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Currents: sara's emails home

To a friend:

Hey there! How's everything? It's strange here, there's no Thanksgiving buffer between Halloween and Christmas so we jumped right from pumpkins and witches to snowmen and Santa. My street has stars and garland almost identical to the ones they hang in the North End of Boston!

We had a dramatic temperature drop a few weeks ago, so now it actually feels like winter. Christmas is different here - it's such a religious country that most of the hype is actually about Jesus and not Santa. I've heard that soon the churches will put out gorgeous nativity scenes, and the choirs are supposed to be unbelievable.

I just got back yesterday from Vienna with a few friends. It was easily one of my favorite cities so far. We flew from Pisa to Frankfurt, Germany. From there we flew to Bratislava, Slovakia, and then we took a bus to Vienna. Four countries in one day,I thought that was pretty impressive! But all our flights cost only one cent, so it was worth the crazy route. Anyway, Vienna is beautiful and more obsessed with Christmas than I am! The last night we were there we were standing outside St. Stephen's and it started snowing, it was just amazing.

I've only got about three weeks left here, hard to believe! Next weekend I'm going to Brussels and perhaps Amsterdam. The weekend after that I'm going to Paris! Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Sara

Hi Mom,

We're off to Lucca and Cinque Terre tonight, they're coastal towns with amazing beaches, I'm excited. It's only for the weekend and then we're back here for classes next week and the week after that is mid-term exams! How insane is that? I just got here!

Vicki and Carolyn and I - I forgot to tell you about Carolyn! She's Vicki's roommate and I've known her since we moved in, but for some reason I never asked where she's from, which is weird because that's usually the first question, but anyway, the other night I asked and guess what she said: Hingham. As in Massachusetts. Crazy, yes? Anyway, we're leaving for London in two weeks. We're staying there four days with Vicki's friends, then flying to Edinburgh for two nights, and then on to Dublin for the last three nights. I'm really excited to speak English! Last night we turned on the TV for the second time and watched CNN and a segment about fishermen in New Bedford, Mass. came on! Imagine that.

Love, Sara

Hi Mom!

Still in London, we've had an exhausting few days. London is amazing, but so expensive that I want to throw up. We're being very cheap, though, and actually kind of fun because the supermarkets here are closer to what we're used to at home, and Vicki has some weird fascination with them so we go on hunts and pick out random meals.

Anyway, I love London. We did the Tower of London today, which was so cool. I saw where Anne Boleyn is buried, and also where she was beheaded – everything about Henry VIII is crazy but interesting! The Crown Jewels there were awesome to see, too.

Yesterday we saw Westminster Abbey, which was amazing, it's huge. We've also been to Notting Hill and the Portobello Road Market and Abbey Road, where we tried to take apicture walking across like the Beatles, but it didn't really work. Tomorrow we'll see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in the morning, then go to Harrod's and maybe Kensington Palace and Hyde Park.

Tuesday we have an early flight to Scotland. We're staying two nights in Edinburgh, which everyone says is a very safe city, so don't freak out! Then we'll be in Ireland for three nights, in Dublin, Galway, and Dublin.

Love, Sara

To my cousin:

Ciao! I was in the UK for 10 days over fall break and in Edinburgh we were on a Harry Potter kick - we saw the castle that Hogwart's is based on, we ate at the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, and a million other sites like that. By the time we got to Dublin we were exhausted so we didn't see as much as we should have, but we did take an amazing day tour out to the mountains around the city with this quintessential old Irish dude.

Italy's been unbelievable. Everything is like it's out of a book. There are random guys who play the accordion on the street just like in "Lady and the Tramp," and so many people sing or play an instrument, there's always music in the air here.

See you on Christmas Eve!

Love, Sara