“How Was Your 2023 Summer?”

Summer is a time for relaxation, adventure, and making unforgettable memories. As the days grow shorter and the weather cools, friends and coworkers will undoubtedly ask, “How was your summer?” In this blog post, I will recount my top 2023 summer experiences.

1. Hosting My Mom in Tuscany

The most notable experience of the summer was when my mother visited me in Lucca. Since the start of my PhD in 2020, no one in my family has had the chance to visit Italy…until now.

From the moment she arrived, we delved into Lucca’s rich history and culture. We strolled along the ancient city walls, marveling at the breathtaking views of the town and its surroundings. We indulged in mouthwatering pizzas and pasta and savored every sip of cappuccino at the local cafes.

My mother especially enjoyed the cappuccinos. Like mother, like daughter!

We also had the chance to visit Tuscany’s more famous cities like Pisa and Florence. Sharing this experience with my mother was an eye-opening and bonding experience that neither of us will forget soon.

2. Roma Roma Roma

During my mother’s trip to Italy, we also traveled further down to Roma!

Agosto in Roma!

In Rome, I was reunited with my mom’s best friend from the States, Titi. We entered “tourist mode” and rode the sightseeing buses around Roma.

What’s big, red, and double-deckered? The slightly overpriced tourist buses that everyone in Roma is trying to sell to you!

Although I’ve been to Rome many times before, I finally had the chance to visit St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time ever with my family. It was the most visually stunning architecture I have ever seen. In my opinion, it blows the Hagia Sofia out of the water.

In Roma, I also had the chance to meet some relatives on my mother’s side of the family. I learned much about my family’s history over a plate of injera in one of Rome’s many Ethiopian restaurants.

3. A Productive Wave of Heat

Soon after my mom left, there was a blistering heatwave in Italy. Temperatures reached up to 38 degrees C or 100 degrees F! So I call this period of my summer my “productive girl era.”

With nothing to do except chill in my air-conditioned room, I returned to work. I edited my manuscript and submitted it to an academic journal. I analyzed the results of my latest experiment. I planned new and follow-up experiments. I learned how to crochet, inspired by some crochet hooks I found in my mom’s hotel lobby.

Basically, I did and learned a lot of things while I was stuck indoors, escaping the heat.

4. One Day in Elba

During this productive girl era, I looked forward to spending a few days on Elba Island. Elba is a beautiful and historical island off the coast of Tuscany. I had planned to stay on a camping site for a few days at the end of August to rejuvenate before the start of the academic year.

Unlucky for me, thunderstorms were forecasted for the days I booked to stay at the campsite. After weeks of perfect weather, the climate suddenly changed into a dark and stormy mood.

So, sadly, I canceled my stay on Elba Island. But not before I changed the dates of my train and ferry for one glorious day on the island. Due to the time constraints, I only stayed in one city: Portoferrario. But, within a few hours, I swam, snorkeled, and had a great beach read.

5. Notte Bianca

At last, we were reaching the end of August. But the summer of 2023 refused to end without a bang. On August 26, Lucca had its annual “Notte Bianca”. This night was filled with music, dancing, and outdoor activities for kids and adults.

Amazing acrobats performing for an audience

The best part of the night was attending a free Pino D’Angio concert in front of my house!

All in all, summer 2023 was one to remember!

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