjoyed the company of Hannah, Lindsey, Melissa, Janey and Stef for the duration of the 4 hour bus ride. We arrived to our resort at midnight, where the 3 of us checked into our “resort” (had to get the bang for our buck). They were bungalow style rooms, with 3-4 girls per hut. Oh this was a hut alright. It was a box in the woods, but we didn’t care because we couldn’t wait to get under the blankets and go to bed.

As our heads hit the pillows, we were dreaming about the weekend ahead. But the portion of the night was spent having nightmares, for the rain was showering the outside world. We knew we were safe in our box in the woods…until the heat ran out. We shivered ourselves to a half-sleep and Erica yelled out loud in the middle of her sleep “I’m coooooold”. The alarm rang at 6am and we went to the dining hall to start our day.

The breakfast was extreme. Extremely….limited. There was one giant basket of bread rolls that everyone on the trip fought over. The coffee was chalky, the tea was hold. This was going to be a great day.

We walked down a long-windy road with with beautiful scenery to the water taxi. Everyone piled onto the taxi which would take us to Positano. When we arrived in Positano, we got on a second boat that took us on a “boat tour”. This might as well have been a spring break booze cruise with kids puking off the sides. The tide was so bad, and the seas were so rough, that the boat tipped from side to side. From inside the boat, we watched the people sitting on the bench slide from one side to the other and back. It was so rainy outside, that Stef said, “I didn’t realize we were on Maid of the Mist!!!” She was so right. The guide tried to tell us the important islands all around us, but 50 percent of the boat was vomiting from motion sickness and the other 50 percent was blind because they couldn’t see through the storms.

So ten girls held their heads in between their legs and took naps until the tour was over because it was the only way to prevent sickness. They could not be happier to see land (although the land was wet). Next stop, Capri. They took a gondola up to Capri where all they could really do was find a cafe for shelter. We all crowded under the tent and started singing Camp Romaca songs, because no matter the weather that always makes things better.

Then we went up even higher to a different area of Capri where yes….it was still raining. Our shoes filled up with water and we stopped every so often to twist the water out of the bottom of our pants. Up there, we found ANOTHER cafe for shelter because, did you know it was raining? At Camp Romaca we love to sing and dance in the rain. Abroad…not so much. We went to a store to make sandals which was our 5 minute activity of the day and we ate a below-par meal at a below-par restaurant.

The girls needed an escape route. A bunch of other kids had already mapped out a plan and the girls hopped on board to head back to Rome and the girls joined as well.

A successful 24 (not even) hours in the Amalfi Coast of friends, boats, water…and Melissa Saul. Not the experience we had envisioned, but a lasting memory and a story for the blog.

-Erica

 

 

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