Biglietto a Ovunque

Monday, March 7, 2011

Biglietto a Ovunque

This past weekend was only the second time since I’ve been in Florence that I didn’t have much of anything to do, and really nowhere to go. Sometime earlier this week Jen and I were talking about wanting to go somewhere for a short day trip, but had no idea where exactly we wanted to take off to. The plan started out as maybe taking the day to see Bologna which is a small town a little north, and right outside of Tuscany.
Chelsea met us at our apartment at 10:30 on Saturday morning and we left soon after. We hadn’t checked train times but since most trains run every hour, we didn’t think it would be much of a problem. On the walk to Santa Maria Novella (the Firenze train station) we couldn’t help but talk about how beautiful a day it was. Honestly the nicest day we’ve seen here yet. The idea of heading north on such a warm day didn’t make much sense so we decided the best thing to do was look at the departures on the board once we got to the station and head anywhere that seemed inviting.
So it was decided then. We would get to the station and get a ticket to anywhere. But not before we picked up a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant on the way.
Ok. Beautiful day, check. Great friends, check. Perfect cappuccino, check. Now all we had to do was figure out where we were going.
“How about Lucca?” Nah, Jen is going there with her parents when they visit.
“What about Pisa?” No thanks, already been.
“Oh! Maybe we should head back to Venice and see it in the sun.” Ok, Ok, to expensive.
“Wait, what about that place? What does that say? Livorno? Never heard of it…” Well based on the cartoon picture on that cheap little tourist survivor, it looked to me like it was by the water, and the train left in exactly eight minutes so if we hurried we could leave right away. So it was decided. Livorno it was. Perfect. And we’re off.
The train ride there was about an hour and a half but the three off us managed to keep the conversation going so it wasn’t a bad ride at all.  Once we got there we realized we had no idea where to go or what to see so we thought it might be best to get a map. The maps at the train station were €7! Good joke, There is no way I was spending $10 on a map that I needed for a day. So we vetoed the map and just started walking.
It was deffinaintly much less of a walking city than Florence, but the weather was so beautiful, we didn’t seem to care. After walking for about 15 minutes we saw a cute little park.

The sun was shining through the trees and there were fountains and animals all throughout the park. We decided to stop and take a look around. After all we didn’t have much else to do. It was the cutest little quiet place with chicken coups and playgrounds. There were turtles in the ponds and dad’s kicking soccer balls with their kids. There were even a few people playing guitar.


If I could have stayed there all day I would have, but we still wanted to find the ocean. So after I convinced Chelsea that it was a little awkward to creep on the 14 year old boys playing guitar in the park, we moved on toward the beach. Well at least that is what we though.

We walked for probably another 20 minutes before stopping to ask if we were even going the right way. Sure enough we were only about 15 minutes shy of reaching the water. Ok, so a pretty far walk for the beach on a day that isn’t even warm enough to get in the water, but who cares. I’m in Italy with nothing better to do that take in the day!

We finally reached the water at a boat port with sail boats, fishing boats, and yachts. Absolutely beautiful! But wait, where in the world was the beach?

Well come to find out there was no beach. So what did we do instead? Oh you know, just climbed through some broken down fences by an old abandoned hotel so we could walk out on the rocks by the water.

Once the obstacle course was defeated the view was absolutely breathtaking.


We spent the rest of the day playing on the rocks and taking it all in. I never could have imagined that buying a ticket to nowhere would turn in to pretty much the perfect day.

Buona Sera Miei Amori

Tutti i Giorni

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tutti i Giorni


At the end of my last post I had to leave in a hurry and can not imagine forgetting to tell you about some of the amazing things that are happening to me every day here in Florence. 
Only having class three days a week and no other jobs to keep me occupied means that I have some time to actually enjoy life. It is beautiful all the things you can experience when you just let life happen. Like last week in my Tuscany and Its wine course, my professor and another student in the class (I think you would consider him a student but he is not there to get a degree but rather his wine certification) were talking as Melissa and I were getting our bags together to leave. They mentioned something about later that evening and going to share a bottle of wine with a mutual acquaintance. Somehow during their conversation Melissa and I got included in making the plans and the next thing I know we are meeting at a school building later that night to go for a glass of wine with our professor and Chase (the other student). Melissa and I had just anticipated a short walk to a small local bar, and a casual good bye not long after we arrived. As we started walking, we get to his car and go roughly 10 minutes outside of the “city center” to an elaborate hotel that I never would have considered walking into for fear that I might be charged just to look at it. I wish I knew the name, I honestly just tried searching the internet for an hour to find it and no such luck. So I guess you will just have to believe me when I say it was absolutely breathtaking. When we walked in there were not only one but two men holding both doors for us so we were comfortable and not cramped. Our coats were immediately taken to be checked, and we were guided to their restaurant for drinks. This place can hardly be considered a restaurant in my opinion because it felt more like your own private dining area if you were royalty.  The lights were dimmed, classical music was being played, there were vases of different nuts to eat while we waited, and the chairs were more like love seats. Chase and Mossimo (my professor) ordered their drinks but when they asked what Melissa and I would like, we said no thank you (again I could not barely afford to breath in this place, let alone drink.) They insisted that we have a drink and ordered us the closest thing to an Italian cocktail as you can get, a Negroni. Negroni when translated means Big Black. Now, I am not at all knowledgeable about many, if any liquors, so obviously if I don’t know liquors, I don’t know what would go well with them. So before I go on, the recipe for this drink is…

-1 oz gin
-1 oz sweet vermouth
-1 oz Campari® bitters

    * Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass 3/4 filled with cracked ice. Add a splash of soda    water if desired. Garnish with a half slice of orange. 

So I ask, “what is Gin anyway?” Heck I don’t know these things. All three just laughed at me and insisted that I would just have to find out for myself. I wasn’t even about to attempt to ask about the other two things. So anyway the drink comes and…

Looks pretty good right? Wrong! It tasted just a Christmas tree in a cup, and had a smell that made me want to gag. But me being the polite young lady that I am, spied it, smiled, and thanked them for suggesting such a good drink. It would have been torturous to finish it but luckily the room itself was so beautiful, I could not be anything but content. When we finished our drinks we got a tour of the hotel from the manager. Every room was perfect in its own way. There was not a single thing out of place. It was with out a doubt an experiences that I will remember forever. We were also invited back to tour the rest if we would like and I fully intend to take them up on that.

The very next day as I was just wandering around, I convinced Jen to go into a paper shop, Il Paprio with me so that I could pick up more stationary to write letters on. We were greeted by a very friendly older man who stuck up conversation with us like we had been old friends. This paper shop, along with many others in Florence, is full of marbleized paper. Very pretty and colorful papers that are created by using wallpaper glue and water based paints to create a design that can be then copied onto paper.

Video on how to make the paper.


The old man, Gianni, took us over to his little station and insisted that Jen and I make a design to have a hand made souvenir of our time here. The pictures above are of the paper that her and I created together. The only thing was, he said if he gave us out work we were not allowed to fight over it, so to respect what he said we have decided to cut it in half before we leave so we both have a little bit to take back with us.

It is a beautiful thing to have experiences like these without ever even expecting to. There are nice people in the world, and I have been lucky enough to meet  a few of them right here in Florence.

Vi Amo e Buona Sera.


So Much Traveling

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

So Much Traveling


I can not believe that I have been here for five weeks now and that it has been two weeks since my last post. I am falling more and more in love by the second. I can’t even begin to do this amazing country justice just through my poor attempt at blogging, but I will try my best.
Although it is still pretty chilly here, I find something new every day that makes me forget all about the fact that I am frozen 80% of the time and reminded me of how lucky I am to be here. Just like anywhere though, some days are better than others. Living with four girls you don’t know very well can get rough, but so far we’ve all managed to talk it out, and we continue to get closer every day. And of course realizing that life back in the states is still happening without me having the chance to be a part of it puts a bit of a knot in my stomach anytime the though crosses my mind. Who is thinking of me… Who is missing me… Who wishes I were there when something happens that reminds them of me? I wonder if Grandpa is lonely, or if Grandma needs my help. If Jaxon and Ella have forgotten about me,  if my divers needed me there for them during the biggest meets of their season, if Kelly is stealing all of my scarfs, if Andrea is sad with me for missing her birthday, or if I am letting down my KappaDelta sisters for not being there with them through Fryberger and Shamrock. But I think these are normal emotions for someone to have when they leave the life they know for the opportunity to experience something more. All I can do is remind myself that I have to live my own life and have my own experiences. But most of all remember how insanely blessed I am to have so much to miss and the opportunity to do all of the things that I want to do.
Ok, Enough about that, and more about Italy, which is, after all, the whole point in my blog!
After weeks of having no idea what to do for Spring break, because everyone wanted to go to places like Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Germany which I have been lucky enough to already have visited, I have officially booked my trip! Taylor, another girl from the program was stressing too because her friend from home is coming to visit so she wont be ready to leave until Sunday while most everyone else is leaving on Thursday, and I got together and came up with what I think is going to be a pretty amazing break. We will be leaving from Pisa on Sunday, and visiting Madrid, Paris, Luxembourg, and Brussels. We booked our flights and hostels, and as far as I’m concerned, we are ready to go!
Since I last posted, I have been to Verona, Milan, Siena, San Giamangio, Orvieto, and Venice, not to mention all the new things I’ve done in Florence. So needless to say I have lots to fill you in on.
But first lets start in order with Friday, February 18th, which was, in my oppinion, the most beautiful day here so far. Because schooling is so different over here, me and my roommates only have class 3 days a week, so Mondays and Fridays are our days to explore Florence. So that Friday Jen, Melissa, Anna, and I decided to walk to a little pizzeria down by school and get us each a €1 pizza for lunch. Now a pizza here isn’t like it is there with 8 thick crusted greasy pieces in a box, it is a single square piece of pizza, usually with fairly thin crust. Once we got them we walked down by the river to take in the sun because it was such a beautiful day. We had no idea where we were walking, or why, but it didn’t matter. After walking for about 10 minutes we decided to get Gelato, of course. The Gelato here is phenomenal and I have a strong suspicion that it is filled with crack because it is so addicting. There are so many flavors to choose from that you are forced to get at least 2 different flavors, if not 3 or 4, at a time. So far my favorite combinations are Hazelnut and chocolate-chip, Caramel with Hazelnut and Coffee, or Strawberry with Lemon. But of course I could never choose just one. Once we had finished out Gelato, we thought it might be fun to walk toe 450+ stairs to the top of the Duomo. After Pizza and Gelato you can imagine that anything that could be considered exercise might be a little rough, but the narrow and steep stairs leading to the top were just short of torturous. Despite the side cramps and the lack of ability to catch my breath, every step was worth it when I saw the view.

There were a ton of people at the top but for the most part it was silent. It felt almost rude or disrespectful to say anything and take away from the beautiful surroundings. The entire city is visible from up there and I wanted to sit there forever.


The day before Valentines Day, what better place to go than Verona. The city of love and the home of Romeo and Juliet. To be honest I have never been a fan of Valentines day but this year I was determined to be positive. There was a love fest in the city in honor of the holiday, and as busy and rainy as it was, the whole place was filled with love.


A plate on the well reads: Getta nel pozzo un solo soldino pensa un momento al tuo destino non ti distrarre non far rumore eccolo… eccolo… arriva l’ amore…(Toss a single coin into the well, and as you do think only of your destiny. Do not make a sound. Do not be distracted. And alas, you will find your true love.) The story goes that there was once a young boy who was in love with a girl (go figure) and as much as he tried he was never able to convince her that his feelings were true and that she should love him in return. He finely came to his breaking point and was about to give up on his love for her. “You are as cold as the icy stream that runs through the bottom of the well!” he exclaimed. Finding humor in this she told the boy that if he would jump in the well to prove that the water was in fact icy, she would believe that his feelings were true and that she might then love him as well. Once the boy jumped into the well,there was no way of getting out. The girl felt so awful for what she had just done and had a surge of emotions that filled her with love for him. In an act of desperation she then jumped down the well to die with her love, because she couldn’t imagine living a life without him. A pretty dramatic act if you ask me, but then again that kind of passion and love that he felt for her, made him willing to sacrifice himself for her love. And as for her delayed devotion, she felt so overwhelmed by his love that she too was willing to sacrifice herself for love. Now I am not saying that death is a good way to prove your love, or even a way to at all, but that story struck me. The idea that two people in love can be so willing to do anything for the other, even something so extreme, is not something we see very often in the world today. Or as sad as it sounds, not something we see at all. Instead of worrying about everything else and letting love fit into that, is it so crazy to believe that if we are open to true love, the rest can/will just fall into place.

The entry way to Juliet’s house is covered with the names of lovers who have passed through. In the picture you can only see a tiny piece of it but the entire way is covered with names on top of names on top of names. It was so insanely cute!

The city itself was exactly what I had imagined Italy to be. It was the perfect little small town with small alleyways covered in vines and bright flowers on the balconies. A beautiful city of love that was so easy to fall in love with, and make me believe that maybe true love really does exist.


For my Hospitality Marketing class I was “strongly advised” to attend the BIT. It is an international hospitality conference held in Milan once a year that gives hotels and travel agencies a chance to display their services. I had no idea what to expect going into it but I thought it could be a good opportunity to meet some important people, but I was very wrong. To be honest nothing about seemed to hospitable to me. So I left there and headed to the main piazza in Milan where their Duomo is located. 

The Duomo was an amazing Gothic inspired cathedral. Everything on it was so detailed and elaborate, but then again pretty much everything here is that way. It was somewhere I am glad I got to see, but definitely not a place I would ever feel the desire to go back to.
Siena/ San Giamangio were both cute little hillside towns. And as for Orvieto, I loved it. The town was built on volcanic ash and was where the Pope resided before the Vatican and even where he would go in times of trouble in Rome after the Vatican came to be. There was only one entrance to the city at the time, and the rest was a natural fortress, which made it a safe place to be when trying to avoid enemies.

Because the natural platform it was built on is remains of a volcanic eruption it used to be very hard for anything to grow in the ground there, and with there only being one entrance and exit  it was hard to get any type of food supply from elsewhere either. So whats the solution? How in the world do they get food? Oh ya know just what anyone else anywhere in the world would do… Dig holes in the rock that lead outside so that pigeons can come nest there and eventually become food! It makes me laugh to think of all of the things we find to be so odd and in some cases disgusting were, and still are, completely normal and accepted in other cultures all over the world.
I got the chance to go to Venice for Carnival and let me just say that it was absolutely breathtaking. The crazy masks and elaborate costumes are something that could never truly be appreciated through just pictures. Which is a great thing for me considering that my camera so conveniently died during the fairy ride into the main island. I did get a few of the ride in but I will so be bumming lots more from my roommates, so I’m not to concerned.

This was obviously taken in front of a Gondola canal  that I found to be so stinkin cute I couldn’t hardly stand it. I can only imagine what this city is like in the summer. I only wish I were able to experience this city back in the day with when true Venetians roamed the streets instead of thousands and thousands of tourist in a single day. Either way it was everything that I had expected, and more. Walking down the street we almost walked straight into the water without even realizing because all of the streets end in water. Luckily there was no swimming that day, but the idea of it is definitely entertaining.

Now in case you didn’t know, Venice Carnival is known for it’s masks. The idea is with the proper costume and suitable mask, you have the chance to be something other than yourself. The half masks we are all wearing are typical of young unmarried woman. There are also full face masks appropriate for more modest women. Also the veiled masks are for men who want to maintain a secret identity. So much goes into it that you would never even think. Everything is based around history and tradition.

Venice to me was a place of imagination. But of course that may have to do with the fact that I was there during Carnival, who knows. I can say it is a place I will hopefully get the chance to see again one day.

Apart from traveling throughout Italy, and soon to be the rest of Europe, I still have my everyday life here in Florence. I go to class T-Th, and find new fun little things to do and see seriously every day.

A few weeks ago I interviewed for an “Italian Family Club” at my university. It is a program that sets students up with “host families” for the duration of their study abroad experience. Unlike most host families I will not be living with them and will just go to dinner with them and learn about their life and hopefully gain a better grasp of Italian  culture. So last Tuesday I met my family and I there is so much I can learn from them. The dad is a Doctor and runs a political group here in Florence, and the Mom is some big shot over at the hospital too. They have four children, two sons that are 28 and 31, and  a daughter who is 15 as well as an adopted son who is 11. I have only spent a minimal amount of time with them so far but I can’t wait to learn more.

There are also two more specific experiences that I want to share and will very soon but for now I have some serious readings for class to catch up on. Hope all is well and a new post is to come soon.

Troppo di mi amore!


Mia Nuova Vita

So many things to catch you up on. I don’t even know that I can remember all that has happened since I last wrote but I will try my best.
First of all the reality is finally setting in that this is home, at least for now. The first couple weeks felt more like a vacation but the other day I said I was going home, and that’s when it hit me, my quaint little apartment in Firenze is my home right now. An exciting, exhausting, comforting, and scary feeling all at the same time. I have begun to make more friends here and recognize the same random people on the streets each day. The cashiers at the grocery on our street know our faces now.
I also met a man outside the Duomo named Alfredo who was selling his artwork of the city in the piazza like so many others do here as well. He is a man probably in his early 40’s who studied art in England but came back to Florence to marry his wife. After I had picked out the small picture I wanted to buy, I asked for it in Italian, and of course because of my lack of experience with the language, not to mention my very blond hair and American appearance, he started asking where I was from and why I was in Florence. Now I did not tell him my address of course, or even the general direction, but we did have a very easy conversation. The next thing I knew we had been talking, he in his broken English, and I in my broken Italian, for close to a half an hour. I mentioned that I should get going, because I was going to Sunday Mass at the Duomo and it was starting soon. He mentioned that if I needed help with my Italian he would be willing to help if I happened to walk by his work again. It was nice. He didn’t judge or laugh at my horrible attempts at speaking to him, in fact he praised my attempts, and was willing to help. Because I walk through the Piazza every day I have seem him a couple more times since, and every time we briefly say hi and I move on with my day. I am so excited to meet more people, and create simple connections like this that just make the day a little better and this place feel a little more like home.
Later that Sunday afternoon I decided to go to Mass at the Duomo. The Priest asked if I was lost, because the mass was in Italian, and I obviously am not Italian. But I smiled, said no and that if I was welcome to stay for the Italian mass I would like to. It was cold because the church is all marble and is massive with no heating system. All I could think about was me and Grandma keeping each other warm when we get cold at Sacred Heart. I tried my best to fallow the readings and the songs. It was beautiful, and I plan to go back on most Sundays in hopes of being able to understand a mass by the time I leave Firenze.
After mass, I had the whole day to do pretty much nothing, so I decided I would climb the 414 steps to the top of the Bell Tower to see what the city looked like from up there. I was exhausted by the time I reached the top but it was absolutely worth it. I took my time and stopped at each level. Squeezing past the ridiculous amounts on Asian tourists on the steep and narrow stairs all the way to the top.
If you look just past the dome on the left side, you can see my street, and exactly where my apartment is. I wanted to stay up there all day but after a group of Asian boys asked me to be in one of their pictures with them I decided it was time to head back down.
By the time that Tuesday rolled around I had almost forgotten that I have classes to go to. But once I got over my “But I don’t wanna go to school!!!!”, I actually learned a lot this week.
In Whine Marketing we are learning more about the differences in the different wines produced and why they are produced that way based on the changing market and the variations of target audiences. Once I realized I knew absolutely nothing about wine other than what I learned at the Kappa Delta/Phi Sigma Kappa “Catalina Wine Mixer” social freshman year of college, I decided that I needed to do something to learn fast if I hoped to be able to market the product. So I went and added a course called “Tuscany and It’s Wines” and it is so interesting. On Thursday we started learning about the Sangiovese grape and how and where it is harvested and the different types of wines that it is used to make. During the lecture on Thursday, the professor started getting excited about what he was teaching, and it was obvious that he was very passionate about what he was teaching. Then he said something that I hope I never forget, He said “To me, Wine is not just a drink. It is an emotion. It is passion. And it is a way of life!”. Now as dumb as that may sound I got goosebumps. I hope that someday I can have that much passion behind something in my life. His words were so sincere and so passionate, that I actually felt was he was saying rather than just hearing words.
As for Italian, I am so lost! Not very surprising at all really. I do not know the difference between adverbs and helping verbs in English, so how in the world am I supposed to in Italian. And anyone who knows me knows that I am quite possibly the absolute worst speller in the entire world too. It’s all foreign to me!
But enough about class. There has been a Chocolate festival in Piazza Santa Croche all week, and it just so happens to be on the walk to and from school! I would be lying if I said I didn’t go at least three times this week, but who can blame me really? There were so many little truffles and candies that I just couldn’t help myself.
As much as I loved the little chocolate shoes, and the chocolate animals, I fell in love with the chocolate covered fruit. The strawberries were so fresh and the chocolate was phenomenal. Ummm, My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Aside from that Anna, Jen, Melissa, and I decided to go to Pisa on Friday. It’s so crazy that we can decided one day and just go the next. Pisa is a €5 train ride from Firenze so we thought, why not go. The city was dead, noting was going on there and the streets were basically empty. We did find the best gelato in all if Italy though! It was the cute little place in a square on the walk to the Tower. I got Nutella and Cookie, and I can’t even attempt to describe it’s fabulousness because I could never do it justice.

After walking down a few more sketchy streets, we finally got to the leaning tower. It was pretty, but that was literally all that was in Pisa. The tower itself was so pretty though. It was made entirely of white marble. And I couldn’t help myself, I had to be “that girl” who was a total tourist and take a ton of pictures holding up the tower. I feel like it has to be done, so I took at least 10.

Needless to say, I am settling into Firenze and starting to realize that my life really is changing. I have so much going for me, and this is such an amazing opportunity that I hope to be able to take advantage of every moment. I am falling in love with my life here,and if I am really lucky, Firenze will fall in love with me too.

Buona Sara!

Primo giorno in Firenze

I have officially been a resident of the city of Firenze, Italia for nine days and roughly twelve hours, but who is counting really? The city is amazing. Much bigger than I am used to in good ol’ Charlestown/Jeffersonville, IN/Louisville, KY that is for sure. Most of the other students in my program are from Jersey or somewhere in Cali. When people ask me where I go to school I have to repeat myself more than a couple times until I realize that I have to enunciate Louis-ville before they have any idea where I am talking about. But with mostly East/West coasters, the idea of a “country” town in the mid-west is more foreign to them than the fact that we are in Italy. To people that don’t know my name yet, I’m “that girl with the really bad accent.” I don’t mind though, at least I have some distinguishing factor.
But enough about that. I want to be able to tell you everything there is to know about Firenze, but I’m still not even sure what different things are at the grocery store right down the street. There are piazza on almost every other street, and each one has their own historical significance. I feel a little silly that I am in a city that I know very little about, but I have a while to learn I guess.
There are very few places to go to have any privacy in the city, but there are beautiful hillside landscapes in the distance. I live a block and a half from piazza del Duomo and the city center, so needless to say there is always something going on.
I have had he chance to see so many places that I don’t even know that I could tell you everywhere but…
Pizza del Duomo

This picture is not even a good visual of the Duomo’s real size. It is massive. The entire building is made of marble and looks like a 3-D puzzle. Almost like if you were to touch is it would collapse. When I walk out my front door i can see the dome and a significant section of the side. I love when I am walking through the city and the bells go off. I’m not sure there has been a time that the bells from the tower haven’t made me smile.

Ponte Veccio
The bride behind me is the oldest bridge in Italy that was originally a meat market until the beginning of the Medici dynasty when the family decided to turn it into a common place for goldsmiths. Now the only shops allowed on the bridge are that of goldsmiths and jewelers.
I saw this ring my very first day in Firenze on the bridge. I fell in love and three days later I went back and got it. It is 18k white gold with white and black diamonds. Not a purchase that I expected to make but I don’t regret it one bit. It didn’t need to be sized, I think this ring was mad for me.

As for my room mates, we get along much better than I expected. Lets be serious, putting five girls in an apartment about the size of three “average” sized guest bedrooms is a recipe for disaster. So far though I can say that I truly enjoy each and every one of the other girls. But only time will tell…
From Left to Right: Shelbi, Jen, Anna, Melissa, Me, Chels

Shelbi is from Jersey but she goes to Pit. She is crazy! With out a doubt, a free spirit. She hasn’t meet a stranger yet. Everyone she meets loves her. She is majoring in religious studies and psychology, is fluent in Hebrew, and is obsessed with her Chi Omega sisters.
Jen is from Cali and is the definition of a California girl. She is a Tri Delt so it gives us things to talk about. She claims she “used to be blond” but I’m not entirely convinced that shes not still. Her and I were roomies in Rome so she was the first girl in the house that I really got to know.
Anna and Melissa were best friends before coming abroad which scared me coming into this but it has turned out that I just adore these girls! It took me until a couple days ago to figure out how to relate to them and read them because they are both from Jersey also and are very honest with each other and like true Jersey Girls, are very set in there ways. Which I think can end up being kind of perfect considering I am pretty similar, just with a different accent.
Chels doesn’t live with us but is doing a “home stay” here so we adopted her. So she is pretty much always with someone from out apartment.

I am taking four classes while I am here, and for the first time since… well, ever, I am excited to learn this semester. I am taking Wine Marketing and Communications, Intermediate Italian, Hospitality Marketing, and Global Ethics. The first day in each of my classes was a pleasant surprise.
Wine Marketing
The first thing that my professor said after she passed out the syllabus was that “textbooks were optional, but wine glasses are mandatory.” Now I could tell you that I was disappointed about this but I’d rather not lie to you. This doesn’t mean that I will be spending my entire semester abroad drinking wine and not learning. But she has a good point in that it would be hard to market a product that I am not familiar with. So I went and bought the “optional” textbook and have already started reading because I want to know more about it. Did you know that Italy has over 300 different vines growing throughout the country, most of them coming from Tuscany, while France only has roughly 30, and 7 in the States? We will be required to visit small and large vineyards throughout Tuscany and create an “throughout and effective” marketing strategy for them. I can’t even tell you how much I am looking forward to this opportunity.
Intermediate Italian
After one semester of Italian I am nowhere near at the level I’d like to for living here. I hope, by the end of this experience, to become more comfortable in confidant in my ability to carry on conversations in Italian. It is such a beautiful language and one day I plan to be fluent.
Hospitality Marketing
The teacher for this class seems intense but it should be a good leaning experience. We are going to Milan for an international Hospitality conference so I feel like it has the potential to be a great networking opportunity.
Global Ethics
The professor for this class has the potential to be my absolute favorite. I get to read three books that I am looking forward to believe it or not.

It is officially 3am here and I am getting up early to walk up a hill across the river to go to church. I just hope that is as beautiful a day as today.

Buona Sera.

Roaming in Roma

I am officially nine days into my adventures abroad and already have so much to tell everyone. I have already seen so many amazing places, encountered so many different situations, and met so many fabulous people, that I don’t even know where to start!
So due to my lack of creativity, I will start at the beginning, because I have been told that the beginning is the best place to start…
Making the decision to study in Florence.

As a sophomore in high school I took AP European History with Mr. Hawkins. Aside from the fact that I found my teacher to be positively dreamy in my 15 year old mind, I loved the class. I left every class wanting to know more, but lets be honest, I rarely actually made the effort to find out on my own though. But I can say that I did find out that Santa Clause is real, and his alias in the off season is Scott Hawkins. He likes to write letters to his students to let them know that Santa is always watching. Especially when my friend Kaylea and I got caught cheating on quizzes together… Oops!
About half way through the year he announced that he along with my swim coach, Mr. Gast, would be taking a group of students on a “European Adventure” and he would be handing out more information if anyone might be interested. To make a long story short I ended up going on the trip with a few of my friends, Mary Catherine, Mallory, Ellie, and a few more. We visited Germany, Amsterdam, Belgium, France, England, and Scotland. The entire experience was phenomenal.

The fallowing year I met Frazi. She was the foreign exchange student that I had U.S. History with and conveniently lived next to the boy I was dating at the time. Over that year her and I became very close and I hated to see her leave. We kept in touch, and still do, so Sarah and I planned spring break of my senior year to go visit her in Germany. I love the fact that after having visited her twice, spring break and then again this past May, I have made friends abroad.
I thought it was amazing that while I speak absolutely zero German, and most of her friends and family spoke little to no English, I was still able to build a relationship with these people.

I have had such amazing experiences abroad, one day I decided that I am going to travel to every country in Europe before I die. I am fully aware that this is a very ambitious and probably unrealistic goal, but a girl can always dream, right?
I believe that learning from other cultures and diverse people is much more effective that sitting in a classroom. Reading about the experiences and adventures of others is great, but I wanted/want to have my own personal experiences.
For a little over a year I have been talking with the international office at my school trying to plan my semester abroad. There were so many options of places to go. So why Italy?
To be honest, no reason in particular. Mainly because it was somewhere new and different. And the though of Italian men with creamy deep brown eyes and romantic accents didn’t hurt either.
So after a year of preparation, a fair amount of stress, a semester of Italian, and tons of expectations, I have finally made it to Italy!!
January 22-27. 2011
I left on Saturday from a swim/dive meet and headed straight to the airport to catch my flight. I left from Louisville with a connecting flight in Philly and then on Sunday morning at 9:00 am (3:00 am back home) I got off the plane in Roma.
I got a shuttle to Grand Hotel Palitino where I had booked a room for the night, and once I was all checked in I went to the room for a short nap that turned into 5 hours. (Thank you jet-lag)
Once I finally drug myself out of bed, It was time to explore…
The Colosseum

As soon as I saw the Colisseum, all I wanted to do was go fight a lion in the middle of a fully packed arena. But then I realized that would be absolutely humiliating and not to mention fatal.
To walk by this a remember learning about all the events that took place inside was unreal. An amphitheater with the capacity to hold 50,000+ people that was able to be filled and emptied in less than an hour, that serious business.
The idea of the place is interesting. In ancient Roma it was said that all Roman citizens were entitled to tow things: ‘pane e intrattenimento’ Bead and entertainment. Therefore all citizens, nobles and peasants were all allowed to attend events at the Colisseum for free. Maybe America needs to take a little lesson from the Ancient Romans, but of course not all of their practices!
Fontana di Trevi
This was by far my favorite place in Roma. I wanted to just sit and stare for hours! I only saw it at night when it was lit up, but I can’t imagine it having the same breathtaking effect during the day. The first night I visited I threw a penny in the fountain and made my wish. I wanted so badly to use a € instead but I didn’t have any change yet, which you would think would make me incredibly sad, but not at all. It gave me an excuse to go back the fallowing night and toss in my €.01coin.
Something about the lights and the idea of simply tossing a coin over my shoulder so that I can return to Roma, that makes the Trevi Fountain magical.
Italian Forum

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him…”

In the old city forum there are columns and ruins. Without a guide I would have had no idea what anything was. I took all kinds of pictures and then realized I had no idea what they were of exactly. But I can tell you that the city forum buildings were rectangular and held up by columns. Not very exciting and innovative information, but something I learned.
“E tu, Brute?” -Ceasar
Julius Ceasar’s grave in the city forum. How happy do you think Brutus and the other guys that plotted his death were that he was still buried right in front of where they went to work every day? Flowers still grow right behind that wall.
Arch of Constantine
Vatican City
Vatican city almost needs no explanation but because I found it to be so amazing I have to write about it.
Because it is privately governed by the Pope it is considered the smallest country in the world. Completely contradicts the idea of separation of church and state, don’t you think? The walls surrounding the Basilica and Chapel are big, but not nearly as big as I had imagined considering that it is its own country.

There was not a single inch of the city that was not absolutely beautiful. I felt like it was sacrilegious to talk to loudly or even walk to quickly. The hall of hand woven tapestries with scriptures is indescribable, and because they do not want camera flashes to fade the fabric I wasn’t able to get a good picture. The Sistine Chapel was equally as breathtaking. I had anticipated it being a disappointment because I have heard about it so much and seen so many attempted replicas of the images. When I walked into the chapel though I was in awe. I wanted to lay on the floor and admire all of the intricate work. I wish I could see the area during a mass, that to me would be the ultimate experience.
After hours of typing today to document my travels thus far for everyone, I am exhausted, and should probably get some sleep so I can stay awake and attentive in my classes tomorrow.
Sorry that I didn’t get to Firenze or all of my amazing room mates, but it gives you something to look forward to.
Buona Sera e tropo mi amore!